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TheLoneWolf

Robotech and HG License Debates

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Original thread - http://www.macrossworld.com/mwf/index.php?showtopic=153

No one knows the exact details of the 1984 contract between Harmony Gold and Tatsunoko Productions because this contract has not been made public. However, we can infer what the contract entails from Harmony Gold's actions and inactions. I'll keep this first post updated with the most reliable information.

SDF Macross

On October 1st, 1982, Tatsunoko Productions asked for and received the worldwide (excluding Japan) film distribution and merchandising rights from Big West as compensation for their animation assistance with SDF Macross. On January 15th, 1984, Harmony Gold licensed, and later acquired, these same film distribution and merchandising rights from Tatsunoko. However, the intellectual property rights for SDF Macross still resides with Big West. What this means is that Harmony Gold can legally distribute the SDF Macross footage outside of Japan (ie: the AnimEigo and ADV Macross DVD's) and edit the footage at their discretion (ie: Robotech). However, they cannot create any new animation or movies using the SDF Macross characters and mecha because they do not have the intellectual property rights. Comic books and videogames are excluded as these fall under the category of merchandising rights.

Macross: Do You Remember Love

Harmony Gold also has the worldwide (excluding Japan) merchandising rights to Macross: Do You Remember Love. However, they do not have the film distribution rights nor the intellectual property rights to this movie. What this means is that Harmony Gold can legally license the distribution of DYRL merchandise (ie: Toynami's DYRL Super Posable toys) worldwide (excluding Japan). However, Harmony Gold cannot release DYRL on video, nor can they create any new animation or movies using the DYRL characters and mecha. Comic books and videogames are excluded as these fall under the category of merchandising rights.

On a related note, in 1988, Celebrity's Just For Kids released DYRL (as 'Macross in Clash of the Bionoids') in the USA under a license from Toho International Co. Ltd. In 1995, Best Film & Video Corp. released DYRL (as 'Superdimensional Fortress Macross') in the USA under a license from Big West. At Anime Central 2001, Robert Woodhead (of AnimEigo) was asked about DYRL and he said that nobody knows who owns the worldwide (excluding Japan) film distribution rights anymore.

Macross II, Macross Plus and Macross 7 Trash

The film distribution rights for Macross II and Macross Plus were licensed from Big West, by U.S. Renditions (1992) and Manga Entertainment (1995), for release in the USA without any involvement from Harmony Gold. Likewise, Macross 7 Trash was licensed from Big West, by Glénat (1998), for release in France without any involvement from Harmony Gold. In 2003, Tokyopop announced that they would release Macross 7 Trash in the USA under a license from Harmony Gold, however, the manga was never published and no official explanation was given.

Harmony Gold said that they were not involved with Macross II and Macross Plus because "no one was minding the store" at that time (source needed). The subsequent Tokyo District Court ruling determined that Tatsunoko Productions (and by extension Harmony Gold) did not have any copyrights to the Macross derivatives (ie: Macross II, Macross Plus), thereby rendering the "no one was minding the store" explanation moot.

The rest of the series

As for the rest of the Macross series (ie: Frontier, 7, et al), Harmony Gold only has certain rights to these. In 1999 and 2002, Harmony Gold tradedmarked the name 'Macross' in the USA, Canada, Germany, and the United Kingdom. What this means is that any series and merchandising featuring the 'Macross' trademark would have to compensate Harmony Gold for the use of that trademark in those respective countries. Harmony Gold also trademarked 'U.N. Spacy' in the USA and Canada. In the European Union, 'U.N. Spacy' was trademarked in November 2007 and is held by Yugenkaisya Suneast trading (aka Suneast Co.Ltd) from Tokyo, Japan.*

This is just my understanding of the current legal situation. It may not be 100% accurate, so any corrections are welcome.

Sources:

Harmony Gold et al v. FASA Corporation et al, 1996 WL 332689 (N.D.Ill.)

