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Network wars have come to a head, as TV One has filed suit against BET and MTV for copyright infringement.

The issue? According to The Hollywood Reporter, TV One claims to have secured exclusive rights to broadcast the Essence Music Festival (the largest African-American music festival in the world) and has accused BET & MTV of running performances of the festival on their respective networks. TV One claims that back in June (2011) BET ran footage of the 2010 Essence Music festival on their network, removed the TV One logo and source credits and replaced them with BET insignia.

Houston based Music World Music (the entertainment company founded by Matthew Knowles, formerly responsible for the career management of Beyonce, Kelly Rowland & Destiny’s Child) has also been listed as a co-defendant.

The suit claims that the damages for securing exclusive rights to the festival were 500K for 2010, and 750K for 2011…plus 1.5mil to produce the show. There has always been a slight beef between the networks (which I never understood because, their target demographics are not the same) but this could get pretty ugly. Hopefully, they’ll get it together with minimal damage.