TV Tokyo and Nihon Ad sue 4Kids over Yu-Gi-Oh! deals


Whenever I think of Yu-Gi-Oh!, I remember the days when 4Kids first put it on Kids' WB, and how "dark" everything seemed compared to Pokemon at the time, even in a sanitized form where anything bad was replaced with vague references to "the shadow realm." My point was it's 4Kids adaptation that stuck in my mind, enough so that I forget that FUNimation actually released the DVDs, a few of them uncut.

Now, TV Tokyo and Nihon Ad Systems have filed a joint suit against 4Kids for "underpayments, wrongful deductions, and unmet payments." An audit revealed numerous violations of their licensing agreement, one of which was that the two companies would be paid 50% of the gross income for the franchise.

Another discovery they made concerned a deal 4Kids made with FUNimation on March 1, 2002 that granted the anime giant the "broad right to exploit" the franchise in exchange for paying 4Kids 20% of the gross receipts. TV Tokyo and Nihon Ad allege that there was a second "secret" agreement that same day under which FUNimation would release Yu-Gi-Oh! on home video after giving 4Kids a $1.3 million advance plus service fee for each sale. The service fee ended up totaling $3.934 million, yet was not counted as income.

The original licensees say their agreement would have allowed 4Kids to make home video deals, provided they did it via "customary forms of licensing agreements." I guess back-room deals that aren't reported in quarterly reports aren't kosher. TV Tokyo and Nihon Ad is accusing 4Kids of a similar deal with Majesco to produce Game Boy Advance video cartridges of Yu-Gi-Oh!, where the initial $366,667 advance from Majesco was counted as income, but the $1 royalty for each video was not, being counted as another service fee.

The suit only names 4Kids, as FUNimation isn't really in the wrong, since it was 4Kids responsibility to report any Yu-Gi-Oh! related income to its Japanese partners. Still, the whole situation looks messy, and these dealings from years ago could negatively affect 4Kids's current airing of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's. 4Kids is going to need to use the Heart of the Cards to pull out something that could defeat this trap card.

[via ANN]

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Bob Muir
Bob MuirContributor   gamer profile

Bob has been hanging around ModernMethod for years and and somehow writes almost everywhere, including Destructoid and Flixist. He was once lit on fire, but it's not as cool as you'd think. more + disclosures



Filed under... #4Kids TV #anime #FUNimation #legal mumbo jumbo #TV Tokyo



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