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NEWS: Harmony Gold's Macross, Mospeada, Southern Cross Licenses Still Expire in 2021


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BodaciousSpacePirate
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:57 pm Reply with quote
DerekL1963 wrote:
All three are also linked to ongoing merchandising campaigns, Robotech is not.


That's very far from the case. Not only are there still Robotech comic books coming out every month (written by X-Men author Brian Wood) but there is also a currently active roleplaying game, a miniatures game that raised over a million dollars on Kickstarter before falling years behind schedule, and now apparently a board game that just got announced.

Mr Adventure wrote:
And Harmony Gold just made a deal with Coleco Holdings to put Robotech on some kind of table top LED arcade game.


...and whatever Tiger-electronics-esque thing this is going to be.
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VF-22 Sturmvogel II



Joined: 14 Sep 2017
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:30 pm Reply with quote
Well however nice this sounds it actually doesn't matter; unless Big West gets the license back, Tatsunoko can just sell the license to the highest bidder and everything carries on like it is today.

The Robotech movie, if it is ever going to make it, may just well be a reboot and totally revamped the entire franchise, or the big buck adaptation got big return and Harmony Gold simply goes to Tatsunoko and extend the agreement again.

The only possibility that Macross sees daylight outside Japan is may be Bandai Visual acquires the license after the date, or Big West gets the license back, and goes ahead to bring everything overseas
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testorschoice



Joined: 28 Apr 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:57 pm Reply with quote
Mr Adventure wrote:
How so? Robotech is an establish nostalgia brand. If Transformers, Power Rangers, and Max Steel can get made into movies, Robotech definitely can.


The main difference between those projects and Robotech is a recent television franchise to attract new audiences:

Live-Action Transformers movie (2007): Unicron Trilogy (2002-06)
Power Rangers (2017): Power Rangers TV (1993-2017 and ongoing)
Live-Action Max Steel movie (2016): Max Steel TV (2013-2016)

Comics and tabletop games are one thing (BTW, all three franchises above had comics and games). But they aren't comparable in magnitude to having a long-term presence with continuous new content at Toys R Us, television channels, and other more mainstream venues.
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SuiSeiKen



Joined: 19 Mar 2012
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 12:07 am Reply with quote
Quote:
Update: Harmony Gold also holds several trademarks related to Macross. Its trademark for the Macross series was renewed on December 26, 2012, so it should expire on ten years from that date, on December 26, 2022. However, the pending expiration of the licensing agreement could affect the trademark ownership before 2022.


You forgot to say that Big West started to challenge Harmony Gold on this part a few months ago Wink

Not yet in America, but in Europe, Russia, South-East Asia...
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Lizzie_B



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 12:49 am Reply with quote
Mr Adventure wrote:
i was going to say there was no way Funimation would pick up a show as old as Macross, but then I remembered they're putting out Mach Go Go Go (also a Tatsunoko production). So maybe.

But Funimation is probably going to be quite a different company (neither a positive or negative yet) in 5 years. Sony buyout and all.

Viz might get a hold of it. I mean they're redubbing all of the classic Sailor Moon episodes as we speak so who knows Wink
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Marzan



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 1:23 am Reply with quote
The big problem still remains that those evil fiends at HG copyrighted the term Macross, at least in North America. So even if Big West wanted to start licensing the stuff that Tatsunoko doesn't have rights on, HG could then want a piece of that pie.

It must be so vexing for Kawamori to see how his work cannot get a international release due to a badly written deal that's more than 30 years old.
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NJ_



Joined: 31 Oct 2009
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 3:20 am Reply with quote
Adrian Robotnik wrote:
The funny thing in all this mess is that the Robotech franchise is now long forgotten outside USA, and the Macross franchise is not well known outside Japan, so I wonder what will happen in the not so distant future...


I wouldn't be too sure about that as there was a Blu-ray release recently announced for France by Kaze which includes both Japanese & French versions.
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Zin5ki



Joined: 06 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 3:37 am Reply with quote
invalidname wrote:
I just wonder if there's any way Harmony Gold could sublicense Macross now, before their rights expire, if they determine that would net them more money than continuing to try to exploit Macross-as-Robotech for four more years. In other words, is the money they're making off the new comic book license more than they could get from Funimation (or whomever) for a short-lived sublicense to finally release this stuff on Blu-Ray?

My fear is that a company operating primarily as an estate agent has more reliable sources of income than the eager otaku who (justifiably) dislike them. A change of heart seems uncharacteristic of them.

That said, a sublicence somehow happened twice when ADV was around!
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Adrian Robotnik



Joined: 13 Sep 2017
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 3:46 am Reply with quote
NJ_ wrote:
Adrian Robotnik wrote:
The funny thing in all this mess is that the Robotech franchise is now long forgotten outside USA, and the Macross franchise is not well known outside Japan, so I wonder what will happen in the not so distant future...


I wouldn't be too sure about that as there was a Blu-ray release recently announced for France by Kaze which includes both Japanese & French versions.


