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[[caption-width-right:350:[[Creator/{{Viacom}} They]] just ''[[DisneyOwnsThisTrope love]]'' [[ClumsyCopyrightCensorship doing]] [[DigitalPiracyIsEvil this]] to Website/YouTube.]]

->"''Hey, hey, kids! Your old pal Krusty is going to teach you five new words: unlicensed use of my image!''"
-->-- '''Krusty the Clown''', ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' ("[[Recap/TheSimpsonsS20E4TreehouseOfHorrorXIX Treehouse of Horror XIX]]")

UsefulNotes/{{Copyright}} and UsefulNotes/{{Trademark}} law have gotten in the way of or forced cancellation for many works. No matter how promising, popular or profitable a show is, it's still apt to get canceled if it would be ''illegal'' to keep broadcasting. This can be prone to WhatAnIdiot moments on the part of the owner of the intellectual property in question, since if it's that profitable, it makes sense to license the work rather than shut it down, unless of course the artist is DoingItForTheArt.

Fans may have to KeepCirculatingTheTapes if legal troubles also forbid a home release.

Sometimes, the reason why a trademark is so zealously protected is because the holder wants to prevent it from entering common use as a generic term, which would cause them to lose it. This has happened with Aspirin (once a Bayer trademark[[note]]Although UsefulNotes/WorldWarI helped put a nail in that coffin[[/note]][[note]]Heroin was also, but Bayer isn't smarting as much over that one, [[OldShame for obvious reasons]][[/note]]), Cellophane, and other "genericized" trademarks. It's also why most productions bend over backwards to make sure that RealLife product names [[BlandNameProduct are not mentioned at all]] (unless as ProductPlacement), and certainly ''never'' as generics. But note that this only applies to trademarks, not to copyrights. Additionally, note that (contrary to the common misunderstanding of this law) a company is never legally ''required'' to protect a trademark in order to keep it -- they don't lose it simply for failing to protect it; they only lose it if it enters common use as a generic term to the point where it is no longer trademarkable.

[[Wiki/{{Wikipedia}} The Other Wiki]] refers to this as the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_anticommons tragedy of the anticommons]], where the existence of competing rights holders -- not just in copyright, but also in patent law,[[note]]Where it's a very serious problem, since technology is iterative; many companies are highly annoyed by the "patent thicket" keeping them from developing new software and (especially) new smartphones, since so much is patented and they can't build on current without stepping on a patent or two or two hundred. However, no company has an incentive to end the thicket, since they regard their patents as leverage against others. Then there are the patent trolls who buy up patents solely to start lawsuits.[[/note]] land ownership,[[note]]Most often when someone has a big project and needs to buy up a bunch of lots, giving landowners an incentive to hold out for a higher payday[[/note]] leasing rights and other areas -- frustrates achieving a socially desirable outcome. To further complicate matters, organizations of all kinds try as hard as possible to [[DisneyOwnsThisTrope blur the lines between copyrights, patents, and trademarks in their favour]].

Related to ScrewedByTheNetwork.


[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* The spectacular legal pileup on both sides of the Pacific Ocean between multiple rightsholders in the Macross franchise has ensured that precious little of the franchise [[NoExportForYou can ever be released in the United States]]:
** Bandai was going to release the video game ''Macross VFX II'' in the US -- even released a demo disc with one of the major game magazines. Harmony Gold forced them to stop.
** ''Anime/{{Macross 7}}'' and ''Anime/MacrossZero'' will most likely not be released, because of bad blood between Harmony Gold and Big West making such a release impossible (at least without having to change all names and logos from the original ''Macross'' series). In ''Macross 7'''s case, another obstacle is the music licensing, which is a tangled weave.
** ''Anime/MacrossFrontier'' also didn't make it over largely due to music rights issues (the manga crossed the ocean with no problem). The legal snarls over the series are less than they were (Harmony Gold's legal team is a shadow of its former self, a lot of the legal rulings in their favor are unlikely to hold up if they actually get in a fight, and much of the bad blood between the various combatants has dissipated) but the music rights are still a tangled mess on the Japanese side.
** Numerous attempts to bring out the widely praised Yamato's ''Macross'' transformable toys have met with C&D letters. Yamato even tried to release the toys with all Macross indicia removed, under the name of "Sunwards". It failed.
** The only reason, apparently, that ''Anime/MacrossPlus'' and ''Macross II'' were released and still enjoy widespread release in the US is that they came out at a time in which HG was "not minding the store", according to rumors that they were weakened after a head-hunting raid by [[Creator/SabanEntertainment Haim Saban]]. And that the Japanese side of the pileup [[SendingStuffToSaveTheShow was actually listening to the fans and the rest of the industry]].
*** Tracks from the ''Macross Plus'' are being steadily removed from [=YouTube=], due to complaints from the copyright holders to the music.
** It's still a minor miracle that the original series attained a US release, first through [=AnimEigo=] and then through [=ADV=].
** The big one, though, is ''[[TheMovie Macross: Do You Remember Love]]''. This is considered one of the holy grails of old-school anime fandom. However, numerous companies -- the usual names in the conflict, such as Big West, Studio Nue, Creator/TatsunokoProduction and Harmony Gold, as well as other companies such as Shogakukan, Japan Victor Musical Industries, and even ''Franchise/{{Godzilla}}'' studio Toho -- are all squabbling, making a veritable legal GambitPileup, one so intractable that some names in the anime industry think we'll see [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking a cure for cancer, world peace and the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series]] before DYRL is legally released again outside Japan.
*** Unlike ''7'', ''Zero'', and ''Frontier'', though, ''DYRL'' was released on VHS in the US and the UK during the mid-1990s. The US got a heavily-cut version titled ''Clash of the Bionoids'' (released by Celebrity Home Entertainment), and also a version with fewer cuts or no cuts titled ''Superdimensional Fortress Macross'' (released by Best Film and Video), both of which had an English dub commissioned by Toho, which was similar to [[HongKongDub the dubs for Toho's Godzilla movies]]. In the UK, Kiseki Films released a version with the dub and a subtitled version[[note]]this is the version which has the infamous mistranslated line "My engine blocks are angry at me"[[/note]], both uncut. Now that DYRL has been released on UsefulNotes/BluRay, the unavaliability-to-those-without-a-region-2-player issue has been solved, but there is still [[CrackIsCheaper another trope]] very much in play.
* The 1997-2002 legal battles between the co-creators of ''Manga/CandyCandy'' over ownership of the series led to the prohibition of a massive number of merchandise on the series. Said merchandise include home video releases, preventing ''anyone'' from legally releasing the anime ''anywhere'', not even Creator/ToeiAnimation in their home country; a halting that persists to this day. Though somehow parts of Latin America were able to get a rerelease in 2012.
* In 1982, TMS and Creator/{{DiC|Entertainment}} decided to collaborate to create a spin-off series of ''Franchise/LupinIII'' [[RecycledINSPACE that took place in the future]], titled ''Anime/LupinVIII''. One episode was already completely animated and given sound and music, but before they could add a vocal track, the Maurice [=LeBlanc=] estate (who owned the rights to the ''Literature/ArseneLupin'' name) threatened to sue their collective butts if they were to broadcast it in Europe, so cancellation was inevitable. VHS tapes containing the first episode without voice-overs are still in circulation, however. Incidentally, the cancellation of ''Lupin VIII'' directly resulted in the creation of ''WesternAnimation/InspectorGadget'', when DiC was told to come up with a replacement.
* Viz has not yet released the majority of the ''Manga/{{Monster}}'' anime on video, nor will it ever, due to the series's use of licensed music. The first half was released on DVD with the licensed music replaced, but the second half has [[Film/TheWizardOfOz "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"]] as a plot point and thus cannot be easily changed to something else. (This hasn't stopped Viz from distributing this show digitally or it airing in its entirety on television, however. The fact that the series apparently sold very poorly is probably a bigger factor than the music.)
* In 2008, Disney's Brazilian branch announced they would be publishing the ''Manga/KingdomHearts'' manga in the country (it was a match made in heaven -- Disney's comics were already good sellers, so the manga served as a way to attract both readers of those comics and manga readers). However, Creator/SquareEnix objected to the idea and stopped it from being published (after it was already announced), for the (rather odd) reason that the game was never officially released in the country, therefore getting AdaptationFirst on shelves was a no-no. BR Disney and Creator/SquareEnix's squabble lasted for quite a while before the manga could finally be released in 2013, 5 years later.
* A legal squabble between Shogakukan and Makoto Raiku over ''Manga/ZatchBell'' resulted in Raiku gaining all rights to the series (including the anime). He proceeded to immediately void all international licence agreements, which forced Viz to halt their manga release three-quarters of the way through.
* While ''Anime/MobileSuitZetaGundam'' was released in the US, the DVD/Blu-Ray release had altered opening and ending music. This is because the opening and ending themes were written by 60's pop maven Neil Sedaka, who for reasons unclear (whether licensing fees, OldShame or worries about being seen as {{Japandering}}) has not assented tho their use outside of Japan. This also affects Japan as whenever ''Zeta Gundam'' is used in a ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars'' game, they end up using one of the series' incidental musics instead.
* A peculiar case of this trope in ''Anime/GundamBuildFighters'': Due to legal agreements with Japanese TV networks, Mobile Suits that have aired on MBS and TBS in the last 5 years cannot be shown. This means the suits from the latter half of ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam00'' and from ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamAGE'' cannot be entirely used. Apparently averted with the ''[[Anime/Gundam00AWakeningOfTheTrailblazer Gundam 00]]'' movie and ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamUnicorn'', due to their nature as a feature film and [=OVA=], respectively.
** That said, the appearance of the Amazing Exia Repair in the final episode made fans squeal for joy... especially when they remembered that 00 Season 2 suits became fair game ''two days before Episode 25 aired.'' Even so, the Amazing Exia is a double case of this: [[http://imgur.com/jiXIpFq Careful examination]] reveals it's not actually an Exia, but an ''Exia Repair II''. The staff did mention on Twitter doing something that pissed off the brass...
* Similar to the Zeta Gundam example, the first opening of ''Manga/KodomoNoOmocha'' suffered the same fate. Tokio's contract prohibited their music to be used overseas so Funimation used the second season's opening instead. Furthermore, a member of Tokio cameos in the ''first'' episode while the forbidden song plays in the background. The English dub track simply renames the band "Kyoto" and again swaps in the 2nd opening song. On the Japanese track...[[{{Unperson}} silence.]]
** It's not just overseas releases that suffered this fate. Johnny's Entertainment has a reputation for having a controlled, iron grip over its acts. The opening theme for ''Manga/AkazukinChaCha'' was originally sung by Music/{{SMAP}}, but in all home releases, the opening theme was re-arranged and sung by a different vocalist. Also, Creator/FourKidsEntertainment originally streamed the original Japanese episodes of ''Anime/YuGiOh'', but were forced to take them down because of contract regulations with Shunsuke Kazama, Yugi's voice actor (who is part of Johnny's as an IdolSinger).
* Creator/{{Funimation}} was forced to rename their release of ''Manga/DetectiveConan'' by [[Creator/TMSEntertainment the original licensors]] because they (the licensors) were afraid of a lawsuit by the estate of Creator/RobertEHoward over the trademark of "Conan". Moreover, the name changes (which include the show being renamed "Case Closed") were even forced on Viz by TMS, making it one of the rare examples of a {{Macekre}} that actually wasn't the English production company's fault. Viz's English release of the manga was also affected as a result.
* A number of disputes involving Creator/{{CBS}} (who now owns the entire TV back catalog of...), Creator/{{Viacom}} (the English version's original distributor, and Nickelodeon's parent company; now a separate company from CBS), DHX Media (who absorbed Cookie Jar, who were previously known as Cinar, the original producers of the dub) and licensors Creator/StudioGhibli (the successors to the original studio that produced the series) and Tohokushinsha Film Corporation have kept "Koala Boy Kokki" (AKA: "''The Anime/AdventuresOfTheLittleKoala''") from seeing a Region 1 DVD release. Only one VHS release was ever sold in the US, and that was only because the series was still running on Creator/{{Nickelodeon}}'s Nick Jr. block at the time. [[KeepCirculatingTheTapes Hope you were lucky to have taped the show then]].
* The first three ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' movies had not seen the light of day in the U.S. and the rest of Region 1 since their original theatrical and DVD releases. With the exception of occasional TV broadcasts[[note]]Either on syndication, Creator/WGNAmerica and Creator/CartoonNetwork[[/note]], Creator/WarnerBrothers (who distributed the three films to theaters) wasn't been able to warm up legal relations with Nintendo, The Pokemon Company (both of whom license the anime) and Toho (the owners of the Japanese versions of the movies), making the prospect of a remastered DVD or Blu-ray release highly unlikely. The issues were finally resolved in December 2015, just a few days after a Blu-ray set of the movies was released in Australia, and both Warner Home Video and Viz Media confirmed that a Blu-ray set containing all three movies would be released in February 2016 in a Limited Edition Steelbook ([[VanillaEdition albeit presented in the 4Kids dub and possibly no special features]]).
** The [[Anime/PokemonHeroes fifth]], [[Anime/PokemonJirachiWishmaker sixth]], and [[Anime/PokemonDestinyDeoxys seventh]] movies are currently affected as well. Unlike the first three were for so long, they ''are'' still in print on DVD, but because they were distributed by Miramax, whose distribution rights to the four they released did ''not'' expire a decade after each film's release, The Pokémon Company International was unable to release them digitally along with the other films for the franchise's [[MilestoneCelebration 20th anniversary]]. What makes this somewhat confusing is that [[Anime/Pokemon4Ever the fourth movie]] was released on iTunes and Amazon with the other movies, but current [=DVDs=] of said film are released by Lionsgate (Miramax's distributor) instead of Viz Media.
* When the ''LightNovel/SuzumiyaHaruhi'' anime's first season was finally licensed in North America, it came with a massive viral marketing campaign that often reached out to fans, and one of the things Bandai Entertainment did with that was regularly promoting fanworks. However, this was at the exact same time that Kadokawa in Japan was sending out wave after wave of copyright claims on Haruhi videos. An effort to try and clamp down on full-episode uploads ended up making it so that the [=AMVs=], cosplay videos, and fan performances of things like the ending theme dance that the North American licensors were actively promoting were quickly shut down by the original copyright holders in Japan.
** When the series' license was rescued by FUNimation, it began a large-scale takedown of full episodes from YouTube. They have missed quite a few, though, and it's doubtful that a second wave will follow.
* Streams of ''Anime/{{Shirobako}}'' have the endings revolving around Mari Tateo's play removed because it's an all-female version of ''Theatre/WaitingForGodot''. Samuel Beckett, the original writer of the play, [[BerserkButton hated the very idea of all-female versions]] and would frequently sue any theatre that even tried it, a practice his estate still seems to practice.
* ''Anime/EdenOfTheEast'' uses the Creator/{{Oasis}} song ''Falling Down'' as the opening theme song... in the Japanese release. [[SubvertedTrope While Funimation was able to license the song for the English release]] [[DoubleSubverted they could only do so for the first episode]] with later episodes (and other international releases) replacing the song entirely.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In the late 1990s, Black Mermaid Productions of Australia were responsible for ''Comicbook/ElfQuest: Wavedancers'', which featured a group of aquatic elves. "Creative differences" between Black Mermaid and EQ publisher Warp Graphics led to the cancellation of the series, and an agreement that neither company would reprint it. Warp came out with its own ''Wavedancers'' series featuring new characters, while Black Mermaid is reportedly working on something called ''Elf Fin''.
* ''ComicBook/{{Zenith}}'' cannot be reprinted because Creator/GrantMorrison claims that when Rebellion bought the rights to ''ComicBook/TwoThousandAD'' from IPC, it apparently didn't include the rights to ''Zenith''. The issues have evidently been overcome, however--''The Complete Zenith'' is now on sale at the 2000AD website.
* Morrison's ''ComicBook/DoomPatrol'' and ''ComicBook/FlexMentallo'' were kept out of reprints until the 2000s because of a trademark dispute with the Charles Atlas bodybuilding company over the character Flex, who began as a parody of Atlas's iconic comic strip advertisements.
* Something of a running gag with Todd [=McFarlane=] and ''ComicBook/{{Spawn}}''.
** [=McFarlane=] was sued by NHL player Anthony Rory Twist over the mobster Tony Twist, who [=McFarlane=] had admitted was named after him. In 2004 [=McFarlane=] was found guilty of having profited on Twist's likeness and eventually settled out of court.
** [=McFarlane=]'s habit of claiming sole ownership over the characters he co-created - dating back to his work on ComicBook/{{Venom}} - has gotten him into a ''lot'' of trouble with Creator/NeilGaiman, who wrote the stories that introduced the key characters Angela, Cogliostro, and Medieval Spawn in 1993. This resulted in an arduous legal battle that lasted until 2004, where a court hearing granted them joint ownership. Gaiman later returned to court over [[{{Expy}} expies]] of Medieval Spawn and Angela and [=McFarlane=]'s use of Miracleman, and it was ultimately decided that Gaiman would get Angela - eventually selling her to Marvel Comics in 2013 - and [=McFarlane=] would get Medieval Spawn and Cog.
** Another well-known 80's superhero comic that was caught in a rights-ownership dispute for decades is the Creator/AlanMoore[=/=]Creator/NeilGaiman ''Marvelman'' (''Comicbook/MiracleMan'' [[MarketBasedTitle in America]]) - Rebellion, IPC, Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore and [=Todd McFarlane=] ''all'' had a claim on the series. Marvel apparently cleared the rights for the earliest stories featuring the character, but not for its run in Warrior magazine or Eclipse Comics. Said run, featuring the work of Moore and Gaiman, is naturally of the most interest to comic readers and was left as a particularly sad example of KeepCirculatingTheTapes. [=McFarlane=] claimed he had gotten the rights to Miracleman when he purchased ''Eclipse'''s creative assets in 1996, and introduced the character into ''Spawn'' as a cosmic entity called the "Man Of Miracles[=/=]Mother of Creation". In 2001, Gaiman launched a second lawsuit against [=McFarlane=] to get ownership of the character back, and in 2009 Marvel purchased the character from his original creator, Mick Anglo. In 2014, Marvel finally began reprinting the Moore issues from the start in serial form, and has promised that once the Gaiman issues run out they will publish new issues that continue the arcs as originally planned, while ''Spawn'' underwent a ContinuityReboot that retconned Miracleman out of the comic.
* The 1978 one-shot comic ''Franchise/{{Superman}} vs. Muhammad Ali'' was not reprinted until 2010, as the cover included the likenesses of over a hundred 1970s celebrities in the background. The lawyers had to be convinced no one would sue.
* In 2010, Ken Penders, former head writer of ''ComicBook/ArchieComicsSonicTheHedgehog'', filed copyright claims for all of his characters and creations in an attempt to [[MoneyDearBoy gain royalties for their use]], promoting Archie Comics to file a lawsuit against him and take him to court to disprove his claims. While things didn't seem all that bad at first, the case began to swing in Penders' favor when it became clear that Archie could not prove their ownership of the properties in question and caused so many delays in court that the judge threatened to throw the case out, which would give Penders the victory by default.[[note]]The exact details are unknown, but Penders proclaims that the original contracts were destroyed -- how they were is disputed; one account suggests fire, another a careless intern destroyed them.[[/note]] In a panic, Archie decided to remove all of Penders' creations from the comic while it was in the middle of a story arc that centered around them, throwing the plot completely out of whack and making fans (and the creative staff) livid. In the end, the two sides settled, and though Penders stated that Archie could be allowed to use his creations anyway, the conditions he put up for that didn't sit well with Archie and they instead decided to perform a soft reboot for the series via a CosmicRetcon at the end of ''ComicBook/SonicTheHedgehogMegaManWorldsCollide''. The character removals also extended to all creators whose names were not Sega, DiC or Ian Flynn.
** Another problem screwing the comic is crazy laws regarding Sonic media outside the United States. Because of the various creators behind them, the comic can't use anyone from Japanese media that ''isn't'' video games, thus it would be impossible to see characters like Princess Sera or Chris Thorndyke interacting with the Freedom Fighters. As well, Western Sonic media is off limits to those in Japan. This is why the Freedom Fighters' only game appearance was in ''VideoGame/SonicSpinball'' - it was American-made.
* For a couple of years, Creator/{{Viz}} featured a strip called ''Captain Morgan and his Hammond Organ'', about a pirate captain who was more interested in playing 70s pop and disco hits on his Wurlitzer than in raiding other ships ([[MakesJustAsMuchSenseInContext it makes no more sense in context]]). Unfortunately, the copyright holders of the songs complained. Viz didn't have a leg to stand on legally, and the only way out was to have used songs that were out of copyright, like hymns and spirituals. Given that this would have killed the joke, Viz had no choice but to drop the strip.
* Creator/MarvelComics' ''ComicBook/RomSpaceknight'' will probably never be collected in a trade. Rom was a space based hero who fought gigantic EldritchAbomination creatures called the Dire Wraiths. But seeing as Rom is owned by Creator/{{Hasbro}} via Parker Brothers, Marvel doesn't own the rights to the name. The best we've seen is a SerialNumbersFiledOff offspring who talks about a [[YouKnowTheOne great hero]].
** Something of the sort also happened to ''Franchise/{{Godzilla}}'' as the beast once rampaged through Earth-616, chased by S.H.I.E.L.D. Once Marvel lost the rights to the beast, they used one story where one of the villains created during this time mutated him into something different, though that was retconned. He reappeared years later with a different, yet still Godzilla-like look, appearing just long enough so that his storyline with another character could be completed with him being killed.
* The ''Franchise/SpiderMan'' storyline ''ComicBook/SpiderVerse'' had virtually ''every'' Spider-Man in existence show up in some form. However, there are eight that were not allowed to appear. Seven were confirmed, though: the Spider-Man portrayed by Creator/TobeyMaguire, the Spider-Man portrayed by Creator/AndrewGarfield, the Spider-Man of ''WesternAnimation/TheSpectacularSpiderMan'', the Spider-Man of ''WesternAnimation/SpiderManTheNewAnimatedSeries'' and the three Spider-Boys from the ComicBook/AmalgamUniverse. The first four Spideys are owned by Creator/SonyPictures, the latter three are (both legally and [[FusionDance in-universe]]) half-Marvel, half-Creator/DCComics (and it goes the other way too: DC stated they couldn't use any Amalgam character in ''ComicBook/{{Convergence}}'' either for the same reason).
** There was a workaround. One of the issues featured a conversation between two of the Spider-Men, who mentioned having seen (respectively) a Spider-Man who looked exactly like Creator/TobeyMaguire, and a Spider-Man who looked exactly like Creator/AndrewGarfield. Additionally, they mentioned having seen a [[Series/TheElectricCompany Spider-Man who kept teaching grammar]] and a [[Theatre/SpiderManTurnOffTheDark Spider-Man who wouldn't stop singing show tunes]].
* It's rumored that the reason Eli Bradley (AKA Patriot) hasn't appeared in any of the ''ComicBook/YoungAvengers''-related comics in recent years is due to a legal dispute between Marvel and the estate of Robert Morales, who created the Bradley family.
* In the early 1990s, Marvel UK was given the license from Creator/WarnerBrothers to publish ''WesternAnimation/TinyToonAdventures'' comic books in most of Europe (except the US, where they were published on magazines from Creator/DCComics). Marvel lost that license after just a year, were bought by Creator/{{Disney}} over a decade later, and Warner made all their comics based off their property published by DC in all territories following that stint, so it's safe to say the comics will not be reprinted anytime soon. The comics became extremely valuable and hard to find overtime because of the comic book line's short lifespan, and Marvel UK isn't bothering to negotiate with their rival.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* Sometimes this happens to {{Fan Sequel}}s and {{Fan Remake}}s based on licensed properties, the most famous cases probably being ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger: VideoGame/CrimsonEchoes'' and ''VideoGame/StreetsOfRage Remake''. ''Chrono Trigger Resurrection'' met the same fate.
* ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'' fan-movie ''The Hero of Time'' was prevented distribution by Creator/{{Nintendo}} via cease-and-desist letter (see below for more info). However, Nintendo was nice enough to let the creators keep the movie up for about half a month in the holiday spirit at the end of 2009, which is a hell of a lot better than most companies do.
* The ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' fan-film ''Film/{{Damnatus}}'' originally had Games Workshop's full support, but during post production, problems with intellectual property rights arose due to differences between British and German copyright law.[[note]]Long story short if Games Workshop did not defend their copyright (not trademark- copyright) once they knew about the infringement, they would forfeit all claim to the copyright. This would be a death sentence for them, as it's their major product. In addition, a separate law stipulates the only way to transfer a copyright in Germany is through inheritance. Because a fan studio made the film, Games Workshop was unable to fully acquire the rights, therefore preventing them from "defending" Warhammer 40000 that way.[[/note]] Thus, the movie was banned from official release. However, someone leaked the movie, so it can be seen. Thus, it was the ''lawyers'' that got screwed. The leak was also a case of ExactWords. They were told that they didn't have to delete the copy on their servers but couldn't release it. They agreed and didn't put any security on their servers to prevent hacking. ''Damnatus'' later got hit with this again when the leaked video's hosting site, [=MegaUpload=], became the victim of a [[DigitalPiracyIsEvil DMCA takedown]].
* ''Webcomic/TurnSignalsOnALandRaider'', a ''Warhammer 40K'' webcomic, stopped because it was becoming too time-consuming and expensive to do. The reason the lawyers got involved is that the only way to really give it a chance to make enough money to continue was to make it into a book. But Games Workshop refused to grant permission. Despite that refusal being of questionable legality (it probably would be legal under fair use or parody), it wouldn't be worth the hassle if the guy got sued.
* A [=YouTube=] user by the name of [[http://www.youtube.com/user/DisneyNAW DisneyNAW]] spent nearly an entire year working on a fan-film called "The Grand Adventure" which was pretty much a MegaCrossover of everything Disney starring Mickey, Donald and Goofy as they try to take down Chernabog. Halfway through the editing, he got a letter from Disney telling him not to post it online. Not for copyright law or anything, though that could be considered a major factor, but because of how certain characters are portrayed. First was Mickey, who was portrayed as mischievous. While they thought he perfectly captured his character, they wanted to bring Mickey's mischievous character their own way. And the second was Chernabog being portrayed as an {{Expy}} of TheDevil, which collides with another reason why they C&D'd it: It felt a little too dark and edgy to them. Despite these reasons, they enjoyed watching the movie and gave [=DisneyNAW=] [[PetTheDog compliments on making the film]] (this may be HilariousInHindsight with the ''WesternAnimation/MickeyMouse2013'' series's portrayal of Mickey plus a ''Night On Bald Mountain'' movie being announced.)
* A modding group building a total conversion of ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim'' into [[Literature/TheLordOfTheRings Middle-Earth]] was told to C&D by Warner Brothers because they didn't want it competing with ''VideoGame/TheLordOfTheRingsOnline''.
* Marvel Comics put the kibosh on various super hero skins for ''VideoGame/TheSims''.
* In late February 2015, a ''Franchise/PowerRangers'' DarkerAndEdgier "bootleg movie", ''Power/Rangers'', was released to the Internet. Not only was the movie incredibly polarizing to the fanbase and non-fans, Creator/SabanBrands did not like this at all and put in C&D notices for it on YouTube and Vimeo, where they were hosted. Saban and the filmmakers eventually compromised by reuploading the film on [=YouTube=] and Vimeo with a [[OurLawyersAdvisedThisTrope copyright disclaimer]]-slash-{{content warning|s}} at the beginning of the film stating that it is a fan film completely unassociated with Saban Brands that really shouldn't be watched by little kids.
* Blog/EquestriaDaily staff member "Alexstrasza" created a ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' T-shirt parodying ''Series/GameOfThrones'', featuring Twilight Sparkle as Ned Stark and with the motto "Winter is Coming" on the bottom. A week after it was posted on Teepublic, the site found out a week later, through an angry letter from Creator/{{HBO}}, that the motto had been trademarked by the network that year and had to pull the shirt from the store. Alexstrasza later posted a slightly modified version of the shirt, with the less infringing phrase, "Friendship is Coming," a suggestion that Equestria Daily administrator Sethisto did not fail to bring up shortly after announcing its takedown.
* ''Franchise/StarTrek'' fan movie ''Star Trek: Axanar'', the continuation of ''WebVideo/PreludeToAxanar'' was hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit from Creator/{{Paramount}} after [[https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxWHYHfCkIj2dFA3QlZaRFdLeDQ/view?pref=2&pli=1 their 2015 yearly report]] showed producer Alec Peters paying himself a $38,000 salary and funding a separate movie studio from donations to the project.
* The Paetron for Alvin-Earthworm's ''WebAnimation/SuperMarioBrosZ'' was taken down by Nintendo mid-February 2016.

