(CN) – Paramount Pictures has exclusive distribution rights to 17 vintage movies, despite a New York company’s claims to own the rights in certain markets, according to the New York Supreme Court’s appellate division.
Richard Feiner & Co. Inc. sold the rights to “Johnny Come Lately,” “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye” and 15 other films from the 1940s and 1950s to Republic Pictures in 1986 for almost $2.5 million.
The contract allowed Feiner to retain rights to show the movies in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and 18 other local markets.
Feiner claimed in 2007 that Paramount, which took over Republic’s rights to the films, had violated the contract by showing the films on American Movie Classics and Turner Classic Movies TV in the plaintiff’s selected markets.
Paramount argued that it had not collected any royalties on the airing of the films from June 2001 to May 2010.
The lower court denied Paramount’s motion for summary judgment, ruling that there was an issue of material fact over whether Paramount’s national cable licenses violate Feiner’s local broadcast licenses.
However, the Manhattan-based First Department New York Appellate Division ruled that Paramount’s evidence is sufficient to have Feiner’s claim dismissed.
“In the present case, the contract, read as a whole to determine its purpose and intent, plainly manifests the intention to grant defendant’s predecessor the right to exploit the 17 pictures through national cable deals, unimpeded by the licenses,” the justices wrote in an unsigned opinion.The other movies in the deal were “Blood on the Sun,” “Bugles in the Afternoon,” “Mission in Morocco,” “Only the Valiant,” “Blowing Wild,” “Cloak and Dagger,” “Court Martial of Billy Mitchell,” “Distant Drums,” “The Enforcer,” “Marjorie Morningstar,” “My Girl Tisa,” “Pursued, Retreat,” “Hell!” “Three Secrets” and “South of St. Louis“.