VSDA wants Orion files unsealed

The Video Software Dealers Assn. has filed a motion to unseal Orion Pictures’ bankruptcy files to identify any legal cause of action there may be for VSDA to take against Orion. The trade org opposes Orion Home Video’s exclusive agreement with McDonald’s for sell-through distribution of “Dances With Wolves” (Daily Variety, Nov. 17).

Orion officials responded only, “It’s our policy not to comment on pending litigation.”

The VSDA issued a press release announcing its action, but officials of the organization and its legal counsel would not comment further.

Exec VP of VSDA Don Rosenberg said in a prepared statement, “These documents should be a matter of public record, since they relate to an arrangement which will have an adverse impact on retailers of videocassettes throughout the United States. VSDA member companies and other video retailers should have an equal opportunity to compete in the sale of ‘Dances With Wolves’ and other Orion films on the same basis as McDonald’s.”

A hearing on the VSDA’s motion is scheduled for Dec. 18, three weeks after the tapes go on sale at McDonald’s for $ 7.99 (with food purchase).

Rosenberg acknowledged the hearing will be too late to scuttle the McDonald’s deal, but a VSDA source said the trade org moved to unseal the files to see, in part, if Orion and McDonald’s have entered into a long-term deal, beyond “Dances.” If so, the VSDA may attempt to derail future distribution plans that exclude vidstores.

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