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EMKA Limited is a division of Universal Television with the sole function of overseeing the 1929-1949 Paramount Pictures sound feature film library.

History

A few years after the ruling of the United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc. case in 1948, Music Corporation of America (MCA) approached Paramount offering $50 million for 750 sound feature films released prior to December 1, 1949 with payment to be spread over a period of several years. Paramount saw this as a bargain since the studio saw very little value in its library of old films at the time. To address any antitrust concerns, MCA set up EMKA, Ltd. as a dummy corporation to sell these films to television. EMKA's Paramount library includes the first five Marx Brothers films (although it took until 1974 for rights issues to be cleared for Animal Crackers before it could legally be shown again), most of the Bob Hope-Bing Crosby Road to... pictures, and other classics such as Trouble in Paradise, Shanghai Express, She Done Him Wrong, Sullivan's Travels, The Palm Beach Story, For Whom The Bell Tolls, Double Indemnity, The Lost Weekend and The Heiress.

Over the years, MCA took in more than a billion dollars in rentals of these supposedly "worthless" films. In 1962, MCA purchased the US branch of Decca Records, then the parent company of Universal Studios. MCA eventually was renamed as Universal Studios in 1996 which was sold to Vivendi in 2000. In 2004, Vivendi, merged its entertainment division with General Electric's NBC to form NBC Universal. In 2011, Comcast bought 51% of NBC Universal from Vivendi and renamed it NBCUniversal, and in 2013, Comcast bought remaining 49% of NBCUniversal from GE.

Current status

EMKA continues to exist as a division of Universal Television with Universal holding theatrical and home video distribution rights, while NBCUniversal Television Distribution holding television distribution rights. Some of EMKA's films were remade by Universal in later years such as Meet Joe Black, a remake of Death Takes a Holiday, and a few other films became adapted by Revue Studios as television series.