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Exclusive: Cartoon maker hits back at Peppa Pig online takedowns

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SConnect has contacted the Vietnamese government following eOne’s letter about YouTube IP takedowns, in an increasingly bitter dispute

The maker of the Wolfoo cartoon has claimed that the trademark owner of Peppa Pig unfairly secured takedowns from YouTube – and has again encouraged Vietnam’s government to protect local businesses.

In a letter sent to various government ministries yesterday, November 7, Vietnam-based SConnect said eOne had “absolutely no right to implement YouTube takedown measures”.

Although eOne would request a takedown, the decision to accept or not would in reality sit with YouTube.

The letter marks the latest twist in what is becoming an increasingly vociferous spat between the pair.

Vietnam-based SConnect has been embroiled in a high-profile trademark and copyright row with eOne, which manages the intellectual property rights to the Peppa Pig franchise.

In the letter, seen by Managing IP, SConnect said responsibility for determining infringement had been pushed onto YouTube and its parent company Google, and that eOne’s takedown requests were made on false pretences.

The latest development follows an intervention from eOne last month. The entertainment company contacted Vietnam’s government to argue that courts should be the appropriate forum for resolving IP disputes.

EOne was responding to an earlier round of lobbying in which the Vietnam Digital Communications Association said YouTube takedown requests were causing heavy damage to SConnect.

EOne said at the time it had simply followed YouTube’s takedown procedures.

However, in yesterday’s letter, SConnect said eOne’s claim that it had a valid reason to request takedowns from YouTube was “completely false”. SConnect said it is the sole owner of the Wolfoo series and eOne does not own any rights to Wolfoo, including characters and sets.

However, Managing IP understands eOne has never claimed ownership of the Wolfoo content – only that the cartoon itself, including its background setting and music, infringed the company’s rights to Peppa Pig.

The SConnect letter added: “EOne is performing acts of infringement and causing serious damage to SConnect but denies the whole thing and pushes responsibility to a third party – YouTube”.

The dispute forms part of a multijurisdictional battle between eOne and SConnect. In January, eOne sued SConnect at the England and Wales High Court, alleging copyright and trademark infringement and passing off.

SConnect has also sued eOne at the Hanoi People’s Court, though Managing IP understands a claim form has not been served yet.

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