Macross 7 Trash published in France by Glénat - http://www.macrossworld.com/mwf/index.php?...st&p=732684

“Fun at Acen” - http://groups.google.com/group/alt.fan.mac...27c03d7fffd14ff

“Tatsunoko Wins Macross Lawsuit” - http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2004-...macross-lawsuit

“Macross Lawsuit” - http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2002-...macross-lawsuit

Big West statement - http://web.archive.org/web/20020803190522/...ents/index.html

Loo, E.:”Separated at Birth”, Animerica, 2003, Vol.11, No.1, p. 47

"Tokyopop to Publish Macross 7 Trash Manga" - http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/press-rele...s-7-trash-manga

Tom Bateman states that Harmony Gold acquired DYRL merchandising rights - http://www.robotech.com/community/forum/re...mp;pagenumber=3

Canada trademark filing - http://www.ic.gc.ca/app/opic-cipo/trdmrks/...ntIndexOnPage=1

United Kingdom trademark filing - http://www.ipo.gov.uk/domestic?domesticnum=2204547

European Union trademark filing - http://oami.europa.eu/bulletin/ctm/2005/20...1/003853926.htm

United States, Germany and Spain trademark filing - These websites do not allow direct linking and must be searched manually.

*A huge thanks to Bri for getting the trademark information!

Edited by TheLoneWolf
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Harmony Gold has not objected to the worldwide video releases of Macross II and Macross Plus since those were released prior to the filing of Harmony Gold's trademarks.

Not entirely true, but unfortunately, most of the real guts of the legal discussion here are locked away in the old forum archives.

I don't imagine this thread is going to survive much longer.

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This might be a stupid question, but how can you not know who has film distribution rights to DYRL?

I mean shouldn't at least Big West or Tatsunoko have some type of documentation on DYRL distribution contracts!?

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I mean, I followed the licensing issue as much as the next person, but this is outside of the pinned License Debate thread because...

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Honestly, without the original thread in the archived forums, you guys have about 25% of the story and analysis.

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Honestly, without the original thread in the archived forums, you guys have about 25% of the story and analysis.

Tbh if so much of the original information is in the archives then we should start digging. Wonder if it's possible to reactivate that thread?

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Honestly, without the original thread in the archived forums, you guys have about 25% of the story and analysis.

Analysis isn't the point. I think TheLoneWolf was just going for the undisputed facts, and, as he said, he can add to the post with more at any time.

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Help me to understand this:

We have a pinned Topic for all Robotech & HG stuff right? That says Keep it here only right?

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This might be a stupid question, but how can you not know who has film distribution rights to DYRL?

I mean shouldn't at least Big West or Tatsunoko have some type of documentation on DYRL distribution contracts!?

There was documentation on SDF Macross over distribution contracts, but that didn't help either. Its likely that it has something to do with:

Harmony Gold also has the worldwide (excluding Japan) merchandising rights to Macross: Do You Remember Love.

I think that BW and Tats could possibly both have some stake in DYRL distribution rights and both have to agree in order for DYRL to be distributed much like the situation between Fox and WB over Watchmen.

Comic books and videogames are excluded as these fall under the category of merchandising rights.

Harmony Gold also has the worldwide (excluding Japan) merchandising rights to Macross: Do You Remember Love.

If this is the case why didn't we get Robotech: DYRL comic books and video games? Tommy Yune could use Robotech Shadow Rising as a chance to explain how a fictional retelling of Space War One was filmed in universe after the SDF-3 crew disappeared. Obviously the Protoculture ruins would become ruins of the Robotech Masters, but when it comes to the Love song found here is where things could get interesting. The house that Rick and Lisa sleep in could turn out to be the house that Lynn Minmay raised Zor in the distant past. Of course the song found by an old picture frame of Zor and Minmay would turn out to be written by Minmay as a love song about remembering her love with Rick. Sounds like a fanfic I know, but what doesn't in Robotech.

Then a RT DYRL game with animated comicbook cutscenes like Metal Gear Portable Ops would be released with the ability to control a stealth unit that travels around in Zentradi sized cardboard boxes. :lol:

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Help me to understand this:

We have a pinned Topic for all Robotech & HG stuff right? That says Keep it here only right?

Bri mentioned that the pinned thread was too long (and filled with other stuff) to be really useful as a reference for the legal situation.

I suggested that perhaps a new thread could be created and pinned (and locked), similar to the Newbie's Guide to RT and Macross.

TheLoneWolf then made this thread.

Now, we may have been jumping the gun, but I think it's a good idea.

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Help me to understand this:

We have a pinned Topic for all Robotech & HG stuff right? That says Keep it here only right?

In short the idea was to split the license information part from the RT/HG thread. So people who want info on the legal status on the Macross license can read up on what we know/is confirmed without having to wade through 125+ pages of RT/HG bashing.

