Sanrio has discovered that in 1999, some unknown persons or entities got a hold of some Hello Kitty and Flint the Time Detective animation programming and essentially walked off with it for the next twelve years. Sanrio has now discovered this and has listed fifty John Does that they intend to sue in 2013 once things get squared away with their exploratory and discovery phase. The company says they became aware of the issue in summer of 2011 and have been working to figure out what happened and who or what is responsible.
Per Deadline :
Sanrio Inc., which owns Hello Kitty and Flint The Time Detective, has filed suit ( read it here ) in Los Angeles Superior Court against unknown persons or entities who illegally obtained possession of copies of Sanrio’s animated programming “in or about 1999″. Sometime the next year Sanrio says the unknown “Does 1-50″ listed as defendants took steps to keep control of the toons and deprive Sanrio Japan of their possession or use. The suit says that from 2000 to the present the unknown parties have illegally profited from exploitation of the toons and have never paid for the rights. Sanrio Inc. says it didn’t become aware of the problem until August 15, 2011 during a financial review. Sanrio Inc. aims to identify the perpetrators and seeks general and punitive damages, attorneys fees and court costs.
Both properties have had extensive use in the US over the years through various programs released across multiple distributors. Within the anime industry, ADV Films, AnimEigo and Geneon Entertainment all released different flavors of the Hello Kitty franchise, such as:
- Hello Kitty & Friends
- Hello Kitty animation Theater
- Hello Kitty Fun Times With Friends
- Hello Kitty Paradise
- Growing Up With Hello Kitty
- Hello Kitty: Stump Village
While Right Stuf released a few volumes of Flint the Time Detective back in 2003.