Azteca loses film-cut case

Web must pay fine and screen 'Woman' and 'Bienvenido'

MEXICO CITY — A Mexico City judge ruled against TV Azteca, the nation’s No. 2 web, on Wednesday for violation of the copyright on two films it aired.

TV Azteca will be ordered to pay an as-yet-undecided sum for changing the dialogue and score on Carlos Carrera’s 1991 “La mujer de Benjamin” (Benjamin’s Woman) and Gabriel Retes’ 1995 “Bienvenido” (Welcome) — both multiple winners of Mexico’s highest film award, the Ariel.

TV Azteca must also air both films in their original formats.

The lawsuit, supported by the Mexican Directors and Audio-Visual Creators Society, was filed in 2007 and described the unnecessary cuts, including a total redaction of the films’ credits.

Victor Ugalde, secretary of the Film Production Workers Union, said, “It’s talking about the mutilation, transformation and editing of the version made by the director, which was not the version shown.”

Ugalde indicated the filmmakers sought 40% of money made from the transmissions, but the total fine has yet to be determined.

“A very large number of directors have complained about their films being re-edited or having scenes added that were not there,” he said. “We started (fighting) this in the 1990s, but … on several occasions, our lawsuit was denied, until now.”

TV Azteca has yet to respond publicly to the decision and has the right to appeal.

Ugalde said a similar lawsuit was pending against Mexico’s top broadcaster, Televisa.

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