The online rights for the first six Ultra Series outside of Japan are currently up for dispute following a complaint filed this week against Tsuburaya Productions.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, UM Inc, the company that licensed Ultraman to BCI Eclipse and Ultra Q and Ultraseven to Shout! Factory, filed a complaint in federal court this Tuesday against Tsuburaya Productions (TPC) over “illegally” posting episodes of Ultraman onto YouTube.
The incident in question that warranted the complaint involved the distributor group known as Veranda Entertainment and their uploading of episodes of Ultraman onto YouTube. The upload tripped YouTube’s Content ID systems, matching with Tsuburaya’s own content on their channel, leading to TPC demanding Veranda remove the episodes.
In 2014, UMC transferred the rights of Ultra Q, Ultraman, and Ultraseven to Veranda Entertainment, but the distributor removed the episodes at TPC’s request. According to UMC, Tsuburaya allegedly warned the distributor that it has the global rights to the Ultra Series and the content they have uploaded to YouTube.
In their eyes, asserting the rights is a clear violation of the 1976 Agreement in which Noboru Tsuburaya allegedly gave Sompote Sangduenchai the rights to the first six Ultra Series (Ultra Q to Ultraman Taro) and Jumborg Ace. In addition to this, UMC is now moving to have the court rule that it has the exclusive rights to Ultraman outside of Japan, including YouTube, and seeking damages.
Source: Hollywood Reporter