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Report: #23721

Complaint Review: Harmony Gold, Inc - Los Angeles California

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  • Reported By: Boca Raton Florida
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  • Harmony Gold, Inc Nationwide Los Angeles, California U.S.A.

Harmony Gold Inc is a ripoff. Los Angeles, California

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False Advertising, Palagarism, Restraint of Legal Trade...

Background: Harmony Gold, Inc., of Los Angeles, CA, is a television and real-estate holding company who, in 1985, purchased the rights (possibly illegally) to the 1982 Japanese animated television show "Chou Jikuu Yousai Macross" (lit. "The Super Dimension Fortress Macross.") from Tatsunoko Productions, which may not have been authorized to sell as much of the show as it eventually did by the program's copyright holder, Big
West/Studio Nue.

"Macross", which had proved itself as a hit in Japan, was deemed "too short" by Harmony Gold, and therefore, melded with two other shows("Mospeada" and "The Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross") to create "Robotech." The show ran moderately successfully from 1985-87, although a motion picture version (using another anime program, "Megazone 23 Part 1") went unreleased after disastrous test showings in Texas, and a proposed sequal, "Robotech: The Sentinels," never went past its pilot episode due to a myriad of reasons.

Complaint: For a time, from 1987-2000, the "Robotech" property laid relatively dormant until two things happened: A general nostalgia boom hit in the late '90s that sparked (and still sparks) interest in all things 1980s (especially from those of us who were kids during the decade, hence the heavy focus on popular toylines and cartoons of the era such as GI Joe
and Transformers), and a growing interest in anime from more than the limited "otaku" fanbase that was interested in it before.

At this time, HG decided to relaunch the "Robotech" franchise as a toy line, in concert with a DVD release of the program.

The complaint with "Robotech" the show concerns the credits. In the credits to the "Robotech," there are no mention of the originial creators, writers, directors, etc. of any of the three shows that comprise it. With this, the original creators have been directly robbed of any credit they deserve for their part in the show.

For about a year and a half, starting in the middle of 2000, HG had been advertising a toy called the "Masterpiece Collection," which were to be transformable models of the main aircraft in the show, the VF-1 "Veritech" (called "VF-1 Valkyrie" in "Macross.") They were advertised as "the most accurate representation of the Veritech in existence," which by itself is
a subjective measure and can't be grounds for a "false advertising" claim.

HOWEVER, in advertisements on their own website www.robotech.com as well as in solicitation advertisements they had placed in Diamond Distribution's "Previews" magazine and other magazines, they promised that the toy would be composed of very close to 33% die-cast metal. Even as close as a month to their final release date they were claiming "30% die-cast."

However, a few days before shipping, after the pre-orders had closed (and they had priced the toy at $80) and the deadline for cancelling pre-orders had passed (i.e, the toy was out of production and on its way to consumers), they announced that they were unable to deliver the announced and promised metal content in the toy, and that the final number would be closer to 6% die-cast metal. Many people were stuck with an $80 toy that they did not feel was worth $80, especially one that has been alleged to have been a copy of a Japanese toy, the Bandai "HCM Valkyrie" "Macross" figure.

FURTHER, Harmony Gold has repeatedly tried to block either the distribution of or the very importation of legitimate and legal "Macross" merchandise from Japan on the grounds that they "own" the complete rights to "Macross" outside of the Japanese Archipelago. In the middle of 2000, Yamato Toys, a Japanese toymaker, announced that they were putting into production a series of toys based on "Macross," starting with ones from a sequal program, "Macross Plus." (it is important to note that Harmony Gold did NOT originally challenge the distribution of "Macross Plus," the OAV series on which the toys are based, in the United States.)

These were to be 1/60 transformable toys. They also announced that if the "Macross Plus" toys were successful enough, they would produce toys of the "Valkyries" from the original series and a motion picture remake, 1984's "Macross: Ai Oboeteimasuka?" The toys were successful, and Yamato, with Big West's blessing, teamed up with an American company, Toycom, to distribute the "Macross Plus" toys here. HG, realizing that the "Macross Plus" toys were
a way to get the "Macross" and "Ai Oboeteimasuka" into the US, reeacted. After a threatened lawsuit, Yamato/Toycom backed down.

In late 2001-early 2002, the promised "Ai Oboeteimasuka" toys started appearing. Small and large web-based importers began to take and process international orders for the toys. HG, in response, sent threatening legal letters to the smaller companies, ordering them to stop importation, and to hand over ALL "Macross" toys in their stock, or face a lawsuit for theft of intellectual property. The first (cease and desist) may have been legal, but the second (hand over all unsold "Macross" toys) probably wasn't.

None of those contacted were ever sued, even those who refused to comply with either demand. The claim of "theft of intellectual property" has been completely discounted after a March, 2002, decision in a Japanese court which affirmed that Big West, Ltd., and Studio Nue, own sole
copyright to the show "Super Dimension Fortress Macross."

Pat
USA, California

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/29/2002 10:04 PM and is a permanent record located here: https://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/harmony-gold-inc/los-angeles-california/harmony-gold-inc-is-a-ripoff-los-angeles-california-23721. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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