Protecting The Artists? Disney's Marvel Uses Copyright To Crush Already Broke Ghost Rider Creator

from the how-nice dept

Five years ago, we wrote about Gary Friedrich, the creator of the comic book character Ghost Rider, and how he was suing tons of companies, claiming that the copyrights associated with Ghost Rider had reverted back to him in 2001. As we noted at the time, there were some questionable things about his lawsuit -- including the fact that he waited years until after a movie and video game had been created and released before suddenly going legal about it. However, apparently Marvel (owned by Disney), in its ultimate vindictiveness, turned around and countersued Friedrich and won, leading to a ridiculous situation: Friedrich, who is broke, is now supposed to pay Marvel $17,000 for Ghost Rider merchandise he had sold in the past. He also isn't supposed to say that he's the co-creator of Ghost Rider any more if saying so involves him getting any kind of commercial advantage.

The full ruling in the case makes it clear that Friedrich's copyright claims were suspect in the first place, as it appears he clearly handed over the copyrights on the character to Marvel. The legal stipulation covers the specific terms, including the $17k payment, and the injunction against using the words "Ghost Rider" in connection with the sale of any goods, merchandise or services (i.e., "pay to get the signature of the creator of Ghost Rider!").

While Friedrich appears to have clearly overreached in his initial claim, the vindictiveness of Marvel/Disney is pretty ridiculous here. There's simply no reason for the company to demand $17k from a broke Friedrich, and (on top of that) make it that much harder for him to actually earn the money to pay them. As some are pointing out, you should remember this story the next time big companies claim they want to strengthen copyright law to "protect the content creators."


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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 13th, 2012 @ 11:10am

    Ahh, so Disney should ignore all that the paid in the past to obtain the rights, all that they did, the law, and everything else just to make this guy happy?

    Crack is whack.

     

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    Richard (profile), Feb 13th, 2012 @ 11:14am

    The lesson

    The lesson of this story is that copyright law feeds all the worst aspects of humans.

    Greed, vindictiveness and the desire for control for its own sake.

    Those who follow this path will either lose everything (as with Friedrich) or destroy their own mental equilibrium (as with the winners) or maybe both (as with Friedrich!)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 13th, 2012 @ 11:14am

    Re:

    "Crack is whack."

    Apparently, judging by your post, it is.

     

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  4.  
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    Robert Doyle (profile), Feb 13th, 2012 @ 11:14am

    Re:

    I think the point was stated at the end of the post - don't say it's "for the artists" if it isn't.

    Of course, someone will play lawyer and say something stupid like "but if he signed over the rights that means he didn't create it."

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 13th, 2012 @ 11:15am

    Marvel did far worse to Jack Kirby, the guy who was instrumental in saving Marvel back in the day.

    http://archives.tcj.com/aa02ss/n_marvel.html

    The crux of the dispute was the insistence of Marvel Comics, Kirby's longtime creative home, that he sign away all rights to the Marvel-published characters he had created. As a coercive gesture, the company informed him that it would hold hostage all Kirby original art in its possession until he agreed to sign a special release form that was required of no other Marvel freelancer. Kirby refused to sign the document, and Marvel, in turn, refused to return his original art, and the resulting stand-off that played out before the rest of us was both disillusioning and inspiring. On the one hand, for those who still cherished memories of the 1960s as a kind of Camelot, in which "King Kirby" and "Stan the Man" presided over a happy bullpen, this was a particularly sour epilogue. Marvel's corporate lawyers could have chosen no more effective way to spit on the ruins of the House of Ideas -- the House that, as they say, Jack built. But on the other hand, the conflict also presented a vision of comics creators, fans and industry media coming together to tip the balance of power against a corporate giant.

     

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    Richard (profile), Feb 13th, 2012 @ 11:20am

    Re:

    Ahh, so Disney should ignore all that the paid in the past to obtain the rights, all that they did, the law, and everything else just to make this guy happy?

    No - they (or at the time Marvel) should have given him a slightly better deal at the outset. Then he would have had a little bit of return from the films etc - and it would have kept him quiet. That way they would have avoided all the legal fees etc.

    You're a fool if you think that always driving the hardest bargain you can get away with is good business in the long run.

