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  #1  
Old 03-14-2017, 12:32 PM
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Default Impact Wrestling, Hardys Embroiled in Nasty Legal Battle Over "Broken" Universe

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As noted, PWInsider reported that Impact Wrestling this past weekend sent a cease and desist to ROH and pay-per-view providers regarding the intellectual property of Matt Hardy's "Broken" gimmick, which is why the "Broken" mannerisms were not used at this past Saturday's ROH 15th Anniversary PPV. Matt's wife, Reby Hardy, lashed out at Impact Wrestling, noting that the company was "sending 'spooky' letters to cable providers" if they aired the Hardys and were trying "to screw ROH & ruin wrestling for fans."
http://www.wrestlinginc.com/wi/news/...-legal-threat/

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This is ugly. Reby Hardy recently released an Anti-Impact parody t-shirt that reads "Fuck That Owl", and has been lashing out at the company on social media for the last week, plus.

Apparently IW are OK with the Hardy's using the gimmick outside of Impact, but want a cut of their profits, which has both sides pitted against each other baring teeth.
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  #2  
Old 03-15-2017, 07:12 PM
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http://www.wrestlinginc.com/wi/news/...-legal-threat/

--

This is ugly. Reby Hardy recently released an Anti-Impact parody t-shirt that reads "Fuck That Owl", and has been lashing out at the company on social media for the last week, plus.

Apparently IW are OK with the Hardy's using the gimmick outside of Impact, but want a cut of their profits, which has both sides pitted against each other baring teeth.
It depends who "owns" the gimmick.

If Matt Hardy created the gimmick, and owns it, then he can do the character when he likes, to who he likes, and there is nothing that TNA can do about it.

But if he signed away the "gimmick" as part of his contract, then TNA might own the gimmick, even though Matt created it.

It is like if a rock musicians signs with Sony. They sign over their songs, meaning that the record company gets to decide who gets to cover it, sample it or any other use, but the original musician gets a cut every time it is used as well.

So Matt, as creator of the gimmick, still gets compensated, but the question is whether TNA also "own" the gimmick.

It is a shame that it has come to this, considering that the "Broken Hardys" have saved TNA from going under, and made it relevant and "interesting" again. Maybe Jarrett and Anthem need to remember that.
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Old 05-08-2017, 05:34 PM
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Another update in the never-ending feud between the Hardys and IW:

Matt Hardy tweeted at Ed Nordholm, the EVP of Anthem Sports, claiming he wants to keep Hardy's creation (the Broken universe) "hostage from fans", citing that because of this, they (Anthem), "DO NOT care about the fans". He and his wife, Reby, in fact, have been hounding Impact for what feels like months over this.

Before I explain why I think he's wrong, let me just say that I am actually hoping for a resolution here and that WWE and Impact come to a financial agreement to allow the use of the Broken characters on WWE TV. It's clear the fans want to see it, which puts Impact in a fortuitous position. Given WWE's wealth, it's not inconceivable that they can simply financially compensate Impact in order to secure the rights to reference both brothers as Broken on WWE television. Whether or not that happens, however, Matt is simply wrong here. He's been wrong from the start, and he proves it with appeals to emotion like this recent tweet.

In the world of IP (Intellectual Property), it's really, really simple. If you are contracted to a company and use that company's assets (computers, screen time, fuckin' legal pad, whatever) to flush that idea out, especially to the level of profit, that company, at the bare minimum, owns a percentage of your profits. This is complicated given the nature of pro wrestling contracts but in the case of the Hardy's it's quite simple. The characters debuted and were grown organically on Impact television. It doesn't matter what toilet bowl, IHOP, outhouse, or used car sales lot Reby or Matt or Jeff "thought" the ideas up. They were developed through Impact Wrestling. As a result, Impact owns the rights to these characters. In exactly the same way that WWE owns the rights to Cody's "Rhodes" last name. It' why he's simply gone by "Cody" in Impact, ROH, and Japan. Because none of those companies have secured the rights to legally refer to him by the IP of WWE.

