Back in April, Paramount and Warner Bros. Discovery sued each other over unpaid streaming rights for the show South Park. Warner Bros. Discovery reportedly owes Paramount over $50 million for streaming rights to South Park. Warner Bros. Discovery has reportedly refused to pay Paramount because it feels the contract was violated by Paramount+ releasing some South Park specials on Paramount+ it feels should have been exclusive to Max.
Now the judge has dismissed part of the case and let other parts in a blow to Warner Bros. Discovery. In today’s ruling, Justice Margaret Chan ruled that Paramount didn’t violate any state consumer protection laws because the complaint revolves around a private contract. This is a huge win for Paramount as it keeps this lawsuit as a private matter. The judge also dismissed a claim that Paramount engaged in deceptive practices as the judge found Paramount never made any false claims according to a report from The Hollywood Reporter.
Paramount has countered sued Warner Bros Discovery for unpaid fees related to the South Park show. “Warner Bros. Discovery has indefensibly refused to pay the more than $50 million dollars it owes for South Park content that it has undisputedly received and which HBO Max continues to air and exploit,” a Paramount spokesperson said in a statement to Variety. “Warner Bros. Discovery’s argument that Paramount Global was required to deliver additional South Park content is baseless and wholly unsupported by the parties’ agreement. Furthermore, it certainly does not justify WBD’s refusal to pay for immensely valuable content all of which it has received and from which it continues to profit.”
At issue here is the idea that Max has rights to all of South Park’s new productions include specials and movies. Paramount is arguing that they only have rights to regular episodes, not specials or movies. Max wants access to all South Park content, even the specials. Well, the Judge dismissed part of the case they still have to address this main complaint.
Warner Bros. Discovery has stopped paying Paramount the $25 million it is owed every quarter for South Park content. Paramount has continued to supply South Park episodes to Max even though they are not being paid.
Now that this first round is over both sides are getting ready for more court hearings. THe main question now that a judge will have to decide is has Paramount broken its contract with Warner Bros. Discovery by putting South Park specials and movies and Paramount+ but not Max.
For now, we will have to wait and see how this fight plays out for now though South Park will continue to stream on Max as this works its way through the courts.