Lonewolf set up a first post for a short (hopefully) pinned and locked thread with just facts about the legal status of the Macross licenses.

A suggestion would be to treat it like the Scoop thread. Only news with propper references and no discussions. This would of course need mod approval/support but nothing tried, is nothing gained.

-edit: Gubaba beat me to it, we both jumped in on Roy Fockers question

Edited by Bri
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Scoop thread?

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Scoop thread?

A thread on toy news. Forum members can post links to relevant information. No discussions, just an collection of links to info on latest toys.

Scoopda thread

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And suddenly, it's pinned!

Thank you! :D

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Alright, I've updated my sources information for the sake of verifiability. And thanks to whoever pinned this thread! :D

I understand that things will get confusing with two license threads being pinned, so I think we have three options to go ahead with:

1) Leave things as they are

2) Clean and lock this thread up, while leaving the older one up for discussion

3) Lock the older license thread and leave this one up for discussion

I personally prefer option 3. I have no problem with this thread being used for license discussions and rants, but I will maintain the first post so that any newcomers will have easy access to the most up-to-date information. Plus, it'll be better to have only one pinned license thread. Naturally, I'll go along with whatever course of action the mods decide is best.

edit: Mods, since the bulk of the old license thread had to do with the Robotech live action movie, do you think it's time to restart another LAM thread?

Honestly, without the original thread in the archived forums, you guys have about 25% of the story and analysis.

I've sifted through the older threads and included the information that I found in the Sources section. If I missed anything, feel free to post a link.

Edited by TheLoneWolf
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We all know how defensive Harmony Gold is with the Macross name. But how are they with protecting the Robotech name?

Robotech 3000

Robotech Sealing & Solutions

And here's a case of "Who sues who?":

Harmony Gold Mining Co., Ltd.

That's some brilliant naming choice for a (franchise?) company and epic sci-fi show. Not generic at all. :lol:

How about starting a new thread, posting all the accurate information we have, lock it, and leave it on the top of the Anime or Sci-Fi forum for people to see?

Edited by Einherjar
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Alright, I've updated my sources information for the sake of verifiability. And thanks to whoever pinned this thread! :D

I understand that things will get confusing with two license threads being pinned, so I think we have three options to go ahead with:

1) Leave things as they are

2) Clean and lock this thread up, while leaving the older one up for discussion

3) Lock the older license thread and leave this one up for discussion

I personally prefer option 3. I have no problem with this thread being used for license discussions and rants, but I will maintain the first post so that any newcomers will have easy access to the most up-to-date information. Plus, it'll be better to have only one pinned license thread. Naturally, I'll go along with whatever course of action the mods decide is best.

I like option 3 the best also. It's basically the same as what I set up for the Macross Chronicle translation thread. Anyone can add to it, but the index and Table of Contents will ALWAYS be at the beginning.

When Sketchley or Azrael or (less frequently, these days) I add something new, I always add that info to the first post.

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Yeah, a new thread with some good organization is fine. I like the headers and font sizes. Makes it easy to categorize the facts.

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This might be a stupid question, but how can you not know who has film distribution rights to DYRL?

I mean shouldn't at least Big West or Tatsunoko have some type of documentation on DYRL distribution contracts!?

Well.... remember that most of the anime companies from back then are no longer in business, and even fewer under their original names. With so many failures and mergers since the early 80s, it could be difficult to figure out who in fact owns what back catalogs. (If a company vanishes, their license doesn't automatically die. Depends on how it's written. It's probably safe to assume the licenses were sold as part of bankruptcy proceedings, or went along with everything else during mergers.)

As I understand it, there's about 3 companies that THINK they MIGHT have a license, and they're all waiting for someone to do a release so they can fight it out in court. Plus Harmony Gold.

Edited by JB0
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Well.... remember that most of the anime companies from back then are no longer in business, and even fewer under their original names. With so many failures and mergers since the early 80s, it could be difficult to figure out who in fact owns what back catalogs. (If a company vanishes, their license doesn't automatically die. Depends on how it's written. It's probably safe to assume the licenses were sold as part of bankruptcy proceedings, or went along with everything else during mergers.)

As I understand it, there's about 3 companies that THINK they MIGHT have a license, and they're all waiting for someone to do a release so they can fight it out in court. Plus Harmony Gold.

I said it before, I'll say it again...