     

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    kenichi tanaka, Feb 13th, 2012 @ 11:20am

    I'm waiting to see if Marvel/Disney plans on pursuing those fees because they're now in a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" type of scenario.

    Marvel has received its fair share of lumps from comic fans over the years and this is has got to be one of the biggest "slaps in the face" of the very comic book creators who created their characters in the first place.

    I remember the backlash that Marvel received over Jack Kirby's lawsuits against the company over the very characters he helped create for Marvel. Marvel should be ashamed and so should Disney.

     

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    RD, Feb 13th, 2012 @ 11:21am

    Called it

    I called this a few years ago when Disney bought Marvel. I said they would wait a few years, then start lowering the legal hammer on everyone doing any sort of merch, and especially sketches and prints, at conventions. Kiss the market goodbye now, as once the lawyers and greed of Disney kicks into full gear, there will be no going back. Then the good creators will leave because they cant make any ancillary money (page rates are crap, even for the best of creators) so all that will be left will be crappy artists who think Rob Liefeld-style art is the pinnacle of comic art.

     

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    Sneeje (profile), Feb 13th, 2012 @ 11:22am

    Not that confusing

    As long as you substitute "content brokers" for "content creators" whenever you are having a conversation about protecting copyright, you'll fully understand everything said.

     

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  10.  
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    Machin Shin (profile), Feb 13th, 2012 @ 11:23am

    Re:

    No, I don't think Mike is saying they should ignore it. Point is that if you can't go out in public crying about the "poor starving artists" and then turn around and beat the shit out of your artist.

    They could have easily handled this without going to this level. It kind of makes them look bad and destroys their claims that they are doing all these things "for the artists".

     

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    Gareth, Feb 13th, 2012 @ 11:29am

    The Reality, and The Fundraiser

    It's even worse than that:

    1) The "merchandise" that he was selling (for which he now owes 17K) were his OWN ORIGINAL ART of the character. Convention sketches, etc. -- a common practice (every comics convention has an "artists alley"). As the comics press has said, this is Marvel putting "a bullet in the head of artists' alley."

    2) Back when he was working for Marvel, they would put a waiver of your rights on the back of your paycheck -- to get paid, you needed to endorse the check, which required signing away your rights.

    3) Steve Niles, the creator of 30 DAYS OF NIGHT is doing a fundraiser for Gary here: http://www.steveniles.com/gary.html

    So yes, in short -- this is corporate greed at its worst, and even more: a transparent attempt to make an example of him to any other creator who might dare to bring suit.

    The first GHOST RIDER movie made 230million on a budget of 110 million -- yet Marvel/Disney needs 17K from a senior citizen living hand-to-mouth?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 13th, 2012 @ 11:36am

    We had to destroy the content creators in order to save the content creators!

     

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    Nastybutler77 (profile), Feb 13th, 2012 @ 11:37am

    Re: The Reality, and The Fundraiser

    The first GHOST RIDER movie made 230million on a budget of 110 million -- yet Marvel/Disney needs 17K from a senior citizen living hand-to-mouth?

    Hey, we're always talking about the legacy media companies needing to embrace new business models. I guess this is what they came up with.

     

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    Spaceboy (profile), Feb 13th, 2012 @ 11:37am

    Re:

    You can't copyright facts. This guy created Ghost Rider and then turned over those rights. Maybe he was being greedy when he sued everyone, but none of that changed the fact that he actually created Ghost Rider. He should be able to say that.

    And while we are at it, and since we are speaking of 'rights' and 'the law' and Disney, how much did Disney pay to acquire the right to make The Lion King from Tezuka again?

     

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    Rich Kulawiec, Feb 13th, 2012 @ 11:38am

    Re: The Reality, and The Fundraiser

    The first GHOST RIDER movie made 230million on a budget of 110 million -- yet Marvel/Disney needs 17K from a senior citizen living hand-to-mouth?

    You just don't understand. According to Hollywood accounting that movie lost money, therefore Friedrich should be forced to pay the studio for the privilege of being sued.

