Marvel Studios Suing Comic Creators Families to Keep Rights to Avengers Characters. As if the Black Widow lawsuit wasn’t enough, Marvel Studios has now issued lawsuits to the families of Marvel comic creators in order to “protect” their rights to characters such as Iron Man, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, and more Avengers characters. Currently, Disney and Marvel Studios have filed lawsuits against the families and estate managers of Stan Lee, Gene Colan, and Steve Ditko, aiming to secure the rights to several big-name characters such as Iron Man, Black Widow, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, Hawkeye, and more.
Due to copyright laws, the families, heirs, and estate managers can file to reclaim the rights to characters and/or franchises created by the original creator after a varied amount of time. The famed studio has made billions off of the Marvel Characters, with films, television shows, merchandise, and theme park attractions at the Disney Parks around the world, so it makes sense that the studio would be looking to maintain the rights to these characters, yet it seems harsh to jump straight to a lawsuit instead of a negotiation with the families or estates for rights.
Knowing how TWDC operates, the entertainment conglomerate must have weighed their options and chose the lawsuit as the path of least resistance or waste of financial resources. The concern from fans over this decision lies in the idea of them losing these lawsuits. If they lose in court the families will regain the rights to these characters and franchises once the timer runs out and there is almost a guarantee that the families will be less likely to cooperate on future use for these iconic Marvel heroes after being sued.
The lawsuits also seem to be a direct response to Ditko’s estate filing a termination notice for the use and rights of Spider-Man that would swing into effect as early as June 2023. To add to the drama of the situations, Attorney’s Marc Toberoff and Dan Petrocelli will return to court on opposing sides of the debate with Toberoff representing the Ditko estate and Petrocelli joining the Marvel Studios lawyer team. The attorney’s also headed the famed Superman copyright lawsuit in 2014, which saw Warner Bros. maintain the rights to the character.
Toberoff also took on Marvel in 2013 on behalf of Jack Kirby’s Estate over the rights to his original characters, with Marvel coming out victorious in court and maintaining the rights. This is a developing story, so be sure to check back here at Chip and Company for updates and all things Marvel!
Featured Photo Credit: Marvel Studios
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