Marvel Demands Money From Penniless Creator

Ghost RiderMarvel recently won it’s court case against Gary Friedrich as to who owns the rights to Ghost Rider.  Friendrich created the character and the court case was about whether any money or rights were owed to him.  With the second movie on it’s way, that’s pretty important (but then again, did the first one make money?).

The court decision sided with Marvel and said they owed Friedrich nothing, but agreed with a counter claim by Marvel that Friedrich owes the corporation $17,000.  That’s the money that Gary has earned over the years selling prints of Ghost Rider at conventions, etc.  Did we mention Friedrich is penniless?  Friedrich is also not allowed to say he created Ghost Rider for financial gain.  We’ll say it for him instead, than man did.

Disney purchased Marvel for $4 billion, they spent millions on the movie and have gained god knows how much money from this character and they’re going after this man… can we now say Marvel is the unfriendliest comics company for creators?

Between Marvel and Disney’s support of SOPA/PIPA, their ongoing fight against the Kirby estate and this, what jackasses.  This hasn’t gone unnoticed by the fans.  Murmuring  of a protest and boycott of this summer’s Avengers movie have spread due to the Kirby fight and a petition has started on Change.org to pressure Marvel to give credit and royalties to Jack Kirby and his family.

Here’s the legal language concerning Friedrich:

1. The profits realized by plaintiffs in connection with the distribution and sale of goods depicting the Ghost Rider character appearing in Marvel Spotlight, Vol. 1, No. 5 (the “Work”) which is the subject of MCI’s copyright infringement counterclaim amount to $17,000.

2. Upon the entry of the Final Judgment (i) dismissing all claims pleaded in the amended complaint, (ii) awarding damages to MCI against plaintiffs on MCI’s counterclaim in the amount of $17,000, (iii) permanently enjoining plaintiffs and all natural or legal persons acting on their behalf or in concert or participation with them from manufacturing, reproducing, distributing, adapting, displaying, advertising, promoting, offering for sale, selling, using or purporting to authorize others to use the image of any characters appearing in, or any copyrightable material expressed in, the Work or any materials that are substantially similar to, or based on, any element of the Work in connection with the sale of any goods, merchandise or services including, without limitation, publications, posters, toys, games and playthings, prerecorded videotapes and DVDs featuring live action or animated motion pictures, video game software and other video products, T-shirts and other items of apparel (provided, however, that such injunction shall not prohibit plaintiffs from selling Gary Friedrich’s autograph by affixing the same to a product manufactured by MCI or by others under license or permission from MCI and purchased by plaintiffs at retail), and (iv) awarding defendants the costs and disbursements of this action available as a matter of law pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(d) and 28 U.S.C. § 1920, MCI and plaintiffs will execute and cause to be filed a stipulation dismissing the Trademark Counterclaims without prejudice and without costs to any party.

3. In consideration for MC1′s agreement to dismiss the Trademark Counterclaims, plaintiffs consent to an injunction enjoining them and all natural or legal persons acting on their behalf or in concert or participation with them from using or purporting to authorize others to use the words “Ghost Rider” as a trademark, trade name, or similar designation of origin in connection with the sale of any goods, merchandise, or services.

(via Bleeding Cool)