Yakuza Threaten Touhou Merchandiser?

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A maker of Touhou goods reports a criminal shakedown attempt by a company fraudulently claiming to administer the copyright to the Touhou franchise; the company aggressively demanded compensation for violating their supposed “contract”, and threatened legal action if these funds were not forthcoming.

The Touhou goods maker in question, who is understandably keen to remain anonymous for the time being, reports a menacing phone call from someone identifying themselves as the CEO of a company overseeing the licensing of Touhou related goods.

The maker reports the exchange as running along these lines:

“We’re overseeing the rights to all Touhou Project merchandising.”
“Just what do you think you’re doing, making Touhou products without any permission?”
“Come on now, pay up the penalty fee for contract breach!”
“If you think you’ll just ignore us, we’ll be seeing you in court – I’m getting our lawyer in now.”

After this, the maker promptly got in touch with ZUN, and reported the matter. The reply the maker gave to the threatening company did not mince words:

“Just what do you mean, you have the official rights? The man himself doesn’t know what you’re talking about. Why don’t you come out with your proof of exclusive rights management!”

The maker did not receive a reply.

They were also apparently shrewd enough to record the conversation, and are now in consultation with lawyers as to the possibility of pursuing legal action on the grounds of blackmail. They vow to pursue the company if it flees, but are willing to accept compensation and an apology all the same.

Due to the legal and rather shady nature of this incident, the writer is wisely not identifying companies concerned or himself; you can read the Hatena Anonymous Diary entry in question here.

Of course, as it is an anonymous diary, the usual disclaimers apply.

A commenter mentioned that this could well be a yakuza scam (indeed, the company doing the hassling might not even exist), and that if so, poking them with lawyers might not elicit the desired response, but in fact might make the situation much worse.

Certainly, this kind of “licensing fee” style fraud is common criminal fare the world over.

Yakuza or not, it seems the complex situation surrounding Touhou licensing offers great scope for confusion for dealers used ot more common systems; we might wonder if this individual is the first, or if there have in fact been others now the proud dealers of “officially licensed” Touhou products…


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