Claims company made DVDs without permission

TOKYO — Distrib Toho has filed a suit for ¥13.5 million ($130,000) against Cosmo for manufacturing and selling DVDs of three classic Toho pics without permission.

The pics are Mikio Naruse’s “Mother” (1952), Senkichi Taniguchi’s “Escape at Dawn” (1950) and Tadashi Imai’s “Till We Meet Again” (1950). The suit, filed April 25 in Tokyo District Court, wants Cosmo to cease sales of the DVDs.

Toho claims that the pics fall under the copyright law in force until 1971, which protected pics for 38 years after the helmer’s death. In 1971 the law was revised to protect pic copyrights for 50 years after release. Cosmo claims that the post-1971 law gives it the right to distribute the pics, all of which were released more than 50 years ago. Toho filed a similar suit against Cosmo last April, claiming copyright violations on releases of eight Akira Kurosawa pics.

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