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 Ghost Rider Case UN-DISMISSED!

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Joe Lee
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PostSubject: Ghost Rider Case UN-DISMISSED!   Tue Jun 11, 2013 6:55 pm

Good News!

Earlier today, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the dismissal ruling from last year, saying that the judge had erred in granting summary judgment and that "Marvel's contracts" that Friedrich signed were "ambiguous" and needed further investigation at trial...

http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=46001

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/marvels-ghost-rider-legal-victory-566170

And the fight is back on... cheers cheers cheers
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J.M. Hunter

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PostSubject: Re: Ghost Rider Case UN-DISMISSED!   Tue Jun 11, 2013 8:01 pm

BOOM! THERE IT IS!!! cherry
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Joe Lee
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PostSubject: Re: Ghost Rider Case UN-DISMISSED!   Tue Jun 11, 2013 8:13 pm

EVERYBODY GET DRAWING!!!!!!
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J.M. Hunter

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PostSubject: Re: Ghost Rider Case UN-DISMISSED!   Tue Jun 11, 2013 8:16 pm

Joe Lee wrote:
EVERYBODY GET DRAWING!!!!!!

I'd suggest you compile a mailing list and start seeing who's still in and serious about this.

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PostSubject: Re: Ghost Rider Case UN-DISMISSED!   Tue Jun 11, 2013 8:58 pm

J.M. Hunter wrote:
I'd suggest you compile a mailing list and start seeing who's still in and serious about this.
No stress, I already have people workin on that stuff and the rest of the administrative stuff. Everyone just worry about getting your art done for now. bounce
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Terry M (Ditko Fan)

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PostSubject: Re: Ghost Rider Case UN-DISMISSED!   Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:15 am

I didn't see you started a new discussion, I posted this link in another one.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/11/ghost-rider-lawsuit-held-court-gary-friedrich-sues-marvel_n_3423051.html?utm_hp_ref=entertainment
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PostSubject: Re: Ghost Rider Case UN-DISMISSED!   Wed Jun 12, 2013 8:27 am

Joe Lee wrote:
J.M. Hunter wrote:
I'd suggest you compile a mailing list and start seeing who's still in and serious about this.


No stress, I already have people workin on that stuff and the rest of the administrative stuff. Everyone just worry about getting your art done for now. bounce
Damn, I need to work on the script first. I'll try to make that a priority this weekend.
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PostSubject: Re: Ghost Rider Case UN-DISMISSED!   Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:42 pm

Getting back to the point...

Some of Judge Chin's ruling may contradict testimony regarding the Marvel Method that was introduced by Stan Lee in the recent Kirby Estate lawsuits.

 Judge Chin, "When construed in Marvel's favor, the record reveals that Friedrich had nothing more than an uncopyrightable idea for a motorcycle-riding character when he presented it to Marvel because he had not yet fixed the idea into a tangible medium," Judge Chin wrote, stating that Ghost Rider's appearance and origin story were developed "through the collaborative efforts of Friedrich, [Roy] Thomas, [Stan] Lee, and [Mike] Ploog, all of whom were paid by Marvel. If this is accepted as true, a jury could easily conclude from these facts that Ghost Rider was a 'work made for hire' and thus that Marvel was the sole statutory author."

But the Marvel method was more clearly defined by Stan Lee in another recent court case. In the The Jack Kirby Collector #59 from Twomorrows publishing, there is an interesting article by Arlen Schumer, examining "The Auteur Theory of Comics."   The article examines the misconceptions of the artist in the role of creator in comics as it has been recently applied in many court cases. The idea being that comics are just as collaborative a medium as film, and in fact like film, the Director(artist) plays a much larger role in the creation of the piece than the writer.  The article cites the recent court case where the Kirby estate over copyright ownership of the Marvel characters. In which Stan Lee's testimony became one of the deciding factors, which amounted to the misconception the he, NOT Kirby was the true author of the Marvel Universe, by the simple fact that he was the "author." A premise that is central to the documentary "With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story."

