Macross poised to finally see international release?

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HellCat
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Macross poised to finally see international release?

Post by HellCat » Mon Jun 09, 2014 2:34 pm

http://www.toonzone.net/2014/06/toonzon ... try-panel/

I'm kinda surprised I haven't seen more of this tidbit floating around given I'm a bit late with my write up. From what we were told, sounds optimistic that things might finally be in place to make this work.

I'm not the biggest Macross fan myself, but good news for those who are.
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Re: Macross poised to finally see international release?

Post by Raikoh » Mon Jun 09, 2014 5:24 pm

Let's not get too hasty. We can't forget that Harmony Gold will apparently stop at nothing to prevent any Macross related anything seeing releases in the West (to the point where I've heard rumors that it was the one tangible thing that stopped an English release of Super Robot Wars Alpha). The UK is a different story, probably, but I think they'd try and block that from happening. They've proven to be that petty, and they might say something like, "A UK release would make it available in the US, where WE have the rights so no."
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Re: Macross poised to finally see international release?

Post by HellCat » Mon Jun 09, 2014 5:43 pm

It's a fair point but the gist of the panel segment (which I have recorded and can provide if anyone wants to scrutinise) is that the Japanese rights holder/creator are concerned with Macross being blocked on the international market as a whole. Andrew Partridge is well connected and savvy enough to not just blurt something like that out unless it had a good head of steam on it at least.
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Re: Macross poised to finally see international release?

Post by Deacon Blues » Mon Jun 09, 2014 7:34 pm

I don't see why Macross couldn't get released in the US anyways. Harmony Gold has to bend to the will of the Japanese owners anyways, so I'm surprised Japan didn't put their foot down... unless they bit off more than they could chew early on... :/

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Re: Macross poised to finally see international release?

Post by AmuroNT1 » Mon Jun 09, 2014 8:17 pm

I admit to never fully understanding the whole Macross debacle, but Harmony Gold must have SOME kind of special pull in order to keep shooting down attempts to bring Macross to the States. Either that or they've got some REALLY embarrassing photos of Kawamori.
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Re: Macross poised to finally see international release?

Post by Chris » Mon Jun 09, 2014 11:45 pm

When it comes to Macross, unless hell freezes over, I've found the best approach is to never expect anything. I can't bring myself to put too much hope into this news, but if Japanese companies are working this issue behind the scenes, I'll be happy when I see solicitations for a U.S. BD release.
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Re: Macross poised to finally see international release?

Post by azrael » Wed Jun 11, 2014 1:44 am

Deacon Blues wrote:I don't see why Macross couldn't get released in the US anyways. Harmony Gold has to bend to the will of the Japanese owners anyways, so I'm surprised Japan didn't put their foot down... unless they bit off more than they could chew early on... :/
Different set of IP rules. Because of how Harmony Gold trademarked what they have of Macross, anyone attempting to bring over Macross has to playball with Harmony Gold. It's dirty, but that's the legal system. Because of that, anyone who contests that trademark in court, by bringing some production or merchandise to a different country, would end up losing against HG. That's intellectual property legal rights for you.

The best that the Japanese companies can do is put subs on their releases like they did with the 2 Macross Frontier movie re-releases. Importing from a different country is one way to get around the problem AND it cuts out the middle-man/licensor, which the Japanese companies would love.
Raikoh wrote: We can't forget that Harmony Gold will apparently stop at nothing to prevent any Macross related anything seeing releases in the West (to the point where I've heard rumors that it was the one tangible thing that stopped an English release of Super Robot Wars Alpha).
Harmony Gold is bad enough that they'll even stop their own fans from making fan-films of Robotech, a product they own lock, stock, and barrel. Seriously. They sent a C&D request to an amateur film group in Argentina after they publicly endorsed them at conventions as a sign that their fandom was booming.

And that was just this year.
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Re: Macross poised to finally see international release?

Post by AmuroNT1 » Wed Jun 11, 2014 4:13 am

I thought the issue was that back in the day, multiple Japanese companies thought they had the rights to Macross and licensed it out to different American companies, which created a conflict when everyone tried to make use of their licenses. For example, FASA including several Macross mecha in Battletech, which drew Harmony Gold's ire and resulted in those designs being "forbidden" for years until either new lineart was drawn or the conflicts were resolved.
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Re: Macross poised to finally see international release?