I joked a while ago, but I've since said seriously, that should Impact sign Cody Rhodes to a long-term contract, the solution here is simple — an exchange of IP. Just as they did years ago when Ric Flair (then under contract to TNA) appeared at a WWE Hall-of-Fame event. TNA allowed him to do so in exchange for an appearance by Christian Cage (then under contract to WWE) at a TNA PPV. It was a very minor deal. In this case, it would be larger, but given WWE's apparent plans for the Hardy's, should Impact get Cody Rhodes under contract, a simple exchange of the IPs makes too much sense not to happen. WWE would get access to all of the Broken universe, and TNA can finally refer to him as Cody Rhodes. It's win-win, really.

Impact may be losing in the court of public opinion, but they are on pretty firm legal grounds as far as I can tell. Sure, being petty about this probably isn't gaining them any favor as they fight for the eyeball of fans, but I certainly can't fault them for not giving away an IP they have a legal right to and foregoing financial compensation in exchange for allowing it to be seen outside their programming.
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  #4  
Old 05-09-2017, 07:40 AM
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I joked a while ago, but I've since said seriously, that should Impact sign Cody Rhodes to a long-term contract, the solution here is simple — an exchange of IP. Just as they did years ago when Ric Flair (then under contract to TNA) appeared at a WWE Hall-of-Fame event. TNA allowed him to do so in exchange for an appearance by Christian Cage (then under contract to WWE) at a TNA PPV. It was a very minor deal. In this case, it would be larger, but given WWE's apparent plans for the Hardy's, should Impact get Cody Rhodes under contract, a simple exchange of the IPs makes too much sense not to happen. WWE would get access to all of the Broken universe, and TNA can finally refer to him as Cody Rhodes. It's win-win, really.
I agree that IMPACT Wrestling actually has the rights to "Broken" stuff. Same with Cody Rhodes in case of WWE.

But hear me out. What good does adding "Rhodes" to Cody's name does to IMPACT Wrestling? Almost all of us know that he's the son of Dusty Rhodes. So what's the benefit? It's not like he has been treated as a nobody. So how is it a win for IMPACT Wrestling? On one hand, IMPACT Wrestling loses the right to "Broken" stuff which indeed matters. On the other hand, IMPACT Wrestling gains the right to "Rhodes" name which doesn't matter as much.
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  #5  
Old 05-09-2017, 06:29 AM
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What made the broken universe so special in tna was that matt had total control of the direction of the characters and what they did within the universe. That the reason why they left tna in the first place, because jarrett and company didn't want to give them total control anymore and while the fans reall wants to see it brought back in wwe, matt won't get total control over this and we might get another house of horrors type gimmick which isn't a good thing.

Personally, while I think bringing this gimmick to wwe would be good, it would only work if matt is in control of it and anyway jeff doesn't need the gimmick to be over as a main eventer so they would bring this in for matt hardy only which I think it's not worth it if it's to only use it to created a midcard comedy character like the wwe will probably use this for.
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Old 05-09-2017, 10:51 AM
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As IDR said, TNA does indeed have legal rights to the characters. That is about the extent of their positives in this whole situation.

Before I get into this, allow me the following caveat: none of this matters if TNA's long term goal is just getting WWE to write them a big check for the rights to the Broken characters.

Anyway, the company does indeed own the rights to the characters and they're the only people who care about that whatsoever. I know they have the IP and all that jazz but does ANYONE believe/care about that? Sure Impact can sit there and claim that it's their property but how does that benefit them? Are they going to keep selling the merchandise? Or debut Broken Sonjay and Brother Robbie E?

Sure they could, but at the moment this is making them look like they don't care about the fans, which is a REALLY bad idea when you drawing half a million would be reason to break out the champagne (only the stuff from Walgreens though as they don't have the budget for the Wal-Mart brand).

Over the years this company has looked rather stupid over and over again with one bad idea after another. I don't know if they believe there's some competition between themselves and WWE (there isn't) but this really does come off like "if we can't have it, no one can", which isn't the best way to build up popularity or public support.

So what should they do? Pretty much just put the gimmick up for sale to WWE. No one else is going to benefit from it other than the Hardys so just take a big check and let it go. I have no idea what TNA thinks they're gaining from this by just sitting on the gimmick but they're going to lose in the court of public opinion, which is really the only thing that matters here.
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Old 05-09-2017, 05:31 PM
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As IDR said, TNA does indeed have legal rights to the characters. That is about the extent of their positives in this whole situation.