     

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    The eejit (profile), Feb 13th, 2012 @ 11:48am

    Re: The Reality, and The Fundraiser

    Actually it's so much more am MArvel effectively forced artists at the time to sign over their works in order to get paid. Sort of like a bizarre pre-EULA EULA for the money.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward (profile), Feb 13th, 2012 @ 11:48am

    Re: Re:

    in fairness, no one involved in this SPECIFIC case, was saying "its for the artists". That would be a strawman created by mike to further his point, that lawyers are vicious bloodsucking scum, who'll eat their mother if given a chance.

    I'm not trolling, just pointing out that we have taken two unrelated things and created a correlation here. I'm quite certain the lawyers suing the ghost rider guy never claimed they were doing it for the content creators...they were working on behalf of their clients business and legal interests.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 13th, 2012 @ 11:49am

    Re:

    I think people are responding to this the wrong way. Forget the idiotic, uninformed points the paid shills are trying to push on EVERY article posted, I think the existence of these shills says something bigger. They are actually paying people money to go to sites like this and be one of the first 1-2 comments on EVERY article posted which boils down to, "no u." Sure says something about the state of things when a) companies have so much money to blow on PR that this kind of thing exists and b) that sites like this are actually informing, I mean hurting companies enough to try this PR BS. Kind of interesting, eh?

     

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  19.  
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    mister hope, Feb 13th, 2012 @ 11:50am

    Charity Auction For Mr Friedrich

    this IS appalling, i hve, like many others, created a drawing which i am auctioning for the Help Gary fund, here's a link to my blog post http://misterhope.com/2012/ghostriderauction/

     

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  20.  
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    V (profile), Feb 13th, 2012 @ 11:57am

    In fairness...

    "in fairness, no one involved in this SPECIFIC case, was saying "its for the artists". That would be a strawman created by mike to further his point, that lawyers are vicious bloodsucking scum, who'll eat their mother if given a chance."

    In fairness, Mike didn't say this particular case said "it's for the artists"... he simple pointed out that copyright law very rarely benefits the actual copyright holders and VERY frequently benefit the large content brokers (like Disney) who wield it in an unconstitutional, immoral way to make more money. And everytime they want MORE power of content... they say... oh... but the artists... but the musicians... etc.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 13th, 2012 @ 11:58am

    Re: Re:

    I wonder how much they pay? It certainly isn't helping their cause.

     

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  22.  
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    Clueby4, Feb 13th, 2012 @ 11:58am

    Termination

    Whatever happened to termination? Oh yea that's right the copyright lobbyist "strengthened" copyright by effectively removing it(35 years O.o)

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 13th, 2012 @ 11:59am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Moreover, it was "for the artists" when the artist sold his rights off to Disney / work for hire / however he did it.

    In some ways, they lawyers are doing it in the interest of content creators. If content creator contracts are considered unreliable, the potential is that the studios will pay less or refuse to take as much risk in the future.

    It may not be in the best interest of THIS particular artist, but normally when things end up in court, someone isn't going to be happy, no matter what.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 13th, 2012 @ 12:02pm

    Re: Re:

    " none of that changed the fact that he actually created Ghost Rider. He should be able to say that. "

    He can say it, but he cannot TRADE on it - that is a difference.

    Statements of fact cannot be denied, however, if he sold all the rights including all references and commercial aspects, he cannot suddenly start selling his autograph as being more valuable because he created this work - he sold that right.

    " how much did Disney pay to acquire the right to make The Lion King from Tezuka again?"

    I don't know, why not ask them? Perhaps it is more clear to say that the Lion King isn't the same work?

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 13th, 2012 @ 12:04pm

    Re: In fairness...

    You are falling for the trick. Mike didn't SPECIFICALLY say this case is about "it's for the arists" but by dangling it out there, he is making it clear that he feels one and the other are related. He leads you to water, and figures you will drink. You did.

    Mike rarely mentions that "it's for the artists" when the artists sign a contract and get a nice fat check. He doesn't want you to think about that part of the deal.

     

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  26.  
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    khory (profile), Feb 13th, 2012 @ 12:08pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    The lawyers sue who their client asks them to. Mike's point is that Disney/Marvel already won. There was no need to kick him while he's down. That sends the message that they don't give two licks about the artists.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 13th, 2012 @ 12:10pm

    "pay to get the signature of the creator of Ghost Rider!"

