Russian rescuer buys out Soviet cartoons rights

Russian businessman Alisher Usmanov has bought the copyrights for a library of famous Soviet cartoons from the American Films by Jove company. The collection consists of about 300 hours of cartoons made at the Russian Soyuzmultfilm studio.

The American firm acquired the rights to restore and publish the films outside Russia and other CIS countries in 1992.

The contract term was ten years, but in 1993 it was extended by another 20 years. Soyuzmultfilm later claimed the extension was illegal, which resulted in a long-lasting lawsuit.

The quarrel was finally settled with Mr Usmanov buying the disputed copyright this week. The details of the deal are not disclosed, but it is estimated to be worth between $US 5 MLN and $US 10 MLN.

The businessman has donated the cartoons to the new state-run children’s TV channel Bibigon.