Japanese Publisher Claims CPM Infringes
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by Kai-Ming Cha and Calvin Reid, PW Daily -- Publishers Weekly, 3/29/2007
A Japanese manga publisher is claiming that Central Park Media, a U.S. anime distributor and manga publisher, is publishing unauthorized English translations of some of its titles. Libre Publishing took the unusual step of posting an English-language on its Web site calling CPM's translations of unidentified titles illegal: "We strongly protest this illegal infringement of our property and issuing a strong order for CPM to cease their illegal acts."
CPM managing director John O'Donnell declined to elaborate on the situation and in an e-mail response to PW Daily said, "We do not comment publicly on licensor issues."
The dispute seems to stem from the 2006 bankruptcy of Biblos, another Japanese manga publisher which had licensed a number of titles to CPM before its bankruptcy. Libre contends that all Biblos licenses were terminated when Biblos filed for bankruptcy in April 2006. Libre claims that following the bankruptcy filing, Biblos granted control of those licenses to Libre and all foreign licensees must negotiate new agreements with Libre.
In response to an e-mail query from PW Daily, Libre declined to identify the titles in question, but said, "Other foreign publishers of the translations of our publications with whom Biblos had agreements already concluded new license agreements with Libre Publishing. Libre has been granted the business rights by Biblos and as such they [the foreign publishers] are legally able to publish those translations." Libre said that CPM insists it has no obligation to renegotiate the licenses, "due to the fact that Biblos is a bankrupt entity."
Libre continues: "We have warned that CPM is illegally acting as an agent for each of the cartoonists and authors. Unfortunately, our warnings have fallen on deaf ears. This is the reason why we feel the need to make a public statement in protest."
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