Media Asia issued a notice last Friday (July 25) asserting that it had cancelled license agreements to seven titles that it had sold to Tartan, including the popular Infernal Affairs trilogy.
However, Palisades CEO Vincent 'Vin' Roberti is claiming that Palisades owns these rights, following its acquisition of Tartan Films' UK library when the company entered administration at the end of June.
'We've had no discussion with anyone about handing rights back at this point. That doesn't mean we won't have those discussions, but right now we control those rights,' Roberti told Screendaily.
He added that the company has plans to aggressively exploitTartan Group's library, through trans-Atlantic distribution operations involving DVD and digital delivery systems. The New York-based p&a financier also acquired Tartan Group's US library when its US operations wereshut down in May.
'We are interested in exploiting these assets to the best possible audience use we can - to benefit [the sellers] from a royalty standpoint and benefit us from a revenue standpoint,' Roberti said.
Media Asia states that under its distribution agreements with Tartan, thedistributor is prohibited from reassigning rights without Media Asia's prior approval.
'We are therefore most surprised that Palisades Tartan UK LLC claimed to have secured all of the Tartan Group's titles which we assume included our films. Such transfer has not been consented to by us and therefore is in breach of the relevant distribution agreements we have with the Tartan Group and is invalid and void.
'We will not hesitate to take legal actions against any unauthorised exploitation of our films,' Media Asia said in a statement.
Tartan was an active buyer of Asian product, including many commercially successful and award-winning titles from Hong Kong, Korea and Japan. One issue that may complicate smooth transfer of the Tartan Filmscatalogue is that the UK distributor still owed payments to several Asian sellers when it went into administration.
Other Asian sellers which sold regularly to Tartan, including Fortissimo Films and Korea's CJ Entertainment, declined comment on the Palisades acquisition when contacted by Screen.