Post by azrael » Thu Jun 12, 2014 12:00 pm

AmuroNT1 wrote:I thought the issue was that back in the day, multiple Japanese companies thought they had the rights to Macross and licensed it out to different American companies, which created a conflict when everyone tried to make use of their licenses. For example, FASA including several Macross mecha in Battletech, which drew Harmony Gold's ire and resulted in those designs being "forbidden" for years until either new lineart was drawn or the conflicts were resolved.
Kinda. Sorta. Big West owns the copyright to Macross; story, characters, and mecha designs. But since they couldn't put up the capital to fund the entire original TV series, they sold some of their rightsm namely the merchandising rights, to Tatsunoko. Tatsunoko put up the funding for the series and we got Super Dimension Fortress Macross. Tatsunoko licensed their rights to Harmony Gold and we got Robotech from that. Now when we thought those rights expired, FASA got permission from a 3rd party who said they got the rights from Big West. But that was not the case as Harmony Gold sent a C&D request. So we fast forwarded to the 2000s. We'll skip the attempts to create merchandise. In order to clear up this matter of who owned what, Big West sued Tatsunoko. The courts ruled that Big West, does indeed own the Macross-franchise, story, characters, designs. But they also ruled that Tatsunoko owns the reels of animation, sound FX recordings, and other production materials for just Super Dimension Fortress Macross because Tatsunoko provided the funding for those materials.

On a side note, Big West also sold Tatsunoko merchandising rights to just Do You Remember Love? as part of Macross.

So how does this relate to Harmony Gold? HG being licensees of Tatsunoko, have rights to merchandising of Super Dimension Fortress Macross and Do You Remember Love?. They also share rights to just the reels of animation, sound FX recordings, etc. to just Super Dimension Fortress Macross. This means only they can only produce and license any merchandise based from show Super Dimension Fortress Macross or from Do You Remember Love?. This includes toys, books, comics, clothing, etc.. Because Tatsunoko does not own the designs, story, etc., neither Tatsunoko nor HG can cannot create any new works derived from those drawings or story, i.e., the Macross-franchise. Only Big West, being the copyright owners of those properties, can create new animated works, stories and license those properties.

But, HG trying to shut out Big West, trademarked an important thing. They trademarked "Macross". That exact spelling and word. This effectively cuts off Macross outside of Asia. Anything that attempts to use that word outside of Asia, will run afoul with HG.
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Re: Macross poised to finally see international release?

Post by MrMarch » Wed Jun 18, 2014 10:51 am

It's interesting news, but we have heard "rumblings" about Macross releases outside of Japan several times before. Needless to say, not much became of any of them. I appreciate the interest, the enthusiasm and the confidence some of these fellas like Andrew Partridge have to think they can bring Macross to the world. As a huge Macross fan myself, I love to hear others share their love for the franchise and proclaim their desire to share it. And nothing would please me more than Macross widely available internationally.

HOWEVER...not many people beyond Macross fans truly understand the depth of the legal hurdles that prevent movement on this issue. It's not something that can be deciphered quickly and so many enter into this little property war with the best of intentions not knowing what it truly holds. Interested companies/individuals in the Macross property outside Japane seem to follow a similar pattern; plenty of enthusiasm at the start, expensive investigation in the middle, then declaring surrender at the end.

Basically, it's going to take a big company with a lot of money and the WILL to fight a protracted battle with HG to get the Macross property out from under this legal stranglehold outside of Japan. It might not even be able to be done at all, at least not without some shady means or even some corruption. Like others here have said, the legal situation really is THAT tied up.

I think maybe these reasons are why many of us aren't that excited yet by the news. But I want to remain hopeful. I'll keep my eye on this in the future. I truly do hope it pans out.

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Re: Macross poised to finally see international release?

Post by Chris » Wed Jun 18, 2014 1:31 pm

I kind of have this dream scenario in my head where Hasbro wants to make Robotech toys, so they just buy HG to shut them up, and as a consequence they just don't care about Macross and let anyone license what they want. I know it'll never happen, but I don't see any anime licensor having the funds to deal with protracted legal battles otherwise.
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Re: Macross poised to finally see international release?

Post by Outlaw » Wed Jun 18, 2014 9:08 pm

I have to ask, how does Harmony Gold manage to have the resources to cling so tenaciously to its claim? It's a 30 year old series that they've barely done anything with in that time. Does their paltry merchandising really generate enough revenue to to keep them afloat and maintain their stranglehold on all things Macross?

Seriously, when I picture Harmony Gold I imagine a single person in a rundown office huddled over a fire gently caressing a stack of legal documents calling them "precious".
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Re: Macross poised to finally see international release?