How much does it cost to put a full-page ad in an anime magazine. Just some vaguely worded thing..."COMING SOON ON DVD: Do You Remember Love?"

We'll find out who has the rights REAL quick...

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More accourately, what anime mags are left to take otu ad's in?

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We'll just continue the discussion of the last thread here. Hopefully, minus some of the BS from the last version of this thread.

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Well they have this little bit on their disclaimer page......

Our primary listing is on the JSE Securities Exchange Johannesburg where we trade under the symbol ”HAR”. We have secondary listings in London, Brussels and Paris.

Harmony is also listed on the NYSE where we trade under ticker code “HMY”. Harmony Gold USA is not in any way related to or part of the Harmony Group of companies and their website is not known to or endorsed by us.

Good post though, that is what I was getting at a few days ago. HG seems gung-ho about hanging on to the Macross copyright, but what about the actual ROBOTECH trademark, etc.....

Taksraven

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I've sifted through the older threads and included the information that I found in the Sources section. If I missed anything, feel free to post a link.

You can't, its "archived". Only Shawn has access to the material in the old forums.

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You can't, its "archived". Only Shawn has access to the material in the old forums.

I do seem to remember recall the "no one was minding the store" explanation from Harmony Gold on the old board. Is this what you're referring to? I'm reluctant to include it since I can't find any official citations for it, but it was an important explanation nonetheless, so I'll make an exception this once.

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This question was posted years ago, but for the newer members, here it is.

We all know how defensive Harmony Gold is with the Macross name. But how are they with protecting the Robotech name?

Robotech 3000

Robotech Sealing & Solutions

And here's a case of "Who sues who?":

Harmony Gold Mining Co., Ltd.

Good post though, that is what I was getting at a few days ago. HG seems gung-ho about hanging on to the Macross copyright, but what about the actual ROBOTECH trademark, etc.....

Trademarks are not generalized. HG only has Robotech trademarks that pertain to cartoon series, video games, toys, etc. Besides Robotech pool cleaners don't compete with HG's Robotech franchise. Its only when games like BattleTech come out that use identical designs or a cartoon named Robotech that HG is really going to take actions to protect the Robotech name.

Also common words and phases cannot be trademarked. Thats why Sci-Fi is becoming Sy-Fy. So there is nothing HG can do about a mining company named Harmony that mines Gold unless they rip-off HG's golden logo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:HarmonyGoldLogo.jpg).

I said it before, I'll say it again...

How much does it cost to put a full-page ad in an anime magazine. Just some vaguely worded thing..."COMING SOON ON DVD: Do You Remember Love?"

We'll find out who has the rights REAL quick...

Merely having an ad for just "Do You Remember Love" wouldn't cut it, the phase DYRL alone is not trademarked. The DYRL ad would have to have Macross or some Valkyrie attached as well in order to raise the alarms by any Macross DYRL holders still hiding in the woodworks.

Edited by Freiflug88
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Merely having an ad for just "Do You Remember Love" wouldn't cut it, the phase DYRL alone is not trademarked. The DYRL ad would have to have Macross or some Valkyrie attached as well in order to raise the alarms by any Macross DYRL holders still hiding in the woodworks.

I guess I wasn't clear enough...what you describe is what I had in mind. :)

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I do seem to remember recall the "no one was minding the store" explanation from Harmony Gold on the old board. Is this what you're referring to? I'm reluctant to include it since I can't find any official citations for it, but it was an important explanation nonetheless, so I'll make an exception this once.

That's pretty much it, but as far as I know, HG still claims to control ALL things Macross outside of Japan, including the animation. Why, I do not know. All information we have, including the legal proceedings in Japan, tell us they control nothing more than the original SDF Macross animation and the merchandising rights to said show and DYRL outside of Japan. That's it.

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I didn't have a enough time to also type more more in my last post, but here goes.

I guess I wasn't clear enough...what you describe is what I had in mind. smile.gif

I like the idea, but I am worried that the rights holder might not even specialize in anime and would not scan every little ad in an Otaku magazine. I think that most companies would jump at the chance though if they found the rights to DYRL somewhere in their back catalog unless they are an off shoot of Big West and also have a bone to pick with Harmony Gold.

As I understand it, there's about 3 companies that THINK they MIGHT have a license, and they're all waiting for someone to do a release so they can fight it out in court. Plus Harmony Gold.

