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Judge: Rentrak can sue vid’tailer Hollywood

Contract at issue

An Oregon state judge denied a motion by Hollywood Entertainment Corp. last week for partial summary judgment in its lawsuit with Rentrak Corp., clearing the way for trial to begin.

A trial date of Jan. 10 has been set.

Rentrak, a leading distributor of videocassettes on a revenue-sharing basis, alleged in its 1998 lawsuit that Hollywood, the nation’s No. 2 video retailer behind Blockbuster, breached its contract to acquire all its leased videocassettes exclusively from Rentrak. Hollywood had attempted to lease videos directly from the studios, which Rentrak alleged violated its contract.

Sales at issue

Rentrak also alleged that Hollywood underreported sales and rentals. Rentrak is asking for damages of $200 million.

In a separate lawsuit filed in L.A. Superior Court in 1998, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment also sued Hollywood, alleging that it intentionally underreported sales of tapes obtained through its revenue-sharing agreement with Rentrak.

In last week’s ruling in Portland, Circuit Court Judge Michael Marcus held that the issue of whether Hollywood is permitted to lease videocassettes directly from movie studios can go to the jury.

Hollywood Entertainment reps could not be reached for comment Monday.

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