- Rob Ford gets D.C. sports radio gig: Toronto’s crack-smoking mayor will make NFL picks
- Israel mulls gift of West Bank land to Palestinians
- Stocks gain as investors weigh economic news
- Doctors say ‘profound’ new HIV treatment may prove the cure
- Mexican truck with radioactive load stolen
- NYPD head Ray Kelly wins big retirement perk — a $1.5M tax-paid team of bodyguards
- Pentagon weighing ‘second start’ for overexposed youth in social media
- Libraries to feds: Stop spying on us
- Britain eyes new powers to thwart Islamic extremists
- Angry NTSB ousts railroad union from N.Y. train crash site
Marvel wins NYC dispute over Ghost Rider rights
Question of the Day
NEW YORK (AP) - Comic book publisher Marvel Entertainment owns the rights to the Ghost Rider character in the fiery form that originated in the early 1970s, a federal judge ruled Wednesday as she rejected the claims of a former Marvel writer seeking to cash in on lucrative movie rights.
U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest tossed out 4-year-old claims brought by Gary Friedrich, who said he created the motorcycle-driving Ghost Rider with the skeletal head that sometimes had fire blazing from it. A Ghost Rider of the 1950s and ‘60s was a Western character who rode a horse.
“The law is clear that when an individual endorses a check subject to a condition, he accepts that condition,” the judge wrote.
Forrest said her finding made it unnecessary to “travel down the rabbit hole” to decide whether the character was created separate and apart from Marvel, whether the company hired Friedrich to create the character and whether he had thoughts about what rights he wanted to retain from the outset.
She said he also signed an agreement with Marvel in 1978 relinquishing rights in exchange for the possibility of additional future freelance work. He had worked for Marvel prior to that year as both an employee and as a freelance writer.
Telephone messages left with lawyers on both sides of the dispute were not immediately returned. Friedrich’s phone number in Columbia, Illinois, was unpublished.
Forrest said Friedrich began seeking legal representation when he realized about a dozen years ago that there were plans for new uses of the Ghost Rider character, including in movies. In April 2004, his lawyers began asserting rights to try to get him a financial cut of the first of two motion pictures. They failed.
In 2007, when the film “Ghost Rider” starring actor Nicolas Cage as stunt motorcyclist Johnny Blaze came out, Friedrich sued Marvel in East St. Louis, Illinois, seeking to assert his rights and gain compensation for use of the character in movies, video games, toys and promotional products.
The lawsuit was moved to New York. The movie credited Marvel as the author of the Ghost Rider characters and story. A movie sequel, “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance,” is scheduled to be released in February.
At a deposition in St. Louis last April, Friedrich testified that he stopped doing freelance comic book writing in 1978 when his alcoholism got “completely out of control,” and he spent a year traveling across the country in a truck with a friend. He said he became sober in January 1979.
He said he thought he had given Marvel the rights to use Ghost Rider in comic books, but that he retained the rights for movies and anything else.
“Was that understanding ever reduced to writing? Marvel attorney David Fleischer asked.
“No,” Friedrich answered.
By Tom Harris and Madhav Khandekar
Bad science puts rich nations on the hook for trillions in climate liabilities
- Hola: Boehner prepares to push amnesty bill through House
- U.S. drops 2,000 mice on Guam by parachute to kill snakes
- Kill team: Obama war chiefs widen drone death zones
- MILLER: Obamas EPA closing smelter will not affect ammunition supply
- Issa: FBI impeding inquiry into IRS targeting of conservative groups
- CARSON: Getting to the top by starting at the bottom
- Westboro Baptists slam actor Paul Walker: He's 'in Hell'
- Last call: State Dept. bought $180,000 in liquor before shutdown
- Apple wins facial recognition patent for iPhone 6
- Harry Reid gives some staffers a pass on Obamacare
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Columns from Voices around the World talking about the events, people, politics and social issues that concern us wherever, and whoever, we are.
This column will cover anything that has anything remotely to do with the game of baseball, from the game itself to mid-summer trades to offseason moves.
The cold hard truth about politics in America today and the state of this once great nation.
Never apologetic. Never afraid. Lieutenant Colonel Allen B. West joins Communities to bring tales from the biggest Foxhole of them all, the one inside the Beltway.