2017: rights Robotech available?

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2017: rights Robotech available? was created by Peter Young

Heard it through the grapevine that in 2017 the rights to use Macross and therefore Robotech have to be renegotiated again. On the downside that might be the (only?) reason why suddenly new Robotech comics will appear in 2017.

On the plusside: could this mean some other entertainment company, one that might actually develop ideas to relaunch Robotech, could be persuaded to take it over?

Does any of the long-time Robotech or perhaps a website administrator know more about these things?
Does any one why for instance Saban Entertainment has never offered more than HG - despite the former company's shown interest in adapting Japanese series to the Western markets and buying away many HG-employee at the end of the eighties?

So basically I am asking about the business side behind Robotech. Anyone who knows about business, companies and legal issues, please enlighten me.
1 year 11 months ago #24390

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Replied by City of Fright on topic 2017: rights Robotech available?

I'm going to play it safe and assume that this really isn't going change anything. Those who are intent on maintaining control are more likely to continue the same practice's their comfortable with than to make a bold move, let alone just let it go. I also don't see anyone just taking it over either, it could very well be seen as a bad investment with too many hurdles to deal with.
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1 year 11 months ago #24599

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Replied by Peter Young on topic 2017: rights Robotech available?

With rights over series and concepts being bought and sold over and over again, you can never exclude it.

What I don't understand is this: because HG owns the rights the Robotech, the Original Macross and all of its sequels cannot be brought to the American market. But HG holds the rights to Robotech because it has bought and kept on to the rights of several series, including Macross, from the original company.

(i'm no lawyer, pardon if I'm not using the correct terms)

I assume that in order to maintain those rights, HG every once in a while has to repay an amount of money to the Japanese company that owns the material.

Would accepting that amount of money really be more profitable than not continuing the deal and bring the varoius Macross versions out on the American market themselves?

Given HG's non-succes in reviving Robotech in the 2000's, it seems to me that the Robotech market has been kept limited to those who wtached in the 80's or 90's. Unlike other series that have actually been revived. And with the interst in anime and manga having grown over the past twenty years, the Japanese company might earn more by doing it themselves.

(which would still mean no more Robotech :( )

All I'm saying: why would the Japanese continue with the company that slaughtered it's chicken with the golden eggs?
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Replied by Alpha Bravo on topic 2017: rights Robotech available?

Peter Young wrote: With rights over series and concepts being bought and sold over and over again, you can never exclude it.

What I don't understand is this: because HG owns the rights the Robotech, the Original Macross and all of its sequels cannot be brought to the American market. But HG holds the rights to Robotech because it has bought and kept on to the rights of several series, including Macross, from the original company.

(i'm no lawyer, pardon if I'm not using the correct terms)

I assume that in order to maintain those rights, HG every once in a while has to repay an amount of money to the Japanese company that owns the material.

Would accepting that amount of money really be more profitable than not continuing the deal and bring the varoius Macross versions out on the American market themselves?

Given HG's non-succes in reviving Robotech in the 2000's, it seems to me that the Robotech market has been kept limited to those who wtached in the 80's or 90's. Unlike other series that have actually been revived. And with the interst in anime and manga having grown over the past twenty years, the Japanese company might earn more by doing it themselves.

(which would still mean no more Robotech :( )

All I'm saying: why would the Japanese continue with the company that slaughtered it's chicken with the golden eggs?


It went something like this: Studio Nue made Macross. They ran over budget, and Tatsunoko came to their rescue, in return for international distribution rights. Tatsunoko turned around and sold those rights to Harmony Gold, which pissed off Studio Nue. What's more, Harmony Gold claims they own not only distribution rights, but the Intellectual Property itself. Studio Nue claims to have never given Tatsunoko rights to the IP.

There is no deal. Harmony Gold doesn't pay Studio Nue a dime for any of it.

It's something like that. You can Google it if you'd like to know more.
"Offers that are selected that the deposit paid the amount that we do not decide, or the pool, sipping mulled wine, and in addition you can play table tennis, there is one drawback, I do not have rights." - random spambot (translated)
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1 year 11 months ago #24666

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Replied by City of Fright on topic 2017: rights Robotech available?

All this reminds me of a biblical story about two women claiming to be the birth mother of an infant. During the fight for custody a solution was offered, literally give one half of the infant to each woman. The real mother was more willing to surrender the infant than to allow it to come to harm which is how the real mother was determined.

Well that was about an infant not a franchise otherwise this issue would have been resolved a long time ago, still harm is being done. Think about it, one company out of - oh I don't how many claiming ownership - willing to spend more time and probably money to fight over a property , the original production work they didn't create only adapted, than they are willing to spend money and time to promote their own original in house production work, while newer work has been or continues to be done by the other property holder. Basically one property is malnourished while the other one is well fed. After so many years how much more material (good or bad) has one property produced over the other?

In this case I believe creativity and ownership are the same thing. Without creativity what do you really own?
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1 year 11 months ago #24669

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Replied by Alpha Bravo on topic 2017: rights Robotech available?

City of Fright wrote: All this reminds me of a biblical story about two women claiming to be the birth mother of an infant. During the fight for custody a solution was offered, literally give one half of the infant to each woman. The real mother was more willing to surrender the infant than to allow it to come to harm which is how the real mother was determined.

Well that was about an infant not a franchise otherwise this issue would have been resolved a long time ago, still harm is being done. Think about it, one company out of - oh I don't how many claiming ownership - willing to spend more time and probably money to fight over a property , the original production work they didn't create only adapted, than they are willing to spend money and time to promote their own original in house production work, while newer work has been or continues to be done by the other property holder. Basically one property is malnourished while the other one is well fed. After so many years how much more material (good or bad) has one property produced over the other?

In this case I believe creativity and ownership are the same thing. Without creativity what do you really own?


It's funny and sad that HG has actually gone to court and sued other companies like FASA over stuff that wasn't even theirs to begin with. Did you know that when Macross 2 came out in Japan, HG went to court with Studio Nue claiming that they not only owned the original Macross, but all of its sequels as well? They'd intended to adapt Macross 2 into the Sentinels. That shit got shut down right quick.
"Offers that are selected that the deposit paid the amount that we do not decide, or the pool, sipping mulled wine, and in addition you can play table tennis, there is one drawback, I do not have rights." - random spambot (translated)
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1 year 11 months ago #24671

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Replied by LadyGrimes on topic 2017: rights Robotech available?

Alpha Bravo wrote:

City of Fright wrote: All this reminds me of a biblical story about two women claiming to be the birth mother of an infant. During the fight for custody a solution was offered, literally give one half of the infant to each woman. The real mother was more willing to surrender the infant than to allow it to come to harm which is how the real mother was determined.

Well that was about an infant not a franchise otherwise this issue would have been resolved a long time ago, still harm is being done. Think about it, one company out of - oh I don't how many claiming ownership - willing to spend more time and probably money to fight over a property , the original production work they didn't create only adapted, than they are willing to spend money and time to promote their own original in house production work, while newer work has been or continues to be done by the other property holder. Basically one property is malnourished while the other one is well fed. After so many years how much more material (good or bad) has one property produced over the other?

In this case I believe creativity and ownership are the same thing. Without creativity what do you really own?


It's funny and sad that HG has actually gone to court and sued other companies like FASA over stuff that wasn't even theirs to begin with. Did you know that when Macross 2 came out in Japan, HG went to court with Studio Nue claiming that they not only owned the original Macross, but all of its sequels as well? They'd intended to adapt Macross 2 into the Sentinels. That shit got shut down right quick.


Good for Japan <3 I think its absolutely ridiculous that HG claims any ownership over the content at all. All they did was dub it and sell half assed quality toys in the 80's.

Not only that but also very assinine of them to claim ownership over fan works too just because they were posted on their website.

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1 year 11 months ago #24675

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Replied by Alpha Bravo on topic 2017: rights Robotech available?

Frank Agrama hasn't exactly been a model citizen.
"Offers that are selected that the deposit paid the amount that we do not decide, or the pool, sipping mulled wine, and in addition you can play table tennis, there is one drawback, I do not have rights." - random spambot (translated)
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Replied by LadyGrimes on topic 2017: rights Robotech available?

Alpha Bravo wrote: Frank Agrama hasn't exactly been a model citizen.


I've heard bits and pieces but I don't know the whole story. Care to explain?

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Replied by Alpha Bravo on topic 2017: rights Robotech available?

LadyGrimes wrote:

Alpha Bravo wrote: Frank Agrama hasn't exactly been a model citizen.


I've heard bits and pieces but I don't know the whole story. Care to explain?


Quick Google search gave me these:

Further proof that the world of animation is not purely a candy-coated, kid-friendly wonderland: Harmony Gold USA founder Frank Agrama, who is best known for exec producing the dubs of Robotech, was sentenced to three years in prison by a Milanese court for tax fraud on Friday—along with four other individuals including scandal-prone former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who received a four-year sentence. All the defendants have also been ordered to pay 10 million euros (approx. $12.9 million USD) in damages. Out of 11 persons on trial, three were found not guilty and four were exempted due to the statute of limitations.

An announcement made Sunday clarified that due to a 2006 amnesty law which keeps convicted persons out of jail if their sentence is three years or less to prevent overcrowding in Italian prisons, Agrama will not serve jail time. The same law will see Berlusconi’s actual imprisonment limited to one year. However, Berlusconi is expected to appeal the decision which may push over the remaining time on the statute of limitations for the offenses.

As ANN summarizes, the case began in 2006 and had to do with numerous Paramount properties (not Robotech) which Agrama resold to Berlusconi’s media company, Fininvest, for broadcast in Italy. Prosecutors argued that Fininvest overpaid Agrama, who acted as middle man for the deals, for these rights to make Fininvest appear less profitable, while extra funds were transferred to an offshore slush fund account own by Berlusconi.

Tax-fraud conviction in Mediaset trial (1988-98)

The Mediaset trial was launched in April 2005, with indictment of 14 persons (including Silvio Berlusconi and Agrama) for having committed: (A) false accounting and embezzlement in order to mask payments of substantial "black funds", committed in 1988–94. (B) tax fraud equal in total to more than €62 million (120bn lira), committed in 1988–98.

Both indictments were related to achievement of personal tax evasion, through illicit trade of movie rights between Mediaset and secret fictive foreign companies situated in tax haven nations, causing fictive losses for Mediaset, with the trade gains being accumulated by the foreign companies owned (in this case, Harmony Gold) by the indicted tax fraudsters, who ultimately had the gains paid out as personal profit without paying tax in Italy.

On 26 October 2012, Agrama was sentenced to three years of punishment by an Italian court for tax evasion. The charges were in relation to a scheme to purchase overseas film rights at inflated prices through offshore companies. The three-year term was never served in accord with a 2006 amnesty law intended to reduce prison overcrowding. Agrama and his co-defendants were also ordered to pay a 10 million euro fine.

Acquittal in Mediatrade trial

In October 2011, Paddy Chan Mei-yiu and Katherine Hsu May-chun, along with nine others (including Frank Agrama and Pier Silvio Berlusconi, son of Silvio Berlusconi), were indicted by Milan court and charged with buying rights for US television series and movies, then reselling them to broadcasting rights firm Mediatrade (a subsidiary of Mediaset) at inflated prices and laundering the money in a complex scheme. The four companies allegedly involved in this scheme were Wiltshire Trading, Harmony Gold, CS Secretaries and Loong Po Management.

According to prosecutors, Chan met Agrama in Cannes, France in the late 1970s at a trade fair and they decided to form a partnership to trade movie rights internationally. Chan set up a Hong Kong-based Harmony Gold Limited in 1979, records from the city's Companies Registry show. In the same year, Agrama set up Agrama Film Enterprises on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. Four years later, he set up Harmony Gold USA. He later also became the Los Angeles representative of another Hong Kong company established by Chan, Wiltshire Trading. Prosecutors estimated the illicit profits between 1988 and 1999 amounted to US$170 million. Earlier in 2005, Swiss investigators froze 150 million francs (HK$1.29 billion) at a UBS branch in Lugano belonging to Harmony Gold, Wiltshire Trading and other companies.

On July 24, 2014, Variety reported that some of the charges have been dropped due to expiring statute of limitations. An appeals hearing is set to take place January 20, 2016.

On March 18, 2016 Hollywood Reporter reported that at the January 20, 2016 appeal Frank Agrama was confirmed acquitted. Five other people, including Paddy Chan Mei-yiu and Katherine Hsu May-chun, were confirmed acquitted. Mediaset CEO Silvio Berlusconi and Chairman Fedele Confalonieri were sentenced and received the same 14-month sentence.


Surely there is also an underlying Italian Mafia connection somewhere too.
"Offers that are selected that the deposit paid the amount that we do not decide, or the pool, sipping mulled wine, and in addition you can play table tennis, there is one drawback, I do not have rights." - random spambot (translated)
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