Access to film rights in dispute

PARIS — Jacques Espinasse, director of Television Par Satellite, France’s second digital satellite platform, has vowed to bring rival CanalSatellite, a subsidiary of Canal Plus, before the Competition Council over access to film rights.

“Canal Plus has not carried out the instructions of several courts,” Espinasse told French news agency AFP.

When TPS took CanalSatellite to the Competition Council in 1998, the council ruled that Canal Plus had “abused its dominant position” because it did not allow pay-per-view TV access to the rights for films.

The highest appeals court on May 30 upheld a lower court’s ruling in which Canal Plus was fined $1.3 million for “abuse of its dominant position.”

“TPS is bringing another case to the Competition Council, since nothing has happened since the appeals court decision,” Espinasse said.

He did not say when TPS would bring the case to the council. But sources close to the company told Daily Variety that there is some urgency, since TPS will not be able to honor the quotas for French pics specified by law unless it has access to Canal Plus films.

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