The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is going back to court to appeal Dick Clark Productions’ recent victory in the battle over who owns the TV rights to the Golden Globes. In a court ordered Joint Status Report submitted Monday to Judge Howard A. Matz, the HFPA’s lawyers said that they intend to file a motion in the next 30 days for an immediate appeal. The HFPA are also seeking to have resolution of the case’s so-called Phase II issues, including Golden Globe digital rights, pre-show rights, social media use and dcp’s accounting methods, put on ice while their fast tracked Phase I appeal goes ahead. In an odd case of going two steps forward and two steps back simultaneously, Daniel Pettrocelli and the HFPA’s other lawyers say that getting that appeal permission from the court “will advance the possibility of a settlement of this case.” So, despite the unsuccessful pleadings of Judge Matz near the end of the two-week non-jury trial earlier this year that the two sides make a deal, the HFPA says it now might be ready to make a deal – if it gets its appeal. Not surprisingly, dcp’s lawyers see it a bit differently. For one, in a case that already has gone on 18 months, the defendants’ legal team advocates dealing with the Phase II issues as soon as possible. Secondly, while they are not explicitedly against the HFPA seeking a judgment on a new appeal, dcp’s lawyer wonder if it’ll matter that much. Marty Katz and the dcp legal team state, based on Matz’s use of “well-settled principles of contract law,” that “there is very little likelihood that the Court’s Phase 1 ruling will be reversed on appeal.”
The contentious core of the case has always been a 1993 amendment to dcp’s contract with the HFPA. The production company says that amendment grants them rights in perpetuity to the Globes as long as it is broadcast on NBC. The awards show has been televised on NBC since 1996. It will continue to be shown on NBC until 2018 under a $150 million deal signed by the network and the dcp in 2010. The HFPA says the amendment did not grant dcp those rights and the right to make deals like the 2010 one. In his April 30 ruling, Judge Matz wrote that “the plain meaning and the extrinsic evidence support dcp’s interpretation of the 1993 Amendment…”
We’ll be lucky if this is truly done by the 2014 Golden Globes.