    Being a big movie buff I had planned to see this movie (pretty much see every comic movie) but because of the line above I think I will wait till Netflix gets it. Didn't look that good anyways.

    I'm not asking for a boycott or anything, this is just my plans.

     

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  28.  
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    Andy, Feb 13th, 2012 @ 12:14pm

    Re: Re: In fairness...

    Don't be an ass.

    I believe he was simply on the pay roll as a writer at the time. He envisioned and created what was to become an iconic character, and then never saw any benefit from it.

    Yes, he was working under work for hire status and can not claim he ever owned the character. The issue is much bigger, and similar to sports organizations. The players/artist should be taken care of financially into retirement. Even more so based off of a success and brilliant creation like Ghost Rider.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 13th, 2012 @ 12:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: In fairness...

    I worked for years as a Web Developer and while I didn't "own" the websites I made I was still able to lay claim to "creating" them. Stopping someone from claiming something that is 100% true just because they are getting paid for it is just wrong. I mean really how does that harm Disney? Did they plan to send someone else in his place and claim they created it so they could get paid?

    Plain and simple it was petty and IMHO uncalled for.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 13th, 2012 @ 12:18pm

    Re:

    I've never understood the allure of Nicolas Cage. He has less on-screen personality than a dead fish wrapped in last week's NY Times.

    Needless to say, I won't be seeing it myself, but that was decided long before this case came about.

     

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  31.  
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    Spaceboy (profile), Feb 13th, 2012 @ 12:20pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "He can say it, but he cannot TRADE on it - that is a difference."

    It's no difference to an 'artist'. If he can't say he created Ghost Rider at a comic book convention then where else is he going to say it? If he says it on his website, and that website generates cash, do you honestly believe Disney will leave him alone?

    As for the Lion King...of course it's not the same work. Tezuka's work was done decades before the Lion King came out. I know because I grew up with it and remember watching it as a young boy. I watched it and other shows like Ultraman, Johnny Sokko, Starblazers and Marine Boy - as did millions of other children. Some of those children grew up and even went to work at Disney...The similarities between the two are staggering. But since we're talking about Disney and a Japanese production company, I guess it's okay.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 13th, 2012 @ 12:26pm

    Re: Re:

    "And while we are at it, and since we are speaking of 'rights' and 'the law' and Disney, how much did Disney pay to acquire the right to make The Lion King from Tezuka again?"

    Or the rights to Jungle Book from Kipling's estate?
    (They began work on it the day after it lapsed into Public Domain)

    Or the rights to John Carter of Mars from the Burroughs estate.
    (Note: the book itself is PD and can be used by anyone as a small-time studio did when they did a low-budget, direct to SyFy Channel "Princess of Mars" movie starring Antonio Sabato and Tracy Lords last year.
    Disney just made a deal to license the trademarked "John Carter" name.)

     

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  33.  
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    Joe Publius (profile), Feb 13th, 2012 @ 12:26pm

    Re: The Reality, and The Fundraiser

    Man!

    You can talk about the principle of the thing, a corporation trying to protect what's apparently theirs, but under all of those circumstances it's even clearer how unnecessary the countersuit was. That kind of greed just seems unnecessary.

     

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  34.  
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    lucidrenegade (profile), Feb 13th, 2012 @ 12:37pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "that lawyers are vicious bloodsucking scum, who'll eat their mother if given a chance"

    If the foo shits...

     

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  35.  
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    Jay (profile), Feb 13th, 2012 @ 12:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I'd like to pipe in on this.

    The Disney devs actually wanted the Lion King to be an homage to Tezuka. They went out of their way to include references to Kimba. It was a nod to what came before.

    Enter Michael Eisner, who looked at the devs and said "yeah, I don't care about your homages" and went on to be one of the worst things to happen to Disney in years. Because of Eisner, Disney was known more as a corporation than the development studio powerhouse it was. Eisner is notorious for his micromanaging style at the time and it would eventually lead to top talent leaving the company. It's no surprise that Disney would try to extend copyright given how Eisner always tried to keep control. He really didn't care about the developers. Maybe he's softened a little, but just look the creation of Pixar, which is the direct result of his managing style.

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 13th, 2012 @ 12:53pm

    Re: Re:

    "This guy created Ghost Rider and then turned over those rights."

