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Rover International V. Canon Film Sales Rover's Claim Notes

BCL Law Notes > Restitution of Unjust Enrichment BCL Notes

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ROVER INTERNATIONAL V. CANON FILM SALES (ROVER'S CLAIM) FACTS During the autumn of 1985 there were discussions between them and a Mr. Batemen on behalf of Thorn EMI about the dubbing and distribution in Italy of what ultimately became 17 films in which Thorn EMI had, or were to acquire, the necessary rights. The de Rossi brothers and Mrs. Karlin were connected with Monitor, a well established film distributor in Italy, and it appears that similar ventures had previously been successfully carried out between Monitor and Thorn EMI. In broad outline, the joint venture was to take the following form. Thorn EMI would supply master prints of the films and all other necessary materials, which would remain their property, and Monitor would arrange for the dubbing of the films into Italian and all the related artwork and other matters. Thereafter Monitor would arrange the distribution of the films to Italian cinemas, but in all respects subject to the approval and control of Thorn EMI. An important feature of the deal was that substantial advances were to be pre-paid to Thorn EMI by instalments in U.S. dollars on account of their ultimate share of the gross receipts. Since this would have involved complications with Italian monetary or fiscal regulations it was envisaged from the outset that a non-Italian company would have to be interposed as a "front" for Monitor. This was to be Rover, a company to be incorporated in the Channel Islands and presumably to be funded from non-Italian sources to pay the advances to Thorn EMI. Unfortunately, however, as subsequently held at the trial, the theatrical agreement ante-dated the incorporation of Rover by about a month, and this fact did not become apparent to either side until some six months later. Thorn EMI were to deliver all the necessary prints and other materials within a stated time from Rover's readiness to receive them, and they were to remain the property of Thorn EMI at all times. The films were then to be dubbed and treated ready for release in Italy by Rover at their expense, but the release dates, release patterns, and marketing strategy were all to be dependent on from the exhibition of the films were to be the property of Thorn EMI as soon as they were generated, but subject to division as mentioned hereafter. Meanwhile Rover were liable to pre-pay
$1,500,000 to EMI in The first instalment was to be paid on 1 January 1986 (or upon prior approval of the agreement by the Italian authorities), and the remaining 23 on the last business day of each subsequent month. At the end of the term of the agreement, which was to be basically for two years expiring at the end of 1987, Thorn EMI were to repay to Rover any excess in the total advance paid by Rover over the net receipts recouped by them.

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