Stan and Kyle from the episode “Clubhouses”.
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New York State Supreme Court Justice Margaret Chan ruled that Paramount did not violate state consumer protection laws after its streaming platform, Paramount+, hosted shows “South Park” specials. The decision follows a February trialwhere Warner alleged that Paramount deceptively concealed “South Park” specials and other content to bolster Paramount+’s offerings.
Paramount did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment, while Warner Bros. declined to comment on the matter.
Warner paid Paramount $500 million in 2019 for the rights to the catalog of more than 20 seasons of “South Park” episodes to stream on HBO Max, now known as Max. Paramount then offered to share the rights between each of the company’s streaming platforms, which Warner rejected. The series is a staple of Paramount’s Comedy Central channel.
Paramount will later release “South Park: Post Covid” in 2021 and “South Park: The Streaming Wars” in 2022, exclusively on Paramount+. The releases sparked the lawsuit in which Warner is seeking hundreds of millions of dollars. Warner also alleged that Paramount overcharged him under the deal.
Paramount strikes back in April, seeking $50 million in unpaid fees from Warner and denying allegations that the company violated the agreement. The counterclaim would later be dismissed by Chan in October, ruling that Paramount did not make misrepresentations in its description of the specials in the original 2019 deal.
Warner also alleged in its suit, which claimed Paramount’s conduct misled customers and created confusion over which streaming platform owned the rights to the animated series.
Chan rejected Warner’s claim on Tuesday and said it was simply a “private contract dispute” and “does not harm consumers.” Chan added that the complaint or documents offered by Warner failed to prove Paramount’s “deceptive practices.”
Warner’s allegations of breach of contract, tortuous interference and unjust enrichment are still in play.
Chan ordered a preliminary conference between the two sides on December 13.