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Court postpones Soviet cartoon copyright dispute until next year

MOSCOW, August 16 (RIA Novosti) - A Moscow arbitration court Thursday delayed until January 21, 2008 the examination of a long-running dispute between a U.S.-based film and distribution company and a Russian animated films studio over copyrights on Soviet-era cartoons.

The court postponed its session as it had no information on whether the U.S. firm had been notified of the court proceedings, and the plaintiff needed more time to specify its claims.

Films By Jove (FBJ), a Los Angeles-based company, acquired worldwide distribution rights (excluding the former U.S.S.R) to Moscow's famous Soyuzmultfilm library in 1992.

Over the years, FBJ invested millions of dollars digitally restoring and marketing the Soviet films, but court hearings ensued as Soyuzmultfilm changed its organizational status more than once, and claimed it had sole ownership of all copyrights on its products.

Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov said in April he was in talks with FBJ, a company half-owned by a Russian, about buying out the rights to screen Soviet cartoons, and returning them either to Soyuzmultfilm or the state-run children's channel currently being created.

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