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 Gary Friedrich, Ghost Rider legal battle update

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Joe Lee
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PostSubject: Gary Friedrich, Ghost Rider legal battle update   Wed Sep 19, 2012 10:00 pm



"Marvel Continues Legal Battle With Ghost Rider Creator"

http://www.examiner.com/article/marvel-continues-legal-battle-with-ghost-rider-creator
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PostSubject: Re: Gary Friedrich, Ghost Rider legal battle update   Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:51 pm

If the rights did revert back to Friedrich, what would he do with the character? I doubt he has a snowballs chance in hell of defeating the Disney machine in court, but I'd still be interested to know what his plans would be if he did somehow come out on top. Sell it back to Marvel? Hand it over to Nic Cage just for giggles?
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Peter Urkowitz

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PostSubject: Re: Gary Friedrich, Ghost Rider legal battle update   Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:58 pm

I'm pretty sure Friedrich just wanted some royalties from the movies and the comics. As usual, Marvel could have just spent less than their legal fees on keeping an older creator happy, and everyone would have been better off.
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PostSubject: Re: Gary Friedrich, Ghost Rider legal battle update   Thu Sep 20, 2012 4:01 am

It might have cost them less in the short term, but if Marvel did buckle and give Friedrich some form of compensation, wouldn't it set a precedent? Marvel's fear is (probably) that if they offer royalties, or perhaps any of kind of acknowledgement, to a creator with claims like Friedrich's, a hundred more will come out the woodwork with their own claims to fame. If that were to happen Marvel's court fees would skyrocket. That being the case, better to spend the big bucks now and avoid shelling out even more in the long run.
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PostSubject: Re: Gary Friedrich, Ghost Rider legal battle update   Thu Sep 20, 2012 11:42 pm

JamesCarter wrote:
Marvel's fear is (probably) that if they offer royalties, or perhaps any of kind of acknowledgement, to a creator with claims like Friedrich's, a hundred more will come out the woodwork with their own claims to fame. If that were to happen Marvel's court fees would skyrocket...
That seems to be the motivation for their chilling counter-suit. It's clearly designed as a shot across the artist's row at every convention.

It seems sad to me that an industry based on heroes, and heroics would be better served doing the right thing rather than fall back on excuses involving what's legal vs. what's right.

A small handful of people have created their entire foundation. Kirby, Lee, Ditko, and a handful of others, created all the Marvel characters that are currently being published today. Many people have worked there, but very few have gone above and beyond.

For me the difference has always been pretty clear distinction, that get easily muddied in practice.

Writing and/or drawing a Spiderman comic is one thing, inventing Spiderman is another. But, in the process of creating a comic for an existing character like Spiderman, you might invent something new, whether it be characters, concepts, whatever.

If Stan Lee and Jack Kirby got a got a creator royalty for X-men, what should Dave Cockrum and Chris Claremont get for re-inventing the X-men and creating the template for the comics, animated cartoons and movies for decades, that makes way more money than the original ever did. Who really deserves compensation from the other media? Add Wolverine to the mix and it gets even muddier. And if Siegel and Shuster deserved compensation for Superman, and Stan Lee and his family got millions how is it Jack Kirby only received work-for-hire compensation for co-creating the vast majority of the characters and concepts that are still being exploited today? Why shouldn't the men who created characters, even more recently like Wolverine, Blade and Ghost Rider, why shouldn't they deserve some part of the money being generated by their creations, beyond their original work-for-hire compensation? Yes, some of these characters couldn't have been nearly as popular without Marvel, but where would Marvel have been without these creators?

I refuse to believe that their isn't something better to be done here, for the very small handful of people who invented all this stuff. Do people at Marvel comics even read Marvel comics? They have power over these people that built the company they currently enjoy. Great power. Why do the feel no responsibility to them?
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Peter Urkowitz

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PostSubject: Re: Gary Friedrich, Ghost Rider legal battle update   Fri Sep 21, 2012 2:03 am

Marvel SHOULD be paying royalties regularly to all their hundreds or thousands of creators who worked on the books and came up with new concepts and characters. They shouldn't waste a second in court denying those creators what they are owed.

