Ghost Rider goes to court
Long-time comics writer Gary Friedrich has sued Marvel Comics, Sony Pictures and their Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, Relativity Media, Crystal Sky Pictures, Michael De Luca Productions, Hasbro Inc. and Take-Two Interactive for copyright infringement over his version of Ghost Rider.
Filed last week in Illinois, Friedrich claims 21 separate copyright and trademark violations based upon the “production and marketing” of the recent blockbuster motion picture. He claims the copyrights used by the defendants reverted from Marvel to him in 2001.
According to Reuters, Friedrich alleges copyright infringement and accuses Marvel of waste for failing “to properly utilize and capitalize” on his character. Marvel’s attempts to do so, Friedrich claims, have only damaged the value of his work by failing to properly promote and protect the characters and by accepting inadequate royalties from co-defendants. Friedrich also claims that toymaker Hasbro and videogame firm Take-Two have improperly created merchandise based on the characters.
Even though Marvel has published this version of Ghost Rider off-and-on since 1971, it’s predecessor company, Magazine Management, failed to register the work with the Copyright Office, according to Friedrich’s complaint. He states that, following federal law, he regained the copyrights to Ghost Rider in 2001.
As of this writing, neither Marvel nor Sony has responded to the suit. It is expected they will adopt the initial position that the complaint “bares no merit,” as if it did, the crack of the whip could severely undermine the profitability of both Marvel and DC Comics and their parent companies.