* The indie {{slasher|Movie}} ''Film/AllTheBoysLoveMandyLane'' didn't see the light of day in the United States for years, due to the company that held the American distribution rights to it going bankrupt and closing its doors, leaving the rights in limbo and the film sitting on TheShelfOfMovieLanguishment. It didn't help that it was also [[ScrewedByTheNetwork Screwed by the Studio]] -- Creator/TheWeinsteinCompany dumped the film on the now-bankrupt distributor once they saw a number of horror films (most notably ''Film/{{Grindhouse}}'') go bust at the box office, despite having already paid $3 million for the rights to it. Luckily, the rights were eventually sorted out, and in 2013 it received a limited theatrical release before hitting DVD.
* Many people believe ''Film/TheDayTheClownCried'' was never released due to poor taste but it was actually due to copyright issues over the script. In fact, Jerry Lewis was technically not supposed to finish it but he did, resulting in the movie being completed but rarely seen.
* ''Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story'' was a [[BlackComedy sardonic]] biopic by Creator/ToddHaynes about [[Music/{{Carpenters}} Karen Carpenter's]] rise and bulimia-related death, with the additional gimmick that the Carpenters were represented by Franchise/{{Barbie}} dolls. Due to the angry lawsuits from Karen Carpenter's estate and Mattel, the movie will probably never be screened legally again.
* In a rare example of an actor being forced into servitude by a film studio (after the end of the contract player era), Mike Myers withdrew from a proposed adaptation of his ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'' sketch ''Sprockets'' due to OldShame of a script he wrote for the film. This pissed off Universal so much that they sued him a year later for failure to abide with the contract he signed with them. He tried to countersue, but a settlement was eventually reached in which he was required to work on a different project for them. After Tim Allen withdrew from playing the title role for the LiveActionAdaptation of ''Film/TheCatInTheHat'', Myers was eventually brought in. This event, along with his reputation of being a [[ThePrimaDonna Prima Donna]] on set, contributed to his eventual downfall.
* The Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse is a big victim of this, being a [[TheVerse shared universe]] for a handful of cinematic characters adapted from a [[Franchise/MarvelUniverse shared universe]] for ''hundreds'' of comic book characters.
** Film/{{Thor}}, Film/IronMan, Film/TheIncredibleHulk, Film/{{Captain America|TheFirstAvenger}}, ComicBook/{{Hawkeye}}, ComicBook/BlackWidow, ComicBook/NickFury, and recently Film/{{Daredevil}} and ComicBook/GhostRider can freely interact with each other in the movies just like they do in the comics, but the ComicBook/XMen and the ComicBook/FantasticFour continue to exist in their own stand-alone universes because their movie rights are owned by Creator/TwentiethCenturyFox and due to the way Marvel Studios operated back before the Marvel Cinematic Universe was conceptualized. As awesome as it would be, it's unlikely that we'll ever see an ''[[Film/TheAvengers2012 Avengers]]''-style crossover featuring X-Men or the Fantastic Four, even though these are very common in the comics. Same thing '''did''' apply to ComicBook/SpiderMan with his rights being owned by Sony, until in February of 2015 Sony struck a deal with Marvel that allows Spidey to exist in the MCU.
** Two major exceptions to this situation are ComicBook/{{Quicksilver}} and the ComicBook/ScarletWitch: Being equally known as mutants and as Avengers in the comics, Marvel Studios and Fox have shared dibs on them, with Quicksilver appearing in ''Film/XMenDaysOfFuturePast'' and ''Film/AvengersAgeOfUltron''. The sole stipulation is that Marvel Studios cannot have them be mutants and Fox cannot discuss their time as Avengers.
** It's also been stated that something similar exists for the Skrulls and the ComicBook/SubMariner. The Skrulls were kept out of the ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy'' because Marvel shares the rights with Fox, and Namor has not yet been seen in the MCU because of legal issues with Creator/UniversalStudios.
** The main caveat with the film rights is basically "use it or lose it", meaning that if certain film rights aren't used, they revert back to Marvel[[note]] A notorious example of this is Creator/NewLineCinema's ''Film/BladeTrilogy'', based off Marvel's ''ComicBook/{{Blade}}'' franchise. Wesley Snipes' three-year prison sentence for [[RoleEndingMisdemeanor tax evasion]] led to Marvel Comics yanking the film rights from New Line/Creator/WarnerBrothers due to the studios being deemed unable to pull off a fourth film on time without Snipes[[/note]]. Thus, Fox is rushing out ''X-Men'' films in rapid succession to keep the film rights away from Marvel, while Sony has decided to share the rights to ''Spider-Man'' with Marvel in hopes that they will be able to make more profits off the character than they did doing it alone; conversely, they both gave up entirely on Ghost Rider and Daredevil due to their box office weakness under their tenure[[note]]In a similar vein, Creator/LionsGate gave up on ''ComicBook/ThePunisher'' after their ''third'' attempt at starting a franchise, ''Film/PunisherWarZone'', caused HypeBacklash among fans and flopped[[/note]]. The whole rights debacle is also the main reason why the ''Spider-Man'' movies [[Film/TheAmazingSpiderMan were rebooted]] [[note]]Sony wanted a new ''Spider-Man'' movie out the door as quickly as possible before the rights expired, but Creator/SamRaimi rejected the scripts he was presented and left, taking Creator/TobeyMaguire with him, forcing Sony to hastily start anew to prevent the lapsing, to extremely unfavorable reactions.[[/note]], and after the [[Film/TheAmazingSpiderMan2 sequel]] somewhat flopped they struck the aforementioned deal with Marvel. As for the ''Fantastic Four'', Fox hoped to get it right [[Film/FantasticFour2015 a second time]] to justify keeping the rights away from Marvel, but it ended up receiving the worst reception of any Marvel superhero movie, making it highly likely Fox will give up on that as well.
** This has created a Catch-22: When Marvel does regain a new property, it's usually only because the property's reputation had been too badly tarnished by the previous studio to continue making sequels. After ''Film/TheIncredibleHulk'' did poor business at the box office (which many blamed on the [[Film/{{Hulk}} previous]] InkStainAdaptation), Marvel decided not to rush out and try integrate these properties right away, instead opting to focus on newer characters like ComicBook/BlackPanther, ComicBook/TheInhumans, and [[ComicBook/MsMarvel Captain Marvel]]. This is why Daredevil was relegated to a {{Netflix}} [[Series/{{Daredevil2015}} TV show]] instead of a full-fledged movie reboot, and why it's unlikely we'll be seeing ''Blade'' or ''The Punisher'' reboots anytime soon (The Punisher, however, is a major character in the second series of [[Series/{{Daredevil2015}} Daredevil]], played by [[Series/TheWalkingDead Jon Bernthal]]):
--->'''Kevin Feige:''' Whenever a character comes back to us, it's usually because the other studios don't want to make the movies anymore -- and that usually means the [previous] movies may not have been particularly well-received. They all have potential, but we're not going to say "We got it back -- make it."
** According to Creator/MarkRuffalo, the aforementioned legal issues involving Namor and the Skrulls with Universal also apply to the ComicBook/{{Hulk}} as well, as Universal still retains some rights to make and distribute stand-alone ''Hulk'' movies, as they did with the original ''Film/{{Hulk}}'' and ''Film/TheIncredibleHulk'', and Marvel can't seem to push them into giving the rights back, making the likelihood of another standalone movie featuring the Hulk unlikely.
* ''Film/TheAdventuresOfBuckarooBanzaiAcrossThe8thDimension'' allegedly saw attempts at continuation blocked, despite interest, because rightsholder David Begelman feared that his creative bookkeeping might get exposed in the process.
* ''Film/LetItBe''. Observers have said that the film will likely never be rereleased as long as Music/PaulMcCartney and Music/RingoStarr are still alive, due to its unflattering and downright painful look at the slow collapse and eventual breakup of Music/TheBeatles.
* ''Film/{{Nosferatu}}'' was nearly lost forever after the studio was sued by Bram Stoker's estate for its similarities to ''Literature/{{Dracula}}''.
* ''The Janus Head'' was basically ''Literature/TheStrangeCaseOfDrJekyllAndMrHyde'' with the names changed, and it got sued by the R.L. Stevenson estate. The problem was that if they did it as a straight-up ''Jekyll and Hyde'' movie, [[ItWasHisSled it would give away the ending]]. Unlike ''Nosferatu'', this one really seems to be gone forever.
* The best Mario Bava, ''Film/RabidDogs'', is the one he himself never lived to see. The reason? The producer died as production was nearing completion, and his creditors, taking advantage of it, froze his assets and seized the film for over two decades. Owing to the circumstances, a ConspiracyTheory exists where the creditors put a contract out on the producer just to screw Bava's greatest masterpiece over.
* For over two decades, Creator/{{Nintendo}} has had a strict policy of refusing to allow any of their video game franchises be adapted into films or film series. This was enforced after the LiveActionAdaptation of ''Film/SuperMarioBros'' became a catastrophic flop with both fans and critics. This policy caused a proposed film adaptation of ''Franchise/{{Metroid}}'' to be scrapped, as well as the aforementioned ''Zelda'' fan film. However, beginning in late 2014, Nintendo might be relaxing this policy. [[http://www.buzzfeed.com/adambvary/sony-nintendo-mario-bros-movie Leaked emails]] stolen from Sony Pictures as part of a cyber attack against the studio revealed that the studio was in negotiations with Nintendo to acquire the film rights to ''Mario'' and adapt the franchise into an AnimatedAdaptation, with ''Franchise/SpiderMan'' producer Avi Arad spearheading it. If the negotiations hold up, this would be the first time a Nintendo franchise outside the ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'' series has ever been adapted into a film since the live-action ''Mario'' film of 1993 in the West or the ''Anime/AnimalCrossing'' anime film of 2006 in Japan. Creator/ShigeruMiyamoto [[WordOfGod himself]] [[http://fortune.com/2015/08/21/nintendo-movie-partnerships/ hinted]] such reconsideration.
** This even applies to ''porn parodies'': Nintendo bought the rights to the two ''Super Hornio Brothers'' movies to ensure they'd never be re-released. Copies of the two movies are therefore very rare.
* In a similar vein, Creator/{{Sega}} followed Nintendo's footsteps after the failure of the [[Film/HouseOfTheDead film adaptation]] of ''VideoGame/HouseOfTheDead''. Like the Nintendo example above, the anime ''Anime/SonicX'' and the ''WesternAnimation/SonicBoom'' tie-in television series averted this because of the shows being commissioned by Sega[[note]]With ''Sonic X'' being produced by TMS Entertainment, one of Sega's animation studios[[/note]], and not being licensed. However, a decade later, they decided to make another go, first by selling the film rights for ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'' to Sony Pictures[[note]]Though, due to ''Sonic Boom'', the deal so far excludes the TV rights[[/note]], and then announcing six months later that they intend to bring many of their franchises to television, film, and digital streaming.
* If rumors are to be believed, the sequel to ''Film/WreckItRalph'' could have cameos of ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'' characters written out as the hedgehog's film rights are with Sony, and Disney is apparently unwilling to pay additional legal fees to secure their likenesses.
* The ''Film/JamesBond'' franchise had one that lasted ''forty to fifty years''. One of James Bond's greatest villains in the original novels was the NGOSuperpower SPECTRE (and its leader Ernst Stavro Blofeld). The novel that introduced SPECTRE, ''Literature/{{Thunderball}}'', was originally conceived as a film. The screenplay was a collaboration between James Bond's author Creator/IanFleming and screenwriter Kevin [=McClory=]. When plans for the film fell through, Fleming released ''Thunderball'' as a novel. [=McClory=] then sued Fleming for releasing the novel without his permission; this led to [=McClory=] being awarded the film rights to ''Thunderball'' as well as ownership of SPECTRE. Initially [=McClory=] allowed [[Creator/MetroGoldwynMayer MGM]]/[[Creator/UnitedArtists UA]] to use SPECTRE for some of their Bond films, but this agreement expired in 1975. Thus, SPECTRE was retired from the "official" Bond films. ''Film/TheSpyWhoLovedMe'' [[WhatCouldHaveBeen was originally going to have Blofeld as a villain]], but he was replaced by {{Expy}} Karl Stromberg. Blofeld would then make a LawyerFriendlyCameo in ''Film/ForYourEyesOnly'' [[TakeThat where he gets killed off.]] Meanwhile, [=McClory=] made his own version of ''Thunderball'' under the name ''Film/NeverSayNeverAgain''. Years later, ''Film/{{Casino Royale|2006}}'' and ''Film/QuantumOfSolace'' introduced a SPECTRE {{Expy}} named Quantum. And then, shockingly, the legal issues were resolved in 2013. This led to James Bond fighting SPECTRE once again in the 2015 film... ''Film/{{Spectre}}''.
* This trope affected the Website/{{Kickstarter}}-funded HD Restoration of ''Film/ManosTheHandsOfFate''. In 2011, Ben Solovey started up a Kickstarter to restore the movie after he discovered that he ended up buying the original 16mm print of the film. With the blessing of Tom Neyman and his daughter Jackie Neyman Jones (who played The Master and little Debbie respectively), Solovey worked on the restoration. However, Joe Warren, son of writer, director and actor Harold P. Warren, was angry at being left out and attempted to assert copyright on the film. Just one catch: Hal copyrighted the script, then called "Lodge of Sins". [[EpicFail He never copyrighted the actual movie]], essentially making the movie a Public Domain film. The movie was ultimately released by Synapse Films on October 15, 2015 and the restored print now resides in cold storage in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Film Archive.
* If TheOtherWiki is to be believed, this has also happened to Music/MichaelJackson's Film/{{Moonwalker}}[[note]]His only other major film appearance following his role as the Scarecrow in Theatre/TheWiz (Film/ThisIsIt doesn't count)[[/note]] because of "specific music and film licensing" for any North American DVD or Blu-Ray release (the U.K. region free Blu-Ray release notwithstanding).

