Fight Over Rights to 'The Jungle Book'

     LOS ANGELES (CN) - An Irish animation company claiming to hold rights to the animated series "The Jungle Book" says an American company owes it more than $1 million.
     In a federal lawsuit, Galway's DQ Entertainment claims that SMC Entertainment Group and Sun-Mate, of Chatsworth, refused to make payments under an Oct. 17, 2011 licensing agreement.
     Sun-Mate changed its name to SMC sometime in 2012 and 2013, the complaint says.
     Amended four times, the licensing agreement granted Sun-Mate television rights, home video rights, licensing rights and merchandising rights to the animated series, DQ says in the 11-page complaint with 41 pages of exhibits.
     In July 2012, the lawsuit states, DQ and SMC entered into a licensing agreement with Burger King for a TV promotion featuring Jungle Book characters.
     Under that agreement, SMC owes DQ $100,000 and $917,711 in milestone payments under the 2011 agreement, according to the animation company.
     It claims that SMC has refused to make either payment.
     Apparently, SMC is claiming that an "oral agreement has been reached that somehow would supersede" the original long-form agreement parties signed more than 2 years ago, DQ claims.
     SMC says it will not make the payments until DQ agrees to make SMC the exclusive agent for rights to the "Jungle Book" animated series in America, the complaint states.
     "Defendants have attempted to strong-arm plaintiff into acquiescing to its demands, while brazenly committing multiple breaches of the LFA [long form agreement]," the lawsuit states.
     DQ seeks a declaration that SMC's breach has voided the parties' original contract and wants a judge to settle the dispute over who owns the "Jungle Book" series.
     Seeking $1,017,711 in damages, DQ is represented by Michael Eidel of Fox Rothschild.
     A SMC spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment Monday.
     "The Jungle Book," by Rudyard Kipling, was published in the mid 1890s. It is in the public domain.