Disney Owns the Rights to Marvel Heroes…Don’t They?

by     Posted 1 year, 325 days ago

disney-marvel-slice

Disney/Marvel’s The Avengers recently passed the $1.5 billion mark in worldwide sales…but what if the superheroic characters never belonged to the joint studio in the first place?  That’s what Stan Lee’s former company, Stan Lee Media, Inc., is hoping to prove in their latest lawsuit.  Citing a whole lot of legal mumbo jumbo that I don’t understand, SLMI is basically saying that Lee signed away rights to his creations that he had no right to do, as they already belonged to SLMI.  These rights include the characters of Spider-Man, Iron Man, most of The Avengers, X-Men and more.  And SLMI isn’t looking for much…just the maximum statutory damages allowable and full control over the characters.  Hit the jump for more.

jennifer-walters-she-hulkDeadline reports that SLMI has filed a lawsuit against The Walt Disney Company for their share of the $5.5 billion in profits that the Mouse House has earned with the related Marvel properties.  Having had limited success in litigious dealings against Lee himself and Marvel in the past, SLMI is now requesting a trial by jury.  Their position states that Lee signed over rights to his comic book creations (past, present and future) to the predecessor of SLMI in October of 1998.  Lee was given shares in the corporation as payment, which proved to be worthless after the Dot-Com Crash of the late 90s.  (SLMI unsuccessfully sought bankruptcy protection in 2001.) The complaint goes on to say that an amended version of that agreement was filed in March of 2000 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Here’s the sticking point.  Lee reportedly signed over those same rights to his characters to Marvel in November of 2008, which, as SLMI points out, should have amounted to nothing as the character rights were already property of SLMI as of the October 1998 document signing.  Therefore, when Disney acquired Marvel in August of 2009, the character rights should still have resided with SLMI.  Furthermore, they state that “Neither Marvel, nor Disney as Marvel’s successor-in-interest as of December 31, 2009, has ever publicly recorded the Marvel Agreement with the United States Copyright Office.”

John McDermott of Denver’s Brownstein Hyatt Faber Schreck and Robert Chapan and Jon-Jamison Hill of Beverly Hills’ Eisner, Kahan & Gorry will argue for SLMI.  Still, I think Disney/Marvel’s got the upper hand on this one.  Arguing for their side will be Jennifer Walters and Matt Murdock.

matt-murdock-daredevil




Like Us


Comments:

FB Comments

  • ScaredForMovies

    Have fun trying to defeat Disney’s super lawyers.

  • Pingback: Disney Owns the Rights to Marvel Heroes…Don’t They? – Collider.com | Mickey News

  • Ef

    Lol limited success? Try no success. Slm is headed by a cinvicted felon who’s all about fraud and nothing more. Stan didnt sign over marvel rights but the rights to characters he owned. Stan had no ownership in marvel characters just slm characters. This is total bs & everyone knows it.

  • Ef

    Lol limited success? Try no success. Slm is headed by a cinvicted felon who\’s all about fraud and nothing more. Stan didnt sign over marvel rights but the rights to characters he owned. Stan had no ownership in marvel characters just slm characters. This is total bs & everyone knows it.

  • Pingback: Character Copyrights | D. Crespo

  • Pocketses

    Welcome to the new world, where everyone wants to get paid for other people’s work.

    Also, the Matt Murdock/Jennifer Walters reference at the end was easy…know what else was easy? The fact that you were given a toss up with a lawyer named “Jon-Jamison” and yet, did nothing with it.

    • Grey

      There is nothing new about this. People have been getting paid for other people’s work since the beginning of time. It’s just a different face for a different time. Stan Lee, Thomas Edison, slavery… When someone sees the chance to make money off the back’s of others, they take it more often than not. :/

  • Yahzee

    As long a this avoids any family-friendly Daredevil adaptation, I wish somehow Disney lost the rights to those characters. In the meantime, the director’s cut of Daredevil will have to be the closer to proper adaptation of the character.

    P.S. Has anyone ever won a lawsuit against Disney?

    • Peter

      The “family-friendly” doesn’t really bother me.

      One intriguing variation is that if SLMI should prevail and get the rights to all those characters–not that I think it would–you solve the problem of doing an X-Men vs. Avengers movie…

  • Yahzee

    Someone really needs to check this comment function, sometimes new comments aren’t showing, or it shows duplicates…

  • Pingback: Disney Owns the Rights to Marvel Heroes…Don't They? - Collider.com | Main Street Podcast | Scoop.it

  • Pingback: Stan Lee Media Sues Disney For Billions In Alleged Copyright Infringement – Business Insider | Mickey News

  • Peter

    The \"family-friendly\" doesn\’t really bother me.

    One intriguing variation is that if SLMI should prevail and get the rights to all those characters–not that I think it would–you solve the problem of doing an X-Men vs. Avengers movie…

  • Pingback: Marvel superhelden 'illegaal' bij Disney? - Cineme | Cineme

  • Pingback: John Denver : The Latest Fuzz

Click Here