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Who owns the rights to what?

Discussion in 'Muppet Headlines' started by GelflingWaldo, Jan 29, 2005.

  1. Dantecat

    Dantecat Well-Known Member

    Who owns the rights to The Muppets:A Celebration of 30 years :confused:
  2. GelflingWaldo

    GelflingWaldo Well-Known Member

    "The Muppets - A Celebration of 30 Years" is part of the Muppet Film & Television Library, which is owned by The Muppet Holding Company (a division of The Walt Disney Company). They do not own all the characters in the production, but the production itself (in its unedited form) is all Disney's to do what they want.
  3. Dantecat

    Dantecat Well-Known Member

    Thanks! By the way,What's their phone number,address,and e-mail :confused: So I can just e-mail them a copy in the future. ;)
  4. BoyRaisin2

    BoyRaisin2 Well-Known Member

    818.549.2018 (The Muppet Holding Company Office)

    debbie.mcellan@disney.com (The Muppet Press Center)<<

    Phone number, nice. :)

    And it's "McClellan," by the way.
  5. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    just to make sure, disney did get the rights to all of the muppet videos series (the 1985 muppet show compilation videos, jim hensons play-along video, and muppet sing-alongs) right? or are those still owned by the video companies that released them (although if that is the case, Disney should own the sing-along videos)
  6. McFraggle

    McFraggle Well-Known Member

    I would assume that they do. :)
  7. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    Dog City

    i just started to wonder something. henson still owns the Dog City episode of the Jim Henson Hour, even though Rowlf was in it. if it weren't for the fact that Dog City became a series a few years later, do you people think that Disney would have owned the Dog City special?
  8. pppapazo

    pppapazo Active Member

    Yes, I do.

    The same probably holds true for The Christmas Toy / Secret Life of Toys. Disney would probably have wanted the special but not the series.

    I'm at a little bit of a loss as to why Disney didn't want/get Emmett Otter. Maybe Henson really wanted to hold onto that one.
  9. McFraggle

    McFraggle Well-Known Member

    It still wouldn't shock me to see Disney wind up with some of those properties on down the road. Especially the Fraggles.
  10. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    Recently somebody obtained a book documenting the Disney/Henson sale, and posted images on a blog (from what I can tell from a Tough Pigs forum post the blog doesn't show everythign from the book). Here's thye blog post: http://boyraisin2.blogspot.com/2013/01/disney-henson-who-owns-what.html

    A number of interesting things:
    • It doesn't seem to list unaired pilots or pitches, so we still don't know who owns InnerTube or The Jim Henson Hour pitch tape. It also doesn't mention the Tinkerdee pilots, and only notes Disney getting three episodes of Little Muppet Monsters, as opposed to all 13-18 episodes.
    • Disney did get the rights to four of the Play-Along Videos, including Neat Stuff to Know and to Do (which I assumed Disney would have gotten but wasn't too sure). Meanwhile, Billy Bunny's Animal Songs is the only Sing-Along video Disney did not get (not surprised there, as Henson posted clips on its YouTube channel).
    • Almost every production is listed by run time, and for series lists every episode and time (for some reason Sex and Violence is listed under series). The time for most TV productions is listed as either 30 or 60 (which would include commercials), but movies and video projects are pretty much listed with accurate time.
    • The Muppet Video Series from Playhouse Video is listed as "Best of the Muppet Show", and all of them seem to be listed under there (it lists 10 under episodes), but it also lists "The Kermit and Piggy Story" on its own, while the others aren't individually listed.
    • While it states that the buyer (Disney) will get productions with characters retained by the seller (Henson) while the seller retains certain productions with characters that the buyer obtained, the two companies should not object. But then another section does allow objection of the use of Disney-owned characters in Emmet Otter, Christmas Toy, and Donna's Day... and nothing else. I guess that explains some of the Lionsgate releases.
  11. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    There's a few things I wanted to say about that blog post but forgot.

    The various pages from the book are obviously taken pictures (as opposed to scans), and some pages are shown multiple times, at different sizes. One particular page that appears twice in that blog begins with something that's obviously a continuation of a previous page, talking about the "Jim Henson's Scary Monsters" books... Only I can't find the first part of that section, so I don't really know what that's about (man, I've never thought or cared about Scary Monsters so much in my life).