I can speak for Italy: it's been many years since the last time Robotech was aired here (early-mid nineties), the last time the show was available on DVD was more than 10 years ago: I manager to get recently the Mospeada part for a couple of euros, but the other parts are pretty much impossible to find. None of the Robotech sequels made It officially in Europe or, at least, in Italy.
In the other hand we had the Macross movie and the Macross Plus OAVs released here, but It was at the end of the '90s, and then nothing. Some people still remember Robotech, but youngsters don't, it's like some kind of mythological thing for them.
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reanimator





PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 3:58 am Reply with quote
Marzan wrote:
It must be so vexing for Kawamori to see how his work cannot get a international release due to a badly written deal that's more than 30 years old.


Kawamori is frustrated, all right.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/olliebarder/2015/12/10/shoji-kawamori-the-creator-hollywood-copies-but-never-credits/#968d7063a0f9

For Harmony Gold, the name "Robotech" and its universe-setting are important to them, but to what extent? While Japanese are pumping out Macross sequels like every 5 to 10 years, HG can't even produce a decent animation sequel while sitting on the Robotech brand.

I think the biggest screwup of Harmony Gold created is further establishing their own fictional universe by publishing those Robotech novels and related stuffs (Battletech, right?) for years. I think those decisions caused unretractable ingraining which made it impossible to bring in Macross sequels without confusing Robotech universe fans. People who are not anime fans but do like Robotech, bringing in official Macross sequels would turn them away or, even worse, it might anger them. Just look at Robotech fans; they haven't grown out of original characters. There is no happily ever after or The End for those characters. Rick Hunter, Lynn Minmay, and others must live on because of those Robotech novels. No room for new story setting.

In terms of universe-setting, Macross sequels don't match with established Robotech universe and HG is not flexible and doesn't have resource to alter their universe drastically to accommodate Macross sequels. (thanks alot Jack Mckinney)

More importantly, do kids nowadays still read those Robotech novels and follows them? I really doubt it. Is Robotech still relevant to young anime fans? Do young people still care about transforming motorcycle in Mospeada? We have so many anime in our lives that are competing for our attention, where does Robotech fit in?

Macross always refreshed itself with new generration of fans through sequels, but I don't know how much Robotech is appealing to young people other than die-hard "Robotech otakus".

Every Macross sequel had its generation of young fans for spanning years. For Japanese fans of 90's, Macross Plus and Macross 7 are for them. For 00 fans, Macross Frontier is for them. For current new fans, Macross Delta for them. Robotech always seem to be in limbo with its attempt with some games and animation sequel with crowdfunding and usual development hell with Hollywood.
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SolHerald



Joined: 07 Oct 2012
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 4:36 am Reply with quote
If this actually goes through, and they lose the license for Macross, then I'll start praying that the same will someday happen with Voyager and Space Battleship Yamato.
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BodaciousSpacePirate
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 4:57 am Reply with quote
reanimator wrote:
I think the biggest screwup of Harmony Gold created is further establishing their own fictional universe by publishing those Robotech novels and related stuffs (Battletech, right?) for years.


No, Battletech was a completely unrelated board game franchise that licensed a bunch of mecha artwork and designs from Macross, Crusher Joe, and Fang of the Sun Dougram back when it was first starting out, before the company got enough momentum to hire in-house mecha designers.

It was really big for a while, and was adapted into several best-selling computer games under the title MechWarrior.

Then, they put out a Saturday morning cartoon show in the 90s, and Harmony Gold sued them, too, even though the cartoon didn't use any of the designs from Macross.
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Sergorn



Joined: 17 Aug 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 5:32 am Reply with quote
Okay, I think there is a lot of confusion and misconception about this topic, so allow me to summarize everything a bit better. Smile

The issue as it stand now is NOT about the ownership or licensing of Macross, but about trademarks.

If we got back in time a bit, around the early 2000 while being essentially AWOL during the 90s, Harmony Gold came back with a vengeance intending to do new and more Robotech into what would eventually lead to Shadow Chronicles. Not an issue per se as it's well within their rights to want to a continuation of Robotech, but what happened is that at the same time Harmony Gold suddenly laid the claim that their had by contracts the right for ALL Macross outside of Japan, including series that didn't exist and future series that might be produced with the Macross name.

(Note that is extremely possible that Harmony Gold's original contract with Tatsunoko does have a loophole allowing them make this claim as Japanese are renowed for having poorly done contract drawn in the '80s which poorly protected their interest because they basically never thought or marketing their production outside Japan and this has caused a lot of licensing and rights issue for old animes and mangas)

Needless to say, Big West was NOT please by hearing this as they had never made such a deal with Harmony Gold. And of course they didn't, because Harmony Gold only dealt with Tatsunoko.

This basically lead to a lawsuit between Big West and Tatsunoko in Japan over the ownership of Macross. The case was resolved in 2002 when the court established that while Tatsunoko has international licensing rights for Macross, Big West had sole ownership of the Macross IP both within and outside Japan.

So you'd think that would have settled thing once and for all right ?

