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 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.

[[{{Wikipedia}} The Other Wiki]] refers to this as the [[ 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 ''SuperDimensionFortressMacross'' 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.
** ''[[MacrossSeven Macross 7]]'', ''MacrossZero'' and ''MacrossFrontier'' will most likely not be released, because of bad blood between Harmony Gold and Big West making such a release impossible. In ''Macross 7'''s case, another obstacle is the music licensing, which is a tangled weave.
** 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 ''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 [[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 Pluss'' 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 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 ''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 DiC 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 ''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 ''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, SquareEnix objectioned 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 Shueisha 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 ''MobileSuitGundam00'' and from ''MobileSuitGundamAGE'' cannot be entirely used. Apparently averted with the ''[[Film/Gundam00AWakeningOfTheTrailblazer Gundam 00 Movie]]'' and ''MobileSuitGundamUnicorn'', due to their nature as a feature film and [=OVA=], respectively.
* Similar to the Zeta Gundam example, the first opening of ''Anime/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.]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In the late 1990s, Black Mermaid Productions of Australia were responsible for ''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.
* Another well-known 80s superhero comic that has been caught in a rights-ownership dispute for decades is the Creator/AlanMoore[=/=]Creator/NeilGaiman ''Marvelman'' (''MiracleMan'' [[MarketBasedTitle in America]]) - Rebellion, IPC, Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore and [=Todd McFarlane=] ''all'' claim to own the series, which dooms any chance of it ever being revived. Marvel has 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. 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.
* The 1978 one-shot comic ''ComicBook/{{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''.
** There is also a rumor that this has made Archie very paranoid and they're going so far as to forbid the use of ''any'' character outside of the video games, the American cartoons and anyone created by current writer Ian Flynn. However, because of how differently things work between Japan and America, Archie isn't allowed to use anything from Japan outside the games. This earned them Sega's ire when one early issue used ''Anime/SonicTheHedgehogTheMovie''.
* 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.
* MarvelComics' ''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.

[[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. 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 ''{{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 copy write once they knew about the infringement they would forfeit all claim to the copy write. Which would be a death sentence for them as it's their major product.[[/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 ScrewedByTheLawyers again when the leaked video's hosting site, [=MegaUpload=], became the victim of a [[DigitalPiracyIsEvil DMCA takedown]].
* ''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 [[ 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=] compliments on making the film.
* 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''.
* Happened to the ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' fan game ''Fighting Is Magic''. For well over a year fandom had been eagerly anticipating the game, as it seemed to be very high quality, with everything from the mechanics to the music. Even though the game was free, Creator/{{Hasbro}} was hesitant to have their property associated with a fighting game, and sent a cease and desist letter very late in the game's production[[note]]It's actually been theorized by the fans that Hasbro was willing to look the other way... until the game ended up being featured at EVO, '''the''' [[UsefulNotes/FightingGameCommunity fighting game tournament]], and Hasbro was legally obligated to step in. Whether is is accurate or not is unknown.[[/note]] The ending isn't all bad, as Creator/LaurenFaust volunteered to step and make original characters so the game could be finished in an altered form.
** Plus, some bronies from 4Chan took the existing code that had been floating around, [[GameMod modded in Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy]], and are planning to make other ponies playable. Essentially, this means that the C&D split ''Fighting is Magic'' into two different games instead of putting a stop to it.
** The DatingGame VisualNovel ''Starswirl Academy'' and adventure game ''Questria'' got off easy in comparison. ''Questria'' made the decision to divorce itself from MLP on its own, leaving a cast full of {{Captain Ersatz}}es. In the case of the former, a Hasbro representative simply requested that they change the characters' designs and names to be not infringing, to which the development team obliged.
* Marvel Comics put the kibosh on various super hero skins for ''VideoGame/TheSims''.

* 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. Also a case of [[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, it received a limited Stateside theatrical release in October 2013.
* 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 ComicBook/{{Spider-Man}}, the ComicBook/{{X-Men}}, and the ComicBook/FantasticFour continue to exist in their own stand-alone universes because their movie rights are owned by Creator/TwentiethCenturyFox and Creator/ColumbiaPictures (or, to be more accurate now, Sony Pictures) 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/TheAvengers Avengers]]''-style crossover featuring Spider-Man or the X-Men, even though these are very common in the comics.
** Two major exceptions to this situation are Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch: 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/TheAvengersAgeOfUltron''. The sole stipulation is that Marvel Studios cannot have them be mutants and Fox cannot discuss their time as Avengers.
** 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. Thus, Fox and Sony are rushing out ''X-Men'' and ''Spider-Man'' films respectively in rapid succession to keep the film rights away from Marvel, and Fox is rebooting the ''Fantastic Four'' in hopes that the second try will work out better than the first in order to justify making movies to keep the film rights away; conversely, they both simply gave up on Ghost Rider and Daredevil due to their box office weakness under their tenure. 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]]
* ''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 similiarities to ''Literature/{{Dracula}}''.
* ''The Janus Head'' was basically ''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.