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* The Australian version of the game show "It's a Knockout" was axed after three seasons, not due to low ratings but because of noise complaints from residents living near the sports ground where the show was taped. Due to lack of a suitable venue in Australia and insurance reasons, the IAK revival series was shot in Malaysia.
* ''Series/TheCharmings'' got complaints by the Creator/{{Disney}} Company when ABC was run by Capital Cities, since it was an unauthorized parody of ''Disney/SnowWhite''. It's unclear whether this or low ratings ultimately led to its cancellation, however, but Disney does now own ABC, opening up the possibility of a DVD release, though the heavy discouragement of press comparisons with the later ''Series/OnceUponATime'' by the network suggests that it considers it a DorkAge program.
** It should be noted that ABC never owned the rights to ''The Charmings''. Sony currently owns the program, a chance of a DVD release seems moot.
* ''Series/MalcolmInTheMiddle'' never got any DVD releases beyond the first season due to various music the show used being copyrighted. The dialogue of one scene (in which Bryan Cranston and Jane Kaczmarek sing along to something on the radio) had to be rerecorded to fit with a different song reinserted into the scene.
* In 2003, ESPN aired a series called ''Playmakers'' which was a depiction of the behind-the-scenes actions of players of a fictional pro football team (in a fictional league). However, the NFL, who was in the midst of a new lucrative deal with ESPN, were not pleased with the stark, unflattering look at the world of pro football, and pressured the network to scuttle the show after one season, which they obliged. Several pro players like Warren Sapp praised the show for its realistic (to a point) depiction of football players and their shortcomings in the world, and criticized both the league and the network for trying to scrub anything negative about the sport. Later on the ''Playmakers'' name was used to market a line of cheap footballs and basketballs with ESPN branding.
* Another, uglier version with ESPN was played out when the NFL allegedly stepped in and told them to no longer market with PBS, or have their reporters contribute to the ''Frontline'' documentary ''League of Denial'' involving concussions and brain damage among players in the league. The writers of the tie-in book work for ESPN and continued to work with ''Frontline'' independently, though without the Worldwide Leader's backing.
* This trope didn't kill ''The Film Crew'' outright (via Jim Mallon threatening to pull the ''[[Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000 MST3K]]'' license from Rhino Entertainment if they worked with the project), but it definitely made things more difficult; Nelson, Murphy, and Corbett eventually moved on to ''Podcast/RiffTrax'', which was much easier to produce.
** Jim Mallon explained that the reason he didn't want Rhino producing ''The Film Crew'', was they'd be spending money on b-movies for The Film Crew, when they could be using whatever money they had for b-movies shown on [=MST3K=] ([=MST3K=] only secured temporary rights to their movies while the show was on the air, and the rights have to be re-negotiated for [=DVD=]s. It's not easy, or cheap).
** ''Podcast/RiffTrax'' itself is essentially immune to this trope due to a variation of style, however: they don't release the movies in any form, they merely release tracks of the cast talking ''about'' the movies. Obviously, the original copyright holders don't have any claim over things people choose to say about their films. (There ''are'' some movies available as pre-synced tracks, but they fall into two categories: either films that are public domain [primarily shorts -- one source for them are public domain archives], and B-movies that they can afford to buy the rights to.)
** Speaking of [=MST3K=], this got hit with the Volume 10 release of [=DVD=]s. One of them was ''Film/GodzillaVsMegalon'' and had been available for a short while. Then, Toho stepped in and said "no". A Volume 10.2 was soon released with a special Host Segment created to show why the movie wasn't included.
** Until recently, Creator/ShoutFactory couldn't release the episode featuring ''Film/{{Pumaman}}'' because no one knew who to contact. It wasn't until late 2013 that they somehow did and the episode was released.
* Licensing and rights issues have prevented the home video release of many TV series over the years. Most notable examples include ''Series/TheSixMillionDollarMan'' and the original ''Series/TheBionicWoman'', which were withheld from North American VHS or DVD video release for close to 30 ''years'' before a breakthrough was reached that will allow their release starting in late 2010. The 1960's ''Series/{{Batman}}'' series reportedly had such complex licensing that the general assumption was that it would simply never be legally released in a home video format until it entered public domain near the end of the 21st century, that is, until it was announced that it would ''indeed'' gain a DVD release in November 2014. The 1996 ''Series/DoctorWho'' [[Recap/DoctorWhoTVMTheTVMovie TV movie]] was thought to be [[NoExportForYou permanently unavailable outside the British Commonwealth]] due to this; the warring rights-holders decided to bury the hatchet and a worldwide DVD release came in February 2011.
* When future generations turn to DVD/digital recordings of today's TV series, many of these shows will be lost in their original versions due to music and sometimes entire scenes being changed due to licensing and clearance issues. Examples include: the theme song for ''Series/MarriedWithChildren'' being replaced on the DVD releases; a scene involving Music/TheBeatles being deleted from the VHS release of the ''Series/DoctorWho'' story "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS2E8TheChase The Chase]]" (it's in the Region 2 DVD); most pop music from season 1 of ''WKRP in Cincinnati'' being replaced with generic music for the DVD release.
** The deletion of the clip from "The Chase" is particularly {{egregious}}, as that clip is the only surviving portion of The Beatles' performance at Albert Hall (which was wiped from BBC archives for the same reason a lot of early ''Doctor Who'' was as well) and survived only because it was incorporated into the episode. These deletions fit the trope as well, because it was done in large part because the contracts with the actors' union in the period prohibited broadcasting any television program more than twice (and the entirely incorrect view of the BBC management that black and white programming was unsellable overseas).
** Most of MTV's shows have been severely affected by this due to an agreement with record companies for free promotional use of their songs on the channel. Because of this pop songs are used in show soundtracks, but the rights would need to be purchased for video release. Shows like ''WesternAnimation/{{Daria}}'' and ''Series/TheState'' languished for years before [[SuspiciouslySimilarSong a similar version]] of the songs could replace the offending tracks.
** ''Series/FreaksAndGeeks'' actually kept the original music for the DVD, paying all the necessary fees. This is why said DVD costs several times as much as [=DVD=]s for other shows.
** ''Series/ColdCase'' has yet to be released on DVD because they've been unable to secure rights to the licensed music used in the episodes. Many episodes used multiple songs from a particular artist, played over ''all'' the flashback sequences as well as the end montage. Because of this, it's impractical to replace or remove the music, but just as impractical to gain the rights because of all the different artists used in a given season.
* The DVD releases of ''Series/TheMuppetShow'' have been repeatedly delayed due to issues with music rights. Several scenes had to be cut from the Season One set because Disney was unable to secure the rights to certain songs used in the show. Completely averted by Jim Henson's other major production, ''Series/FraggleRock'', as it used entirely original music.
** This hits the Muppets often, for instance with re-releases of the full-length Christmas special ''Film/AMuppetFamilyChristmas'', where large chunks of the special have to be excised due to music rights, leading to a good deal of KeepCirculatingTheTapes for those who find the special a celebrated part of their Christmas tradition.
*** And even if you can live with the music cuts, the special is still screwed since it involves all of Creator/JimHenson's characters: the Muppets, ''Series/SesameStreet'', ''Series/FraggleRock'', and ''WesternAnimation/MuppetBabies''; and the rights to all of them have been split up.
* The DVD release of WB's all-female superhero series ''Series/BirdsOfPrey'' was held up for ''years'' (leading to an awful lot of KeepCirculatingTheTapes needless to say) due to music rights issues; the fact that it was ScrewedByTheNetwork (cancelled in its first season despite good reviews and decent ratings, reportedly due to internal network politics) did not help. It was only after years of pleading from the fans that the series got a full release on DVD with a note on the packaging that "some" of the music has been changed for home video release.
* Anyone trying to watch ''Series/QuantumLeap'' on Netflix instant video will be unable to watch the whole series in its entirety. Quite a handful of episodes are removed for legal reasons, most notably because of the music used in said episode. What's worse is that some of these episodes are omitted from the DVD release as well.
* DVD release of ''Series/TheState'' was delayed for years due to music rights. The show first aired on MTV and had the rights to use any music then receiving play on the channel. However, the rights to each song had to be renegotiated for DVD release.
* The lack of a ''StarTrek'' series following ''Series/StarTrekEnterprise''. [[http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/05/16/how-rights-issues-killed-a-new-star-trek-tv-show See here for more details]]. For a Cliff Notes version - ''Star Trek'' was produced by Creator/DesiluStudios back in the 60s. Creator/{{Paramount}} bought Desilu during ''Trek'''s run and would hold on to the rights for many decades, even after Creator/{{Viacom}} purchased Paramount. In 2005, Viacom opted to split its movie and television divisions in two, creating a new Viacom and a restructured CBS Corporation, having bought the old CBS six years prior, which merged with CBS' in-house studio to become CBS Paramount and, later, CBS Studios. This is where things got messy - the ''Star Trek'' franchise was now split in twain as Paramount had the rights to make movies and CBS had the rights to make TV shows. Creator/BadRobot, Creator/JJAbrams' studio, wanted to make a massive multimedia franchise out of the reboot Star Trek series, but CBS, content on fueling nostalgia and sticking with the old universe, would refuse. It wouldn't be until November 2, 2015 that a new ''Star Trek'' series was announced and it was specifically mentioned that it would have no connection to the reboot series, or at the very least, the upcoming ''Film/StarTrekBeyond''.
* Possibly a reason why episodes of ''Series/{{Maury}}'' prior to September 1998 are no longer rerun or showcased. That bulk of the series is owned by CBS, while all episodes after that era have been produced by [=NBCUniversal=]. The relationship between the two has been so sour that not even Maury Povich himself has been able to get the two to make up and allow the episodes to be shown again.
* Shout! Factory's failure to secure licenses may explain why twelve live-action segments from ''WesternAnimation/TheSuperMarioBrosSuperShow'' went missing from their DVD sets. At least three of them managed to be streamed online, but there's still no word on whether or not the other nine segments will ever see the light of day again.
* ''Series/MastersOfSex'', loosely based on the lives and research of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, renowned sexuality researchers of the 1950s and 1960s, faced undisclosed legal issues in its third season requiring several plot changes and deviations from the true story. [[spoiler: For example, in the show, Johnson had a third child with her husband in 1965 and remarried her ex-husband. In reality, Johnson only had two children, remained divorced from her ex-husband, and married Masters in 1971.]]
* ''Creator/{{BBC}}'' halted all US VHS releases of ''Series/{{Jackanory}}'' due to CBS/FOX Video not doing a major licensing contract of the classic children's show from the 60s up until the 90s and beyond as these are replaced with Playhouse Video's own CBS Videobreak US VHS releases. Jackanory was only released in the UK on VHS and could not be played in North American Video Cassette Recorders at all unless CBS/FOX retained their NTSC rights of the classic children's show by dropping the "Jackanory" name, showing only the name of the book on screen (similar to their CBS Videobreak US VHS releases). Unfortunately for Creator/{{Disney}}, the US VHS release of ''Literature/WinnieThePooh'' does violate the company's trademark rights of the cartoon character of the same name being shown on a slipcase of the actual UK show's episode.

