4Kids Entertainment is in some hot water it seems as Yu-Gi-Oh creators TV Tokyo and Nihon Ad Systems are suing them for revenue they believe is owed due to back room dealing 4Kids has made with companies like Funimation Productions, the Cartoon Network and Majesco Sales.
The lawsuit states that TV Tokyo and NAS audited the 4Kids books and found that the company was allegedly socking away piles of cash so they didn’t have to pay 50% of it to the plaintiffs.
Apparently, 4Kids has been charging them for the dubbing to English which was not part of the original agreement. On top of that they made distribution deals where they were paid a licensing fee that they then did not share with the original creators.
After some meetings and a $1 million "good faith payment", there was a final meeting which 4Kids then terminated forcing TV Tokyo and NAS to seek a court injunction and canceled the agreement. The case calls for over $4M in damages for fraud and breach of contract.
Konami currently holds the video game licenses for Yu-Gi-Oh with Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s World Championship 2011: Over The Nexus set for release in May. Since they deal directly with TV Tokyo it is probably not going to affect that game.
However, 4Kids has been the hub for US fans of Yu-Gi-Oh as well as fans of shows such as Shaman King, Dragon Ball, Pokemon and others. What it really means is that Yu-Gi-Oh could disappear from American TV altogether if a new contract is not signed and 4Kids is found guilty in the suit. That could also jeopardize its relationships with anime creators.
If 4Kids was involved in the dubbing of the games or the distribution of the games in the US then this could see some setbacks for further games in the coming years. However, I have to believe that Konami did much of it in-house and only used the voice actors from the show when necessary instead of utilizing 4Kids.