But for Marvel to win the Ghost Rider case they would have to contradict the central argument that helped them win in the Kirby estates case? Wouldn't it be a great argument for Friederich case? To have Stan Lee repeat his testimony from another case.
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Terry M (Ditko Fan)

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PostSubject: Re: Ghost Rider Case UN-DISMISSED!   Wed Jun 12, 2013 5:02 pm

What? scratch
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Chris W



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PostSubject: Re: Ghost Rider Case UN-DISMISSED!   Thu Jun 13, 2013 12:29 am

Ahem.

ChrisW wrote:
Sooner or later, the 'auteur' theory runs afoul of the 'blank piece of paper' theory. Martin Goodman is the one who decided Marvel needed a team of superheroes. That's looking at a blank piece of paper. Stan Lee's the one assigned to come up with the superheroes in question. Another blank piece of paper. Jack Kirby took orders and filled up his own blank pieces of paper. Stan took the pencilled pages and made them suitable for printing. Martin Goodman actually published them and decided he wanted more. All three of them (plus inkers, letterers, colorists, printers) faced blank pages until something existed that they could use.

It's not intrinsically different from Welles, whom some have said stole everything from Mankiewicz and Toland. I don't subscribe to that viewpoint - I do regard Welles as the 'auteur' of his films - but the 'auteur' theory fails when you can't justify everything as being decided by the guy in charge, or when you can offer convincing counter-arguments that someone else made those decisions. In Peter Bogdonavitch's big interview book, he asks Welles about some day where Welles famously cancelled all shooting, and Welles' response was that he didn't know what to do. When he showed up on set to direct, he knew where the camera would point, the lighting, the acting, etc. and in this case, he didn't have any idea. So rather than waste everybody's time, he sent them home. [Tony Stark "Let's just take a day!"] Stan Lee made the Silver Surfer into the interesting character that fans enjoyed. Kirby created a herald for Galactus who scouted out planets. There is no 'auteur', just different amounts of credit to give to the different creators. Joe Sinnott was inking by then, so at least someone besides Vinnie Colletta was deciding what made it to the finished work.

Dave Sim is the 'auteur' of "Cerebus."  No if's, and's or but's.  But [???] saying so does not deny the incredible job Gerhard did on 4,000+ pages of that same comic book. 

[quote-"ChrisW]It's still Lee and his lawyers using whatever legal precedents there are. Kirby would have drawn whatever title Lee assigned him to. In that work-for-hire sense, Kirby is certainly not an auteur. Might as well credit Joe Sinnott and Vinnie Colletta, because they're the ones making the final decisions on what gets published.[/quote]

The 'auteur' theory doesn't work.  Kirby put in more time at the drawing board than Lee, and arguably [Marvelphiles will argue it forever] had more influence.  But Lee set the overall standards and was the one to decide when work needed to be redone or thrown away.  Sitting at a blank page and deciding something should happen could start with the artist, the writer, the editor, the publisher, the lawyers...
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PostSubject: Re: Ghost Rider Case UN-DISMISSED!   Thu Jun 13, 2013 2:21 am

ChrisW wrote:
Ahem... The 'auteur' theory doesn't work...

Chris did you even READ my post?

I wasn't making an argument for or against it. I was just pointing out how Stan Lee's testimony in the Kirby lawsuit, regarding his being the AUTHOR and therefore "creator" of a comic, might actually support Gary Friederich's Ghost Rider lawsuit.

Whether you believe the 'auteur' theory works or not, DOESN'T enter into the equation. I'm talking about potentially contradictory testimony.

Marvel's best argument in the Friederich Ghost Rider case, as sited by one of the links to the news above, stated that the "Marvel Method" was the strongest chance of making their case, by claiming that no one author really creates anything, it's a group thing here at Marvel. But that DIRECTLY contradicts Stan Lee's testimony in the Kirby suit. Could his tesytimony be used in the Ghost Rider case? Supporting Friederich's claim or if they contradict his Kirby suit testimony, to win the Ghost Rider case. Aren't they calling into question his Kirby suit testimony where Stan claimed he was, SOLE author and creator any given character or book where he was credited as "writer." Could this contradiction go towards revisiting the Kirby suit?

I don't recall if any of Stan's old accounts regarding the "Marvel Method" were ever introduced in the Kirby suit? Anecdotes where Stan himself, with pride in the Marvel Method, says he would often have to ask who characters and situations were in Kirby's art, like the time he says who's that? And it's The Silver Surfer. A major character who's struggles against Galactus become a major part of the pathos of the Galactus Trilogy.

