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

November 16, 2004

Dynamic Sanctions and Dismissals: Judge Comes Down on Tarzan Suit


I have to admit I'm not sure exactly what status the suit talked about in this article currently enjoys. In fact, I swear there was a ruling in 2003, so maybe this is just additional fall-out if not just a related suit. At any rate, as any number of news stories and archived filings will tell you, the Hogarth estate has long disputed earnings by the incorporated Edgar Rice Burroughs interests over work done by the cartoonist-educator that he and his heirs believe fell out of work for hire arrangements.

This sounds pretty devastating for the Hogarth estate side of the matter, as their lawyers take it right on the chops. I find it interesting that the key to the judge's conclusion seems to have been the lawyers' inability to relate the Disney movie to Hogarth's conception of Tarzan as opposed to what I find murkier, the understanding between Hogarth and the Tarzan people about how profits might be shared down the line.

The $15 million dollar figure cited by ERB, Inc. also seems kind of small considering Tarzan was a crossover licensing hit (although sort of a surprise one) for Disney, but not particularly shocking the way these things are often accounted for after the fact.
posted 9:08 am PST | Permalink

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