Ludlow Music has withdrawn its demands that JibJab Media stop using Woody Guthrie's THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND tune in the Web short, THIS LAND, because it was discovered that Ludlow does not own the copyright, reports WIRED. JibJab's lawyers discovered that anyone can record their own version of the song, because the copyright has expired.
Discovery Communications has acquired the Charles W. Clark Co. Inc., doing business as Rainbow Educational Media an award-winning publisher and distributor of high-quality core-curriculum educational videos, CD-ROMs and DVDs for children and young people in kindergarten through eighth grade. This acquisition further expands the vast digital library of Discovery's newly formed Discovery Education business unit, providing video content to enhance the classroom learning environment.
Los Angeles-based family entertainment company PorchLight Entertainment has been acquired by its senior management and Beringea through Global Rights II, a media, brand and intellectual property rights fund.
In an effort to grow the animation industry in the country, China has announced that it will encourage private investors developing and creating animated films and TV series, reports CHINA DAILY. In terms with the Opinions Regarding Development of Animation and Comic Industry for Film and TV Programs in China, the State Broadcasting and Radio Administration promised that trustworthy, privately-financed cartoon making agencies would be treated equally with state-backed animation and comic production organizations.
Toon Boom Animation Inc. has appointed two new resellers in China and Korea. As part of its new distribution strategy in Asia, Dison Computer Graphics & Image Company Ltd. will now take care of Toon Boom's products throughout Mainland China, while CS M&C Technology Inc. will do the same in Korea. Both Dison and CS M&C will also provide first-line support to Toon Boom's local customers within the same time zone and language.
As part of the release of YU-GI-OH! THE MOVIE, Warner Bros. Pictures handed out one of four new YU-GI-OH! trading cards to people who attended the film. Like the same type of promotion for the original POKEMON movie, fans were hot to get their hands on the collectibles. However, two fans in Chino, California took it to a criminal extent. The two posed as Warner Bros.
Taffy Entertainment, the new business unit of Mike Young Productions (MYP) has launched its brand new licensing division to be headed by veteran licensing specialist Eric Stein as vp of licensing.
Stein is a former licensing exec with Lucasfilm and MGM/United Artists and the founder of consulting firm Eric Stein Entertainment (ESE). Topping on his agenda is to develop and implement the licensing strategy and program for the companys groundbreaking 3D, CGI-animated character-comedy PET ALIEN.
According to TrendWatch, previsualization is rapidly gaining acceptance among producers and directors, with 39% of all studios/facilities currently doing previs tasks along with eight out of 10 vfx studios.
This TrendWatch Fast Fact is good news in terms of shrinking budgets and shorter production cycles.
TrendWatch Inc. (www.trendwatch.com) is a market research firm located in Mill Valley, California.
For the next step in JibJab Media's potential legal problems over its use of Woody Guthrie's song "This Land Is Your Land" in its newest political satire, the company has asked a California district court to declare that it did not violate the copyrights of Ludlow Music, the owner of the tune, reports WIRED.
The family of THE LION SLEEPS TONIGHT composer Solomon "Mbube" Linda has filed a suit against The Walt Disney Co. for the use of the song in the film, THE LION KING, reports VARIETY. The copyright infringement suit, filed in South Africa's Pretoria High Court, is for $1.6 million. Disney has until Aug. 12, 2004 to respond to the claims or be ruled against by default.
Lucasfilm Ltd. has announced that it has established Lucasfilm Animation Singapore, a digital animation studio designed to produce digital animated content, including films, television and games for global audiences. Gail Currey, vp/gm of Lucasfilm Animation, will lead the Singapore-based creative team. The other investors in the venture include EDB Investments Pte Ltd. and Creative Technology Ltd.
EM.TV AG and DeAPlaneta have expanded their joint venture, Planeta Junior from Spain and Portugal, into Italy, through the Italian media group DeAgostini, which holds a 50% share in DeAPlaneta, together with the Planeta Group. With the marketing expertise of DeAgostini in Italy, the partners intend to make Planeta Junior one of the leading players in the Italian market.