Before I get into this, allow me the following caveat: none of this matters if TNA's long term goal is just getting WWE to write them a big check for the rights to the Broken characters.

Anyway, the company does indeed own the rights to the characters and they're the only people who care about that whatsoever. I know they have the IP and all that jazz but does ANYONE believe/care about that? Sure Impact can sit there and claim that it's their property but how does that benefit them? Are they going to keep selling the merchandise? Or debut Broken Sonjay and Brother Robbie E?

Sure they could, but at the moment this is making them look like they don't care about the fans, which is a REALLY bad idea when you drawing half a million would be reason to break out the champagne (only the stuff from Walgreens though as they don't have the budget for the Wal-Mart brand).

Over the years this company has looked rather stupid over and over again with one bad idea after another. I don't know if they believe there's some competition between themselves and WWE (there isn't) but this really does come off like "if we can't have it, no one can", which isn't the best way to build up popularity or public support.

So what should they do? Pretty much just put the gimmick up for sale to WWE. No one else is going to benefit from it other than the Hardys so just take a big check and let it go. I have no idea what TNA thinks they're gaining from this by just sitting on the gimmick but they're going to lose in the court of public opinion, which is really the only thing that matters here.
I realize the optics are bad, but I'd argue that they are always bad given their history of effectively always operating behind the eight ball with fans due to sour relationships established very early on (with WWE and ROH especially).

I'd also go so far as to say that while much of what you said is true and makes sense (though it's also an appeal to emotion), that's not in and of itself a reason to simply let go of an IP that clearly has value.

My guess is that they overvalued its worth, WWE low balled an offer for the rights, and everyone got stuck between.
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Old 05-09-2017, 05:46 PM
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I realize the optics are bad, but I'd argue that they are always bad given their history of effectively always operating behind the eight ball with fans due to sour relationships established very early on (with WWE and ROH especially).

I'd also go so far as to say that while much of what you said is true and makes sense (though it's also an appeal to emotion), that's not in and of itself a reason to simply let go of an IP that clearly has value.

My guess is that they overvalued its worth, WWE low balled an offer for the rights, and everyone got stuck between.
It does have value, but not to TNA at the moment. Right now, it's sitting there, losing value every day they don't use it. The Hardys are probably going to stay in WWE as long as WWE wants them and I'd be surprised if they don't retire there. How much value can TNA get out of it at this point when the only buyer is WWE, who doesn't need it but rather wants it?
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Old 05-09-2017, 03:11 PM
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I think it's been obvious that Impact Wrestling owned the "Broken Universe" from the moment the Hardy Boyz returned to WWE. If Vince's legal team thought that the company had anything remotely resembling solid legal ground to use the "Broken" gimmick, then WWE would've used it almost from the moment Matt and Jeff returned at WrestleMania.

If Impact stubbornly refuses to enter into a deal with WWE, it'll be a shame for the fans who're into the gimmick but Impact will be the ones coming out looking like bad guys. Kinda weird when you think about it as this whole situation seems like something kind of petty and vindictive, which is what we tend to expect out of Vince if relationships sour between him and high profile talent who leave WWE.
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Old 05-09-2017, 05:38 PM
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I think it's been obvious that Impact Wrestling owned the "Broken Universe" from the moment the Hardy Boyz returned to WWE. If Vince's legal team thought that the company had anything remotely resembling solid legal ground to use the "Broken" gimmick, then WWE would've used it almost from the moment Matt and Jeff returned at WrestleMania.

If Impact stubbornly refuses to enter into a deal with WWE, it'll be a shame for the fans who're into the gimmick but Impact will be the ones coming out looking like bad guys. Kinda weird when you think about it as this whole situation seems like something kind of petty and vindictive, which is what we tend to expect out of Vince if relationships sour between him and high profile talent who leave WWE.
What you call a stubborn refusal to enter into a deal they'd likely call a refusal to accept a bad deal, which is irrelevant from a business perspective to fan perception/optics.

Again, I completely understand they're losing the court of public opinion, but until we have a better idea of exactly what is misfiring here, it's really tough to say one way or another.
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