Guest / Limited Access /

An appeals court has reversed a lower court decision that ruled Big Idea, the company behind VeggieTales, had broken an agreement with Lyrick Studios to distribute its videos and products. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled earlier this month that there was no written agreement between Big Idea and Lyrick Studios, which gave Big Idea the freedom to find a new distributor.

Lyrick claimed that two faxes and one internal memo referencing an agreement were enough to satisfy the law. But the court ruled that while the two companies were working to reach an agreement, and had been working as if an agreement were in place, there was never a final contract.

"We conclude that the faxes themselves do not set out a final signed contract. By their own language, they are part of negotiations," wrote Judge Edward Prado in the August 5 ruling. The internal memo, though it referenced "an agreement in force," was also not enough to satisfy the law, the court ruled.

"We were disappointed in the court of appeals verdict," said Tom Williams, an attorney who represents Lyrick. "We felt there was more than enough in the writings evidencing the agreement to satisfy a section 204(a) of the Copyright Act." Williams said Lyrick had not decided whether to appeal the verdict. "We're looking at our options."

"If the first judge had only seen the issues as clearly as the appeals judge, we might not have been forced to sell everything we had built," says Phil Vischer, founder of Big Idea. "VeggieTales would still be ours."

Although the earlier $11.5 million verdict forced Big Idea into bankruptcy, Vischer says, it was only the straw that broke the camel's back. "Our fundamental mistakes were, first, that we thought VeggieTales could continue growing ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedAbortion by Dismemberment Banned in Kansas
Abortion by Dismemberment Banned in Kansas
Surge in pro-life legislation in states enters fifth year.
Trending3 Important Church Trends in the Next 10 Years
3 Important Church Trends in the Next 10 Years
Christianity in the United States may look very different in 10 years.
Editor's PickGetting Brutally Honest with God
Getting Brutally Honest with God
The psalms of lament invite us to voice our frustrations—and provide a reason to hope.
Comments
Christianity Today
Judge Overturns $11.5 Million Big Idea Judgment
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

August 2005

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.