Evan and Gregg Spiridellis have been making political cartoons since the inception of their of JibJab Media, but their newest short set to the tune of Woody Guthrie's classic song, "This Land Is Your Land" has garnered them worldwide fame and legal troubles. The film, which has President George W. Bush and his opponent Senator John Kerry exchanging insults, has spurred legal action against JibJab from Ludlow Music, who owns the copyright to Guthrie's tune.
The Writers Guild of America West has hired veteran labor organizer David J. Young as its director of organizing with a mandate to expand the guild's coverage in reality TV and animation more, reports VARIETY. Young will replace Gerry Daley, who has served in the position since the summer of 2002.
Montreal-based Toon Boom Animation Inc. has opened an office in London to provide support and training services to European customers, as well as it customers based in the Middle East and Africa. Piers Godden is the main contact and may be reached at +44 7843 679095.
As part of DreamWorks plans to go public with its animation unit, the company had to open its financial books to the public for the first time.
It was disclosed that Jeffrey Katzenberg did not receive any compensation from the studio in 2003. Yet, he will receive stock options worth an estimated $20.5 million when IPO goes forth.
DreamWorks' coo Ann Daly earned $1.5 million and 30,000 stock options in 2003. General counsel Katherine Kendrick took home $550,000 plus 25,000 shares and cfo Kristina Leslie landed $300,000 plus 10,000 options.
DreamWorks Llc and its animation division, DreamWorks Animation Inc., announced that DreamWorks Animation, Inc. has filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a proposed initial public offering of its Class A common stock. Goldman, Sachs & Co. and J.P. Morgan Securities Inc. are serving as joint book-running managers of the offering.
Cecropia Inc., a Boston-based game developer, has formed a new animation production studio in Orlando, Florida, that will focus on creating the quality artwork and animation for the company's new interactive game. Cecropia has recruited industry veterans in the region including Walt Disney Feature Animation alumni.
FUNimation Productions, Ltd., one of the leading independent home video entertainment and brand management companies in the U.S., has created Our Time Family Entertainment, a new division developed to provide high quality entertainment properties to the burgeoning preschool and children's market.
The National Center of Animation and Computer Games will open on July 27, 2004 at East China Normal University in the city, reports SHANGHAI DAILY. The Cultural Research Center of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and Shanghai Broadband Television Corp. invested 10 million yuan (US$1.2 million) in the center to encourage more domestic production.
"As the birthplace of the Chinese film and cartoon industry, Shanghai won the right to have the center over cities like Beijing, Shenzhen and Chengdu," said Tong Zuguang, vp of East China Normal.
Marvel Enterprises has sued the Walt Disney Co. and ABC Family (formerly Fox Family) for at least $16 million, which it claims it is owed on the cartoons it licensed to Fox Family, which Disney acquired in 2001, reports VARIETY. As part of the suit filed July 15, 2004 in L.A. Superior Court, Marvel argues that Disney improperly accounted for profits on animated series THE INCREDIBLE HULK, X-MEN AND SPIDER-MAN and failed to promote the shows. In the complaint, Disney claims the toons lose money, but will not provide proper accounting.
Pepper Films has settled into its new space in Santa Monica, California. Founded by animation director Jean Perramon, technical director/compositor Nick Bates and producer Christina Cox in 2002, Pepper Films provides animation and CG production.
Philip Anschutz's Walden Media has left Disney for Fox, reports VARIETY. The AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS producer will team with Fox on five features, including Kate DiCamillo's BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE (due for release January 2005); Katherine Paterson's BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA; Lois Lowry's THE GIVER; Wendy Orr's NIM'S ISLAND; and Adam Mortimer's as-yet-unpublished comicbook proposal BIBLIONAUTS. Unlike the past Disney deal, the Fox agreement is neither exclusive nor constrained by time limits.