Only signed agreements are legally valid is high court’s message in costly “VeggieTales” case

The U.S. Supreme Court last week, without comment, refused to hear an appeal in the case over who had the exclusive distribution rights to “Veggie Tales” DVDs and other products.

In the end, it boiled down to a message filmmakers should take to heart: There’s no deal unless it’s a signed deal.

Lombard-based Big Idea Productions went out of the Christian cartoon business in 2003 after a long, tangled and costly legal battle with Texas-based children’s film distributor Lyrick Studios of “Barney” fame.

Big Idea and Lyrick had had an informal distribution agreement going back to 1997. Although contract drafts had been drawn up and agreed upon, documents had never been formally and legally signed.