At last, the 2005 Caillou agreement is made public
Given that a written agreement was reached by the concerned parties, RAAV has published the full text of the "quittance et transaction" (mutual discharge and transaction) reached between Hélène Desputeaux and Éditions Chouette / Christine L'Heureux, an agreement that was homologated in court on Aug. 18, 2005.
In publishing this, RAAV hopes to clarify some aspects of this legal conflict. Explanatory notes on the transaction are presented below. We hope to assist artists and the public to gain a better understanding of the agreement’s content in relation to the various documents.
Given what has been circulating in the public sphere about the state of Hélène Desputeaux’ copyright on her Caillou character (Lollypop in the USA), Ms Desputeaux had no choice but to consent to the public disclosure of this transaction.
Now that this has been done, RAAV hopes that Ms Desputeaux’ exclusive ownership of her creative work will not be challenged in the future.
To read the French version of the 2005 transaction follow this link
To read an English version follow this link
Explanatory notes to understand the scope of the agreement
From 1989 to 1995, in more than thirty books and some derivative products Hélène Desputeaux alone gave shape to Caillou. To view the Éditions Chouette 1994/1995 catalog follow this link.
In 1995, Hélène Desputeaux filed a complaint when Éditions Chouette told her that copyright payment would be delayed yet again. After this, Christine L'Heureux stated overtly that she was co-author of Caillou, so that Hélène Desputeaux could not request the termination of the dozens of publishing contracts she had signed with Éditions Chouette. Hélène Desputeaux would have been to be bound for life with Éditions Chouette and Christine L'Heureux.
Article 1 of the transaction specifically addresses the issue of the alleged double maternity on Caillou.
It is clearly written that the opposing parties, Éditions Chouette and Christine L'Heureux " claim no rights whatsoever related to Hélène Desputeaux’s texts and illustrations. Hélène Desputeaux is sole owner of the rights related to her texts and illustrations.” The "maternity" of Hélène Desputeaux, sole owner of all rights to her works is thus clearly established and accepted by the opposite parties.
The following subsections of Article. 1 provide that Hélène Desputeaux will restrict herself in the exploitation of her rights for a period of five years. This period has now passed, so Hélène Desputeaux is no longer limited in the exploitation of her creation.
In Article 2 Éditions Chouette agrees not to use an illustration by Hélène Desputeaux in its trademark.
Article 3 concerns a license, and an amendment to this licence, Desputeaux had agreed to sign in 1993 and 1994. The reason Hélène Desputeaux had agreed to sign this license has been clearly explained in the court proceedings. This license provided that Christine L'Heureux and Hélène Desputeaux were co-authors and it allowed Chouette to negotiate with CINAR for the adaptation of Hélène Desputeaux illustrations for television.
According to Article 3 of the transaction, the license and amendment are deemed to have never existed. They were nullified retroactively.
Article 3 also states that the dozen of publishing contracts that were signed between Hélène Desputeaux and Chouette had all expired at the date of the transaction and that they were not renewed. Therefore, Hélène Desputeaux was no longer bound by any agreement to Éditions Chouette and Christine L'Heureux. Desputeaux will grant a limited license to the publisher, Éditions Chouette.
It is by virtue of Article 4 of the transaction that Éditions Chouette gets a license to exploit derivative versions of Caillou inspired by Desputeaux’s original creation as shown in the catalog of Chouette (see the cover page of the 2003 catalog). This licence starts at the date of the transaction and excludes any original illustrations by Helen Desputeaux. Article 4 deals with illustrations that Éditions Chouette had contracted with other artists to do after the dispute with Helen Desputeaux. During the dispute, Hélène Desputeaux alleged that these illustrations of Caillou usually called " Caillou with a cap" were produced in violation of her copyright. As for Helen Desputeaux she retains her right to publish any Caillou that is 4 years old or less
Article 5 states that Éditions Chouette will cease any use of the original Caillou created by Helen Desputeaux at the end of 2005 and that all the unsold stock will be destroyed before bailiffs or sold to Hélène Desputeaux at cost.
Article 6 sets the amount of money owed to Helen Desputeaux for infringement of her moral rights, that is to say, the exploitation by Chouette of a modified version of Caillou during the dispute without the permission of the original author. This amount extinguishes any further claim by Helen Desputeaux about the operations that occurred before August 2005. Hélène Desputeaux then grants a license enabling Chouette to exploit its version derived from Caillou in return of the payment of a percentage of its income.
In addition, a contract was underway with Cinar since 1996 for the production of a first Caillou television series. Because the license and its amendment allowing Chouette to sign with Cinar in 1996 for the adaptation of Helene Desputeaux’s works was invalidated under Article 3 of the transaction, Article 6 provides that Chouette is retroactively authorized to have signed with Cinar in 1996 with regard to the percentages provided in the invalidated license. Thus the series of Cinar was retroactively made "legitimate" in 2005 by the acceptance by Helen Desputeaux of the adaptation of her illustrations by Cinar.
Article 7 officialises the percentage referred to above in connection with the production of Cinar. If the original sharing of royalties is maintained as planned, it is now requested of tthe Superior Court to rule on the Caillou series that were produced by Cinar after the first agreement that was signed with Cinar.
Article 8 stated that the transaction would be confidential. Chouette and Christine L'Heureux have accepted it to be made public.