But it didn't because while Big West and Tatsunoko were at each other in Japan court, Harmony Gold used this time to trademark the name Macross and a few other associated things all over the worlds, first of all in the United States, but also in Europe, Australia and South-East asia. The idea that the could market the name without the IP might seem dodgy, but it's possibly having international licensing came a a good enough justifcation.

So this basically meant that even though Big West had regained sole ownership of Macross... they couldn't exploit it outside of Japan unless dealing with Harmony Gold, which they were adamant NOT to.

Small trivia bit here : ADV came close to releasing Macross Zero in the US having done all the necessary groundwork with the Japanese IP Holders. At the same time they went to Harmony Gold and asked if it was okay if they brought Macross Zero over and Harmony Gold say "Okay". When the japanese heard that ADV went to Harmony Gold to have permission to bring Macross Zero... they cut all communication, no deal was made and Macross Zero in the US didn't happen. THAT is how much Big West is pissed against Harmony Gold.

And this is also why Harmony Gold can't really use any Macross related content in their production : that's no coincidence that Shadown Chronicles got pretty rid of all Macross characters (except Rick Hunter... which was facelitfness beyond recognition not to look like Studio NUE's design), never made any mention of the word "Zentradi" and only mentionned a vague "alien invasion" of Earth as background. They can't use anything Macross related, which is probably why the Robotech live action film has been in development hell with a revolving door or directors, writers and studios for a decade, because they essentially have to make a Robotech film without anything from the Macross Saga... even though this is essentially the most popular part of the show !

So basically its been a stand still ever since, with Harmony Gold keeping its trademark and Big West not doing or not being able to do anything about it.

Except... it appears Big West is finally striking back, and over the year they have begun contesting Harmony Gold attempts to renew their Macross trademark in Europe and South-East Asia and began trademarking Macross on their own with some success. So it feels like something it moving from the Japanese front finally.

Now, Harmony Gold losing licensing of Macross wouldn't change much for exploiting Macross unless they also lose the trademark because it blocks everything... however if HG lose the licence, it would probably give a strong cause for Big West to oppose the renewal of the trademark in 2022 and make their own claim. In which case, Macross would finally be free to come in the US.

Note that I feel Harmony Gold handled this whole matter rather poorly by acting like asses and bullies. We had a similar issue in France where AB Productions (which had imported a shit ton of TOEI animes during the '80/'90s) had trademarked both the Dragon Ball/Dragon Ball Z and Saint Seiya IP in France, which lead them into conflict with TOEI Animation which blocked all their latest animes from them. This was eventually settled out of course with AB giving back the trademark while TOEI is giving them a "first look" for their new Saint Seiya and Dragon Ball productions, some which were released by them, some by other distributors and they've had had a fruitful relationship ever since.

Harmony Gold could have gone the same way, try to go in good intellicence with Big West, giving them back the trademarks and making of case that they could hadnle distributing all things Macross related in the west based on their long experiences and so on and so on. Playing their cards well they would have ended being the sole distributor of Macross stuff and make a shit ton of money WHILE at the same time reviving the Robotech IP on their own. But nah, they prefered to be bullies instead. Hopefully this will finially backfire.

So we're not there yet, but things are moving.

Quote:
I wouldn't be too sure about that as there was a Blu-ray release recently announced for France by Kaze which includes both Japanese & French versions.


Yeah but really, this is shady as eck. They annouced the whole series as three Blu Ray Box with "Japanase and French" but under the name Robotech, which tend to screams Macross/Southern Cross/Mospeada sets. And they haven't communicated at all about it since which is really weird. And also Big West is about the win back the Macross trademark in Europe which could thrown a wrench in this is Kaze's deal is with Harmony Gold.

And really the previous versions of Macross released in France was borderline illegal so, I'm honestly warry about this annoucement.

-Sergorn
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NLScavenger



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:26 am Reply with quote
Sergorn wrote:

Except... it appears Big West is finally striking back, and over the year they have begun contesting Harmony Gold attempts to renew their Macross trademark in Europe and South-East Asia and began trademarking Macross on their own with some success. So it feels like something it moving from the Japanese front finally.

This is gonna be interesting.

https://trademarks.ipo.gov.uk/ipo-tmcase/page/Results/1/UK00003235006

Quote:

12 September 2017
Opposed

09 June 2017
Application Published

07 June 2017
Pre-Publication

02 June 2017
Examination

02 June 2017

Application Received


Quote:
Opposition details

Opposition number
OP000410209 (Standard)

Opposition status
Opposition filed/Awaiting defence

Opponent
Harmony Gold USA, Inc.7655 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046-2700, United States of America

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ResistNormal



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 10:18 am Reply with quote
I don't see Tatsunoko working with Harmony Gold again especially if they feel they where ripped off by the home video royalties. The fact Tatsunoko had to sue Harmony Gold and then lost and was ordered to pay Harmony Gold legal fees and other costs will burn that bridge for good.

Harmony Gold has nobody to turn to in japan anymore. They side with Tatsunoko against Big West years ago and poisoned that relationship now they turned on Tatsunoko as well.

Harmony Gold is little more than a patient troll company that make money suing anyone who makes something that looks like Macross.
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