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APA wins suit over ‘Home’

Defendant Disney to appeal ruling

The Agency for the Performing Arts won a $14.8 million jury verdict Wednesday in a case against the Walt Disney Co., where it claimed it was cheated it out of packaging fees on the ABC hit “Home Improvement.”

The main issue in the case was whether APA was entitled to fees that were tied to the ever-increasing license fee Disney received from ABC over the life of the show or frozen at the fee for the first season. At the time the show first aired, “Home Improvement” creator Matt Williams was represented by APA. The packaging fee is paid to the agency each year of the series, even if the client leaves the agency.

Debate over standards

APA claimed it is standard in the industry for commissions to rise when the license fee is increased. Disney maintained that there is no industry standard. It claims that in this instance, APA got 4% of the “base license fee,” which meant that its packaging fee did not increase in subsequent years.

During the life of the series the license fee increased from $410,000 per episode to $3 million per episode.

A Disney rep said it will appeal the verdict.

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