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'Illicit Conspiracy': HBO Accuses Paramount, MTV of Violating 'South Park' Streaming Contract In a new lawsuit, HBO takes South Park Digital Studios and media companies to task for what it said was violating its exclusive streaming rights.

By Gabrielle Bienasz

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According to Variety, streaming platform HBO Max has argued in a new lawsuit that Paramount Global, via its streaming platform Paramount+, has violated a contract that gave the former exclusive streaming rights to "South Park."

"Defendants engaged in a simple and obvious artifice of mischaracterizing the content to avoid obligations" of the contract, the suit says.

HBO Max is owned by Warner Bros. Discovery.

The lawsuit was filed Friday in New York. The complaint says that HBO Max gained the exclusive rights to stream new episodes of "South Park" and its old "library" of past episodes after an "extremely competitive" bidding process.

But, in violation of that contract, the suit claims, Paramount+ made a deal with the show's creators for spinoff movies and other spinoff media with MTV in an "illicit scheme." The latter streamer also said it paid for a certain number of episodes and did not receive them.

"South Park" airs on Comedy Central (owned by Paramount) and is one of the longest-running TV shows ever, as Bloomberg noted. It follows the adventures of a group of four boys who run around making jokes in the eponymous Colorado small town.

HBO claims it paid "more than half a billion dollars" for the rights to stream it exclusively.

"Exclusivity was so important to Warner/HBO that when SPDS asked Warner/HBO whether it would consider sharing the rights to South Park with CBS All Access or another Paramount streamer, Warner/HBO rejected the proposition as a 'non-starter,'" the lawsuit said.

SPDS is South Park Digital Studios, a media company that produces "South Park" as well as has done titles like "The Book of Mormon."

"We believe these claims are without merit and look forward to demonstrating so through the legal process," Paramount said, per Variety.

Gabrielle Bienasz is a staff writer at Entrepreneur. She previously worked at Insider and Inc. Magazine. 

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