Eight jurors will decide this fall if Marvel actually owns the copyright to Ghost Rider or not. That was the order (read it here) issued today by a federal judge who set trial for November 4. The decision by District Judge Katherine Forrest in NYC comes just over two weeks after the Second Court of Appeals overturned a 2011 ruling of hers in Marvel’s favor in the legal battle with former freelancer Gary Friedrich over the fiery motorcycle-riding superhero. Marvel’s lawyers indicated today in a courtroom conference meeting on the case that while they will not challenge the Appeals Court decision, they would seek to have the case handled without a jury in a motion to be filed at a later date.
Friedrich first filed his suit against Marvel, Columbia TriStar, Relativity Media and others back in 2007, claiming that he owned the renewal term copyrights on the character and his origin story. The writer came up with the initial comic book idea for the Ghost Rider character 41 years ago, though Marvel claims it was part of a collaborative process. Friedrich filed his suit the very year the first Ghost Rider movie starring Nicolas Cage came out. In late 2011, just as the second Ghost Rider movie was about to be released, Judge Forrest ruled for Marvel and the other defendants.
They thought they’d won it but now Marvel will have to defend itself again over who owns Ghost Rider. A federal appeals court today overturned a 2011 ruling in Marvel’s favor which means former freelancer Gary Friedrich can take his copyright case to trial. “We conclude that the district court erred in granting summary judgment because the Agreement is ambiguous and there are genuine disputes of material fact regarding the parties’ intent to assign renewal rights in that Agreement, the timeliness of Friedrich’s ownership claim, and the authorship of the work,” wrote Judge Danny Chin in a ruling (read it here) from the Second Court of Appeals today. Friedrich, who came up with the original idea for the Ghost Rider character back in 1972, first filed his suit against Marvel, Columbia Tri-Star, Relativity Media and more back in 2007 claiming that he owned the renewal term copyrights on the character and his origin story. The initial suit was filed the same year the first Ghost Rider movie starring Nicolas Cage came out. Not that everything is clear in Friedrich’s favor from today’s ruling. “We agree with the district court that there are genuine disputes of material fact that preclude granting summary judgment on the issue of authorship,” said the ruling as it also rejected the plaintiff’s motion today.
A stuntman seriously injured while attempting to perform a stunt for the DVD release of the 2011 movie Ghost Rider 2 has filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court against Sony Pictures Entertainment and two other companies. The stuntman, Michael Gaboff, says in the suit filed Friday (read it here) that he was hired in April 2012 as an independent contractor to perform a stunt for the movie’s DVD release that the production teams knew or should have known involved serious risks and failed to take proper safety measures. Gaboff’s suit says he was to ride a motorcycle up a ramp after being set afire and leap across a lake and land in the water. The suit also alleges members of the production teams exhibited “conscious disregard” for Gaboff’s concerns about the risks. The stunt went wrong and Gaboff landed on hard ground, breaking numerous bones including his lower back and neck and suffering other injuries including second-degree burns. The suit says Gaboff was “rendered sick, sore, lame, disabled, and disordered, both internally and externally and suffered … numerous internal and external injuries, severe fright, shock, pain, discomfort and anxiety.”
Rights to the flaming-skull motorcycle-riding Ghost Rider belongs to Marvel Comics, a federal judge ruled. The vigilante played by Nicolas Cage in a 2007 movie and its upcoming sequel debuted in 1972 after Marvel freelancer Gary Friedrich first conceived …
Sony updated this one today on its website and we know how much you enjoy telling us what you think. Here’s Nicolas Cage in Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance. Directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, screenplay by Scott M. Gimple & Seth Hoffman and David S. Goyer. Opens …
Actually, the full title is Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance:
Sony said today that it has slated Columbia Pictures’ Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance for wide release on Feb. 17, 2012. The 3D film, a sequel to the 2007 original, again stars Nicolas Cage, and is directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor.