Harmony Gold vs Tatsunoko

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Re: Harmony Gold vs Tatsunoko

Post by Seto Kaiba » Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:31 pm

JEFFPIATT wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:52 am
well there not known for being the most legit company. they co-funded during economic sanctions with South Africa the series Shaka Zulu while also shafting the production partner SABC on royalties not even listing them as co-producers on there us print.
http://articles.latimes.com/1986-11-21/ ... shaka-zulu
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaka_Zulu_(TV_series)
this seems to be an ingrained standard business protocol license a property then pretend you own it.
Well, yeah... as I pointed out, there's a fairly substantial body of circumstantial evidence suggesting Harmony Gold USA was literally founded with a goal of using it for unethical business practices like money laundering and tax evasion.

The simple fact that, three decades on and with several remasterings of the series under their belts, Harmony Gold USA still has yet to include any acknowledgement for the actual creators of Super Dimension Fortress Macross, Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross, or Genesis Climber MOSPEADA in Robotech's credits. The one and only time such an acknowledgement appeared in the credits was in a fan-made extended credit roll that was done for a 25th anniversary party set up and run without any participation from Harmony Gold. The only Robotech product to give proper credit is the Palladium Books role-playing game... but only the "revised" 2nd Edition, which was plagiarizing from Macross fansites so hard that it accidentally included several things that don't actually exist in Robotech since Macross sites don't differentiate between equipment for the TV and Movie VF-1s. (Not that other licensees for the franchise were any better, despite their latest effort to reprint old comics they're going to find many aren't reprintable in light of the monstrous amounts of flagrant copyright infringement committed by their authors, stealing from everything from Ghost in the Shell, Macross, and Gundam down the line to Independence Day.)
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Re: Harmony Gold vs Tatsunoko

Post by JEFFPIATT » Sun Jan 14, 2018 4:40 am

Seto Kaiba wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:31 pm
JEFFPIATT wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:52 am
well there not known for being the most legit company. they co-funded during economic sanctions with South Africa the series Shaka Zulu while also shafting the production partner SABC on royalties not even listing them as co-producers on there us print.
http://articles.latimes.com/1986-11-21/ ... shaka-zulu
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaka_Zulu_(TV_series)
this seems to be an ingrained standard business protocol license a property then pretend you own it.
Well, yeah... as I pointed out, there's a fairly substantial body of circumstantial evidence suggesting Harmony Gold USA was literally founded with a goal of using it for unethical business practices like money laundering and tax evasion.

The simple fact that, three decades on and with several remasterings of the series under their belts, Harmony Gold USA still has yet to include any acknowledgement for the actual creators of Super Dimension Fortress Macross, Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross, or Genesis Climber MOSPEADA in Robotech's credits. The one and only time such an acknowledgement appeared in the credits was in a fan-made extended credit roll that was done for a 25th anniversary party set up and run without any participation from Harmony Gold. The only Robotech product to give proper credit is the Palladium Books role-playing game... but only the "revised" 2nd Edition, which was plagiarizing from Macross fansites so hard that it accidentally included several things that don't actually exist in Robotech since Macross sites don't differentiate between equipment for the TV and Movie VF-1s. (Not that other licensees for the franchise were any better, despite their latest effort to reprint old comics they're going to find many aren't reprintable in light of the monstrous amounts of flagrant copyright infringement committed by their authors, stealing from everything from Ghost in the Shell, Macross, and Gundam down the line to Independence Day.)
Really the indirect hero who allowed Manga ent to get away with getting the rights to Macross Plus for us release was Haim Saban who hired off the robotech staff after the first sequel attempt stalled. apparently the loss of staff was bad enough that no one at legal noticed the rights sale. They also have an theater at there HQ building open to rentals for private screenings and events. there Preview House has 3 stars on yelp.
https://www.yelp.com/biz/harmony-gold-p ... os-angeles
http://harmonygold.com/theater/
not a lot of winners in the media catalogue they own "Queen Kong" and robotech is listed twice.
http://harmonygold.com/catalog/

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Re: Harmony Gold vs Tatsunoko

Post by Seto Kaiba » Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:01 pm

JEFFPIATT wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 4:40 am
Really the indirect hero who allowed Manga ent to get away with getting the rights to Macross Plus for us release was Haim Saban who hired off the robotech staff after the first sequel attempt stalled. apparently the loss of staff was bad enough that no one at legal noticed the rights sale.
Ah, no... it's a widely believed myth that US Renditions and Manga Entertainment got away with licensing and releasing the Macross II: Lovers Again and Macross Plus OVAs in the west because "nobody was minding the store" at Harmony Gold. "Myth" is the operative word there. In fact, it's a myth that Harmony Gold USA themselves started as a bit of blatant arse-covering to avoid disclosing the limitations on their license in the early 2000s.

Even today, Harmony Gold is not actually able to prevent other distributors from licensing Macross titles. They're just able to prevent distribution of those titles because they filed for and received a set of trademarks in the US and a couple key overseas markets on the Macross logo, the word "Macross", and a few other key logos and terms like "UN Spacy" and its insignia. If another distributor were to try, they would get sued for trademark infringement. That's literally the extent of Harmony Gold's control of Macross outside Japan. Their license agreement does not grant them any rights to anything except the original 36 episode Super Dimension Fortress Macross TV series... and in that, it's only the distribution rights (broadcast and home video) and select merchandising rights (toys, apparel, video games, traditional games, comic books, novels, etc., but apparently not plastic model kits). The reason they lawyered up looking for ways to stop Macross imports was that there was a brisk trade in imported Macross toys c. 1999 that they were looking to put a stop to in order to support the toy line they were negotiating with Toynami for their big reboot and relaunch of Robotech in 2001 after Carl Macek's final failure to launch Robotech as an all-original property with Robotech 3000. They were concerned that Toynami wouldn't be able to compete with Yamato and Bandai on quality or pricing, and after a failed attempt to stop the imports via Cease and Desist notices that got shot down when they were called on their bluff, tried to stop the imports by trademarking the terms to stop Macross from making further inroads in the US.

Harmony Gold was quite literally powerless to prevent US Renditions and Manga Entertainment from releasing those Macross OVAs in the west in the mid-90's. The thing that prevented Macross 7 from coming over as well was the music rights holder (Japan Victor) wanting the stateside licensee to obtain the entire Fire Bomber catalog along with the rights to the songs in the show itself... which essentially priced the show out of reach of any US distributor.


JEFFPIATT wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 4:40 am
They also have an theater at there HQ building open to rentals for private screenings and events. there Preview House has 3 stars on yelp.
Their HQ building itself is kind of a dive, so much so that the only newspaper willing to tour it in the last decade was a sleazy local tabloid.
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Re: Harmony Gold vs Tatsunoko

Post by Henyo » Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:30 pm

so, what was the result of the recent Harmony gold vs tatsunoko encounter?

i think i've clicked on a link about it but it was too long and i didn't have much free time then.
on a related note, the issue about Ultraman and Chaiyo has been settled for the time being.i say this because many in comments said APPEAL will happen. know i know why they call the situation with the Macross licensee a nightmare.

https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2 ... ts/.124333

on another related note, wouldn't it have been easier for other companies to just go through Harmony Gold and get their Okay or whatever to be able to release MAcross stuff? or is this in turn not possible because of Harmony gold not wanting other people to be exposed to the original version of the Macross Saga.(though in this day and age, good luck with that.) and i do have state this again: my knowledge about licensing and those stuff is very very limited.
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Re: Harmony Gold vs Tatsunoko

Post by Seto Kaiba » Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:39 pm

Henyo wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:30 pm
so, what was the result of the recent Harmony gold vs tatsunoko encounter?
As far as I know, Harmony Gold USA's petition to have the district court in their district enforce the terms of the binding settlement from their prior arbitration with Tatsunoko Production Co. Ltd. is still open.

The two companies went to arbitration in a dispute over royalties owed, court costs, and attorney's fees. Tatsunoko's position was that Harmony Gold USA had been withholding royalties Harmony Gold USA owed them from their use of Tatsunoko-owned animation on streaming services and in home video sales. Harmony Gold USA's counterclaim was that the terms of their license agreement permitted them to deduct a portion of the legal fees of the brand protection actions from the royalties and that Tatsunoko actually owed THEM money for legal fees for defending the Tatsunoko-owned properties from infringers in western courts. The arbitration ended with a ruling in Harmony Gold's favor... but Tatsunoko has been unwilling to pay up. So Harmony Gold USA filed a lawsuit in the California central district courts with the request that the courts enforce the prior arbitration's settlement.

It doesn't actually have anything to do with the Macross license itself... except that Harmony Gold made several misleading statements that were subsequently corrected in the course of the arbitration, publicly reminding HG that they're not part-owners of Macross's IP and that their license expires in 2021. (Every now and again, HS seems to need to be reminded that they're only leasing rights to Macross from Tatsunoko... and that Big West actually owns the show.)


Henyo wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:30 pm
on another related note, wouldn't it have been easier for other companies to just go through Harmony Gold and get their Okay or whatever to be able to release MAcross stuff? or is this in turn not possible because of Harmony gold not wanting other people to be exposed to the original version of the Macross Saga.(though in this day and age, good luck with that.) and i do have state this again: my knowledge about licensing and those stuff is very very limited.
"Just going through Harmony Gold" isn't really an option for a few reasons.

You see, Harmony Gold USA was stonewalling all things Macross from 2000 on because they had this crazy idea that Robotech was going to make a big comeback and be the kind of huge, industry-leading anime sensation that they often like to pretend it was in the 80's. It all started with the Robotech 3000 project. Carl Macek and co. had convinced themselves that it was going to be the next big thing and would relaunch interest in the original series, and thus the company took action to stop the importation of Macross products to protect future Robotech brand products that would be coming out with the same designs, markings, etc. When Robotech 3000 spun in after the teaser trailer debuted to virtually universal disapproval at that year's convention tour, the idea of "protecting" the brand via obstructing Macross imports didn't die with it. They kept that going when they replaced Macek and rebooted their franchise under Tommy Yune.

That Big West and its licensees are annoyed with Harmony Gold USA for stonewalling imports of Macross goods and Macek and Harmony Gold's many lies claiming credit for Macross and the other shows was just a part of it, though.

After it became apparent that Robotech's grand return to the spotlight was not so much a damp squib as a totally missing one marked by only a handful of mediocre limited-run comic books, Harmony Gold USA sought out the owners of Macross. Being a reasonable person, you'd probably think they were trying to secure a settlement where all the parties involved would benefit. You'd be wrong, because Harmony Gold USA is staffed by crazy people.

The "negotiations" that Harmony Gold USA attempted with Big West in the early 2000s were, according to several HG staffers who were involved, a hilariously ill-advised attempt on Harmony Gold USA's part to strongarm Big West into a sale of the entire Macross franchise under the threat that they would never be able to sell Macross products outside Japan. This being every bit as ridiculous as the creators of Turkey's Omar the Tourist in Star Trek (AKA "Turkish Star Trek") trying to demand Paramount sell them the Star Trek franchise or they'll block licensing of the series in Turkey, Big West politely, yet firmly, declined Harmony Gold's offer and showed them the door. Ever since, it seems to have become a Big West policy that they will not enter into any arrangement where Harmony Gold may be able to profit from Macross licensing while they watch the Robotech franchise slowly conclude its death spiral. Harmony Gold's net result from that little negotiation is a constant paranoia that they'll infringe on Big West's IP and end up sued, which became such an embuggerance to the running of their website that they'd usually only have news weeks after it broke elsewhere because everything the brand did had to negotiate a torturously complex legal review to ensure that no Japanese toes were being stepped on.

Of late, Big West seems to have noticed that direct sales of merchandise from Japan offer a way to do a 100% legal end run around Harmony Gold's attempts to block Macross distribution. By making their merchandise available in sites like HLJ, CDJapan, AmiAmi, etc. and putting English subtitles on domestic Japanese market DVDs and Blu-rays, there's no more barrier preventing western fans from obtaining the shows without having to resort to piracy. The first flirtation with this was the Macross Frontier movie "Combo Pack" releases for the PS3, and since then we've seen one of the Tenjin Hidetaka artbooks come out in bilingual form and the Macross Delta blu-rays also all have English subtitles.
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Re: Harmony Gold vs Tatsunoko

Post by JEFFPIATT » Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:41 pm

It feels like they saw how World events managed to buy out Golion from toei and thought they had the same leverage. the only diffrence was that Golion bombed hard in Japan Macross is basically a major franchise in Japanese sci-fi.

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Re: Harmony Gold vs Tatsunoko

Post by Seto Kaiba » Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:39 pm

JEFFPIATT wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:41 pm
It feels like they saw how World events managed to buy out Golion from toei and thought they had the same leverage. the only diffrence was that Golion bombed hard in Japan Macross is basically a major franchise in Japanese sci-fi.
Quite possibly. I suspect, based on my own interactions with the Harmony Gold Robotech staff, that it was motivated in no small part by the way the ascended fanboys currently running the Robotech brand believe their own hype.

They seem to genuinely believe that load of old tosh from Carl Macek about Robotech having been this huge, industry-defining phenomenon in the 80's instead of the flash-in-the-pan middling performer in ratings that had very little noticeable impact thanks to stiff competition from its contemporaries and was forgotten almost immediately. Harmony Gold put a LOT of effort into trying to convince its fans not to look into other anime and especially not Macross, with Macek himself variously either claiming he created the story of Macross and the Japanese adapted it for their own purposes or that it was an inferior, failed franchise that was only copying Robotech. He even claimed, on a number of occasions, that the Japanese staff behind the original shows thought Robotech was better.

Basically, the new creative staff brought in after Macek flew Robotech 3000 into the ground genuinely believe they're running a well-respected, highly influential, big ticket anime franchise... with little idea the actual regard the franchise is held in hovers somewhere between "the guy who peaked in high school when the football team almost made it to the Division III playoffs with him as captain" and "that one really racist uncle who shows up drunk to family gatherings".
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Re: Harmony Gold vs Tatsunoko

Post by Henyo » Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:46 am

Seto Kaiba wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:39 pm
-Stuff-
after reading that, the peeps at Harmony gold being like the martian successors came to mind.
and also the elitist fans of some franchises.

at the very least Power Rangers puts "based on -insert Sentai here-" on the credits. did Harmony Gold not even dod that?

and since Golion/Voltron has been mentioned, i have the question:
if ever a Legendary Defenders version of Robotech comes to pass, will Harmony Gold be able to use terms/names from macross and its sequels?(i'm guessing very unlikely though.)
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Re: Harmony Gold vs Tatsunoko

Post by Seto Kaiba » Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:21 am

Henyo wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:46 am
at the very least Power Rangers puts "based on -insert Sentai here-" on the credits. did Harmony Gold not even do that?
Nope. The closest that either the Robotech opening or closing credits come to ever actually came to an admission that the show's content was not actually their creation was to credit the series as "A Harmony Gold USA Inc. production, in association with Tatsunoko Production Co. Ltd.". The remastered edition credits also added a credit for Tatsunoko under "original animation by" and a credit for Ippei Kuri.

At no point has the Robotech series ever officially acknowledged the studios and individual creators who are actually responsible for the material in the series. No mention is made of Studio Nue, Artland, Ammonite, or Artland, or any of the major figures involved in the development of those shows like Shoji Kawamori, Shinji Arimaki, Hiroshi Ogawa, Sukehiro Tomita, or Masanori Hama. Even the other studios who helped animate the original shows in partnership with Tatsunoko like Studio Nue, Artland, AnimeFriend, StarPro, AIC, Daicon Film (later and better known as Gainax), and Artmic are completely left out.

To date, the only Robotech product to properly credit the origins of the material used in the series was the Palladium Books RPG, and only then in its revised 2nd Edition... which still engages heavily in tracing the art from official artbooks and signing it as though it were Palladium's own original art.


Henyo wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:46 am
and since Golion/Voltron has been mentioned, i have the question:
if ever a Legendary Defenders version of Robotech comes to pass, will Harmony Gold be able to use terms/names from macross and its sequels?(i'm guessing very unlikely though.)
Almost certainly not.

Were Harmony Gold USA to attempt to do a reboot like Voltron: Legendary Defender they would be unable to use Macross material in it, or anything obviously derived from Macross material. It'd have to basically be a ground-up reboot with only the bare bones of the Robotech story that are not drawn from Macross.

Harmony Gold USA is so afraid of being sued by Big West and Studio Nue that they even started avoiding anything even slightly evocative of Macross in the mid-2000s. Their failed Shadow Chronicles OVA started with a prequel tie-in comic that existed largely to dispose of all the holdover "Macross Saga" characters who weren't absolutely essential to the plot and introduce redesigned versions of those who'd been deemed to essential to kill. Even though they have no legal obstacle to using the designs in comics they're so afraid of legal action that when Minmay appeared in that comic her face is never seen... she's only seen from behind, or her face is cropped out of the panel so only the top of her head is visible. The comic summarily killed off the Robotech versions of Britai, Exsedol, and the SDF-1's chief engineer, disposed of Misa and Minmay, rendered Max and Milia conspicuously absent, and despite being a direct continuation of their Robotech II: the Sentinels comics, replaced all appearances by mecha from Macross or Southern Cross with MOSPEADA mecha (Tatsunoko owns MOSPEADA completely) and removed all reference to the designs they'd had done but never used for Sentinels (that were visibly derivative of the designs of Macross). Their version of Hikaru was redesigned so much that he looks like Hideo Kuze from the second season of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. So afraid of legal action were they that when the movie and comic introduced an original character who was Robotech's second daughter of Max and "Miriya", she had to identify herself as "half-alien" rather than "half-Zentradi".
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Re: Harmony Gold vs Tatsunoko

Post by Kuruni » Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:36 am

Seto Kaiba wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:39 pm
He even claimed, on a number of occasions, that the Japanese staff behind the original shows thought Robotech was better.
Changed it to an original show, Southern Cross to be specific, and there might be margin of truth in this :mrgreen: .
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Re: Harmony Gold vs Tatsunoko

Post by Seto Kaiba » Sat Jan 20, 2018 1:48 pm

Kuruni wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:36 am
Seto Kaiba wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:39 pm
He even claimed, on a number of occasions, that the Japanese staff behind the original shows thought Robotech was better.
Changed it to an original show, Southern Cross to be specific, and there might be margin of truth in this :mrgreen: .
Maybe so, in light of Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross being such an unholy start-to-finish train wreck that its creators can seldom be prevailed to talk about it at all and (according to a few reliable ex-HG staffers) Tatsunoko is so thoroughly disinterested in the series that Harmony Gold licensing it is the only reason they remember that it exists.

Of course, the problem with that particular line of reasoning is that Carl Macek all to often made it contextually clear or expicitly stated that he meant the staff of Super Dimension Fortress Macross. Pretty much any time he landed an interview or panel appearance, he'd make time to bag on Super Dimension Fortress Macross and explain that he'd greatly improved a flawed, inferior show. The man was a habitual liar, and many of his biggest whopper were clearly in the name blatant self-promotion. (He seems to have seen himself as anime's Gene Roddenberry, rather than what the industry saw him as and actually nicknamed him: the Antichrist of Anime.) In his earliest interviews he'd he'd claimed that he had created Robotech's story whole-cloth and that they'd paid the Japanese to animate it. Once that was outed as a blatant lie, he started persistently bagging on Macross (particularly Minmay and the role of song in the series) as part of claiming that the Japanese thought his version was better. By the 2000s, he was even claiming that Macross's sequels were inspired by Robotech rather than building on Macross's existing themes. (This quickly became one of those toddler-style lies where it was patently obvious as a lie and he continued to insist that it was the case regardless.) This actually became rather funny in hindsight, when he was energetically arguing that the Macross franchise was copying Robotech in de-emphasizing the role of music when Macross 7 and its spinoffs were the most recent Macross story arc and, in some cases, still being actively released.

By 1992, the American anime hobby press had developed to the point that the Japanese were finding out about these claims and actively dismissing them as false. Sukehiro Tomita was the first to dismiss Robotech's version of the story as nonsensical garbage and he and his fellow writers hired by Tatsunoko for Robotech II: the Sentinels told Macek and co. as much (which is what got them replaced by HG-supplied writers). In the following years, Haruhiko Mikimoto, Shoji Kawamori, and Noboru Ishiguro had all publicly refuted it and expressed their confusion and dismay that anyone would so such a horrible thing to their work.
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Re: Harmony Gold vs Tatsunoko

Post by Henyo » Mon Jan 22, 2018 10:23 am

Seto Kaiba wrote:
-more stuff-
AS Azumanga's Osaka would say

OH MAI GAH!!!!!!!!

those actions...i have no words. also, shouldn't the japanese creators do, or rather have done something against those things that macek did? or is it like those licensing issues back in the 90s? like slow replies/communications problems or something else...

i haven't done/watched an indepth look at the licensing of Power Rangers but at the very least Saban doesn't make claims that they created their franchise from the ground up. if they did we wouldn't have seen the original Red Ranger and Tyranno Ranger in a convention. oh hey there's an issue. has there ever been a con where a Macross AND robotech staff/guests were both present?
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Re: Harmony Gold vs Tatsunoko

Post by Seto Kaiba » Tue Jan 23, 2018 12:51 am

Henyo wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 10:23 am
those actions...i have no words. also, shouldn't the japanese creators do, or rather have done something against those things that macek did? or is it like those licensing issues back in the 90s? like slow replies/communications problems or something else...
Unless Harmony Gold USA were to do something actually illegal like making fraudulent disclosure of what rights it has to a licensee or business partner (e.g. selling a license to something they don't have rights to), there's very little the creators of the original shows can do about it. As long as Macek and HG's whoppers are not directly tied to something saleable ("false advertising") they're dancing around the defamation defense of "opinion". It's not really worth the effort to sue HG when there are only a few thousand people listening to their crap, and any schmuck can disprove it given five seconds on Wikipedia.


Henyo wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 10:23 am
oh hey there's an issue. has there ever been a con where a Macross AND robotech staff/guests were both present?
Oh, I'm sure there have been... but Japanese business ethics greatly emphasize politeness. If they don't like what you're saying in a business environment, they'll still carefully listen to what you have to say and then with equal care and in just as polite a manner, proceed to demolish your statements when you're done speaking, either later in the meeting or at the next meeting.

Making a scene by confronting a business rival, even one as odious and openly malevolent as Harmony Gold USA, in a public forum where potential customers could see would be regarded as phenomenally unprofessional.
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