    It mentions a number of Muppet productions that The Jim Henson Company didn't have a copyright on, listing the various movies owned by other companies and Rocky Mountain Holiday, but for some reason doesn't list A Christmas Together. I wonder if that was an oversight (I believe the henson.com page about what productions Disney got mentions A Christmas Together and the other productions where other companies own the copyright). I was also surprised that it listed the Muppet movies that Disney already owned the rights to (I guess to state that Disney now has whatever Henson had regarding rights). Considering it lists what Disney got and lists productions with "third party ownership", I'm surprised that Labyrinth was listed among what Henson had the rights to. I know Henson has the rights to the characters and story and such, but I would have thought Sony had the copyright there.

    Also, the documents confirm that Henson retains the rights to the Muppets from SNL. There's a letter from Jane Henson on the subject of early Muppet characters, and I'm still a bit unclear on that... It says that before Muppets Inc. was founded in 1958 Jim Henson was the self-copyright holder for the characters, and had Jane be the co-copyright holder even though Jim was the sole author and creator of the characters. There's also a bit on the "pre-Muppet Show characters", but many "Pre-Muppet Show" characters appeared on The Muppet Show and have been made famous from that show.
  12. Mo Frackle

    Mo Frackle Well-Known Member

    Interesting read. Those unmade Muppet projects sound particularly interesting (I never knew there were plans for a CG Muppet Babies test, or a Muppets Robin Hood movie). Also interesting that some of the JHH segments are given different titles.

    "Outer Space" (Science Fiction)
    "Oceans" (Aquatic Life)
    "Power" (Monster Telethon
    "First Show" (The Ratings Game... was this really the first one produced?)
    "Fitness" (Health and Fitness)
    "Videotape" (Musicians)
  13. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    For the most part I've clicked on pictures and then clicked on the images shown below in the bottom of the pages. Turns out another page about Scary, Scary Monsters is included, but clicking on it doesn't present a larger image. And it's quite confusing... It seems that Disney got the rights to those books, yet is not allowed to make more, and The Jim Henson Company is not allowed to do anything with them. Actually there's a bit of "legal language" I see that I don't quite udnerstand but can get the gist of.

    Also interesting how it mentions three Henson biographies but not any others. Were those three (The Works, Designs and Doodles, Meet Jim Henson) the only ones in print at the time or something?

    Long ago on Muppet Wiki Danny Horn had admitted that he made up all the MuppeTelevision titles when making a guide for Muppetzine, and despite that changes weren't made to the article page titles because nobody at Muppet Wiki knew what to do about it. At least "Garbage" and "Food" ended up being correct titles. I feel "Videotape" is a more appropriate title than "Musicians" (I had initially thought it'd be themed around different Muppet musicians in addition to Solid Foam).

    Was surprised about the "First Show" title "(just "Ratings" would have been appropriate enough). All this time I had wondered if "Food" was really the first episode (it's the only MuppeTelevision episode with no cold open, there's no MuppeTelevision scene before the first commercial, the usual theme music doesn't play when the performer credits are shown at the beginning, there's no guest star, and this is the only episode to depict Animal and Zoot as part of Solid Foam, which also occurred in the promotion in Muppet Magazine).
    Mo Frackle likes this.
  14. ToonGeek

    ToonGeek Well-Known Member

    Ah Man, There Was Originally A Bear Movie In Devolpement, WHYYYYYYY :cry:
    I Would've LOVED THAT
    muppetlover123 and Mo Frackle like this.
  15. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    I was surprised to see that The Muppets on Puppets is not listed at all. Considering that special was included in The Muppet Show: Season Three, I wonder if that was an oversight, if Disney made a mistake, if Disney obtained the rights to that special after 2004, or if Disney had to clear the rights for the video release.

    Under the listing of properties retained by Henson, it incorrectly states that Inside the Labyrinth is an installment of The Jim Henson Hour.

    "Cheapest Muppet Movie" refers only to Jerry Juhl as writer, but not Jim Henson. Maybe I shouldn't be surprised, since Henson wasn't credited as a writer for any of the Muppet movies. Around the time Muppets from Space was announced there were other films announced, including "The Muppets Leave Hollywood", which isn't listed by that title in the section on unfinished productions, but there is a script titled "Muppet Hollywood Intelligence". I wonder if that is the same script/idea.

    Huh, no mention of "Made-for-TV Movie", a script (or treatment?) Jerry Juhl wrote in the 1970s which was intended to be broadcast on ABC. it was recently mentioned on the Jim Henson's Red Book site (in the historical section for one of the entries on "Out to Lunch") and would have starred Kermit.