    Marvel had trademarked the name "Ghost Rider" in the late 1960s, after another comic company went belly-up and their trademark lapsed.

    Marvel then created a Western hero using the name (which had also been used by a Western hero at the other company) and the exact same costume and weaponry/equipment as the older hero (but different secret identity)!
    1950s Ghost Rider by Magazine Enterprises: http://www.comics.org/series/757
    1960s Ghost Rider by Marvel: http://www.comics.org/series/1809

    In fact, they used the same artist, Dick Ayers, who had drawn the earlier hero!
    The 1960s Ghost Rider was written by Gary Friedrich, but co-conceived by Friedrich, editor Stan Lee, main Marvel writer Roy Thomas, and artist Dick Ayers.
    This is NOT the version Friedrich is suing about.
    The Ghost Rider book was cancelled at the end of 1967.
    The character continued to appear in a Western anthology title until the early 1970s when that was cancelled as well.

    Faced with losing the trademark name if it wasn't used, Marvel decided to do a new version.
    Gary Friedrich offered up a concept about a demonically-possessed motorcycle rider he had been working on for several years.
    While the final version was worked out between Friedrich, artist Mike Ploog, and now-editor Roy Thomas, most of it had been prepared well in advance. (in fact, Freidrich had co-created another motorcycle hero, albeit science-based, named Hell-Rider a couple of years earlier for another publisher using elements from his original mystic-themed cycle-hero proposal.
    The new Ghost Rider debuted in Marvel Spotlight #5 (1973)...
    http://www.comics.org/issue/25371/
    ...and received his own comic a year later.
    http://www.comics.org/issue/26643/

    While he's had several different series since, the character has been an ongoing presence in the Marvel Universe since then.

    Any questions, feel free to e-mail me at atomickommiecomics at gmaildotcom

     

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    aikiwolfie, Feb 13th, 2012 @ 12:54pm

    Selling Content Others Create And Keeping The Profits Is Their Business!

    I'm reluctant to vilify either Marvel or Disney on this one. Anybody getting into content creation really needs to know what they are getting into before they sign that contract. Complaining it's not fair afterwards is just too late.

    If you are paid to create content for a company like Marvel or Disney or any of the other large media corporations, it's likely your contract will stipulate anything you create while in their employment belongs to them. I had to agree to such a clause when I worked for IBM testing LCD displays and that didn't even involve "creating" anything beyond mundane test reports. It seems obvious Marvel or Disney would expect the same.

    Granted writers and artists will often work freelance or in some sort of partnership/financing/publishing deal. However the same rules apply. You have to keep your wits about you and make sure you know exactly what you are signing over. Clearly this guy didn't understand what he had signed over or just didn't care.

    The harsh outcome Marvel and Disney have perused is clearly a tactic to kill this guys claim dead. And indeed that's no different to the tactics being used the mobile patent wars. This is sadly how IP is fought over. If you push your luck too far it's an all or nothing game.

    I would however agree that large companies shouldn't make false claims with regard to their motives. Copyright minimalists are clearly not interested in the artists and content creators. The only thing that drives them is pure profit. But then again I don't see many people refusing to buy what they're selling.

    More of us will still consume mainstream Hollywood backed content than those who will go without or choose to only support independent film makers and musicians even though we know where the money really goes.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 13th, 2012 @ 1:03pm

    Re: Re: In fairness...

    "Mike rarely mentions that "it's for the artists" when the artists sign a contract and get a nice fat check."

    It was hardly a "fat check" (especially back in the 1960s).
    With the page rate Marvel (and other comic companies) paid until the 1980s, writers had to turn out a complete 20-page comic (or the equivalent page count in short stories) every week to make the same money as a typical office worker, without the medical or retirement/pension benefits!
    (They were independent contractors!)
    Plus, at that time there were NO reprint royalties (another 1980s innovation), so no matter how many times the stories were re-printed, the actual creators (writers AND artists) didn't get a penny!

     

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    CSMcDonald (profile), Feb 13th, 2012 @ 1:21pm

    Re: The Reality, and The Fundraiser

    1) The "merchandise" that he was selling (for which he now owes 17K) were his OWN ORIGINAL ART of the character. Convention sketches, etc. -- a common practice (every comics convention has an "artists alley"). As the comics press has said, this is Marvel putting "a bullet in the head of artists' alley."