[[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 WaltDisney 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.
* 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 ''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 ''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 {{Daria}} and TheState languished for years before [[SuspiciouslySimilarSong a similar version]] of the songs could replace the offending tracks.
** ''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.
** ''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. One entire scene had to be cut from a first season espisode because the studio was unable to secure the rights to a song used in that scene. 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.
** Since the Muppets were bought by Disney, this gets even more hairy. The non-profit Sesame Workshop was quite willing to work with the Henson corporation on their characters getting used as guest stars in ''The Muppet Show'' (and vice versa), though Henson also owned the actual ''Sesame Street'' Muppets at the time; they were purchased by Sesame Workshop in 2000. They are not so willing to work with a for-profit MegaCorp (which Disney is '''the''' textbook example of), and Disney is not so happy that one of their most valuable characters (Kermit the Frog) had a lot of bit parts in another company's show. The two managed to agree for a Kermit cameo in the premiere of ''Sesame Street''[='=]s 40th season, though.[[note]]This was part of a string of cameos of retired ''Sesame Street'' Muppet characters, among other things, marking the MilestoneCelebration of ''Sesame Street''[='=]s 40th anniversary within the show itself; thanks to Disney, Kermit qualifies as such from ''Sesame Street''[='=]s point of view.[[/note]]
* 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 it's 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 ''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 ''StarTrekEnterprise''. [[]]

* Redd Kross bassist Steven Shane [=McDonald=] added a bass track to the entirety of the WhiteStripes' 2001 album ''White Blood Cells'', 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.

[[folder:New Media]]
* The phrase "this video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by *insert name of company here*" 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 video will be removed from the site.
-->Announcer: Even though Youtube is a free video sharing site, You can still get into serious trouble. You might lose your Youtube account. The video you posted would be removed according to the Copyright law. You will be notify via Email and your account status. And you will get a strike. If you get a third strike, You will be banned from Youtube. And all of your videos will be removed from the site.
** Certain videos have managed to avoid this fate by claiming Fair Use.
** [=You Tube=] 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. [=You Tube=], 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 ''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 is 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'' play throughs. 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 because of this.
*** [=Viacom=] has also become infamous for filing infringement claims against content uploaded by its own authorized agents. The fact the Viacom itself cannot reliably differentiate legally uploaded from illegally uploaded content contributed to the collapse of their suit against Google for YouTube content.
*** Warner Music Group was also the worst offender, They also claim copyright claims to properties that they ''didn't own'', like Disney cartoons (such as Disney's ''Franchise/{{Marsupilami}}''), And many Disney uploaders were banned from Youtube because of that. Same thing happened with ''Series/WhereInTheWorldIsCarmenSandiego'', They claimed they owned the theme song by Rockapella.
** {{Capcom}} and some other video game companies are starting to remove playthroughs and walkthroughs of their games, especially more recent ones, from Website/YouTube.
** {{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 TheRunawayGuys and the GameGrumps, this new policy effectively crippled their income.
** {{Konami}} is ''very'' protective of ''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 YouTube videos from working outside of specific countries.
* The above was what caused Website/ThatGuyWithTheGlasses to start its own site and now many years later, when WebVideo/ObscurusLupa 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.
* Many online scanlation sites (such as 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 [[CoastToCoastAM Art Bell's]] shows that incorporated their respective "[[Music/GunsNRoses Welcome to the Jungle]]" and "[[{{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 [[ 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"), [[JimHenson The Jim Henson Company]], and {{MGM}} (for a ''Franchise/RoboCop'' flash tribute made by a fan).

[[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.

[[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 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 a Gimmick Battle Royal without credit.

* 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.
* [[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 TheOtherWiki.
*** 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 the their valuable trademarks if they don't pursue every known possible infrigment, the legal term is "Abandonment".
** At least one famous case of [=McDonald's=] being [[TropesAreNotBad 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.
* The {{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.
* ''{{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 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 Christan 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.
* {{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.
* A downright ''horrific'' example of lawyers screwing things up is genetically modified food; Companies developing genetically engineered plants such as Monsanto are believed by many to be ObviouslyEvil, as their patented seed is a ''self replicating'' product - meaning that if pollen from a patented plant blows over from a neighboring plot into yours and starts producing a certain patented genotype or trait, you're technically guilty of patent theft. And the government has repeatedly threatened to cite BrandNameTakeover and revoke biopatents - flushing ''billions'' in R&D down the toilet - if the agricorps don't put serious effort into defending them. Thus, seed cleaners(machines used to prepare harvested seeds for storage and replanting) are all but illegal, and are regularly RICO'd as "evidence of patent theft". As a result, unpatented crops are in serious danger of going '''extinct.'''

