John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Oct. 8, 2012, 11:52am

HOUSTON -  In an effort to stop Motion Picture Licensing Corp. from continuously demanding it buy a license to view video content on its offshore rigs, Apache Corp. has filed a lawsuit. 

Recent court papers filed Oct. 4 in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas claims MPLC demanded Apache pay for a permit which allows its manned-platform employees and contractors to watch movies aired via satellite programming or on DVDs.

Apache, however, asserts it does not require the license in question as no public performance is occurring on its offshore properties and the rigs are located in extra-territorial waters. Apache claims the defendant's legal and factual assumptions "do not provide a basis for its claims of copyright infringement."

The apparent dispute began in November 2010 when MPLC informed Apache it was obligated by federal law to obtain a license. Apache claims it showed "it had in the past and intended in the future to fully comply with copyright law in all respects."

MLPC rejected the plaintiff's position and pressed on with the matter of the license.

According to the original petition, the defendant perceived Apache's insistence of not needing a permit as a deliberate refusal to comply with U.S. statutes and moved to rescind its offer in late August and hold the complainant "fully accountable" for its supposed actions.

Apache adds it did not want to secure a MPLC permit because of a DirecTV Commercial Viewing Agreement dating back to September 2009.

Consequently, the plaintiff seeks a declaratory judgment.

It is represented by attorney Aaron Davidson with Baker Botts L.L.P. in Dallas.

Case No. 4:12-cv-2965

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