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Judge Drops Lawsuit Against Weinstein/Genius

23 Jul, 2007 By: Erik Gruenwedel

A lawsuit brought last year by the National Entertainment Buying Group against The Weinstein Co. and distributor Genius Products LLC has been dismissed.

The suit, filed in December in the U.S. District Court of Mass., alleged that DVDs released under TWC's exclusive rental agreement with Blockbuster Inc. contained language that implied renting the titles from anyone other than Blockbuster was against the law.

The complaint was dropped after the judge declared TWC and Genius had not actually distributed titles with such language, hereby rendering the complaint moot.

The NEBG, which represents 300 independent video rental dealers, had argued any labeling that implied “illegal activity,” defamed and damaged other retailers and would cause financial loss and irreparable harm.

The court in January temporarily halted TWC's plans to include a 1-800 number in its exclusive rental titles that customers could call if renting from a non-Blockbuster location.

“We technically can't sue them until they actually do it,” said Todd Zaganiacz, president of the NEBG. “If they go forward with this 1-800 number, then we'll be right back.”

Zaganiacz said he had mixed feelings filing the complaint in the first place but was satisfied with the initial ruling.

“It is still a little mystifying to me, but obviously boils down to the dollars Blockbuster had committed to paying TWC,” Zaganiacz said. “There is no question about it.”

Spokespersons from TWC and Genius were not immediately available for comment.

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