The Disney entertainment empire has been ordered to pay approximately £178 million in damages to British production company Celador, after the corporation lost a crucial lawsuit over unpaid royalties.
As the original producers of the hit British show ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire?’, Celador sued Disney over their American version six years ago. Celador claimed that Disney’s ABC network owed them 50 per cent of the profits in royalties for the US show, which has become extremely successful in the last few years.
Another allegation made during legal proceedings was that Disney made a number of what Celador called ‘sweetheart deals’ between subsidiary production companies in order to conceal the true and considerable profitability of the show.
Despite Disney’s argument that they honoured their contract with Celador, the decision went against them and they were ordered to pay £178 million in damages.
A corporation as large as Disney is likely to have professional indemnity insurance with a generous limit of liability for these sort of legal disputes, but the ‘David vs. Goliath’ verdict – as Celador are proudly calling it – will still be infuriating news for company chiefs.