Stan Lee's former company sues Disney for billions, claiming it doesn't actually own any Marvel characters
An AVENGERS-style throw-down may be about to happen, albeit with the American legal system as its battleground rather than New York City. For those of you (like me) who are a bit foggy (Nelson) when it comes to legal terminology and the like, here's the very basic gist of the whole deal at hand:
Stan Lee once had a company called Stan Lee Media, Inc. And the current people who run the company are now saying that "Lee signed over the rights to comic book characters that he created or would create to its corporate predecessor in October 1998. The comic writer and publisher was paid for the rights in shares in Stan Lee Media, Inc. The shares later proved worthless when the dot-com bubble burst at the end of the 1990s, leaving the company to unsuccessfully seek bankruptcy protection in 2001." Which is all well and good - not really, because having to declare bankruptcy is never good - and brings us round to today's complaint. See, what has now happened is that SLMI is claiming "an amended version of that October 1998 agreement was filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in March 2000, clearly indicating its rights."
So what does this all mean in regards to Stan Lee, Disney, Marvel, and smashing success of THE AVENGERS? Well in the words of SLMI's suit: “Oddly, in November, 1998, Stan Lee signed a written agreement with Marvel Enterprises, Inc. in which he purportedly assigned to Marvel the rights to the Characters. However, Lee no longer owned those rights since they had been assigned to SLEI previously. Accordingly, the Marvel agreement actually assigned nothing... defendant The Walt Disney Company has represented to the public that it, in fact, owns the copyright to these characters as well as to hundreds of other characters created by Stan Lee. Those representations made to the public by The Walt Disney Company are false.” SLMI is currently seeking “the maximum statutory damages allowable,” along with full control of all sorts of characters like Spider-Man, Iron Man, and most of The Avengers and X-Men.
Because there's going for the jugular, and then there's going at it with Wolverine's claws. Oy. Stay tuned for more as we hear how this whole thing shakes out, true believers.
|Extra Tidbit:||Is there any imaginable reason why this suit might have taken so long, except to wait and see just how much money was made first?|