* Redd Kross bassist Steven Shane [=McDonald=] added a bass track to the entirety of Music/TheWhiteStripes' 2001 album ''Music/WhiteBloodCells'', then put [=MP3s=] of the whole project (entitled ''Redd Blood Cells'') online. Later on, after some kind of "arrangement," only the first track remains online.
* Music/GeorgeJones's 1989 single "The King Is Gone (And So Are You)" was pulled as a single because it contained the phrase "[[WesternAnimation/TheFlintstones yabba-dabba-doo]]" and thus became the subject of a lawsuit from Creator/HannaBarbera.
* Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines"... grab some food, this is gonna take a while. Initially, Thicke and co-writers/co-performers Pharrell Williams and Clifford "T.I." Harris sued the family of the late singer-songwriter Creator/MarvinGaye for alleging that "Blurred Lines" had infringed on the copyright of "Got to Give It Up." Thicke and Williams both claimed to the public that while the song was indeed an influence in writing "Blurred Lines," it did not copy the song outright and that it only replicated the groove and feel of it.\\
The song was allegedly written at the recording studio in less than an hour. However, a year later, Thicke admitted in a deposition released by ''The Hollywood Reporter'' that he had never actually had any part in the song's composition, citing high drug and alcohol influence at the time and that Williams penned the song entirely. Ultimately, the Gaye family [[GoneHorriblyWrong countersued the two artists]] for copyright infringement. T.I., meanwhile, was vindicated when he testified that he recorded his vocals after Thicke and Williams, and that he played no part in songwriting despite being credited for it. On March 10, 2015, the Gaye family won the suit, and both Thicke and Williams were ordered to pay $7.4 million in damages to the family.
* The original packaging for Music/{{Weezer}}'s "Buddy Holly" single was a childhood photo of Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo with an unidentified woman sitting next to him. When the band realized her likeness was being used without permission, the original packaging was recalled and replaced with another childhood photo of Cuomo with his brother, Leaves.
* Music/{{Incubus}}'s debut album, ''Fungus Amongus'', has not been reissued since 2000, and is not available in any digital outlet, due to both OldShame from Incubus and legal conflicts between the band and Sony Music Entertainment.
* Music/WeirdAlYankovic performed a parody of James Blunt's "You're Beautiful" called "You're Pitiful," and intended to release as a track to the album ''Straight Outta Lynwood''. However, after recording completed, Atlantic Records (Blunt's label) prohibited Yankovic from releasing the song, despite Blunt giving prior approval to writing and liking the parody. It was later released as a free downloadable single on [=MySpace=] and has played it in concert, but it has never seen a general release to this day. The music video for an unrelated song, "White & Nerdy," features a massive TakeThat to Atlantic in which Yankovic vandalizes the Atlantic Records Wikipedia page with the words "YOU SUCK!," something his fans actually proceeded to do following the video's release.
* All modern prints of the ''Film/ConanTheBarbarian1982'' soundtrack exclude the track "Tower of Set" (also sometimes titled "Stealing the Eye of the Serpent") because it's basically the Clemencic Consort's "Cantiga 166" with eerie female vocals tacked on.
* Music/SufjanStevens' album ''Illinois'' initially had Superman on the cover art. A few weeks after the album's release, the record label, Asthmatic Kitty, realized they'd never gotten the rights to use Supe's likeness, so they pulled all unsold copies before DC Comics could sue them. Fortunately, AK worked out a deal with DC: they could sell the copies that had already been printed, but subsequent printings wouldn't include Superman. Some new covers had empty sky were Supes had been, while others had a bunch of balloons in his place. The initial vinyl pressing had a balloon sticker obscuring Supes. And the 10th anniversary remaster of the album substituted another superhero: Blue Marvel--and this time, AK made sure to get permission from Marvel Comics beforehand.

[[folder:New Media]]
* The phrase "this video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by *insert name of company*, Sorry about that." (see example image above) has become a well known sight on Website/YouTube, even with Team Four Star, who put a disclaimer at the beginning of every episode they post. The Warner Music Group has also been responsible for taking away music from videos, saying that it violates copyright. If a video gets blocked for copyright infringement, the user who posted that particular video would usually get a copyright strike and would be forced to watch the WebAnimation/HappyTreeFriends video about copyright law and take a trivia question. If a user gets three strikes, their account will be banned and all of the user's videos will be removed from the site.
-->'''Announcer''': Even though Website/YouTube is a free video sharing site, you can still get into serious trouble for copyright infringement. You could get sued, And you might lose your personal belongings. Even worse: You might lose your [=YouTube=] account. If the content owner claims it and does not want it on Youtube, The video will be blocked according to the Copyright law. You will be notify via Email and in your account status. And you will get a strike (Russell screams). If you get a third strike, you will be banned from [=YouTube=]. And all of your videos will be removed from the site.
** Creator/LittleKuriboh lampooned the "Three Strikes" rule to hell and back in ''WebOriginal/YugiohTheAbridgedSeries'': Season Zero episode 3, complete with "[[[WesternAnimation/SouthPark This is what the YPD Actually Believes]]]" disclaimer.
** Certain videos have managed to avoid this fate by claiming Fair Use.
** Website/YouTube has come under fire for the fact that they remove videos just because of an infringement claim without investigating whether the video is Fair Use or not. [=YouTube=], and "Content Service Providers" in general, are required by law to pull without investigation as soon as they receive proper notice, or else they themselves can be [[{{Pun}} Sued By The Lawyers]]. Uploaders can object to cases of "mistake or misidentification", in other words claiming that the copyright owner made a mistake when it failed to see that "it's legal Fair Use, damn it!"
*** One example of such mistakes is in LetsPlay/SlimKirby's LetsPlay of ''VideoGame/TheSimpsonsHitAndRun'': one video of that LP got a copyright claim simply because ''the title of the video'' referenced ''WesternAnimation/TheMagicSchoolBus''.
** One machinima short was completely blocked by WMG specifically because of ''one short song clip'' used in the beginning of the video.
** Curiously, there is a pattern that tends to emerge with what gets pulled and what doesn't, even aside from some content owners being more stringent about it than others: TV shows and movies (''especially'' current ones) are the strictest, along with popular music (unless the artists ''deliberately'' use online distribution [[NoSuchThingAsBadPublicity as free advertising]]). Music from other sources, though, tends to be less strictly enforced. Rarest of all to be cut are video game clips; since [[CaptainObvious you can't actually play the game on YouTube]], each video game clip is basically a trailer the producers didn't have to pay for. Also, [[FanVid AMVs]] are, for whatever reason, often kept in the same way FanFic in general is rarely targeted, despite theoretically having two possible angry claimants.
** But since anyone can make a copyright claim, they don't need any proof that you are the copyright holder, and since they don't investigate any claims, anyone who just doesn't like someone's video or even a bot can file a false claim. To dispute the claim, you must provide unnecessary personal information (your full name, phone number, physical address, email address), meaning most people who are the victim of a false copyright claim would just not bother disputing. Even though Website/YouTube tells people not to file false claims and that repeated false claims could get the person in legal trouble, that doesn't stop people from filing false claims.
*** Creator/{{Viacom}} was possibly the worst offender, it was known to claim copyright claims to properties it ''didn't own'', like ''Franchise/MassEffect'' playthroughs and even a ''Mass Effect'' video ''[[UpToEleven from BioWare's own YouTube account]]''. They also claimed clips from ''Series/SesameStreet'' that aired on Noggin, because they owned Noggin. And it had the Noggin logo on the bottom right. That is why a lot of Sesame Street uploaders such as [=JonnyTBird4789=], Nantosuichoken, and many other users were terminated from Youtube.
*** [=Viacom=] has also become infamous for filing infringement claims against content uploaded by its own authorized agents. The fact that Viacom itself cannot reliably differentiate legally uploaded from illegally uploaded content contributed to the collapse of their suit against Google for Website/YouTube content.
*** Warner Music Group (yes, them again) is another notable offender. They have made copyright claims to properties that they ''didn't own'', like shows done by ''Creator/WaltDisneyTelevisionAnimation'' (such as Disney's ''WesternAnimation/{{Marsupilami}}''), and many Disney uploaders were banned from [=YouTube=] because of that. The same thing happened with ''Series/WhereInTheWorldIsCarmenSandiego''; they claimed they owned the theme song by Rockapella.
*** After acquiring Music/TheBeatles[='=] recordings in 2012 following their purchase of EMI, Universal Music Group began flagging and blocking any videos featuring their music. It got so bad that '''their own Vevo account on [=YouTube=]''' got terminated as well.
** Creator/{{Capcom}} and some other video game companies are starting to remove playthroughs and walkthroughs of their games, especially more recent ones, from Website/YouTube.
** Creator/{{Nintendo}} is a bit of an odd case. They never really had any issue with [=LP's=] of their games, but in May 2013 they suddenly began claiming full monetization rights for videos that use their content. For LetsPlay channels that primarily use Nintendo games, such as LetsPlay/TheRunawayGuys and the WebVideo/GameGrumps, this new policy effectively crippled their income[[labelnote:*]]Given that both channels continue to use Nintendo properties, however, it's possible that Nintendo has backed off on this policy[[/labelnote]].
** Creator/{{Konami}} is ''very'' protective of ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid''. Twice now they've threatened to sue (not simply have the videos taken down, ''sue'') Machinima and TwoBestFriends when the latter announced their intentions to do [=LP's=] for ''Metal Gear Solid 4'' and ''Metal Gear Solid: Peacewalker''. Ironically, they had no issue with the Best Friends' ''VideoGame/MetalGearRisingRevengeance'' LP.
** Also works re: preventing Website/YouTube videos from working outside of specific countries.
** ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' videos began getting hit ''hard'' by the year 2016. The year prior, Hasbro Studios made an agreement with Sony Music Entertainment to have the former's music catalog released by the latter. At first, fans thought that it was only applied to the ''[[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyEquestriaGirlsFriendshipGames Friendship Games]]'' special and the Christmas album the prior year, but [[http://www.equestriadaily.com/2016/04/sony-rampaging-through-youtube-with.html it turned out the deal applied to the entire music archive of the series as well]], meaning anything pertaining to the music of the series, remixes or not, would be targeted by SME. [[InternetBackdraft Fans soon declared war against SME]] believing their actions were unjust.
** ''WebVideo/{{Jimquisition}}'' was hit by copyright strikes many times due to [[CantTakeCriticism indie developers not being able to handle Jim's harsh criticism of their game]] [[SmallNameBigEgo and issuing a claim out of spite since they think their games are perfect]]. In almost every case, Jim files a counterclaim and the other party does not respond (they assume using scare tactics would work), which means Jim's removed video is reinstated after two weeks. Jim gets annoyed by this to no end since he's forced to answer quizzes from YouTube to see if he understands what copyright means and it disrupts his schedule for other content he had planned.
* The above was what caused Website/ThatGuyWithTheGlasses to start its own site and now many years later, when Creator/AllisonPregler and WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic's reviews of ''Film/TheRoom'' got pulled for this very reason, fans got ''pissed''.
** The Critic responded to the legal threats by posting a video that was basically an entire episode's worth of {{Take That}}s against the individuals responsible.
** Luckily, Doug Walker successfully defended the videos as Fair Use.
** Ironically, when ''Film/TheRoom'' review was pulled, it was possible to find it uploaded by other people on Website/YouTube.
* WebVideo/TheMysteriousMrEnter was banned from Youtube due to copyright claim ether Creator/{{Viacom}} or Creator/TwentiethCenturyFox. He was posting a review of the show. And it was under fair use. But those companies bypass the fair use disclaimer and shut down his account.
* Many online scanlation sites have removed their archived scanlations because of attitude shifts from some publishers. In fact, quite a number of them have been shut down or censored due to publisher pressure.
** Manga Fox is a good example. After a manga is licensed, they usually take down the hosted scanlation, leaving just the synopsis and forum discussions. Quite a few licensed manga are still up there to read, though.
* Like many radio show hosts, Phil Hendrie allows website subscribers to download show episodes as podcasts. At some point, network lawyers decided that it was a copyright violation for podcasts to include music. This affected any skits that involved music, including his frequent parodies of Jim Rome's and [[Radio/CoastToCoastAM Art Bell's]] shows that incorporated their respective "[[Music/GunsNRoses Welcome to the Jungle]]" and "[[Music/{{ABBA}} Dancing Queen]]" theme songs, and his RunningGag of using the "Darth Vader Death March" as theme music for his fictional boss. The music in these cases was replaced by awkward silence, and if characters in Phil's comedy skits commented on the music, podcast listeners could not know what they were talking about.
* Some flashes on {{Newgrounds}} are victims of this due to being based on copyrighted works, as Newgrounds has received [[http://www.newgrounds.com/lit/legal.html cease-and-detest letters]] from companies such as Creator/TheBBC (for a ''Series/{{Teletubbies}}'' spoof called "Teletubby Fun Land", which has been eventually renamed to "Tele''bubby'' Fun Land"), [[Creator/JimHenson The Jim Henson Company]], and Creator/{{M|etroGoldwynMayer}}GM (for a ''Franchise/RoboCop'' flash tribute made by a fan).
* Drum Corps International pulled several pre-2000 finals performances from its Fan Network due to copyright issues involving composers of works performed during those shows. Affected composers include LeonardBernstein, Chick Corea, Ottorino Respighi, AndrewLloydWebber, and JohnWilliams. A few months later, DCI pulled the plug on the Fan Network altogether.

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* ''Comicstrip/{{Garfield}}'' had a short run of ''Believe it, or don't'' gags until PAWS Inc. got a cease-and-desist letter from the [[Franchise/RipleysBelieveItOrNot Robert Ripley]] estate.