    How exactly was this his own original art when he was the writer, not the graphic artist?

     

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    Matthew (profile), Feb 13th, 2012 @ 1:30pm

    Lesson:

    Lesson: Do not conflate copyright owners with content creators and be especially suspicious when the owners who are not creators start pretending to be concerned with the welfare of the creators who are not owners.

     

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    Cowardly Anonymous, Feb 13th, 2012 @ 1:35pm

    Re: Re: In fairness...

    What do you consider to be the purpose of having a notion of copyright?

     

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    Josef Anvil (profile), Feb 13th, 2012 @ 1:37pm

    Re: Selling Content Others Create And Keeping The Profits Is Their Business!

    No no no no no. Stop drinking the Kool-aid.

    Content companies want you to believe this is just how business is done. So they offer you (the talent) a job and they will pay you well for it, but the cost is that your IP becomes theirs. So the artist has to choose between employment or his protecting his IP. Look at the case of the creators of Superman. When you are faced with starvation and the people that control the distribution tell you that you can give up or rights and eat, or keep your ideas to yourself; that hardly seems like you have the choice to keep your wits about you.

    Things have changed now and its far easier for artists to get their work out and many of them will absolutely not give up the rights to their own creations. Image comics appeared on the scene when a bunch of Marvel artists and writers simply would not give up the rights to their creations.

    The point is that these companies spend a lot of time and effort telling everyone how copyright laws and enforcement are to protect the artists and to keep all those hard working people employed. If you want to know what content theft really looks like, ask the creator of Ghost Rider or Superman.

    I may be wrong, but doesn't copyright extend to the life of the content owner + another 30 years or so? And aren't corporations considered to be "people" now?

     

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    Yartrebo (profile), Feb 13th, 2012 @ 1:45pm

    The point of the story

    This story just shows how copyright brings out the worst in people. Both sides come out looking like greedy and selfish jerks.

     

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    RD, Feb 13th, 2012 @ 1:52pm

    Re: Re: The Reality, and The Fundraiser

    "How exactly was this his own original art when he was the writer, not the graphic artist?"

    Because all the original art for each story was split up among the writer and artists (penciler and inker).

     

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  45.  
    identicon
    DogBreath, Feb 13th, 2012 @ 1:58pm

    Re: Selling Content Others Create And Keeping The Profits Is Their Business!

    Copyright minimalists are clearly not interested in the artists and content creators. The only thing that drives them is pure profit.


    Copyright maximalists (content brokers) are clearly not interested in the artists and content creators. The only thing that drives them to lobby for stronger and longer copyright laws that they can use to beat others into submission is pure profit, and their unabashed and unfettered need to sacrifice human souls upon the alter of greed to the god of copyright.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 13th, 2012 @ 2:03pm

    Re: Re:

    I am not following you.

    Anyone who disagrees with you or Mike is a paid shill? Do you honestly think that nobody can ever honestly have an opposing view?

    If that is the case, I would say you are dumber than a bag of hammers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    Gareth, Feb 13th, 2012 @ 2:41pm

    Re: Re: The Reality, and The Fundraiser

    "How exactly was this his own original art when he was the writer, not the graphic artist?"

    Sorry -- I was mistaken. It wasn't art, it was income from paid autographs and convention appearances (source: http://www.movies.com/movie-news/comic-creator-lawsuits/6611 ).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Feb 13th, 2012 @ 3:39pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I believe he's not talking about anyone who disagrees. But the actual trolls are think around here, and their patterns strongly suggest that they are paid trolls.

    It is entirely possible to disagree without being a troll or shill. The hallmarks of the troll/shill, though, are pretty clear. If the commenter does any of the following, they can be safely dismissed as such: Engage in any personal attacks, accuse the regular here of mindlessly following Mike's every word, accuse the commenters here of intentionally trying to support piracy or of being pirates themselves, raising arguments that they have already had answered numerous times, and so on.

    You get the idea, I'm sure.