If Kirby introduced the Silver Surfer and his part in the story, how is he not at least a co-author?
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PostSubject: Re: Ghost Rider Case UN-DISMISSED!   Thu Jun 13, 2013 2:16 pm

I get what you're saying, I think, Joe. It's that Stan's attitude was that the writer was there first, so he was the author and originator, no matter how simple the initial outline for a story he gave to the artist or how much was embellished or added to by the artist, the writer was first in the order of creating and so he was the author of the finished work.

That could well be a good legal tactic for Freidrich's lawyers, but, and I hate to say it, his situation was different than Stan Lee's. Mostly because Stan was also Editor in Chief as well as writer, so more often he really was first even if the outline he gave to an artist was no more than a few lines, basically no more than a 'suggestion' for the next issue. As I understand it, Freidrich was told by an editor to 'modernize the 40's/60's character Ghost Rider. It may not have been any more than that.  But that suggestion did come first and in 'Stan Lee think' that might be enough to make that editor the originator of the modern Ghost Rider. I know, pretty crazy!
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PostSubject: Re: Ghost Rider Case UN-DISMISSED!   Thu Jun 13, 2013 3:37 pm

edquinby001 wrote:
...As I understand it, Freidrich was told by an editor to 'modernize the 40's/60's character Ghost Rider. It may not have been any more than that.  But that suggestion did come first and in 'Stan Lee think' that might be enough to make that editor the originator of the modern Ghost Rider. I know, pretty crazy!

Did that really happen? Hell, if that's true, you'd think it would be game over for the case, you'd think if Marvel could prove the work-for-hire, status, nothing else would matter

My understanding was Friederich shopped the idea around, befire going to Marvel and he has dome sort of notes as proof. Also, the judge that overturned the ruling seemed more concerned with several points of thr agreement bring very unclear, and was not at sll concerned that Friederich could prove it wasn't work for hire.
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PostSubject: Re: Ghost Rider Case UN-DISMISSED!   Thu Jun 13, 2013 6:58 pm

I'm only going by what I think I recall, so I hope you're right, Joe! Of course, the original Ghost Rider by Dick Ayers in the '40's did exist, but the connection with Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider is in name only and they were entirely different animals.
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PostSubject: Re: Ghost Rider Case UN-DISMISSED!   Thu Jun 13, 2013 7:56 pm

I'm just glad he'll get his day in court now. Win or lose, i hope it gets
 decided on the merits of the case. And if he did it,
i hope he wins
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PostSubject: Re: Ghost Rider Case UN-DISMISSED!   Fri Jun 14, 2013 3:12 pm

Like you say, this is definitely a battle won in this whole long term engagement between him and Marvel, plus it gives us some time now to get involved in a small way, nudge nudge wink wink!
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Chris W



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PostSubject: Re: Ghost Rider Case UN-DISMISSED!   Sat Jun 15, 2013 10:05 pm

Joe Lee wrote:
ChrisW wrote:
Ahem... The 'auteur' theory doesn't work...

Chris did you even READ my post?

I wasn't making an argument for or against it. I was just pointing out how Stan Lee's testimony in the Kirby lawsuit, regarding his being the AUTHOR and therefore "creator" of a comic, might actually support Gary Friederich's Ghost Rider lawsuit.

Whether you believe the 'auteur' theory works or not, DOESN'T enter into the equation. I'm talking about potentially contradictory testimony.

Sure it's contradictory, because the notion of who sits down at a blank page and decides what is going to fill that blank page is itself a very very complicated process, hammered out over decades by well-paid lawyers.  Martin Goodman decided he needed a superhero team to compete with DC, so he created "Fantastic Four."  Not saying I agree with that, but it's a legitimate (in the strictest sense of the word) argument.

Quote :
Marvel's best argument in the Friederich Ghost Rider case, as sited by one of the links to the news above, stated that the "Marvel Method" was the strongest chance of making their case, by claiming that no one author really creates anything, it's a group thing here at Marvel. But that DIRECTLY contradicts Stan Lee's testimony in the Kirby suit. Could his tesytimony be used in the Ghost Rider case? Supporting Friederich's claim or if they contradict his Kirby suit testimony, to win the Ghost Rider case. Aren't they calling into question his Kirby suit testimony where Stan claimed he was, SOLE author and creator any given character or book where he was credited as "writer." Could this contradiction go towards revisiting the Kirby suit?

