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"Ghost Rider" Creator Brings Copyright Infringement Case

Gary Friedrich, the creator of the original Ghost Rider character, has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Marvel Enterprises and Sony Pictures for certain usages in the recent Ghost Rider film.

Friedrich, who is seeking unspecified damages, claims that his copyrights reverted back in 2001. His lawsuit claims Marvel and Sony and associates "herein wrongfully embarked upon a high-profile campaign, arrangement, joint venture and conspiracy to exploit, profit from and utilize plaintiff's copyrights, the Johnny Blaze character and persona, the origin story and the related characters and personas created by plaintiff, in various endeavors, including, but not limited to, the use of the same in movie theater presentations and promotions, commercials, action-figure toys, video games, clothing and novels."

This is all by way of a suspicious loophole. Friedrich claims to have conceptualized the Johnny Blaze incarnation of Ghost Rider back in 1968, and came to an agreement with Stan Lee and Marvel some time later. Allegedly this agreement was only for the first appearance of "Ghost Rider," in an issue of 'Marvel Spotlight' in 1972; Marvel then apparently never registered the Ghost Rider character with the proper copyright offices, allowing usage rights to revert back to Friedrich in 2001.

Wikipedia, for what that's worth, also credits comic writer Roy Thomas and artist Mike Ploog with the co-creation of the Ghost Rider character.

Lest there be any doubt about why these concerns are being raised now (rather than, say, back in the early 1970s or any time since then), "Ghost Rider" the movie has to date earned more than $200 million world wide in just under two months of release.

Source: Reuters.


Posted by on April 10, 2007 11:08 AM
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