Post by Chris » Wed Jun 18, 2014 10:22 pm

Harmony Gold is in the real estate business in California, which is probably where the vast majority of their revenue comes from. For an anime or merchandise licensor, when it comes to Macross they have to ask themselves if it's worth it. If you get a sub-license from HG, is it worth splitting the revenue on what's going to be a small pie? If you choose to deal with the Japanese directly and circumvent HG, is it worth costly litigation? American anime companies are pretty small, so if they're doing a cost/benefit analysis, the answer to those questions is probably that Macross isn't worth it.
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Re: Macross poised to finally see international release?

Post by azrael » Thu Jun 19, 2014 12:58 am

Chris wrote:Harmony Gold is in the real estate business in California, which is probably where the vast majority of their revenue comes from.
Okay, this needs to be cleared up a bit. They're not just a real estate company. They also license media (read "Distributor"). They buy up rights to TV shows and movies then resell those rights in foreign markets. Basically, when it comes to entertainment, they're the middle guy. They've put actual money into some shows like Shaka Zulu, but when it comes to entertainment media, they're the middle man. If you've read about former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi, you'll see the name Frank Argama. Argama is the CEO of Harmony Gold. Now, the case of Berlusconi and Argama is almost the exact MO of Harmony Gold, i.e., they bought up rights to TV shows and movies, then resold them in foreign markets. They basically get money for doing nothing but be the middle man. Even in the real estate business, they're basically the middle man by buying up property, then reselling it to other people.

How do they keep a stranglehold on Macross? Trademarks. They own the trademarks outside of Asia. And doing the bare minimum is enough to keep the trademark going. And unfortunately, that's legal for trademarks.
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Re: Macross poised to finally see international release?

Post by Outlaw » Thu Jun 19, 2014 3:58 am

azrael wrote:How do they keep a stranglehold on Macross? Trademarks. They own the trademarks outside of Asia. And doing the bare minimum is enough to keep the trademark going. And unfortunately, that's legal for trademarks.
To clarify my question was more along the lines of how do they have the money to keep going, much less fend off any attempt to reclaim Macross from them. Didn't know they were into real estate and other ventures though. Great, now I want the housing market to fail. (Not really.)
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Re: Macross poised to finally see international release?

Post by MrMarch » Thu Jun 19, 2014 4:18 pm

Yes, Harmony Gold CEO Frank Agrama is still in the news related to all kinds of criminal activity. Granted, he's nowhere near the corrupt noteriety of Silvio Berlusconi, but Agrama has enough bent to make the criminal headlines every now and then. Latest one I could find is from February this year.

http://www.digitaltveurope.net/144922/m ... raud-case/

The guy is about as dirty as you'd expect given the kinds of things HG has done in the past. Corporate culture comes from the top, so it's no wonder HG is so hated for what it does when you have a guy like Agrama running it. So yeah, it's going to be hard to get Macross out from under this kind of ugliness. But look on the bright side, Macross fans can know a little of what it feels like to suffer under the effects of organized crime :)

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Re: Macross poised to finally see international release?

Post by Aki » Mon Jun 23, 2014 5:35 am

I heard Leonardo DiCaprio was attached to the file. I think he has the anime hair that fits.

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Re: Macross poised to finally see international release?

Post by angelwingzero » Mon Jun 23, 2014 2:47 pm

azrael wrote:But, HG trying to shut out Big West, trademarked an important thing. They trademarked "Macross". That exact spelling and word. This effectively cuts off Macross outside of Asia. Anything that attempts to use that word outside of Asia, will run afoul with HG.
I find that a bit funny because when Ecole du Ciel was being published by Tokyopop, every issue had "From Mikimota, the creator of Macross" stamped on the front.
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Re: Macross poised to finally see international release?

Post by azrael » Mon Jun 23, 2014 5:42 pm

angelwingzero wrote:I find that a bit funny because when Ecole du Ciel was being published by Tokyopop, every issue had "From Mikimota, the creator of Macross" stamped on the front.
Who's Mikimota?

That's actually allowed since you're promoting the person, not the merchandise. Look at posters for Avatar. It literally says "From the director of Terminator 2 and Titanic"; 2 movies that are owned by different studios.
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Re: Macross poised to finally see international release?

Post by Dark Duel » Mon Jun 23, 2014 7:47 pm

I'm guessing that's referring, based on a quick search, to Haruhiko Mikimoto, who did the character designs for Super Dimension Fortress Macross, and apparently also was involved with École du Ciel.
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