From what I know Tatsunko got the distribution rights to SDF Macross footage in exchange for paying production costs for the show. For DYRL though I believe BW had the cash to pay Tatsunko for there assistance in production. As paid help Tatsunko would only get several lines in the credits not actual rights to the movie.

Looking back at the first post:

Harmony Gold also has the worldwide (excluding Japan) merchandising rights to Macross: Do You Remember Love. However, they do not have the film distribution rights nor the intellectual property rights to this movie. On a related note, in 1988, Celebrity's Just For Kids released DYRL (as 'Macross in Clash of the Bionoids') in the USA under a license from Toho International Co. Ltd. At Anime Central 2001, Robert Woodhead (of AnimEigo) was asked about DYRL and he said that nobody knows who owns the worldwide (excluding Japan) film distribution rights anymore.

It seems to me that BW passed around the Merchandising and distribution rights to DYRL. As far as I know HG only started selling Macross DYRL toys on Robotech.com since mid 2008, so they must have acquired the merchandising rights from someone besides BW not too long ago. As for the Overseas distribution rights they must have passed a lot of hands after leaving Toho sometime between 1988-2001. Then again after the trials and HG's Macross trademark no one in Japan or US was really expecting a DYRL release overseas as even being possible so its doesn't surprise if the rights have been shelved and forgotten as newer anime with less legal confusion came in.

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As far as I know HG only started selling Macross DYRL toys on Robotech.com since mid 2008, so they must have acquired the merchandising rights from someone besides BW not too long ago.

This is incorrect. They've been selling DYRL merchandise for several years now (more than 2, less than 5). Also, I believe that Tatsunko had atleast some limited rights to DYRL. Again, this was all covered a long time ago in forums we no longer have access to.

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This is incorrect. They've been selling DYRL merchandise for several years now (more than 2, less than 5).

Indeed. I was at Anime Expo '04 when HG revealed that they had discovered that they had the merchandising rights. Their first DYRL toys came out soon after.

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Ewilen's post on the DYRL rights. Probably the most detailed one on the current boards:

DYRL rights

Edited by Bri
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As far as I know HG only started selling Macross DYRL toys on Robotech.com since mid 2008, so they must have acquired the merchandising rights from someone besides BW not too long ago.

This is incorrect. They've been selling DYRL merchandise for several years now (more than 2, less than 5). Also, I believe that Tatsunko had atleast some limited rights to DYRL. Again, this was all covered a long time ago in forums we no longer have access to.

"As far as I [knew] HG only started selling Macross DYRL toys on Robotech.com since mid 2008" cause I never even bothered gong to the site before and I haven't even bought Macross toys EVER. Still I don't see Harmony Gold acquiring merchandising rights from BW.

Indeed. I was at Anime Expo '04 when HG revealed that they had discovered that they had the merchandising rights. Their first DYRL toys came out soon after.

Funny that it take them until '04 to DISCOVER that they had merchandising rights. When they ordered importers to stop importing Macross DYRL and Plus toys "on the grounds that they 'own' the complete rights to 'Macross' outside of the Japanese Archipelago."

http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/0/023/RipOff0023721.htm

Ewilen's post on the DYRL rights. Probably the most detailed one on the current boards:

DYRL rights

Thanks for the link. This post is gold, hell I am saving the webpage its on and backing it up on my external HD as I type this.

In the SDF Macross animation case, the court interpreted this to mean that the company which was directly responsible for paying the bills, and which therefore undertook the economic risk, owns the copyright. But in DYRL, we have a consortium putting up the money and sharing the risk. At least, that's how the contract is structured. Even though the shares weren't equal, I think that the most likely interpretation would be that everyone in the consortium shares the copyright.

I figured something like this must be the case. I knew Tatsunko got the rights to SDF Macross in exchange for paying the production cost, but I didn't know for sure if BW paid Tatsunko as hired help in DYRL with profits from SDF Macross or if Tatsunko shared some of the cost as a partnership. We all know that Tatsunko is on good terms with HG and the real issue is that BW still has veto control over Macross DYRL consortium or not.

I am beginning to think that unless something drastically changes we might have to wait for Macross DYRL to enter public domain before it can be released Stateside. Lets all campout and sleep next to Walt Disney in his cryo-chamber in the Disney tower and tell him how much it sucks that his company doesn't make hand drawn animated movies like DYRL anymore while we wait.

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