The Hollywood Reporter has a good story on Gary Friedrich v. Marvel case that is back in the news as of June 11th.
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the previous ruling in Marvel’s favor, saying that the judge had erred in granting summary judgment and that the contracts that Friedrich signed were “ambiguous” and needed further investigation at trial.
Excerpt from the Court Documents of the case of Gary Friedrich v. Marvel:
In this case, plaintiff-counter-defendant-appellant Gary Friedrich contends that he conceived the Ghost Rider, the related characters, and the origin story, and that he owns the renewal term copyrights in thoseworks. While acknowledging that Friedrich contributed his ideas, defendant-counter-claimant-appellee MarvelCharacters, Inc. (“Marvel”) contends that the Ghost Rider characters and story were created through a collaborative process with Marvel personnel and resources, and that Marvel owns the renewal rights in question.The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Marvel on the ownership issue, holding that Friedrich had assigned any rights he had in the renewal term copyrights to Marvel when he executed a form work-for-hire agreement in 1978, six years after the initial publication of the issue in question. Friedrich and his production company, Gary Friedrich Enterprises, LLC,appeal. We vacate and remand for trial.