Caballero Copyright Lawsuit Begins

John Stuart
LOS ANGELES — The copyright lawsuit filed by Caballero Home Video owner Rodax Distributors against Sunshine Films began today in U.S. District Court.

The suit claims that Sunshine allegedly sold Caballero videos without license. At issue is whether Sunshine had the rights to distribute Caballero’s Swedish Erotica line in videocassette and DVD formats. Caballero contends that it has the licensing rights from Caballero Control Corp. Ltd., a separate distribution entity.

The key legal point is whether the 1993 agreement with Rodax included DVD format movies, which didn’t exist at that time. Sunshine, along with the co-defendant Odyssey Video Group, claims that Rodax had rights only to the one-hour videocassettes and films from that series.

In response to the lawsuit, Sunshine and Odyssey claim they had reached a licensing agreement with Caballero in 1992, a year before Rodax signed its distribution deal with Caballero. Sunshine later acquired the rights to the titles from Odyssey during a bankruptcy sale.

Eugene Salute, an attorney who represents Sunshine and Odyssey, said in documents that the 12 years it took Rodax to file this suit has made it difficult to provide important evidence due to the death of some witnesses. The plaintiffs believe this complaint will have no effect on the case.

“Sunshine basically sold movies to which they had no right,” said Stanley Stone, an attorney representing Rodax. “We believe we’ll be successful at trial.”

Rodax is seeking undetermined compensatory and punitive damages in addition to recovering attorneys fees and court-related costs.

Over the years, Caballero has distributed over 50 titles, including “Centerfolds,” “Pornomania 1,” and “Undercovers,” going back to 1971.