Tsuburaya Productions Sues Over Chinese Film's Use of Ultraman Character
posted on 2018-03-14 01:40 EDT by Rafael Antonio Pineda
Ultraman production company Tsuburaya Productions filed a lawsuit in a Shanghai court against BlueArc, a Chinese production company based in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, for alleged copyright infringement of Tsuburaya Productions' Ultraman character and franchise.
The Chinese company produced and opened the Dragon Force: So Long, Ultraman film in China in October, and the film ran in theaters for a month. The film uses the Ultraman character, and casts Ultraman as an enemy that fights against a Chinese robot hero.
Tsuburaya claims that movie was made and advertised without permission from the Japanese rights holder, and sought to stop the film's screening through legal action via a Shanghai court in September last year. However, BlueArc went ahead with the film's opening, and Tsuburaya withdrew its lawsuit. Tsuburaya then filed another lawsuit in February, claiming that the film's production, advertising, and screening was a copyright infringement of the Ultraman property.
BlueArc stated on the Chinese social media platform Weibo this month that Tsuburaya's withdrawal of the original lawsuit meant that Tsuburaya had recognized BlueArc's right to the property. Tsuburaya stated to NHK that it has not surrendered any rights to the Ultraman property, and will continue to take legal action.
Tsuburary Productions recently won a case against UM Corporation (UMC) for the international licensing rights for the Ultraman property, ruling that the 1976 "License Granting Agreement" from which UMC derived its supposed license for the property was not valid. BlueArc's license claim on the property is based on the same "License Granting Agreement."
this article has been modified since it was originally posted; see change history