* Some years ago a British food company produced a brand of chips [fries] called Stringfellows, which had to be withdrawn when nightclub owner Peter Stringfellow objected to the name.
* [[UsefulNotes/McDonalds McDonald's' Corp.]] tried to force a Scottish fine dining establishment named [=McDonald's=] to close or change its name despite the latter being in business for over a century. The fast food chain lost the case. It helped that the Scottish restaurant was run by a high member of Clan [=McDonald=].
** [=McDonald's=] Corp. also attempted this in Malaysia, except that the dining establishment in question was a small Indian-Muslim restaurant whose only offense is that its name vaguely resembled [=McDonald's=]. The fast food chain lost that case, too.
** One of the cases they did win was to convince a San Francisco coffeeshop to change its name from [=McCoffee=], whose name was a {{pun}} on the name of the owner Elizabeth [=McCaughey=], a good ''decade'' before they got into the coffee business themselves. These and many other examples can be found at [[Wiki/{{Wikipedia}} The Other Wiki]].
*** The reason that it's not particularly common to see parodies that use fast-food chains named "Mc-anything", or real-life businesses named "Mc-Anything", is because [=McDonald's=] has been so aggressive and successful at suing anybody who tries to, even when the business in question has nothing to do with food. Wal-Mart has taken on this role of late, going after all the "-Mart"s of the world. Though in both cases, this is largely because they can lose their valuable trademarks if they don't pursue every known possible infringement; the legal term is "Abandonment".
** At least one famous case of [=McDonald's=] being [[TropesAreTools clearly in the right]] was the early 1990's, was when they sued a South African businessman who was opening hundreds of fake [=McDonald's=] restaurants, complete with Big Macs.
*** However, "Abandonment" came into play here: McDonald's lost the case because, due to not operating in South Africa during Apartheid, they had forfeited their own trademarks in South Africa and the businessman in question had effectively managed to acquire them post-abandonment. They ended up buying him out.
** A variation on this happened with Holiday Inn: There was a separate, unaffiliated Holiday Inn operating in Ontario (opened before the chain was operating in Canada). They lost a lawsuit to force them to rename and for a long time had them listed on their website as "not part of this chain of Holiday Inns". However, eventually the owners of this hotel decided to affiliate with the larger chain...only to fail to be later dropped (apparently due to service standards issues) and THEN have to rename themselves. Oops.
* The Franchise/{{Bratz}} doll line was stopped in its tracks by a 2005 court case that found that the concept was created while its creator was still at Mattel, before making a comeback in 2010, although by that time, their popularity had waned (plus, the new dolls are a bit more conservative). This also had a more permanent knock-on effect for the AnimatedSeries.
* ''Franchise/{{Bionicle}}'' not only took certain character names from the Maori language, it apparently tried to ''trademark'' them so that it held the rights to words from Maori language. Due to threats of legal action from some Maori tribal groups, Lego changed tack and altered the spelling of the names. This is odd, since trademarks are contextual. For example, Creator/DCComics has a trademark on Franchise/TheFlash, and that is a perfectly valid trademark, but that doesn't mean that they've trademarked the word ''flash'' and that you can't use it anywhere with any meaning. Most likely the Maori groups' complaint was not about the trademark itself.
* Quakers, the religious group that is a Christian sect, once tried to sue Quaker Oats for using the name of the religion (established in the 1600's) and the image of a supposedly historical Quaker. However, due to the fact that the official name of the religion is the Religious Society of Friends, the Quakers lost the lawsuit to the company.
* Creator/{{Sony}} has in the past gone after restaurants called ''Soni's''. Back in the late 80s, they forced the closure of an upscale Baltimore restaurant that had been in business for over 30 years.
* Toho is extremely aggressive in protecting their ''Franchise/{{Godzilla}}'' trademark, even going after anyone who uses a name ending in -zilla, such as a steak house using the name Steakzilla.
* Hasbro and Creator/DreamWorksAnimation had planned a merger in November 2014. The talks, however, were called off after only two days. Although a common reason was disagreement over CEO's Jeffrey Katzenberg's sale price, which analysts viewed to be more than the company's actual worth, others claim that the talks were called off when Creator/{{Disney}}, [=DreamWorks=]' rival, threatened to cancel their deals and contracts with Hasbro if the merger went forward. With [=DreamWorks=] getting acquired by [=NBCUniversal=] in 2016, it seems Hasbro's actions to cancel the merger were justified.
* Due to [[TheArtifact contractual obligations]] from original network founder and evangelist Pat Robertson, Creator/ABCFamily is required to air ''Series/The700Club'' every weekday, excluding most weekends except for telethons. ABC Family has done everything to ensure that the network's main demographic never watch it, deliberately [[ScrewedByTheNetwork placing it at the 11:00 PM death slot]], posting a disclaimer ensuring viewers that the program doesn't reflect the views of the network and removing all of their branding while the show is being broadcast.
** These obligations were also carried to the network's previous owner, News Corporation, when Robertson sold the network to the corporation in 1998 and renamed it from The Family Channel to Fox Family. The obligations is the whole reason the word "Family" remains in the network's name to this day. The fact that Robertson is capable of still dictating a network he no longer owns is quite baffling... that was, until October 6th, ABC Family management confirmed that the network would be renamed once again, to [[http://www.ew.com/article/2015/10/06/abc-family-changing-name-freeform "Freeform"]], in an attempt to garner more younger viewers, beginning January 2016. This move debunked a prior rumor that a contractual obligation from network founder Pat Robertson was the reason the "Family" name was kept on the channel. (Sources, such as James B. Stewart's ''Disney War'', merely said that the name "Family" was written into previous contracts with cable companies.) However, the network will still be required to air ''The 700 Club'' twice a day.
* Ay, yi, yi, the screwing Creator/MarvelComics is giving to just about every company nowadays. Website Bleeding Cool has been [[http://www.bleedingcool.com/2015/05/26/marvel-withdraws-x-men-and-fantastic-four-license-from-xm-studios-in-mid-sculpt/ chronicling various companies who have been forced to stop]] doing ''anything'' related to the Franchise/XMen and the ComicBook/FantasticFour. This has gone so far as to have t-shirts that boasted covers of ''ComicBook/SecretWars'' having characters replaced and edited out. The big rumor towards this is that Marvel and Creator/TwentiethCenturyFox are in a spat because Fox refuses to give back the rights to their movies (there's even more rumors that this is because of Disney buying out Lucasfilm, thus screwing them out of ''Franchise/StarWars''. It's really petty.)

* Unlike other games in the series, Creator/ZenStudios' ''[[VideoGame/SpiderManZenStudios Spider-Man]]'' pinball is not available as downloadable content on some platforms' versions of ''VideoGame/PinballFX'' or ''VideoGame/ZenPinball''. Instead, licensing disputes between Creator/MarvelComics and Creator/{{Sony}} require the player to purchase a separate game, "Marvel Pinball", and get it there instead.

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* Wrestling/{{ECW}} used popular rock, metal, punk, and hip-hop tracks for ''everything'', from wrestler themes to show themes to video packages, to further their image as a hip, rebellious, underground promotion. Unfortunately, it was also a very cash-strapped promotion, which meant that said music had to be edited out of home video releases to avoid legal entanglements. Part of the reason the promotion commissioned and published the ''ECW Extreme Music'' and ''ECW Anarchy Rocks'' [=CDs=] was so that they could have less expensive cover versions by less well-known bands at their disposal instead.
* The wrestling vampire [[Wrestling/DavidHeath Gangrel]] was used much less in Wrestling/{{WWE}} after White Wolf threatened to sue for infringement, as Gangrel was the name of one of the vampire clans in its ''TabletopGame/VampireTheMasquerade'' RPG. They settled for a 5-year agreement which White Wolf would be credited in any material in which Gangrel was used. White Wolf would eventually sue the WWE in 2008 after they used Gangrel in the [[Wrestling/WWERaw Raw]] 15 Year Anniversary Battle Royal without credit.
* After the Wrestling/AmericanWrestlingAssociation went under, former employees {{start|myown}}ed Super Stars Of Wrestling to keep ''some'' of their income flowing. They also decided to keep the AWA name going but didn't have as strong a claim to it as they thought. A lawsuit by WWE ended up putting an end to the brand in North America.
* Figurative, it was lawyers who ended up putting an end to "[[PowerStable The Almighty Beat Down Clan]]" when Hotstuff Hernandez joined the group only for Wrestling/{{TNA}} find itself unable to use any footage of him on their program due to a contract with Wrestling/LuchaUnderground.

* Due to Creator/{{Universal}}'s exclusive licensing contract with Creator/MarvelComics a decade before Creator/{{Disney}}'s acquisition of Marvel, Disney is not allowed to build any Marvel-themed attractions at Disney parks in Orlando and Japan, as Universal's [[Ride/UniversalStudios theme parks]] in both areas contain Marvel-theming instead. [[http://www.insidethemagic.net/2014/08/star-lord-and-gamora-to-appear-as-first-marvel-characters-at-walt-disney-world-in-awesome-mix-tape-party/ That hasn't stopped Disney from finding legal loopholes from the deal, though]].

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* The owners of the ''TabletopGame/LegendOfTheFiveRings'' card game were forced to change the art on the card backs because, according to the International Olympic Committee, it was too similar to the design of the Olympic rings. (For a TradingCardGame, changing the card backs is pretty much a death sentence for the value of any cards made pre-change.)
* A popular game from Cheapass Games was "Before I Kill You, Mister Bond". (The premise was that villains don't just shoot the captured agent because he's worth more points if [[JustBetweenYouAndMe he's taunted a few times first]].) It was pulled off the market after a cease-and-desist from MGM, and reissued as "Before I Kill You, Mister ''Spy''". MGM didn't like that one either. Cheapass later re-released the game as "James Ernest's Totally Renamed Spy Game", and so far seems to have not garnered any attention from MGM again.
* In the 1970s, Tactical Studies Rules Inc. narrowly avoided a lawsuit from Chaosium when they tried to incorporate the Franchise/CthulhuMythos into the nascent ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''. Chaosium, who had been sold the right to produce Lovecraft-related board games by copyright holder Arkham House, stipulated that TSR could keep the content if they credited Chaosium's "Call of Cthulhu" series. TSR backed down and [[WhatCouldHaveBeen removed the content instead]].
** A similar situation occurred with [[Literature/TheElricSaga Elric material]], Chaosium owning the rights and TSR publishing some content. It didn't help that Creator/MichaelMoorcock failed to realize that two different companies were involved and approved TSR's publishing material he had licensed to Chaosium. The situation was resolved as with the Cthulhu material.
* When ''TabletopGame/{{BattleTech}}'' first debuted, it made liberal use of 'Mech designs licensed from various Japanese animes. Problem was that they weren't ''properly'' licensed, and Harmony Gold, the American distributor and owner of these designs, took issue with the 'Mechs. They are now called the [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Unseen]]. In summer of 2015, Catalyst Gaming Labs, the company that produces BattleTech, announced that after years of trying to resecure the rights to the Unseen images, they had instead decided to retcon their appearance using new, created-by-Catalyst artwork that was similar to their original appearances while being just different enough to keep the lawyers happy.
** Even worse, there is, officially no first edition of ''TabletopGame/{{BattleTech}}'' at all. The first edition was actually a game called "Battle''Droids''". The word "droid" is a registered trademark of [[Franchise/StarWars LucasFilm]]. Lucas' lawyers sent a letter to FASA, who took the opportunity to refine the game while renaming it.
** The events that led to the Unseen involved another example of being screwed by the lawyers: FASA filed a lawsuit against Playmate Toys due to their unlicensed use of the likeness of one of BattleTech's iconic mechs for a toy for the ''WesternAnimation/ExoSquad'' toy line. The court ruled in FASA's favor that it was a violation of their copyright, but also ruled that FASA wasn't due any money since it didn't directly compete with their own products. It was about this time that they realized that they didn't actually have the rights to the Unseen and stopped using them before Harmony Gold went after them.
* The ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'' trading card game: The franchise's owners were sued by self-proclaimed psychic Uri Gellar, who claimed they used his persona in a negative way as Kadabra. The company won, saying it didn't base Pokemon on people (although Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan and Wobbuffet may beg to differ, and, in all fairness, the Japanese name for the mon, "Yungerrer", and said mon's use of bending spoons to demonstrate psychic powers are clear references), but there still hasn't been a release since then of a Kadabra card in the game. Oddly, Abra and Alakazam do show up, even though (since older cards, including all printed Kadabra cards, are disallowed in tournaments) Alakazam can only be played nowadays with special cards allowing the playing of evolved Pokemon, or in the case of a few Japanese releases, as special variants that don't count as evolved at all.
** Either way, one wonders why he would level his suit at the TCG instead of, you know, {{Creator/Game Freak}} - ''the developers of the Pokemon video game series, the core canon around which everything else in the franchise ultimately revolves.'' It's not as though Kadabra never existed in the video games and was made up solely for the TCG or something, so it would make more sense to aim for the source rather than derivative material.
* When Creator/WhiteWolf released their sci-fi game ''TabletopGame/{{Aeon}}'', they ran afoul of MTV, who saw it as challenging their trademarks for ''WesternAnimation/AeonFlux''. WW settled things by renaming ''[=Æ=]on'' to ''Trinity''; as a result, copies of the original corebook with the ''[=Æ=]on'' name are much sought after. The new edition gets around the issue by making the full title ''Trinity Continuum: [=Æ=]on'', which is apparently different enough for the lawyers.
* The company ''Creator/GamesWorkshop'' loves this trope, as seen under "Damnatus" in the Fan Works section, among others. However, one case ultimately resulted in HoistByHisOwnPetard, which was a legal battle with ''Chapterhouse Studios'', a third-party who create bits and models that aren't available from either GW or their subsidiary ''Forge World''. Chapterhouse Studios '''won''' the battle because the judge in question had done extensive research into both companies and the subject, then ruled that he saw in no sensible way how Games Workshop had created their own "style" which in turn could be legally copyrighted (only having ShouldersOfDoom and skull iconography doesn't cut it). He also judged that Games Workshop cannot copyright models they don't produce (Chapterhouse Studios for example offered full kits that could be used for ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' since Games Workshop had no actual models released in these cases, only rules). GW, spiteful, then proceeded to pull ''everything'' they did not have a model for from their later rule books. HoistByHisOwnPetard finally kicked in when the fans of the game, upset about the removal of beloved units and heroes, dialed down shopping which contributed to GW's long string of failing sales.
** They later did it again when they released ''TabletopGame/WarhammerAgeOfSigmar'', renaming their Orc, Elf and Undead factions with trademarkable but ridiculous names "Orruk", "Aelf" and "Deathshambler".

