Merchant Ivory & Criterion’s Janus Films Settle Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

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Merchant Ivory & Criterion’s Janus Films Settle Copyright Infringement Lawsuit
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Merchant Ivory & Criterion’s Janus Films Settle Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

Room With A View filmmakers Merchant Ivory and Janus Films have come to a deal in the production company’s legal action against the Criterion Collection distributers. While no details of the settlement were made public, a federal judge in New York signed off Wednesday on the dismissal (read it here) of the case jointly requested by all parties. Because the dismissal is with prejudice, each party is paying its own legal costs. Merchant Ivory filed suit against Janus last August claiming that the company was distributing 25 of its films despite the fact that licensing agreements for those films had expired. Requesting a jury trial, Merchant Ivory asked the court to halt any further distribution by Janus. The James Ivory co-founded company also sought statutory damages of $150,000 for each infringement as well any profits Janus many have made from the films in question, any losses it might have incurred in not being able to distribute them plus legal fees. Added to the legal mix was HanWay Films, with whom Janus had inked a 15-year extension of the licensing deals under the premise that they were an authorized sales agent of Merchant Ivory. The company said that in fact, HanWay was not authorized by them in any way though the two had discussed a marketing deal that never materialized. After the initial suit was filed on August 20, 2012, Janus filed a breach of contract claim against Merchant Ivory and claimed that the company had told them HanWay was their sales action. Now it’s all over and everyone can put on a nice white flannel suit for summer, just like in a Merchant Ivory film.

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