Like Chuck Dixon wrote about Bane, DC still pays him and the artist (Graham Nolan?) every time the character appears, with exact formulas for how much he appears in an issue, how much dialogue he has, etc. and definitely something for movies, toys, etc. They also get paid for use of original concepts, like I think he mentioned a Bat-subway car or something wild like that.

There's no reason why Marvel can't do the same thing. That's what their legal and accounting departments are supposed to be for: paying the creators correctly. Like Joe said, with great power come great responsibility.
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PostSubject: Re: Gary Friedrich, Ghost Rider legal battle update   Fri Sep 21, 2012 4:04 am

I certainly agree that MORALLY Marvel/Disney (and DC/Warner, etc.) SHOULD be compensating the many talents throughout it's history that have created so many characters that have financially benefited the company.
That said, I agree with James in that it would set a precedent that far too many would latch onto. The finances would be too great a burden to bear (even for such a GIANT as Disney).
Mind you, if it COULD be done without anything being destroyed (if you catch my drift), then I would be all for it.
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PostSubject: Re: Gary Friedrich, Ghost Rider legal battle update   Fri Sep 21, 2012 4:32 pm

In a way, comics are almost the definition of intellectual property.

"Batman swings through the skies and crashes in through the window to land on a couple of thugs, then he beats up several more and chases the ringleader down two flights of steps and to the alley outside." In terms of job creation, a penciller, inker, letterer, colorist and editor could find gainful employment bringing that sentence to the page, screen, animation studio, toy designs, etc. Look at how many millions of dollars would have to be spent bringing that sentence to life as a blockbuster movie. It's not limited to superheroes, or even adventure/fantasy.

There's a reason they've had to work out those formulas Chuck Dixon spoke of, measuring out how much dialogue Bane gets. [Although it might explain why they shoved Bane into two movie franchises. Is he known for anything other than breaking the back of, uh, the guy swinging between rooftops? Aren't there better Bat-villains to use?] Lawyers all across the entertainment and business spectrum had to be retained simply to fend off all the lawsuits they're almost-guaranteed to receive, and beyond that, the lawyers find more work for themselves.

And someone somewhere could make a valid case in court that permitting artists to dash off quick sketches of their characters is failing to protect their intellectual property.

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PostSubject: Re: Gary Friedrich, Ghost Rider legal battle update   Sat Sep 22, 2012 2:40 am

The Avengers movie made over a billion dollars. Unless you're feeding the whole nation, there's no way that simple royalty payments to comics creators could break that bank. There's no time like the present for Marvel to start acting like a decent corporate citizen.
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PostSubject: Re: Gary Friedrich, Ghost Rider legal battle update   Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:57 am

I've never understood how doing the right thing would invite lawsuits.

They are going to get lawsuits anyway. Especially with the current system of, Nobody gets nuthin'cause you cashed a check with fine print on it. Even the film credits don't give any credit, they say, "Based on the comic books created by so and so and so and so," not "Created by..." If Marvel had set up a set of criteria, where some creators, would be compensated for certain things, wouldn't that insulate them to some extent?

Public opinion would be less against them, because they would be compensating some, hopefully the most deserving. And the people with the best chances for lawsuits would already be under a specific compensation agreement. As opposed to the current system of spending money on Lawyers to not pay people who may have some moral right to some sort of compensation, (if not a legal one).

Or going along with Peter's point, why not focus on a solution that makes everybody happy. If the Marvel Lawyers are so worried about anything with the wording "created by" then why not take those same guys in the credit line, "based on the comic books by..." and hire those people as consultants on the movies/TV/video game/whatever. Paying them a percentage just like the producers, directors, actors or anyone else working on the film. That wouldn't change anything they are currently doing legally, but it would create a positive image for Marvel, and create a positive relationship with the "creator(s)" and any compensation would come directly from the project, based on the success of that project, and Marvel could easily budget for that. Marvel wouldn't be giving up any legal claim and it would create and environment where the current Artist and Writers would have an incentive to create new things again. On the chance it makes it into one of the Movies or Tv shows.
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