[[folder:Video Games]]
* RAK Graphics CEO Robert A. Klaus sued Creator/{{Sega}} for putting his Chakan the Forever Man on UsefulNotes/{{Wii}}. However, his Chakan character is going to appear in a upcoming ''VideoGame/WonderBoy'' arcade game for 2 players (player 1 controls Wonder Boy while Player 2 controls Chakan).
* Scholastic, the #1 publishing company, did not see a major re-release of its' ''WesternAnimation/MagicSchoolBus'' video game (for UsefulNotes/SegaGenesis) on UsefulNotes/{{Wii}} due to Creator/{{Nintendo}} not getting a Virtual Console edition at all.
* ''Holy Invasion of Privacy, Badman! What Did I Do To Deserve This?'' was forcibly renamed to ''VideoGame/WhatDidIDoToDeserveThisMyLord'' after an angry letter from [[Franchise/{{Batman}} Warner Bros.]]
* The VideoGame/{{Tetris}} Company absolutely ''adores'' this trope. They claim to have [[DisneyOwnsThisTrope copyrights on basically every aspect of the game]], even those which the US Supreme Court has ruled ''cannot be copyrighted'' ([[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lotus_v._Borland Lotus v. Borland]]), and they'll send C&D letters to anyone who so much as dares make a game with falling tetrominoes, or even just the song "Korobeiniki" (which is actually a Russian folk song, but often remembered as "the Tetris theme").
** The Tetris Company being such hardasses are basically the reason the ''VideoGame/TetrisTheGrandMaster'' series no longer exists.
** ''Blockles'' was pulled after a lawsuit from The Tetris Company was settled out of court.
** This is also why ''Tetris Attack'' [[KeepCirculatingTheTapes can never be re-released]]. The game itself has nothing to do with Tetris, instead being a localization of the Japanese game ''VideoGame/PanelDePon''. With the head of The Tetris Company openly regretting licensing out the name to Nintendo, the chances of it appearing on the Virtual Console are very slim; as of 2015, it seems the game can only be referred to in works that make reference to the actual Tetris series, such as ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros''. ''Pokemon Puzzle League''--an N64 sequel that was heavilly themed around the ''[[Anime/{{Pokemon}} Pokémon]]'' anime and made no reference to ''Tetris''--did get a Wii Virtual Console release, and ''Puzzle League'' stuck as the English name on future games.
* ''VideoGame/InTheGroove'' stopped development after a lawsuit from ''VideoGame/DanceDanceRevolution'' publisher Konami was settled out of court. Similar lawsuits on ''VideoGame/GuitarHero'' (at this point owned by Activision) and ''RockBand'' were less successful.
* This trope is commonly theorised to be the reason that [[VideoGame/MOTHER1 the]] ''[[VideoGame/EarthBound MOTHER]]'' [[VideoGame/MOTHER3 trilogy]] has remained a case of NoExportForYou ever since the series' [[VideoGame/EarthBound sole American release]] in 1995. Japan has looser copyright laws than America, and it's believed that Shigesato Itoi refuses to allow the myriad cultural {{Shout Out}}s, {{Suspiciously Similar Song}}s, and a certain Creator/SalvadorDali themed enemy to be changed for another international release, and Nintendo is unwilling to override his decisions. The rest of the world may not be the only ones affected by this -- notably, it's still absent from the Japanese [[UsefulNotes/{{Wii}} Virtual Console]] even though it was included as a Masterpiece in the Japanese version of ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBrosBrawl'' and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3UWSm5dKIw explicitly named by Satoru Iwata]] when introducing the Virtual Console in 2005.
** ''Earthbound'' would later get a genuine remastered release for the WiiU Virtual Console in July 2013, and some interviews around the time the VC release was announced indicated that the legal issues weren't a factor at all. The franchise notoriously suffered from mediocre sales (even in its native Japan), and Nintendo simply believed that the interest wasn't there, despite the series' extremely loyal cult following.
* The fangame ''VideoGame/StreetsOfRage Remake'' (which was in development for eight years) was yanked off of its website days after completion due to Sega wanting to protect their IP, despite the fact that Sega had (supposedly) given their blessing for the project on the condition that it was not sold for profit. Some theorized that it was because of the recent mobile phone port of ''Streets of Rage 2''. Luckily, even though developer Bomber Games is legally unable to distribute it, that hasn't stopped fans from [[CantStopTheSignal circulating the final version on the web]] anyway.
* In light of the then-upcoming release of the [[NoExportForYou Japan-exclusive]] ''VideoGame/ShiningArk'', Sega has launched something of a crusade against anyone who has uploaded videos of older ''Franchise/ShiningSeries'' games to Website/YouTube and/or Website/NicoNicoDouga, hitting many uploaders' accounts on both sides of the pond (including popular commentator [[Creator/TheCynicalBrit TotalBiscuit]]) with DMCA notices and causing a number of uploaders to either pull their videos immediately or even see their accounts being shut down as a result. [=TotalBiscuit=] refuses to discuss Sega games at all to this day because of this incident.
* ''VideoGame/TalesOfEternia'' was renamed ''Tales of Destiny II'' in North America to avoid copyright conflicts with the creators of [[WesternAnimation/HeManAndTheMastersOfTheUniverse1983 (He-Man and the) Masters of the Universe]][[note]]Which takes place on the planet "Eternia".[[/note]], and is likely one of the reasons North American gamers didn't receive the '''real''' ''VideoGame/TalesOfDestiny2''.
* Most of the ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars'' games, save for the Original Generations series, will most likely never be seen in the States since the American rights to the various mecha used are owned by far too many different companies. The biggest hurdle in this is Creator/HarmonyGold, who has been rabidly protective of "their" ''Anime/{{Robotech}}'' "franchise"[[note]]Which was initially adapted from [[Anime/SuperDimensionFortressMacross three]] [[Anime/GenesisClimberMospeada unrelated]] [[Anime/SuperDimensionCavalrySouthernCross anime]] about transforming mecha.[[/note]] and its components.
* This is also the case for the ''VideoGame/JumpSuperStars'' games, where various ''Shonen Jump'' properties are owned by different companies. Sometimes, a different company can hold the manga rights, anime rights, and the merchandising rights, as is the case with ''Manga/DragonBall''.
* Having various companies own American and European rights to Tatsunoko series was overcome for ''VideoGame/TatsunokoVsCapcom'', as Capcom went through the trouble (and money) to buy all of the rights for every series represented in the game and then some, with the exception of ''Hakushon Daimaou''. This character was removed from the international version as the European copyright holder absolutely refused to sell the rights to Capcom.
** While the original Japanese-only release of ''Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Cross Generation of Heroes'' had [[{{Leitmotif}} character themes]] during battles, they were removed in ''Ultimate All-Stars''. This was due to Capcom not being able to get the music rights for the Tatsunoko characters, as their themes were {{instrumental|ThemeTune}} versions of their respective TV show [[ThemeTune theme songs]]. Instead, the stages were given original music themes.
* The ''VideoGame/QuestForGlory'' series was originally named ''Hero's Quest'', but Sierra On-Line had to change the name to avoid potential copyright issues with the makers of the tabletop game ''Hero Quest''. The initial (EGA) release of the game did have that name, though.
* ''VideoGame/NeverwinterNights2'' managed to avoid the total ScrewedByTheNetwork suffered by Obsidian's previous game ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic II''. It got two full expansions and a premium module, but it was still fairly buggy when Hasbro/Wizards of the Coast sued Atari over license agreement violations. Continuing game updates after that was probably a low priority. It also resulted in the UsefulNotes/{{Steam}} version being pulled, though it has since been rereleased on Website/GOGDotCom.
* [[http://www.gog.com/forum/general/release_legacy_of_kain_blood_omen_2/post24 Don't expect]] the first ''[[VideoGame/LegacyOfKain Blood Omen]]'' to be rereleased on Website/GOGDotCom any time soon, due to a spectacular case of ExecutiveMeddling-induced legal bridge-burning between Creator/SiliconKnights and Crystal Dynamics (with Creator/{{Activision}} as an involved sideline third party), [[http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=503761 which is best left explained in details by NeoGAF user Mama Robotnik]].
* Speaking of Silicon Knights, you probably would want to hold on to your copies of ''VideoGame/TooHuman'' and/or ''[[VideoGame/XMenDestiny X-Men: Destiny]]'' if you bought them before Silicon Knights lost a lawsuit against Epic Games over the latter's Unreal Engine 3 technology[[labelnote:reason]]Silicon Knights reverse-engineered the engine believing that Epic Games had deliberately sent them a bugged version of it to make the latter's ''VideoGames/GearsOfWar'' look superior by comparison, and the former used the modified engine on all of their projects starting with ''Too Human'' without any permission from Epic and Silicon Knights credited it as their own[[/labelnote]]. Don't expect to see any fresh copies in any warehouses after 2012, as the court ordered Silicon Knights to eradicate all of the game code for and unsold copies of ''Too Human'', ''Destiny'', and all of their future unreleased projects.
* A number of amateur game programmers were attempting to make an MMORPG based on ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' and had the game's servers running for about a month before Hasbro slapped them with a C&D letter. At first they thought it was a hoax from some {{troll}}, but closer inspection revealed that Hasbro indeed wanted them to stop. Presumably this was to avoid conflict with the Creator/{{Gameloft}} [[VideoGame/MyLittlePony game Hasbro later released]].
** ''VideoGame/MyLittlePonyFightingIsMagic'' got hit with the same thing a couple of weeks later. Just to twist the knife, this was only a couple of days after ''Fighting is Magic'' was confirmed to be going to the EVO Championship Series![[note]][[HoistByHisOwnPetard Which was probably why it happened]][[/note]] The reaction from the fandom[[note]]That is, "bronies" who despise [[Franchise/MyLittlePony the]] [[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyTales previous]] [[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyG3 incarnations]].[[/note]] was ''[[InternetBackdraft really]]'' unanimous.
*** However, a few weeks later, the original creator of ''Friendship is Magic'', Lauren Faust, offered to help the creators finish what they started by [[http://www.mane6.com/2013/03/m6v2.html creating new original characters.]] The game was revived, but is now sailing in a slightly different direction.
*** Some two and a half years later (Licensing, patenting and trademarking takes a while...), the project has since been revived in the form of ''VideoGame/ThemsFightinHerds'' which drops the ''My Little Pony'' elements in favor of different non-pony ungulate characters.
* ''VideoGame/ThrillKill'' was all but completed when its publishers shut it down over fears of [[MoralGuardians parental-group lawsuits]]. It now exists in a number of pirated copies initially distributed by [[WriterRevolt its irate programmers]].
* The Wii ports of the Creator/HumongousEntertainment games are noteworthy -- Atari contracted Majesco to port some of the games, who then outsourced it to Mistic Software, who had the SCUMM SDK and every tool they needed to port the games without much hassle. So what did they choose to do? Completely ignore it, and just slap a [=ScummVM=] build onto it, which is a GPL licensed virtual machine that happens to be capable of playing Humongous games. Long story short, they failed to comply to the GPL, and the games had to be pulled. Admittedly though, a lot more people were mad at Mistic in this case than the lawyers.
* The [[UsefulNotes/CommodoreAmiga Amiga CD32]] was never released in the U.S. due to a patent dispute, which was the final nail in Commodore's coffin.
* The NGOSuperpower SPECTRE from the ''Franchise/JamesBond'' franchise had to be renamed OCTOPUS in ''VideoGame/DoubleOhSevenFromRussiaWithLove'' due to a legal dispute between [[Creator/MetroGoldwynMayer MGM]]/[[Creator/UnitedArtists UA]] and screenwriter Creator/KevinMcClory's estate over the film rights to ''Literature/{{Thunderball}}''. See the Film section for more details.
* ''[[VideoGame/MechWarrior MechWarrior Living Legends]]'' was a fan-made (and officially licensed) total conversion GameMod for ''[[Videogame/{{Crysis}} Crysis Warhead]]'', first released in late 2009. It offered combined-arms gameplay (infantry, tanks, aircraft, and battlemechs all fighting at once) unique to the franchise. A few months after the official new game, ''[=MechWarrior Online=]'' ([[AllegedlyFreeGame a free-to-play game]]) was released in 2011, the ''Living Legends'' developers were forced to quit developing and disband after their final update (0.7.1) released in January 2013, as the developers of ''Online'' essentially yanked the ''Mechwarrior'' license away from the ''Living Legends'' development team. The official reasoning was that the ''Online'' developers "didn't want to double up their efforts" to compete with a free mod with a [[DisproportionateRetribution total playerbase of about a thousand players (about 1% of Online's)]] which was, embarrassingly, releasing new content at a faster rate. 0.7.1 was the developer's swan song, incorporating several new vehicles, a [[RescuedFromTheScrappyHeap comprehensive balance pass]], optimizations, and a series of WhatCouldHaveBeen threads on the game's forum showing new features that didn't have enough time to be finalized.
** The team ([=MekTek=]) developing the free release of ''Mechwarrior 4: Mercenaries'' and its ExpansionPack / GameMod "Mekpak" got caught up in the same legal scuffle - they, like ''Living Legends'', had the rights to distribute the game (granted by Microsoft) - but when ''Online'' came out, their license mysteriously disappeared when ''Online'''s development team acquired the rights to the franchise. Unlike ''Living Legends'' which could continue to distribute their game, Mektek was required to remove all copies of the game from their website.
* ''VideoGame/GoldenEye1997'': Much like the ''Batman'' show mentioned above, complex licensing issues have kept this game from seeing a rerelease despite its critical and commercial success. The rights, as of 2013, are in a confused mess between Nintendo (the original publisher) and Microsoft (owners of Rare, the original developer), and getting two bitter UsefulNotes/ConsoleWars arch-enemies to work together isn't easy. (Before 2013, Activision was also involved due to owning the James Bond game license at the time; currently, no other publisher has dared to pick the license up due to [[FranchiseKiller the financial bombing]] of Activision's ''007 Legends'') Then there's probably an issue with the image rights of the various actors and actresses whose likenesses appear in the game. Fans looking to play the game in its original form are just going to have to [[KeepCirculatingTheTapes keep circulating those cartridges.]]
** It eventually got to the point where Activision just said "Screw it" and did the best they could by [[VideoGame/GoldeneyeWii remaking the game]] in the ''Call of Duty'' engine. [[FacklerScaleOfFPSRealism Given the differences between]] [[TheyChangedItNowItSucks Call of Duty and the original]], [[BrokenBase not everyone was pleased.]] And ''that'' game got eventually recalled.
** This is also one of the factors kept the game from appearing in ''Rare Replay'', a compilation of Rare's most popular console games ported for the Xbox One; WordOfGod [[https://archive.is/LSb5d says]] the other factor being that even if ''[=GoldenEye=]'' wasn't tangled up in legal limbo, it being a LicensedGame in the first place made it a low priority for the compilation, Rare choosing to showcase the fictional universes that they have created completely on their own as a priority.
* ''VideoGame/KaijuCombat'' has the official name of "Colossal Kaiju Combat" due to copyright concerns from ''WesternAnimation/{{Kaijudo}}''.
* When ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehogCD'' was released for iOS, Android, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3, it came with both Japanese/European and American music. However, the Japanese themes, ''You Can Do Anything'' and ''Cosmic Eternity - Believe In Yourself'', had its lyrics removed. This is rumored to be due the estate of the late Casey Rankin being unable to allow them to use his contribution to the song.
* The wonderful ''VideoGame/NoOneLivesForever'' is not going to get any kind of rerelease in the foreseeable future, because nobody seems to know who holds the rights to it. The game was originally published by Fox Interactive, which was bought by Vivendi Universal which in turn was eventually acquired by Activision. However, according to Activision's lawyers, they do not currently possess the rights to the game. The developer Monolith isn't any wiser on the subject either.
* The reasoning for currently no other ''Franchise/StarTrek'' TV series also hurts video games. For instance, ''VideoGame/StarTrekOnline'' is not allowed ''at all'' to use anything from the new movies. It is actually set in the original timeline after the destruction of Romulus. They can reference Nero and Spock Prime (and Leonard Nimoy provides the narration), but a lot of their ships are expies of the ''Narada'' and the U.S.S. ''Vengeance''. Another thing that seems to heavily flipflop is what ships can be used from the main universe and at what level. As it stands now, the Federation players cannot have ships from TOS or the films as endgame ships. This rule isn't enforced for the Klingons and only the T'liss Warbird doesn't have an endgame counterpart for the Romulans.
* In December 2013, Marvel, after having their licensing contracts with Activision expire, made Activision stop all digital and physical distribution of the ''VideoGame/{{Deadpool}}'' video game (only '''six months''' after release, even!) and all of their X-Men and non-movie Spider-Man games[[note]]Including ''X-Men Destiny'', [[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill which was already barred from distribution by Epic Games in 2012]] as noted above.[[/note]] and Capcom the same for the ''VideoGame/MarvelVsCapcom'' series and its DLC, notably including ''VideoGame/MarvelVsCapcom3'' DLC playable characters [[Franchise/ResidentEvil Jill Valentine]] (who's not a Marvel character) and Shuma-Gorath; since Capcom did not have the foresight to release those two on disc, their playable status in TournamentPlay in now in jeopardy due to the UsefulNotes/FightingGameCommunity's MO on non-universally available characters such as console exclusives and delisted DLC being to simply ban them in the name of match-up knowledge fairness.