* 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: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 1970's, Tactical Studies Rules Inc. narrowly avoided a lawsuit from Chaosium when they tried to incorporate the CthulhuMythos into the nascent 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 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]].
** 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 [[StarWars LucasFilm]]. Lucas' lawyers sent a letter to FASA, who took the opportunity to refine the game while renaming it.
* The ''{{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 Japaneses 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 WhiteWolf released their sci-fi game ''[[TabletopGame/{{Aeon}} Ĉon]]'', they ran afoul of MTV, who saw it as challenging their trademarks for ''WesternAnimation/AeonFlux''. WW settled things by renaming ''Ĉon'' to ''Trinity''; as a result, copies of the original corebook with the ''Ĉon'' name are much sought after. The new edition gets around the issue by making the full title ''Trinity Continuum: Ĉon'', which is apparently different enough for the lawyers.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''HolyInvasionOfPrivacyBadman'' was forcibly renamed to ''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'' ([[ 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 Tetris Grand Master series no longer exists.
** ''Blockles'' was pulled after a lawsuit from The VideoGame/{{Tetris}} Company was settled out of court.
* ''InTheGroove'' stopped development after a lawsuit from ''VideoGame/DanceDanceRevolution'' publisher Konami was settled out of court. Similar lawsuits on ''GuitarHero'' (at this point owned by Activation) 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 [[{{Wii}} Virtual Console]] even though it was included as a Masterpiece in the Japanese version of ''SuperSmashBrosBrawl'' and [[ 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 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 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 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.
* ''VideoGame/TalesOfEternia'' was renamed ''Tales of Destiny II'' in North America to avoid copyright conflicts with the creators of He-Man, 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 the ''Anime/Robotech'' franchise and its components.
* This is also the case for the ''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 [[InstrumentalThemeTune instrumental]] 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 {{Steam}} version being pulled, though it has since been rereleased on Website/GOGDotCom.
* [[ 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 SiliconKnights and Crystal Dynamics (with {{Activision}} as an involved sideline third party), [[ 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 reversed 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 was ''[[InternetBackdraft really]]'' [[InternetCounterattack 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 [[ creating new original characters.]] The game was revived, but is now sailing in a slightly different direction.
* ''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 [[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}}''.
* ''[[VideoGame/MechWarrior MechWarrior Living Legends]]'' was a fan-made (and officially licensed) total conversion mod for ''[[Videogame/{{Crysis}} Crysis Warhead]]'', first released in late 2009. It offered combined-arms gameplay (infantry, tanks, aircraft, and battlemechs all fighting at once) previously unknown to the franchise. A few months after the official new game, ''[=MechWarrior Online=]'' ([[AllegedlyFreeGame which was free-to-play]]) was released in 2011, the ''Living Legends'' developers were forced to quit developing and disband after their final update release in January 2013, update 0.7.0, 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 less than a hundred players (about 1% of Online's)]] which was, embarrassingly, releasing new content at a faster rate.
* ''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 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.]]
* ''VideoGame/KaijuCombat'' has the official name of "Colossal Kaiju Combat" due to copyright concerns from ''WesternAnimation/{{Kaijudo}}''.
* When ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehogCD'' was released for iOS and Android, 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 was due to 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''.
* 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.
* ''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.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* [[ This]] infamous ''Webcomic/PennyArcade'' strip showing ''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 [[ explained]] why ''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 [[ 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.

[[folder:Web Originals]]
* 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 [[ this]]).
* The KeepCirculatingTheTapes page has a section of its description detailing the perils of music rights. Apparently, trailers on Creators/YouTube [[ 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 Sweetiebelle, who is a major character from the series.
* One early episode of ''WebOriginal/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.

[[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/SpiderMan the movie rights]].)
** Creator/GregWeisman explained the show's situation [[ here]]; he even points out that the companies themselves weren't to blame, but that it was just bad corporate luck.
* This caused the demise of King Louie of ''Disney/TheJungleBook'' in all Disney media. The family of the late Louie Prima (who voiced Louie in the original movie) sued Disney because Creator/JimCummings did ''too good a job'' impersonating Prima when he voiced the character in ''WesternAnimation/TaleSpin''. 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.
* Music rights were the reason behind the long wait for ''WesternAnimation/{{Daria}}'' on DVD; being a MTV produced snhow, 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.
* Until very recently, 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 even appearing until ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'' despite the best efforts of the studio to get a guest episode in Superman, 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 A SHOW THAT SHE WAS ON. 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 that the original plan which got the copyright holders to cooperate specified limited airings.
* ''WesternAnimation/VeggieTales''' creator Phil Vischer says in "The Wonderful Wizard of Ha's" commentary [[note]] The audio snippet can be seen here [[/note]] that they got in trouble with New Line Cinema after their release of "Lord of the Beans".