Settlement Talks Begin Over U.S. Penthouse 3D Distribution

BOULDER, COLO. — Settlement discussions are under way over the licensing rights of exclusive U.S. broadcast distribution of 3D Penthouse titles, XBIZ has learned.

New Frontier Media's Colorado Satellite Broadcasting (CSB) licensing division sued FriendFinder Networks and several of its Penthouse divisions last December, alleging that it was purportedly terminated from its U.S. distribution deal despite complying with all of the terms of its 2007 contract.

CSB, which says in the suit Penthouse last March attempted to roll out a U.S. version of a Penthouse 3D channel against the terms of its contract, has asked a federal court to declare that the licensing deal wasn't terminated and that it has the exclusive right to distribute 3D Penthouse titles. CSB also is asking for unspecified damages and attorneys fees.

The suit, which doesn't offer what were CSB's "purported" material breaches in the contract, says that Penthouse's moves have caused confusion in the marketplace and that "CSB  will suffer vastly greater damages if Penthouse's repudiation of the license agreement results in the actual refusal of one or more cable operators to carry CSB's Penthouse titles, its Penthouse-branded VOD services or its Penthouse-branded (or rebranded) linear channels."

Los Angeles attorney Alan Isaacman, who represents New Frontier and CSB, told XBIZ on Friday that while there hasn't been any court movement in the past two months "settlement discussions are under way" over the U.S. licensing rights over Penthouse 3D distribution between the two companies.

FriendFinder has launched Penthouse-branded 3D sites on a number of European satellite systems including at the Astra network, where it debuted last March with 30 hours of monthly programming in 3D softcore and hardcore feeds. Penthouse rolled out its  first 3D movie, “Real Porn Stars of Chatsworth,” last year.

Boulder, Colo.-based New Frontier Media is one of the largest programmers of transactional adult entertainment content and operates in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, Canada and Asia.

FriendFinder officials have not yet responded to XBIZ for comment on the suit.