Different comic books are created different ways.  Lee/Kirby's method of creation differs from Lee/Ditko's method of creation differs from Kirby/Colleta's method of creation differs from Claremont/Byrne's method of creation differs from Claremont/Lee's method of creation differs from Shooter/Milgrom, Aragones/Evanier, Moore/Bissette/Totleben or Sim/Gerhard, all of whom fall under American work-for-hire laws, even the ones who aren't American [and Sim/Gerhard never even lived or worked in America].  Friederich worked under different circumstances than Kirby.  Legally, that's sufficient to settle things, and if Stan Lee is asked about different circumstances which contradict other things he's said, it says more about the law itself than Stan's swiss cheese memory, much less the different circumstances themselves.

I'm perfectly fine with Kirby as co-author of "Fantastic Four" and Marvel itself.  It's the least he deserves.  But he [co-]created characters under rules which were radically different a decade later when other people created characters while working for the same company, all of which qualify as work-for-hire.  You want to argue with that, change the laws.  Don't rely on Stan Lee's memory.


Last edited by ChrisW on Sat Jun 15, 2013 10:07 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : I only remember red skies and shadow demons. And Superman no longer has a girl cousin.)
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PostSubject: Re: Ghost Rider Case UN-DISMISSED!   Mon Jun 17, 2013 6:02 pm

ChrisW wrote:
I'm perfectly fine with Kirby as co-author of "Fantastic Four" and Marvel itself.  It's the least he deserves.  But he [co-]created characters under rules which were radically different a decade later when other people created characters while working for the same company, all of which qualify as work-for-hire.  You want to argue with that, change the laws.  Don't rely on Stan Lee's memory.
Firstly. Unfortunately THE COURTS are choosing to rely on Stan Lee's memories, that's my point. It's in the transcripts, they are not taking into account any potential bias of Lee's, or allowing for any counter testimony from second hand sources like Mark Evanier to give the Kirby side, because Lee is the only one alive and able to testify.

Second, we are not talking about laws here, we are talking about ambiguous contracts. Ambiguous and unenforceable contracts by today's standards. That people have every right to challenge in court. The "rules" Kirby created characters under, have changed radically many times from when he first started, and they were not always clear. The laws have changed over the years as well. Unfortunately many creators, Kirby included, couldn't take advantage of the new laws, like being able to revisit or terminate their grants because they had taken crappy deals years earlier under the thinking it was the best they could get. I'm sure many of these creators had no idea they would have been better off not taking any crappy deals, opting instead to wait for laws to change, if they had only known.

And the judge that just overturned the Ghost Rider dismissal pointed out several distinct areas of ambiguity, in the contracts that Marvel is claiming here, did you not bother to read the news reports linked to, above? Friederich may have a decent case here after all, if what the judge says is true.

The Marvel contracts may not clearly state what they are for, in more than one area, (again, read the articles above for the judges ruling), if any ambiguity exists, the LAW favors the party who did not write the contract. Friederich has a good case here.

My only point about Stan Lee's testimony in the Kirby case, wasn't that it was reliable, or preferable in any way just that it was the only testimonythe COURTS relied on, refusing to hear anything from second hand sources like Mark Evanier, which would give the Kirby side of Lee's testimony, and would seem to contradict many of Lee's written statements, and might benefit Friederich in his case if Lee doesn't change his story again..
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J.M. Hunter

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PostSubject: Re: Ghost Rider Case UN-DISMISSED!   Fri Jun 21, 2013 7:52 pm

https://www.facebook.com/SupportGaryFriedrich?fref=ts
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PostSubject: Re: Ghost Rider Case UN-DISMISSED!   Fri Jun 28, 2013 12:40 pm


UPDATE:

Marvel won’t challenge the appeals court ruling, and says they will submit a motion to go to trial...

http://robot6.comicbookresources.com/2013/06/ghost-rider-lawsuit-heads-to-trial-in-november/
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