DiC To Be Production Company For Any New Episodes
Rights No Longer An Issue
Have You Passed Your Bar Exam?
As we have previously reported, DiC lost the options and any rights to any additional television episodes of "Sailor Moon" from Toei. After DiC lost these rights in late 1998, Pioneer Entertainment came to a separate agreement to produce dubbed versions & distribute the animated features in English speaking territories.
Recently, DiC tried to renegotiate the options back. What happened next, only a lawyer could keep track of! Passed your recent bar exam? Great! Then get ready for the wildest ride yet of the saga that is "Sailor Moon" in the English speaking world! (If you should get lost, don't worry, just skip ahead to the very end of the story where there is some absolutely essential information for every fan to consider!)
When the Cartoon Network showed interest in presenting new, additional episodes an agreement was drawn up with Cloverway, Toei's representative in the United States and not with DiC. (For the purposes of this report, all references to "Toei" shall mean "Toei" and/or "Cloverway.") The problem that Toei then faced was which company was going to produce any new episodes. With the success of the subtitled and the then (and current) production of the dubbed versions of the features, Pioneer seemed the obvious choice.
But the network did not exercise the agreement and so Toei did not have to select a production company at that time. Toei might have selected a company but we are unaware of this. The reason why the network did not exercise the agreement will be the subject of a future story.
During this same period there appeared to be an understanding between DiC and Toei. With DiC's decision not to exercise its options and/or default of its original agreement, (both DiC and) Toei did not pursue this matter. Since there was no new deal, there were no options or future rights to fight about. This sort of company behavior is not uncommon. If nothing is really an immediate issue then neither company has anything to gain by fighting one another. (Why pay a lot of money for a lot of lawyers to straighten out something which has no worth?)
Why Toei Chose DiC
Months later, when the network finally decided to order more episodes, Toei had to select a company. DiC was notified or found out about the order (not from us) and was willing to rectify the situation. That DiC, had gone on record to willingly fix whatever they had done--placed Toei in an impossible situation. If Toei had selected Pioneer, then DiC would have been in an excellent position to sue Toei concerning the rights & options.
Why? Because judges, juries and arbitrators usually find in favor (that means pick the winner) of whomever wanted to avoid court to begin with. While the facts of any dispute play importance--the fact that one of the parties wanted to correct what it had done (with or without admitting any guilt) usually has tremendous weight in any decision.
It's important to note that there is the very strong possibility that the words, "litigation," "sue," "lawyer," and "I'll see you in hell(!)," were never used between the two companies. Companies usually discuss all sorts of scenarios internally without ever discussing them to the outside world. And so, it is needless to say, that we never saw a lawsuit filed between the two companies.
Why DiC Wanted The Deal
The question arises of why DiC, so uncharacteristically, was willing to do so much to get the property back. Usually DiC just loses properties and/or abandons shows and that's the end of that. Andy Heyward is notorious for cutting losses (which is not-at-all a bad business practice). But here, in this case, DiC has had to pay money and/or receive less production money to correct this situation. Why?
Our New Best Friend
DiC is the company that's going to produce any additional episodes for now. As fans, we may complain about them left and right but that's the way it is. Deal with it! We take back all of those unkind words we might have said about Andy Heyward. Andy insane? We were joking! ;)
It's Pioneer we're concerned about.
No company wants to be known for losing out on a deal--so we're not going to say that Pioneer did. (*Forget, you will forget everything you have read before this sentence*)
But what Pioneer did do is to provide an unbelievable amount of leverage against DiC. We're not talking about money here (which we're not privy to), we're talking about higher standards for the show and more competition for all sorts of rights to "Sailormoon." The release of the features helped keep the show alive in the English speaking world.
So this is why we're going to highly recommend that fans go out of their way and make sure to buy the remaining features from Pioneer. "Sailor Moon S" is supposed to be released on May 23 and "Sailor Moon Super S" probably in August. Buy them or Pioneer may drop out forever--leaving us with only DiC!
To show my support I'm going to get my parents, or be 18 years of age, and RIGHT NOW preorder the VHS tapes and/or DVDs of the "Sailor Moon S" and (when it becomes available) "Sailor Moon Super-S" features!eToys.com (VHS & DVD)
Reel.com (VHS & DVD)
DVDExpress (DVD only)
Checkout.com (DVD only)