    In other words, you are merely disagreeing, not trolling, if you are engaging in rational, useful debate and not personal attacks or mindless accusations.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 13th, 2012 @ 3:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I would suggest you read up on this one:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Playboy_Enterprises,_Inc._v._Welles

    See, in this case, the "award" of Playmate of the Year is something that cannot be debated. It is a statement of fact. However, the defendant cannot use Playboy logos or other to promote her business or brand, only the statement of fact.

    For the artist, he sold all of the rights to product. He could make the statement that he created the work in, say, a discussion or a newspaper article, but he cannot use the trademark(s) in question to generate demand or income, because he very specifically sold them off.

    The statement of fact doesn't come into play because he specifically sold the rights after the fact.

    Disney will leave him alone when he stops trying to profit from what he already sold to them, lock stock and goodwill.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    William Chambers, Feb 13th, 2012 @ 3:48pm

    No, you're off base on this one. It may seem harsh, but all the guy was doing was fishing for money with lawyers. Sounds like they're recovering just a portion of their legal costs, so totally fair game.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 13th, 2012 @ 4:47pm

    Is there any low to which the Disney Company won't stoop anymore? Walt would be spinning in his grave if he could see what's been happening to his company over the last several years. There was a time in which using the words "boycott" and "Disney" in the same sentence would have been unthinkable...then came Eisner. And Iger is no better.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Feb 13th, 2012 @ 5:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    They got the rights by attaching wording to the backs of checks. You know those things you have to sign to actually get paid for the work they already did.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Feb 13th, 2012 @ 5:43pm

    Elsewhere in reading about this someone had mentioned starting a petition to get Nick Cage to cover the legal fees. It would be a brilliant move at this point to try and get the world to move onto the next injustice, but at the end of it there will still be a 68 yr old who is left without any real way to earn money anymore.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 13th, 2012 @ 6:29pm

    Re:

    No, you're off base on this one. It may seem harsh, but all the guy was doing was fishing for money with lawyers. Sounds like they're recovering just a portion of their legal costs, so totally fair game.


    Maybe he was, maybe he wasn't, this isn't the point of the article. As many commenters have said above, copyright law is usually justified by its lobbyists as necessary for artists to get paid for their creations, especially so if they're very successful. We invoke the image of an artist who doesn't see a penny while millions of people enjoy his work to promote copyright/fight piracy, and yet this is exactly what happens once we have copyright laws installed. While it is true that the artist in question might have acted greedy under the current copyright law, it makes you wonder whether it should be there in the first place.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    icon
    G Thompson (profile), Feb 13th, 2012 @ 8:17pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Actually he can and should have all ability to trade on the factual and undisputed premise that he was instrumental and the co-creator of Ghost Rider.

    Just because Disney acquired certain 'created' rights does not give them nor a court the power to remove the natural right of him to state for his own purposes what he did and whom he is.

    If he wants to charge people for his signature because he was the creator or for any other reason that is his absolute right and would very much fall under your own 1st Amendment principles.

    Otherwise what the court is basically stating is he cannot place upon a resume the absolute fact that he did all this about Ghost Rider since that too would be for monetary and commercial gain.

    The ability of Disney/Marvel and the court to actually contemplate let alone place upon an order this type of restriction is telling of the absolute problems that the US civil legal system currently has in regards to anything that might somehow affect the profiteering of it's corporations.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 13th, 2012 @ 8:21pm

    Re:

    Considering that Kirby co-created
    Captain America, Bucky, and The Red Skull (with Joe Simon in the 1940s)
    The Hulk (along with General Ross, Betty Ross, Major Talbot, etc)
    Thor (plus Loki, Jane Foster, and all the Asgardians)
    Iron Man (plus Pepper Potts, Happy Hogan and Stark Industries),
    Nick Fury, S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hydra
    The Howling Commandos
    and The Avengers as a team
    not to mention
    The Fantastic Four, Dr Doom, The Watcher, and Alica Masters. (The Silver Surfer was Kirby's original idea)
    The original X-Men team (Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast, Iceman, Angel, Professor X) and Magneto with his BrotherHood of Evil Mutants
    and Marvel gave HIM a raw deal after co-creating more than half their movie/tv franchises...
    why wouldn't they give the shaft to Friedrich and...
    Steve Ditko (Spider-Man, along with Green Goblin, Harry Osborn, Lizard, Sandman, J. Jonah Jameson, Gwen Stacy, and Aunt May) and Dr Strange.
    Marv Wolfman (Blade)
    Steve Gerber (Howard the Duck)
    ???

