Monday marked the deadline forappeals to be filed in the ruling which found five studios guilty ofanti-competitive practices in Spain.

Disney/Buena Vista, SonyPictures, Hispano Fox, UIP and Warner Sogefilms werefined $3m (Euros 2.4m) each for cartel-like practices in a decision handed downby Spain's Competition Defense Court (Tribunal de Defensa de laCompetencia) on May 10.

They were given two monthsto appeal to the country's National Court (Audiencia Nacional).

UIP has already filed forsuspension of the judgment, and both Warner Sogefilmsand Buena Vista confirmed they were appealing. Sources at Fox andSony declined to comment on the case.

"We were very surprised bythe court's decision," commented Stewart Till, CEO of UIP. "They said we werediscussing terms with our competitors. That's absolutely not the case. There'sno discussion or agreement on terms in any country in the world."

"What we try to do is to tryto get the best terms on a film-by-film basis," he added. "We do not in any waycollude with our competition."

"Both Warner Bros and Sogecable are very disappointed by and disagree with theCourt's ruling," Warner Sogefilms saidin awritten statement.

"It is the strict policy ofboth Warner Bros and Sogecable to comply with alllegal obligations, and the companies take compliance with competition laws veryseriously. We will be appealing the Court's judgment to the AudenciaNacional."

Among the key issues in thecase brought by the Spanish exhibitors' federation FECE was price-fixing. FECEgeneral director Rafael Alvero says the federationwants to see a price cap of 48% placed on rentals, which exhibitors say haverun closer to 60% for the first week and 5% less per week thereafter.

Disagreementover these conditions were at theheart of a dispute last month which saw several leading exhibitors refuse tohandle Disney's Scary Movie 4. Theexhibitors reportedly came to individual agreements with Disney tocarryother films, including Cars,which premiered last week in Spain, and Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man'sChest.