(CN) – Two major Spanish-language television networks battling over Internet broadcast rights in the United States ended their dispute when a federal judge in Los Angeles ruled that the contract between Univision and Televisa prohibited Internet broadcasts of shows aired in Mexico.
Univision Communications and Televisa locked horns in a three-day bench trial, fighting over whether Televisa retained the right to broadcast TV shows to the United States via the Internet.
Televisa owns a minority share of Univision. In 1992 Televisa granted Univision an exclusive license to broadcast Televisa shows in the U.S. for 25 years. The license agreement was amended several times between 1992 and 2001.
The dispute between Televisa and Univision came when Televisa began airing its shows on the Internet. Univision said that violated the licensing agreement.
U.S. District Judge Philip Gutiererez agreed, ruling that Televisa’s interpretation of the licensing agreement would render an absurd result because the parties were so careful to spell out what Televisa was and was not permitted to do.
The exclusive license’s “definition of broadcast specifically includes … all means of transmission or re-transmission then known or later developed. Nothing whatsoever … restricted Univision’s exclusive right to programs to just cable systems or television stations,” Gutiererez wrote.