September 10, 2013
Missed It: Gary Friedrich's Lawyer Informs Court That His Client Has Settled On Ghost Rider Matter
I thought the Hollywood Reporter
write-up on news that Gary Friedrich and Marvel have apparently settled remaining disputes over ownership of the Ghost Rider character was a pretty decent one
; haven't read too many others, yet, though. In June a judge vacated a previous decision against Friedrich, citing the ambiguity and relative casual nature of the contracts that were provided in the face of the value the law places on the rights that Marvel argued Friedrich gave up by signing them, re-opening the media company to a renewed press for ownership by the writer. As I recall, Marvel and the Friedrich reps were in that stage where each a different way for that trial to be heard. This heads that off. I would imagine it also heads off potential useful legal attention to the practice of 1960s and 1970s work for hire practices, including blanket claims to material as well as the relationship between concepts pre-owned or conceived and how they take final form at a company like Marvel. So that's still out there to be engaged.
I don't necessarily look to the legal system for moral outcomes. I don't claim a moral outcome for wins I like, nor do I buy into a reversal on those claims when they are decisions I don't like. I think the law allows at times legal redress for unfortunate and even unfair situations according to what the law says and how the courts interpret that law -- the rat-a-tat range of recent outcomes just in this one case kind of underline that, as various interpretations or potential interpretations have settled in. With a settlement, there's a Schrodinger's Cat element to whether or not a decision could have gone one way or the other, with a likely motive that each side can see the other possibility. My sense of the room is that this was never a popular case with comics professionals because of the rolling nature of that feature's creations, which involved multiple hands. Still, I hope Friedrich is pleased with the outcome, as I think there was more than enough revenue there that he could stand to be rewarded for his contributions. Would that we lived in a world where such cases seemed aberrant because the majority of deals were weighted so heavily in the creators direction that a push like this seemed an extravagance.
The hobby business news site ICv2.com notes
that the agreement has yet to be executed.
posted 6:15 am PST
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