** The worst part? On Amazon, a used copy of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 will set you back about $33.31 for the 360 version and $56.99 for the [=PS3=] version. That's excluding postage costs. For a game that's still being played competitively to this day, that's a bit much.
* ''Franchise/{{Barbie}}'' won't get her own Virtual Console releases due to a legal settlement between ''Creator/{{Mattel}}'' and ''Creator/{{Ubisoft}}''.
* ''Literature/AmericanGirl'' won't be seeing the light of day as ''Creator/{{THQ}}'' is about to go bankrupt in 2013, thus shelving the rest of the American Girls Collection video games due to ''Creator/{{Mattel}}'' owning the trademark.
* ''VideoGame/StarTrek25thAnniversary'' had just a minor legal hurdle to overcome. The game featured the character Harry Mudd, including a close-up of his face for Enterprise viewscreen communications, which was of good likeness. At the time the game was made Paramount had a policy that whenever the physical likeness of a character from a ''Franchise/StarTrek'' TV series was used in a licensed work, the original actor or their estate would have to give their consent. Unfortunately, the actor who played Harry Mudd passed away just as the game was ready to be released, and they had not secured his permission yet. Rather than delay the release of the game and wait for his inheritance to be settled and obtain permission from his estate, the developers simply changed the close-up into a shadowy silhouette of Mudd.
* ''VideoGame/NBAJam Extreme'' is noted for its surprise omission of UsefulNotes/MichaelJordan, Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal. This was because of contracts with those basketball players appearing in games from competing game studios, resulting in a conflict that could only be resolved by removing them from the game completely. Contractual obligations from the three acting in movies that year (''Film/{{Kazaam}}'' for O'Neal and ''Film/SpaceJam'' for Jordan and Barkley) might have also played a role.
** Said rumor turned out to be true in Jordan's case, as he later appeared in ''Space Jam''[='=]s tie-in game from both games' publisher Creator/{{Acclaim}}, using the same engine as ''Extreme''.
** Competitor Creator/MidwayGames failed to dodge the same bullet Acclaim was hit with in their answer to ''Extreme'', ''NBA Hangtime''. In addition to the aforementioned players omitted from ''Extreme'', Muggsy Bogues got written off of ''Hangtime'''s roster due to his contractual obligations appearing in ''Space Jam''[[note]]Odd, [[{{Irony}} considering that he appeared in]] ''NBA Jam Extreme''[[/note]]. However, three other players that appeared in the film (Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson and Shawn Bradley) were exempted from those obligations, and were allowed to appear in both ''Hangtime'' and ''Extreme''.
* Because Fuji Television holds the rights to ''VideoGame/DokiDokiPanic'', We will never see the game on Wii U or 3DS Virtual Console. Although the characters were replaced with Mario characters on ''VideoGame/SuperMarioBros2''.
* ''Creator/{{Hasbro}}'', who holds the licensing rights to ''VideoGame/WorldGames'' and ''VideoGame/CaliforniaGames'', didn't get to release them as Virtual Console games for ''UsefulNotes/{{Wii}}'', due to a copyright claim by Epyx.
* The ''WesternAnimation/TinyToonAdventures'' video games from Creator/{{Konami}}. The games and their codes are owned by Konami, but ''Tiny Toon Adventures'' is owned by Creator/WarnerBrothers, who have their own video game publishing arm. Because of this, it's unlikely we'll see these games in the Virtual Console service any time soon. Konami's ''WesternAnimation/XiaolinShowdown'' are also in this same limbo.
* Creator/{{Disney}} has a bad habit with the above problem. To name a few:
** None of Capcom's NES Disney games (including ''VideoGame/MickeyMousecapade''[[note]]Which was licensed from Creator/HudsonSoft[[/note]] and both ''VideoGame/DuckTales'' games) have been released on the Virtual Console service for Wii or Wii U.[[note]]Disney owns the characters, while Capcom owns the source code for the games.[[/note]] Additionally, while a "remastered" version of the first ''[=DuckTales=]'' game has been released, Capcom have stated the deal was just for this game only, and not the original version.
** Sega's ''[[VideoGame/CastleOfIllusion Illusion]]'' series starring Disney/MickeyMouse has only seen one reissue: the original ''Castle of Illusion'', which was released only for UsefulNotes/PlayStation3 users who pre-ordered the 2013 remake before its release. As for the other installments, they haven't been reissued at all.
** Another Sega/Disney venture, ''VideoGame/{{Quackshot}}: Starring [[ComicBook/DisneyDucksComicUniverse Donald Duck]]'', hasn't been reissued at all, both Genesis and Saturn versions, on any other platform despite otherwise positive reception. The Genesis version received at least one reissue, being bundled with ''Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse'' in 1996 for a collection titled ''The Disney Collection for Genesis'', but that was it. The Saturn version was released exclusively in Japan and was never reissued.
** Sony Imagesoft's ''Video/MickeyMania'', for Sega Genesis, Sega CD and the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. While Disney is undoubtedly a factor in the latter three versions' inability to get re-released, the mere presence of a [=PlayStation=] port is the major obstacle keeping them from ever getting on the Virtual Console service. That later [=PlayStation=] port, titled ''Mickey's Wild Adventure'', got released to the PlayStation Network....[[NoExportForYou for Europe and Australia]] in 2012. Worse still, both Sony and developer Traveler's Tales (which is now owned by Disney rival Creator/WarnerBrothers) stated that the deal was for that port only, and not the others.
** Thanks to the acrimonious relationship between Disney and Creator/{{Nintendo}}, the ''Mickey Mouse'' games for the VideoGame/GameAndWatch were exiled from the ''Game and Watch Gallery'' series of ports of Game & Watch games for Game Boy, and it's unlikely they will resurface anytime soon because of Disney's refusal to license the characters to Nintendo.
* The Game Boy game ''Q-Billion'' is probably never going to get a release on Virtual Console. Aruze had owned the ''Q-Billion'' copyright after it acquired ''Q-Billion'' developer Seta. After Seta shut down operations, Aruze neglected to renew the copyright, and thus, Aruze no longer legally owns the game and they're not sure who does.
* The infamous ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}'' legal dispute involving Creator/InterplayEntertainment and Creator/{{Bethesda}} led to Interplay's ''Fallout'' games being pulled from all online stores on January 1st, 2014, notably Steam and Good Old Games. Bethesda, who now owns the ''Fallout'' franchise and all installments as part of the legal settlement with Interplay, stated they hoped to bring the titles back to the stores, and did so in the case of Steam later that year. They later returned to GOG.com in August 2015.
* Love Creator/{{Nintendo}}'s ''VideoGame/{{Popeye}}''? Want to see it on the VirtualConsole? Arcade or NES? Too bad, because King Features Syndicate/Hearst refuses to allow them to. To sum it up, King Features is really, ''really'' touchy on their products when it comes to licensing, a behavior that is dated back to its ''establishment'', and usually it's a miracle when a deal is somehow reached to have a particular licensed King Features media reissued[[note]]This is especially the case with the ''Popeye'' cartoon shorts, which took up to '''2007''' to receive an ''official'' home media release[[/note]]. Namco received a license from King Features and Nintendo to develop a mobile phone (not a smartphone) version of the game, but so far, that's it.
** The Game & Watch version doesn't fare any better. Being a licensed property, it was excluded from appearing in the ''Game & Watch Gallery'' series due to failure to secure the rights from King Features. The ''Mickey Mouse'' games (licensed by Disney) also suffered this fate.
* If you think ''Popeye'' had it bad, the video game adaptation of ''WesternAnimation/{{Phantom 2040}}'' didn't fare any better. Because King Features owns ComicStrip/ThePhantom character, don't expect to see either Sunsoft's SNES port or Illusions Gaming's Sega Genesis port on the VirtualConsole anytime soon.
* Ironically, Creator/{{Nintendo}} itself was found guilty of violating the copyright for the original arcade version of ''VideoGame/DonkeyKong,'' and therefore cannot sell the original game for its consoles -- only ports and re-creations. To briefly summarize, the arcade game was written by a company named Ikegami Tsushinki on assignment, but the contract did not include ownership rights to the code. When ''Donkey Kong'' became a hit, Nintendo tried to make more boards themselves, and got sued for copyright violation as a result. A detailed article is [[http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/134790/the_secret_history_of_donkey_kong.php?print=1 available here.]]
* On the subject of Donkey Kong, it's widely speculated (though never outright confirmed) that this is the reason it took so long for ''VideoGame/DonkeyKong64'' to see a Virtual Console release, as it featured Creator/{{Rareware}}'s ''VideoGame/{{Jetpac}}'' as an EmbeddedPrecursor. The rights to the Donkey Kong characters are owned by Nintendo, but ''Jetpac'' is owned by Microsoft. Simply dummying it out wasn't an option either, since it must be played through to obtain a collectible item that is required to complete the game. A deal was finally struck between the two parties and it was released for the Wii U Virtual Console in April 2015, retaining everything from the original release.
* Creator/{{Atari}}[[note]]The company that used to be called Infogrames.[[/note]] does not hold the rights to the post-1984 Atari arcade catalog from the Atari Games division of the original company, and as such, is unable to reissue any game from that division to other platforms. Instead, the rights to that catalog are owned by Warner Bros., whose parent company retained control of the arcade division of Atari, Inc. following its breakup from the console division, which later became known as Atari Corporation. Thus, unlike the pre-1984 arcade catalog and entire console archive retained by (the current) Atari, the Atari Games catalog is rarely reissued to other platforms, likely due to Warner's [[ExecutiveMeddling historical apathy on Atari]]. Making matters worse is that the games are reissued under the Creator/MidwayGames banner[[note]]Midway acquired Atari Games from Warner in 1996, but when Midway filed for bankruptcy in 2009, Warner reacquired the catalog along with a majority of Midway's assets[[/note]], instead of Atari Games, due to Warner not wanting to pay for trademark fees to use the "Atari" name.
** Creator/{{Atari}} sued to block the PC, Playstation 4 and Android versions of [=TxK=], claiming that the game infringes on ''VideoGame/{{Tempest}}''. Jeff Minter, the creator of the game, also created ''Tempest 2000''. The decision has [[{{understatement}} not been particularly well-received]] in the video game community. Atari is also trying to get the game removed from the Playstation Store and make Mintner sign an agreement that he will never make a ''Tempest''-inspired game again.
** Creator/{{Atari}} did the same with ''Haunted House Tycoon'', in which they claim that it infringes off of [[VideoGame/HauntedHouse their game]]. They certainly were not the first company to make a "Haunted House" style game[[note]]Magnavox Odyssey was the first[[/note]], and we all know how Cryptic Graves fared.
* ''Rare Replay'', a CompilationRerelease for Xbox One commemorating Creator/{{Rare}}'s [[MilestoneCelebration 30th anniversary]], is supposed to include dozens of Rare's most popular video games throughout its history. However, a handful of games were not allowed to be included. A few examples: ''VideoGame/DonkeyKong64'', all three ''VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountry'' games, ''VideoGame/GoldenEye1997'', ''VideoGame/DiddyKongRacing'', ''VideoGame/StarFoxAdventures'' and ''VideoGame/MickeysSpeedwayUSA''. The first seven are due to Creator/{{Nintendo}} being the original creators of Donkey Kong (and Film/{{GoldenEye}} being a [[Franchise/JamesBond movie license]]), while the eighth is due to Creator/{{Disney}}... and even if this trope didn't come into play, [[https://archive.is/LSb5d all eight games still wouldn't have made the cut due to not belonging to fictional universes 100% created by Rare, as per the internal company goal for the compilation]]; their chances of inclusions were damned either way. Same goes for California Games, World Games and Wizards & Warriors.
* Half of the ''WesternAnimation/SabrinaTheAnimatedSeries'' and ''Series/SabrinaTheTeenageWitch'' games aren't going to be on the VirtualConsole, WindowsStore (Windows), AppStore (Mac), Steam and PlayStationStore due to Archie Comics refusing to license the characters.
* ''Franchise/HarvestMoon'' is a bit of a CultClassic, but it's popular enough to receive shelf space in most major retailers. The original Japanese version of the game, known as ''Bokujou Monogatari'' (''Ranch Story''), is created by Marvelous and was localized by Creator/{{Natsume}} for many years. Marvelous eventually partnered with Creator/XSEEDGames for their translation, to which Natsume basically said, "Fine, but you can't have the name, and [[StartMyOwn we're gonna make our own game with the name]]!" This is how we now have DuelingGames: ''VideoGame/StoryOfSeasons'', the continuation of ''Bokujou Monogatari'' under a new name, and ''VideoGame/HarvestMoonTheLostValley'', the continuation of the ''Harvest Moon'' name without the original designers. Naturally, when retailers like Walmart and Best Buy decided which games to stock, they went by name alone, stocking the "new and unproven" game because the brand was successful and passing over the "tried and true" series because it had an unfamiliar title.
* The Steam version of ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoSanAndreas'' was untouched for years until a sudden update in 2014 was released out of the blue. The patch did nothing but remove several songs from the game whose licenses expired and since Rockstar didn't want to spend money to renew the licenses (which were likely more expensive now than they were years ago), the songs got cut to prevent a lawsuit. Fans of the game were extremely upset that their favorite songs were cut out and also point out that the Steam version of ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoViceCity'' went through a similar process, but Rockstar had simply stopped selling the original version of the game and added a new version without the copyrighted songs so that owners of the original version could still download and play the version they purchased.
* This trope is likely the reason why the NES versions of ''VideoGame/KungFuMaster'' (called simply "Kung Fu" in North America) and 10-Yard Fight won't ever see re-releases, unless Irem (the original creators) and Nintendo (who made the NES versions) can work out some kind of deal. Of course, this doesn't stop Irem from re-releasing the original arcade versions since they made and released them themselves.
* This is what killed ''VideoGame/ProjectM'' - the creators found out that the mod's scope had grown so large that Nintendo could now potentially ''sue'' then instead of hitting them with a Cease and Desist.
* Creator/SabanBrands had a hissy fit over ''VideoGame/ChromaSquad'' due to its heavy ''Franchise/PowerRangers'' leaning (though it's probably safe to say it was more leaning towards ''Franchise/SuperSentai'' instead). In the end, the game was released with a small tagline proclaiming it's "Based On Saban's Power Rangers".
* EA's ''NCAA Football'' is in indefinite limbo as of 2013 thanks to the UsefulNotes/{{NCAA}} revoking the game license from EA. There were numerous legal disputes regarding royalties to the players that appeared in the games, and it all boiled over when NCAA caved to pressure to shut down the series.
* ''VideoGame/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles'' was released on the Wii's VirtualConsole for 600 Wii Points ($6) instead of the usual 500 points due to the game having to be licensed. When the license ran out, Konami didn't bother to renew it and the game was removed as a result. Didn't buy the game before then? Too bad, it's now gone for good.
* ''VideoGame/PokemonXAndY:'' X ''and'' Y were released early in Italy and Canada, which resulted in leaks that caused Nintendo to crack down hard on the leakers and the stores that broke street date on the games.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* [[http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/5/57/Tart_as_a_double_entendre.png This]] infamous ''Webcomic/PennyArcade'' strip showing ''WesternAnimation/StrawberryShortcake'' InTheStyleOf ''VideoGame/AmericanMcGeesAlice'' had to be taken off the site due to a cease and desist letter the creators got from American Greetings.
* In ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary'', the "[[BigBookOfWar The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates]]" had to be changed (even in [[OrwellianRetcon past strips]]) to the "The Seventy Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries" after receiving "the world's politest Cease and Desist letter" from [=FranklinCovey=], the owners of the "Seven Habits..." trademark ''eight years after the fact''. However, Howard Tayler claims he didn't mind seeing as he was looking for an excuse to change the name anyway so he could use the Maxims in TheMerch.
* Mike R. finally [[http://rustyandco.com/what-happened/ explained]] why ''Webcomic/RustyAndCo'' spent several weeks down in December-January 2012-13. There was a danger of years-long lawsuit, but he and his attorney were able to prove that Rusty and most other elements are covered by OGL, public domain or parodies. Still, a few things did trespass ''Wizards of the Coast''[='s=] product identity limitations. For example, Yuan-Tiffany the [[SnakePeople yuan-ti]] had to become Y.T. the [[SnakePeople lamia]]. His Kickstarter page still [[http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1327060998/rusty-the-rust-monster-plush-toy-0 says]] "'''''Rusty the Rust Monster - Plush Toy is the subject of an intellectual property dispute and currently unavailable.''' [...] Thanks for your patience.''" But the toys have already started shipping.
* The ''Webcomic/DysfunctionalFamilyCircus'' was shut down upon receiving a cease and desist letter. Greg Galcik initially intended to fight it in court, but changed his mind after a ([[http://www.beyond-black-friday.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/billetsm.gif very sympathetic]]) phone call from Bil Keane himself. They ''did'' let the site go on for one more comic (the [[MilestoneCelebration 500th one]], no less).

