Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

February 24, 2014

Disney Vs. Stan Lee Media Heads Into Final Battle Stage, Or Maybe Not: Who The Hell Knows With Them?

I fairly missed out on this Hollywood Reporter story that indicates Disney will use its latest battle with Stan Lee Media over rights to the various key Marvel properties -- this one generated by a license SLM granted for Spider-Man musical excerpts to a Pennsylvania show business endeavor -- to push for an eradication of any grounds on which further suits could be filed. I think it's a good story, explaining that there's a disagreement on the nature of the dismissal upn which subsequent dismissals are based, and showing that Disney will argue that SLM is 1) essentially opportunistic in its challenges over the course of its existence and the systematic assertion of those rights by Disney and previous ownership, 2) not even the kind of company that can do anything other than basically sweep some floors and tidy some papers.

As I've pointed out in the past, SLM's "case" does seem to make 2-AM-in-the-dorms-talking sense: which I understand to be that in working out their settlement with Stan Lee Marvel acknowledged rights Lee had in many of Marvel's lucrative characters he had earlier blanket-assigned to SLM when coming on board there. That doesn't mean this construction has any legal standing whatsoever (it sure hasn't so far), that doesn't mean there's any moral force behind the standing asserted by SLM (this was not language intended to have this result), and there's no reason for a company like that to stop suing and doing shit like this while it can find funding to do so and as long as we're taking a set of entertainment properties whose "what I did this year" Christmas card can legitimately use the world "billion," that might be a while. Like a country preacher that moves from armageddon scenario to the next, SLM has to find a sympathetic ear just once to cause some trouble. Conversely, desite the article inches wasted on it, this kind of expenditure and legal challenges is sort of like paying the office light bill for a company like Disney: part of the cost of doing business.
posted 1:35 am PST | Permalink

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