BY: Sandy Cohen
LOS ANGELES – The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which puts on the annual Golden Globe Awards, is suing Dick Clark Productions, claiming it signed an agreement with NBC to broadcast the awards show without the association’s consent.
The HFPA’s suit against Dick Clark Productions, which produces the Golden Globes show, and its parent company alleges trademark infringement and breach of contract.
In court papers filed Wednesday, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association says Dick Clark Productions made the deal with NBC to broadcast the Golden Globes through 2018. The group says Dick Clark Productions sold the broadcast rights “well below market rates.”
The agreement with NBC is not effective because Dick Clark Productions “has no broadcast rights to grant,” the association says in its 68-page complaint.
The group further claims Dick Clark Productions represents itself as owner of digital rights to the Golden Globe Awards and interfered with a meeting between the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and Facebook.
The HFPA owns the Globes and its intellectual property and contract rights. It first hired Dick Clark Productions to produce the Golden Globes in 1983. The two organizations have an agreement that expires after the 2011 Golden Globes show.
In a statement Wednesday, Dick Clark Productions accuses the HFPA of “attempting to try this case in the court of public opinion.”
“Our respective rights under the contract are clear. The HFPA cannot unilaterally change the basis on which DCP and the HFPA have done business for almost three decades,” the statement said.
The HFPA says in its lawsuit that Dick Clark Productions’ “bad-faith conduct creates uncertainty about the broadcast rights for the Golden Globe Awards show and severely compromises HFPA’s ability to exploit its property.”
The HFPA’s attorney, Linda J. Smith of O’Melveny & Myers, said the complaint details how Dick Clark Productions “has been trying to steal the HFPA’s most valuable asset.”
“The HFPA did not take this step lightly,” she said. “It is confident of its grounds, and it fully expects to prevail.”
Dick Clark Productions’ parent company, Red Zone Capital, and NBC had no comment Wednesday. It was unclear how the dispute might affect this season’s Golden Globes show, scheduled for Jan. 16, 2011.
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