U.S. Speed Racer Comic Halted Due to Licensing Lawsuit

posted on 2012-11-03 16:00 EDT
Publisher gave Speed Racer Enterprises "large advance" after SRE's license allegedly expired

Allegory, LLC, the publisher of the U.S. Speed Racer: Circle of Vengeance comic, announced on Facebook that the series has been halted due to the ongoing lawsuit with Speed Racer Enterprises (SRE).

Allegory signed a contract with SRE in early May 2011 to produce books and merchandise related to the Speed Racer property. According to Allegory Chief Operations Officer David Fawley, the company paid SRE a large advance in June 2011, a month after SRE's license to the property expired.

Fawley reports that anime studio Tatsunoko Production's legal counsel informed Allegory of SRE's license status this past July. Allegory submitted a proposal to gain the rights directly through Tatsunoko, but an approval is delayed until after the lawsuit is resolved.

Tatsunoko Production filed a lawsuit on October 26 against three members of the American licensing company Speed Racer Enterprises (SRE), accusing the three of exploiting the Speed Racer anime's rights after SRE's license expired. Tatsunoko is seeking US$1 million in damages from Michael S. Cisneros, James J. Rocknowski, and John E. Rocknowski.

In the federal lawsuit, Tatsunoko said that it granted SRE a 10-year license to the 1967-68 car-racing anime series Mach Go Go Go in 2000. (Another company, Trans-Lux, had licensed the anime and released it with an English dub in 1967 under the name Speed Racer.) Tatsunoko then asserted that it extended SRE's license by one year, but the license then expired in May of 2011.

Tatsunoko alleges that the three defendants continue to exploit the rights to the anime after the license expired, and that the three sub-licensed the rights to the movie studio Lions Gate and Toonz Entertainment.

Source: Comic Book Resources

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