[[folder:Web Originals]]
* In general, YouTube videos that feature copyrighted content tend to get taken down very easily, even if they fall under fair use, due to a combination of the automated Content ID system and how easy it is for parties to file false or misconstrued copyright claims against these videos. Note that where you stand on this is [[RuleOfCautiousEditingJudgement none of our business]].
* Website/{{Channel101}} had to cancel ''WebVideo/HouseOfCosbys'' because of a cease and desist from Creator/BillCosby's attorney.
* ''Main/MoshiMonsters'' had to take down its character Lady Goo Goo and her music video "The Moshi Dance" and scrap the next planned music video "Peppy-razzi" after Lady Gaga's lawyers won a law suit against them claiming people would get confused and think the character was endorsed by her.
* A few videos from Website/ThatGuyWithTheGlasses were removed after direct threats by the rights holders: WebVideo/TheCinemaSnob's review of ''Film/{{Grizzly}} II'' (helps that the movie is unfinished), the ''WebVideo/BrowsHeldHigh'' episode on Crispin Glover's ''What Is It'', and the only ones that got restored were the WebVideo/ObscurusLupa and WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic reviews of ''Film/TheRoom'' (Creator/DougWalker even retaliated by doing [[http://thatguywiththeglasses.com/videolinks/thatguywiththeglasses/nostalgia-critic/26252-the-tommy-wiseau-show this]]).
** On a related note, the tendency of ''The Nostalgia Critic'' and other shows which use copyrighted material under fair use to be taken down by [=YouTube's=] copyright system has become severe enough for Doug Walker to create the hashtag [[FunWithAcronyms #WTFU (Where's the Fair Use?)]] in protest of this trope.
* The KeepCirculatingTheTapes page has a section of its description detailing the perils of music rights. Apparently, trailers on Website/YouTube [[http://www.gamespot.com/articles/dev-creates-group-to-combat-controversial-youtube-copyright-claims/1100-6416810/ are having the same problem]].
* ''WebAnimation/ButtonsAdventures'', another victim of Hasbro since it was based on a background character from the ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' show. However, some assume it's less Button who was the problem but the usage of Sweetie Belle, who is a major character from the series.
** Actually, Hasbro later confirmed on this that it was a third-party lawyer who had the series taken down, that they had no problem with any of the MLP characters used in fan properties that didn't damage the integrity (something that Buttons Adventures most certainly didn't) and not only had the persons responsible since been fired, but talks ''were'' in order with [=JanAnimations=] (the creator) for a form of compensation.....[[http://ask-thecrusaders.tumblr.com/post/117841628509/so-how-can-we-got-to-wait-till-august-for-you-to but the talks didn't seem to work out]].
* [=MisterDavie=], a YouTube-based animator who did the infamous "[[WebAnimation/{{Smile}} Smile HD]]" music video and the animated adaptation of "Cupcakes", had his works temporarily taken down. This was seen as a ''good'' thing by some of the MLP fandom who wasn't keen on his depiction of Pinkie Pie as a mass murderer.
* One early episode of ''Machinima/RedVsBlue'' had to have the music on the Warthog changed for the DVD release because Creator/RoosterTeeth couldn't figure out who owned the music of the original version.
* Creator/AchievementHunter had a number of their Let's Plays stopped, started and stopped again due to Nintendo's ever-changing stance in using their material for Let's Plays.
* Even ''WebOriginal/TheAngryVideoGameNerd'' wasn't immune to this.
** Creator/JamesRolfe changed the original show title ''The Angry Nintendo Nerd'' to ''The Angry Video Game Nerd'' to avoid getting into trouble with Creator/{{Nintendo}}. He took this opportunity to make it a MeaningfulRename, though, and started reviewing games from other consoles along with the NES and SNES games he'd been reviewing up to that point.
** Rolfe was asked by Creator/NewLineCinema to take down his movie review of ''Film/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtlesIII'' from Creator/YouTube and [=GameTrailers=], not because they were offended by his review or anything, but because the film clips in the video were used without their permission. It was also omitted from the Volume 2 set for this reason. Therefore, only Creator/ScrewAttack and his company Cinemassacre's website host the review. Rumor has it that this event led to the [[WhatCouldHaveBeen proposed]] ''Angry Movie Nerd'' side series getting scrapped. Rolfe later re-uploaded the review to Creator/YouTube and [=GameTrailers=].
*** This also caused the removal of his reviews of ''VideoGame/SuperMarioBros3'' (which featured clips from ''Film/TheWizard'') and the Sega Master System game adaptation of ''Film/{{Rocky}}'' (which featured clips of said movie), due to angry letters from both [[Creator/{{Universal}} NBCUniversal]] and [[Creator/MetroGoldwynMayer MGM]]/[[Creator/UnitedArtists UA]], respectively, regarding the videos' use of movie clips, again without permission. Both episodes are back up, but at the request of the studios, all of the movie clips were removed. Ironically, the AVGN episode covering the Nintendo Entertainment System tie-in game of ''Franchise/BackToTheFuture'' did not get into any legal wrangling despite using clips from said movie, also another [=NBCUniversal=] property.
* Parodied in WebVideo/{{Caddicarus}}'s review of the Video Game adaption of ''Film/HowTheGrinchStoleChristmas''. Caddy starts singing "[[Film/TheMuppetChristmasCarol Thankful Heart]]" after he finds that the game is SoOkayItsAverage (at least, compared to ''Santa Claus Saves the Earth''). He's only 2 lines into the song before:
* The web series ''Adult Wednesday Addams'', focusing on [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin a grown-up]] [[TheAddamsFamily Wednesday Addams]] as she navigates twentysomething life in UsefulNotes/LosAngeles, got taken down after its creator Melissa Hunter received a cease-and-desist letter from Creator/CharlesAddams' estate. Hunter laid out the situation [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SebuPhdRxMM here]]. Fortunately, some enterprising individuals have taken to reposting the series (no links, for obvious reasons).
* Two videos from ''WebVideo/DeathBattle'' have been hit with takedown notices. The first was the [[VideoGame/GuiltyGear Sol Badguy]] vs. [[VideoGame/BlazBlue Ragna the Bloodedge]] due to fan art being used and the creator not being happy with what was being used for credit. The second was the remaster fight between [[VideoGame/{{Metroid}} Samus Aran]] and [[Franchise/StarWars Boba Fett]] due to the DancePartyEnding using ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}''[='s=] "Shine". Both are back, but the Samus vs. Fett video has the music removed, sadly.
* ''WebVideo/MysteryScienceTheaterF1'' had to be posted outside of YouTube, because its episodes would get blocked immediately upon upload.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Disney's purchase of Creator/MarvelComics put an end to Sony's production of ''WesternAnimation/TheSpectacularSpiderMan''. (In general, Disney's trying to avoid screwing with existing licensing deals, but Sony gave up the TV rights to Spidey so they could keep [[Film/SpiderManTrilogy the movie rights]].) Creator/GregWeisman explained the show's situation [[http://www.s8.org/gargoyles/askgreg/search.php?qid=14223 here]]; he even points out that the companies themselves weren't to blame, but that it was just bad corporate luck.
* Disney later repeated the above method with ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsTheCloneWars'' on Creator/CartoonNetwork after acquiring Lucasfilm. Thankfully, episodes produced at the time of cancellation later aired on Netflix. Meanwhile, a four-episode arc with unfinished animation was posted to the official ''Star Wars'' website for free, another arc called "Bad Batch" was screened at a Star Wars Celebration in 2015, and episodes that didn't make it past the writing stage were adapted to a four-issue comic miniseries starring Darth Maul and a novel called ''Literature/DarkDisciple''.
* In a similar vein as the example above, 4Kids couldn't continue with [[WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles2003 their]] ''Franchise/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles'' adaptation after Creator/{{Nickelodeon}} acquired the ''TMNT'' franchise from Mirage Comics. Unlike the example above, however, 4Kids lost the rights to their adaptation to Nickelodeon as well.
* This caused the demise of King Louie of ''Disney/TheJungleBook'' in all Disney media. The family of the late Louis Prima (who voiced Louie in the original movie) sued Disney because Creator/JimCummings, Creator/JasonMarsden and Creator/CreeSummer did ''too good a job'' impersonating Prima when they voiced the character in ''WesternAnimation/TaleSpin'' and ''WesternAnimation/JungleCubs''. As a result, Louie was completely absent from ''Jungle Book 2'' and replaced by an Expy named King Larry in ''WesternAnimation/HouseOfMouse''.
* ''WesternAnimation/BeavisAndButtHead'' is now available on DVD without many of the music video commentary segments due to not being able to license that amount of music. Arguably, those segments were half the reason why the show was entertaining. Even the segments that were made available for the DVD releases (on separate discs from the episodes themselves) aren't available online.
** Creator/MikeJudge wouldn't let a third of the series be released since he was [[OldShame embarrassed by it]].
* Some lawsuits by the members of the class depicted in ''Mrs. Munger's Class'' (whose likenesses were used without permission) ended the segment's run on OneSaturdayMorning and shut the door on plans for an ABC primetime version of the cartoon.
* ''WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill'''s third DVD set was released a whole ''year'' after the second, and rumor has it that the delay was related to licensing issues for the music, explaining the third to sixth season box sets' lack of bonus features.
* The US release of ''WesternAnimation/TheTick'' animated series is missing one episode each in the two seasons released so far; due to a prominent minor character bearing a [[{{Expy}} strong similarity]] to a well-known celebrity, and Buena Vista not wanting to spend the money to secure the likeness rights. Buena Vista still hasn't released the third season; for reasons unknown. The UK region 2 release by Lace International has all three seasons complete and uncut.
* The rights to ''Anime/TransformersRobotsInDisguise'' were sold to Disney as part of a Creator/SabanEntertainment package deal[[note]]Disney wanted to buy the Fox Family channel, but couldn't buy it separately. The only way they could get their hands on it was to buy ''all'' of Saban Entertainment. This would be the same deal that landed them ''Franchise/PowerRangers'' for a while, which TheyJustDidntCare about enough to properly supervise the creative team for.[[/note]], thus making it unlikely to ever see a DVD release, since Disney couldn't care less about ''Franchise/{{Transformers}}'' to rerelease it and Saban couldn't care less about ''Transformers'' to buy the show's rights back from Disney as they did with much of their live-action input. That, and Hasbro don't even care about getting it back too.
* Music rights were the reason behind the long wait for ''WesternAnimation/{{Daria}}'' on DVD; being a MTV produced show, they ([[NetworkDecay ironically]]) used snippets of new music constantly, often using ten or more just one episode. Even just lasting seconds long, it led to a mind-boggling amount of rights to shuffle through. Eventually, they decided it was either clear all the rights, and pricing ''Daria'' out of the market altogether, or re-produce music that sounds good enough to pass for whatever mood they were going for.
* Prior to the early 2010s, there was a contractual requirement that neither Franchise/WonderWoman nor any of her supporting characters could appear in any video production in which she was not one of the main characters. This prevented her from appearing in the Franchise/{{DCAU}} until ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'', and Wonder Girl was out of both ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'' and the first season of ''WesternAnimation/YoungJustice''.
** At one point, this was so bad that she couldn't appear in other shows in the DCAU, including crossovers with ''Justice League''. Thus, she was the only Justice League founding member to never appear on ''WesternAnimation/StaticShock''.
* The Anvilicious ''WesternAnimation/CartoonAllStarsToTheRescue'' was hit with this, though not as originally expected -- for a long time, it was believed that the show was never re-aired because the producers never got permission from Jim Davis to use Franchise/{{Garfield}} in the show, and he threatened litigation if it ever aired again. However, Mark Evanier (head writer of ''WesternAnimation/GarfieldAndFriends'') has debunked the rumor, and explained the original plan which got the copyright holders to cooperate specified limited airings.
* ''WesternAnimation/VeggieTales''' creator Phil Vischer says in "The Whimsical Wizard of Ha's" commentary [[note]] The audio snippet can be seen http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWThs4Qdej0 here [[/note]] that they got in trouble with New Line Cinema after their release of "Lord of the Beans".
* This is the major reason why the TV special ''[[WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes Daffy Duck and Porky Pig]] Meet the [[WesternAnimation/SabrinaAndTheGroovieGoolies Groovie Goolies]]'' may never get a home video release, since Creator/DreamWorksAnimation and Creator/WarnerBrothers are not too fond of each other when it comes to cooperating. The special is available on video sites such as [=YouTube=], but are sourced from low-resolution kinescope prints. And with [=NBCUniversal=]'s acqusition of [=DreamWorks=] in 2016, whether or not it will ''ever'' be seen again is even more uncertain.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Rugrats}}'' had an episode titled "Vacation" that was originally released on videocassette, then broadcast on TV before it [[MissingEpisode mysteriously vanished]], and failed to appear on any compilation [=DVDs=] [[note]]with the exceptions of the Decade in Diapers DVD and the Amazon-exclusive Season 4 DVD[[/note]]. Depending on who you ask, either Nickelodeon was unable to regain clearance to show the song "Vacation" by Music/TheGoGos in the opening scene, or it could be a particular scene where Siegfried & Roy look-alikes [[NoCelebritiesWereHarmed are attacked by their white tigers]] (especially when you consider that a similar, real-life event happened six years after it was originally shown).
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Pingu}}'' has suffered this several times when the series was remastered.
** Originally, "Pingu Looks After the Egg" featured the song "Woodpeckers from Space" from the Dutch group [=VideoKids=]. When the entire series was remastered, [=HiT=] Entertainment could not get clearance for the song to appear again. As a result, the music was replaced by an instrumental version of David Hasselhoff's "Pingu Dance", which was used as the theme song beginning with season 4 and replaced the original intro in the remastered versions of seasons 1 and 2.
** Likewise, "Ice Hockey" had a version of "Hand in Hand", the official song for the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Again, [=HiT=] Entertainment could not get clearance for this song and replaced with a random orchestral score.
** "Music Lessons", which introduced Pingu's grandfather, has a strange variation of this. Reportedly, the Pygos Group was sued by an unknown recording company after they discovered that Pygos did not get clearance to use the accordion music that Pingu's grandfather played while offering lessons to Pingu. Although it was released on VHS, the episode was briefly pulled for a while and not shown until it was remastered by [=HiT=] and the music was redone. The remastered version is the only version of the episode that is rerun or released on current home video releases.
* Warner Bros. co-produced ''WesternAnimation/XMenEvolution'' and are responsible for home media distribution. Although the first three seasons are available on DVD in Region 1 (with the first two being released in the form of four volumes each season), the fourth season has yet to receive such treatment, since WB couldn't care less about ''ComicBook/XMen'' to release it. Luckily [[NoExportForYou for Americans]], Marvel has released the entire series on iTunes, Hulu, YouTube and Google Play, so unless you live outside America, it doesn't really matter if Season 4 is on DVD or not.
* MGM/UA's plans to release ''ComicBook/{{Popeye}}'' shorts on home video were put to a screeching halt by a cease-and-desist letter from King Features Syndicate, stating that MGM/UA had no rights to release ''Popeye'' material on home video. Even after Turner Entertainment acquired the ''Popeye'' cartoon catalog in 1986, it would take up to '''''2007''''' for an agreement to finally be reached to officially release the shorts on DVD[[note]]Not including public domain releases[[/note]].
** Rumors began circulating that the legal issues flared up again after the home media releases were suspended after Volume 3 (which featured ''Popeye'' cartoons from the early 1940s) was released. Cartoon historian Jerry Beck later clarified that it was due to the prohibitive cost of having to restore more cartoons, and less to do with legal disputes.
* When Creator/{{Nintendo}} licensed the ''Franchise/SuperMarioBros'' [[WesternAnimation/TheSuperMarioBrosSuperShow for]] [[WesternAnimation/TheAdventuresOfSuperMarioBros3 animated]] [[WesternAnimation/SuperMarioWorld television]], they included a contractual requirement that Bowser be referred to only as "King Koopa". This also applied to other media, including [[Film/SuperMarioBros the]] LiveActionAdaptation [[Film/SuperMarioBros movie]]. One can only wonder if this obligation carries on to Sony Pictures' rumored AnimatedAdaptation in the works. By ''The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3'', the requirement was softened enough to allow his full name "Bowser Koopa" to be used, though not "Bowser" alone.
* The ''WesternAnimation/AlvinAndTheChipmunks'' DirectToVideo film series that began with ''WesternAnimation/AlvinAndTheChipmunksMeetFrankenstein'' was killed by a lawsuit between Universal Studios and ''Chipmunks'' licensor Bagdasarian Productions over a contract infraction by Universal, not, as some believed, because of under-performing sales of the second movie, ''WesternAnimation/AlvinAndTheChipmunksMeetTheWolfman''. A third direct-to-video movie, ''Film/LittleAlvinAndTheMiniMunks'' was made entirely by Bagdasarian. ''Creator/TwentiethCenturyFox'' soon picked up the theatrical rights to ''WesternAnimation/AlvinAndTheChipmunks'' afterwards.
* When the complete series of ''WesternAnimation/ChalkZone'' was released on DVD in October 2014, the set did not include the season two episode "The Smooch" due to music licensing issues- the episode included the Baha Men's cover of "Coconut", and the song was too important to the plot to edit out. Due to the same reasons, the episode was also left off of the episode collections on [=iTunes=] and Amazon Instant Video. Fortunately, the [=DVDs=] do contain "Power Play" and "All The Way To The Top", which were paired up with the episode (as the show's other releases didn't include them at all). The episode remained in the rerun rotation until 2013 when Nicktoons took the show off of their schedule. Whether or not it will appear in reruns again is unknown.
* While ratings and budget issues played a major role, ''WesternAnimation/ClassOf3000'' was ultimately screwed over by a lawsuit. A man named Timothy [=McGee=] sued Andre 3000 for copyright infringement, ''claiming'' that he had pitched a similar series in 1997 called "The Music Factory of the 90's". Whether such a series pilot exists or not is up to debate.
* The most likely factor in the cancellation of ''WesternAnimation/JohnnyTest''. According to TV producer David Straiton, he and Scott Fellows created the concept for Johnny Test back in 1996, and unsuccessfully pitched it to a number of networks. Years later, he found out that Scott Fellows got the show on TV and David Straiton got no credit and no money from it, which led to David Straiton suing Scott Fellows for fraud and accounting malfeasance.
* ''[[WesternAnimation/ScoobyDoo The Scooby & Scrappy-Doo Puppy Hour]]'' didn't get a DVD release due to the estate of the late Catherine Woolley owning the trademark to the character.
* [[http://i3.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/original/000/720/714/bdc.png As explained here]], the ''WesternAnimation/CourageTheCowardlyDog'' episode, "The Mask" got the show screwed when Creator/CartoonNetwork came under heat from MoralGuardians who believed the episode contained lesbian undertones and threatened to sue the network's bottom off unless they cancelled the show. Many at the network have admitted that ''Courage'' was [[AdoredByTheNetwork their favourite of all Cartoon Network original series]], saying they would have kept it running if it wasn't for the threat. Whatever the case, the show got to air the rest of its final season with reruns as recently as 2014! Cartoon Network has also considered the possibility of a revival as evidenced by the 2014 short, "The Fog of Courage".
* This is the reason why most Nickelodeon Rewind merchandise excludes ''WesternAnimation/{{Doug}}'' from anything- when The Walt Disney Company bought the show in 1996, they were given the rights to use Doug's image on merchandise and other promotional material. Nick still owns their episodes and their video rights (as well as promotional material such as stock art used before the Disney buyout), but overall very rarely use Doug on '90s Nick oriented merchandise as they have to ask Disney for permission most of the time.
* Because ''WesternAnimation/KaBlam'' had a number of episodes that featured music videos for real songs (usually by Music/TheyMightBeGiants), as well as the opening being a RealSongThemeTune ("2-Tone Army" by The Toasters- a few of their other songs were used for the show's ending themes, the eyecatch, and background music), the show is currently the only Nicktoon from the '90s to not receive a home media release, has not aired in regular repeats since 2005, and is barely acknowledged by Nick themselves anymore (possibly to avoid having to deal with all of the music rights). Oddly, this was [[{{Misblamed}} assumed]] to be the case with the individual shorts (especially with ''WesternAnimation/AngelaAnaconda'' and ''WesternAnimation/UntalkativeBunny'', which were spun-off into their own series by different companies), however numerous creators of the shorts have stated that Nick owns all the shorts produced, including the ones that were made into their own shows not owned by Viacom (so all Nick would own are the original shorts for them). This excludes the ''Lava'' shorts as they were produced by a different company, [[EditedForSyndication though all post-2000 reruns cut the shorts from the episodes they were in]].
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'':
** The character Starlight Glimmer was originally named Aurora Glimmer until an angry letter from Creator/{{Disney}} led to the name change.
** Downplayed example: Coco Pommel got to keep her name, but is referred to exclusively as Miss Pommel in the merchandise and from her appearance in Season 6 onwards due to issues with the Chanel estate.