Marvel is suing to prevent losing copyrights to many key Avengers characters, including Spider-Man, Iron Man and Black Widow.
The comic book powerhouse filed five lawsuits on Friday that challenge multiple copyright termination notices that have been filed by the heirs of Marvel comics writers, seeking to reclaim the rights to the likes of Iron Man, Spider-Man, Dr. Strange, Ant-Man, Hawkeye, Black Widow and Falcon.
Marvel is arguing that since the characters were created under “work for hire” arrangements, the heirs have no valid claim to those copyrights. The suits were filed against Lawrence D. Lieber, Patrick S. Ditko, Michelle Hart-Rico and Buz Donato Rico III, and Keith A. Dettweiler.
“Since these were works made for hire and thus owned by Marvel, we filed these lawsuits to confirm that the termination notices are invalid and of no legal effect,” said Dan Petrocelli, Counsel to Marvel.
Patrick Ditko is the brother of Steve Ditko, who co-created Spider-Man and Dr. Strange.
On face value, this looks like the powerhouse Big Bad Company protecting their money and assets.
Now, before I go on, let me make this clear. IF MARVEL STUDIOS wanted to, they could have thrown some money at these people. HOWEVER, once you start throwing money at people, everyone then holds their hands out. In this case, the Big Bad Studio is in the right. These artists were PAID to draw comics. Their DREAM was to come up with a new character that would resonate with comic readers. They did not come up with characters or stories to become RICH if ONE DAY, they made a movie about it.
I have two stories for you, a comic creator and my own. Let’s start with the comic creator.
In the late 1980s, early 1990s, Todd McFarlane was a hit at Marvel. So much so, that Marvel gave him his OWN Spider-Man comic book, at the time, being the FOURTH Spider-Man comic book on the market. In 1992, McFarlane got tired of making MARVEL money, and decided he wanted to make his own. So, with a bunch of other artists from Marvel and DC, they left and started their own comic company called IMAGE.
Now Todd McFarlane KNEW that whatever he created for MARVEL, in the new character department, would be owned by MARVEL. This was not a secret, or a secret plan to bilk artists out of money. THIS IS STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE. So for the RELATIVES of these artists and creators to now expect money is LUDICROUS.
Now, on to my own story.
In 2004 I was hired by STARZ to create an animated series to play before every VOD purchase. The character was created by me and voiced by me. However, it was OWNED by STARZ. I got paid, but no residues would ever be paid to me OR MY RELATIVES in the future. I OF COURSE knew this going in.
The moral of the story? Make yourself a SUPERSTAR artist with Marvel and DC, then go off and start your own company, or COMPANIES. Todd McFarlane make BILLIONS doing it.