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Fox & Saban Sue Universal Over X-Men Videos

Alleged plans by Universal to release as many as 65 episodes of the original X-MEN animated series on video has landed them in court. Saban Entertainment Inc. and Fox Childrens Network have filed suit against Universal Studios Home Video in an attempt to block the release of the videos and DVDs. The suit claims that, Universal has the right to produce one video containing three episodes of the X-MEN series per broadcast season in the U.S. and holds only international rights to the entire 65-episode library. Universal recently released "sell sheets" to video dealers advertising the sale of up to 14 X-MEN videos and DVDs by early next month. Fox claims this move is Universals attempt "to exploit the recent success of the X-MEN movie, with which they had no involvement, by planning to release as many as 65 episodes of the animated X-MEN." If the animated videos were released, they would beat to video stores Foxs release of the X-MEN feature due out at Thanksgiving. Currently, the animated X-MEN is a hit on Fox Kids and the suit states that, "the proposed flood of videos and DVDs into the market would destroy the ratings and the ad revenues for the programs being broadcast on the Fox Kids Network." With Universals right to sell the X-MEN video expiring on October 1, 2001, Saban claims that Universals move "will destroy Sabans right to distribute them after that date and after the television run." Saban licensed the series to PolyGram Video International in 1994, which then was reverted over to Universal Home Video.

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Rick DeMott
Animation World Network
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