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NEWS
TOTAL LICENSING
FITZROY MEDIA LAUNCHES PROPERTIES AT MIPCOM
FitzRoy Media has set Mipcom for the debut of the newly established media property development company and the
worldwide launch of its flagship children’s brand, BidZerk!, it was announced recently by CEO Hamp Hampton.
Specializing in children’s entertainment created for a variety of new and emerging media platforms including mobile, In-
ternet and interactive broadcast television, FitzRoy will be selling format rights to BidZerk, a new game show concept for
children aged nine to fourteen.
“We established FitzRoy Media to take advantage of kids’ growing consumption of multi-media content, especially content
offered outside of broadcast television, and to leverage other companies in that space who have proven success in distribu-
tion, licensing and production to complement our efforts,” said Hampton. “BidZerk is
uniquely designed to take advantage of this trend toward new platforms for entertain-
ment and the emergence of these platforms as both complementary and alternative
destinations to broadcast television, that will build global brands for children.”
In addition, FitzRoy Media has signed cartoonist Peter Gallagher, who now writes and
draws the Heathcliff comic strip created by his ungle George Gately.
Under the agreement, FitzRoy Media will develop animated feature films, direct-to-
DVD releases and location based entertainment projects, in addition to reaching out
to the licensing and merchandising community with opportunities to develop addi-
tional products based on the evergreen Heathcliff character.
“We see enormous potential in the entertainment marketplace for Heathcliff, a classic
character who has earned his stripes – black, orange and otherwise -- as a permanent
fixture in popular culture,” said Hampton.
Finally, animation studio Renegade Animation will be bringing Funny Face, its latest
production to Mipcom. This marks the first time that the witty series for tweens and
teens will be showcased for international broadcasters and FitRoy Media have been
appointed to handle the international sales and licensing initiatives for the series.
Funny Face is based on characters first introduced on drink packets made by Pillsbury in the 1960s. The smiling faces of
the characters made them instantly popular with school-aged children. Spurred by the characters’ appearance in television
commercials and an ingenious marketing campaign, the brand developed into a full-fledged craze. Plastic mugs, backpacks,
finger puppets and other products featuring the characters remain popular collectibles to this day.
RULING IN MARILYN MONROE LICENSING CASE
The right to exploit Marilyn Monroe photographic images was upheld by the United States District Court of New York
in September. Re-affirming a California decision in favor of Tom Kelley Studios and Milton H.
Greene Archives, the court held Marilyn Monroe LLC and CMG Worldwide Inc do not have
the right to license Marilyn Monroe name, image, likeness or signature. As a result of the
two cases, commercial licensing of Marilyn Monroe images have soared over recent months,
reports Gary Saal, director of licensing, Legends Licensing, LLC. Over 50 international li-
censes have signed on with the company through its Marilyn Monroe Licensing Group divi-
sion. Saal attributes this increase to two things – the fact that no license fees need to be paid
to CMG, and the fact that Legends Licensing and its Marilyn Monroe Licensing Group has
assembled the largest and most diverse collection of Monroe images in existence, creating
a ‘one-stop shop’ for licensees.
Commenting on the ruling, Surjit Soni of the Pasadena, CA Soni Law Firm and counsel for
the Greene and Kelley parties, said, “This ruling reconfirms that MMLLC and CMG’s stran-
glehold on the Marilyn Monroe licensing business is broken. Licensees who have, according
to Forbes Magazine, paid approximately $7 million in royalties to CMG in 2007 – which
represents over $50 million in wholesale revenues - are now free to license Marilyn Monroe
photographs from copyright owners at a lower total cost and a higher profit potential.”
For many years, access to the images of Marilyn Monroe had been restricted by CMG, the
licensing agent for MMLLC. On March 17, 2008, United States District Court, Central Dis-
trict of California held that CMG and MMLLC do not own the Right of Publicity for Marilyn Monroe. The New York
court’s 32-page decision on September 2, 2008, in a separate but related case involving The Shaw Family Archives, Ltd.,
refused to allow MMLLC and CMG to reargue the California ruling. Both the California and New York courts agreed,
as Judge Morrow stated in her ruling, that CMG and MMLLC had been “playing fast and loose with the courts” simply
to benefit from a recently passed California law granting rights of publicity to a celebrity’s estate.
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