The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) was blindsided by Dick Clark Productions (DCP), longtime producer of the Golden Globes, when DCP Chief Executive quietly sealed a seven-year contract renewal with NBC without telling anyone at HFPA, the show’s owner (The Hollywood Reporter). Philip Berk, HFPA President, sent DCP a letter in February 2010, stating that DCP was not authorized to “seek or agree to any subsequent broadcast licensing agreement with NBC (or anyone else).” Shapiro responded to the HFPA in writing that he would never do that without HFPA’s involvement. DCP attorneys would later say Shapiro did not mean “involvement” as analogous to requiring HFPA’s ultimate approval.
HFPA has filed suit against DCP, alleging the producer sought to steal the rights to the awards show and secretly negotiate with NBC. The suit further claims that the TV producer sought to “exploit the Golden Globe-related marks, license the digital and other ancillary rights, create promotional campaigns or sell sponsorships” without permission (LA Times). HFPA alleges that DCP should have been negotiating with them instead of NBC when the two-decade contract expired in January 2011. The price of the new deal, which extends until 2018, undervalues the franchise, according to HFPA. HFPA seeks preliminary and permanent injunction against DCP from using the Globe trademarks for anything other than the show.