    Despite there being a seperate section on Muppet productions where outside companies hold the distribution rights/copyright, The Muppets at Walt Disney World and Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson were both listed under "Muppet Specials". I thought Disney always had the copyright on those.

    It just now hit me that while the documents list most of the made-for-video productions, it doesn't mention "You're the Director", "Muppet Madness", the "Muppet Babies Video Storybook" series, or the Muppet Babies "Yes, I Can" intros.

    What do ya know, it confirms that there are 40 episodes of Muppet Time. I wonder if this was sourced online.
  16. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    Thinking more about those in-development/abandoned scripts, I find it interesting how there were two scripts called "Next Muppet Movie" (well, one of them has a "The" in the title...). Also two different newer Muppet shows, I assume the one titled "Tom Martin Muppet Show" is the one that was going to air on Fox (I looked up Tom Martin on Muppet Wiki and saw that he contributed to It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie which came out when the new show was in development).

    I kept looking but didn't notice Muppet Time Travel in that list until today, and knowing that the plot involved Animal going back in time and altering history so that everybody resembles him, I figured that one might have been the project listed as "Animal Origin Movie", then saw that Muppet Time Travel was listed. So there were two unfinished projects where Animal would have been the star (well, don't know if that would make him the star of the time traveling movie, but he affects the plot). Depending on when the scripts were written (I know that the time travel film was in development back in 2001) I wonder if the rest of the original five Electric Mayhem would have been heavily involved. I would like to think that Floyd would have at least had a main role.
  17. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    Here's some more documents from the "who owns what" book:

    It shows regristrations of various copyrights, for both productions and characters. It's interesting, it doesn't seem to note the difference on whether something is a character or production. Most of the characters and productions listed are ones that Disney got or should have got, but for some reason it lists a number of characters created for the first Sesame Street Live show (without noting them as being from Sesame Street Live). I would have thought Sesame Workshop would have gotten those characters after purchasing the Sesame Street Muppets (though either way we probably won't see those characters used again). And almost every character from The Muppet Show has their date of copyright after the show began, with the exceptions of "Kermit the Muppet" (the original incarnation of Kermit, listed in addition to "Kermit the Frog") and "Harry the Muppet" (presumably Harry the Hipster), both given 1956 copyrights. Even other characters who were created before The Muppet Show (Rowlf, Baskerville, Thog, Big Java, Little Java, Mahna Mahna, and others) are copyrighted 1976 or later.

    Some interesting differences in character names (or names I do't recognize):
    • J.P. Grosse appears to be registered under the name J.P. Take (which seems a bit more appropriate).
    • Mean Mama is listed as "Mean Mother Monster". There's also a charatcter (copyrighted 1977) listed as "offspring", whom I can only assume is Mean Mama's child from the Don Knotts episode.
    • One of the listed characters is "constables", copyrighted 1980. Not sure who that is.
    • Apparently, Link Hogthrob was originally to be called "Link Snout", and Beaker was originally "Booker".
    • There's a "Hippy News Reporter" given the copyright date of 1977. That character must be Fleet Scribbler.
    • Granny the Gougher is listed simply as "Lady Wrestler".
    • There's a character labled "New Dog". I wonder which dog that is. My guess is Muppy.
    • One name I don't recognize is "Miss Loui-Pop". I wonder if that's the jugband member Lou, though the files also list "Lady", which is what Lou was called in an original design sketch of the jugband (the files also list Gramps and Zeke, the only Jugband members whose names in the original design sketch matched what they would be called on-screen, but as far as I can tell (because many of the pages are hard to read) the files don't list any of the other jugband members, whether by their design sketch names or what has been said on-screen. Both "Lady" and "Miss Loui-Pop" are listed with 1977 copyrights, which would be when the jugband was introduced.

    Many of the files are hard to read, due to how it is presented (the user took pictures of pages with a cell phone, and in some photos put two pages together). Too bad, I wonder if the documents reveal mysteries like the name of the Solid Foam Drummer or the Muppets Tonight Band members (or what the band's name is).
  18. Muppetboy09

    Muppetboy09 Well-Known Member

    There were some...interesting domains listed in there...
    mupcollector1 likes this.
  19. mupcollector1

    mupcollector1 Well-Known Member

    Very interesting. Though I'm curious, it's legal to post these documents right? Because they are sort of expired. Where did you get them? I'm guessing the copyright one is probably from the copyright.gov public database. Very interesting information, thanks for sharing.
  20. mupcollector1

    mupcollector1 Well-Known Member

    Especially the internet domains. lol

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