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    icon
    G Thompson (profile), Feb 13th, 2012 @ 8:31pm

    Re: Re: In fairness...

    We don't SPECIFICALLY say that "you are a troll", but by dangling your dick in the water so to speak you make it pretty clear that what you do and what shrills do are related. You lead us to question your motives and We do.

    You and your ilk rarely mention that "it's for the money grabbing corporates" when they get a contract, pay a nominal cheque and then screw the artists. You don't want anyone to know about that part of the ripoff.


    There all fixed!

     

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  58.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 13th, 2012 @ 8:31pm

    Re:

    Ironically, Robert Iger is the nephew of Jerry Iger, one of the major comic packagers of the 1940s-50s.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerry_Iger

    Truth is stranger than fiction!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59.  
    identicon
    MAC, Feb 13th, 2012 @ 9:05pm

    Disney...

    It's a shame really. I remember when Walt was alive.

    Disney has so gone downhill since his death.

    Too bad, Walt created something wonderful.

    The suits are doing their best to destroy what little vestige of Walt is left.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 2:55am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "in fairness, no one involved in this SPECIFIC case, was saying "its for the artists"."

    Did anyone claim otherwise?

    However, it is the narrative pushed in many other cases, especially when trying to push further laws that may strip the rights from even more artists who have entered into bad contracts.

    "they were working on behalf of their clients business and legal interests."

    Interests that are part of the same corporations trying to push other laws through, claiming all the time that "it's all for the artists".

    They're not directly related in this case, but don't try to fool yourself into thinking that this kind of clear attack on actual content creators is irrelevant when discussing other cases.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61.  
    identicon
    TFP, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 3:55am

    Someone earlier said...

    lawyers are vicious bloodsucking scum, who'll eat their mother if given a chance.

    QFT

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62.  
    icon
    Niall (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 5:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Because his miniscule income from it will totally wreck their income from a movie that did well enough to spawn a sequel...

    It sounds ridiculous that someone cannot even say (in a remotely commercial environment, which is far too many today) that he was the actual creator of something. It would be one thing if he had signed an NDA or secrecy agreement - but he cannot because of 'copyright'??? That is just plain stupid.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63.  
    icon
    Niall (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 5:58am

    Re:

    "We have to destroy the content creators in order to save the content brokers!"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64.  
    icon
    Niall (profile), Feb 14th, 2012 @ 6:15am

    Re: Re:

    Besides, how can the content brokers talk about "for the artists" and "work-for-hire" together with a straight face?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65.  
    identicon
    Michael, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 6:38am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Statements of fact cannot be denied, however, if he sold all the rights including all references and commercial aspects, he cannot suddenly start selling his autograph as being more valuable because he created this work - he sold that right."

    IOW a contractual agreement with a major corporate entity results in the creator losing the rights to his own creative endeavors, as well as sacrificing his First Amendment rights, in order that the corporate suits may fatten their own wallets. Gotcha.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 9:00am

    Here's a point of view from a Marvel insider: https://tytempletonart.wordpress.com/tag/ghost-rider/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 6:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Hmm one way to combat this is to put the most recent comments first. Of course they ma be inclined to Troll more to stay near the top.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2012 @ 6:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The public shamed Time Warner owner of DC Comics into paying Siegal and Shuster more for their creation- Superman- in the seventies. S&S had been given a pittance and the media was covering it like a rug in the lead up to Superman: the Motion Picture. It turned a bad corporation into a less bad corporation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2012 @ 6:41am

    I thought Stan Lee was the creator of Ghost Rider

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70.  
    identicon
    Sarah, Sep 29th, 2012 @ 11:04am

    Re: The lesson

    And that apparently megacorporations arent bound by copy write law, and can steal your work at their whim.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  71.  
    identicon
    Sarah, Sep 29th, 2012 @ 11:29am

    Re: Re: The Reality, and The Fundraiser

    You know that sound absolutely recidiculous, and doesnt work that way right?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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