GHOST RIDER creator Gary Friedrich ordered to pay Marvel $17,000 for using prints
The final judgement has been handed down in the long running Gary Friedrich vs Marvel (Ghost Rider) case, and now we know the full amount that Friedrich owes Marvel. That’s right, Marvel, a company that stands to make millions of dollars from the upcoming Ghost Rider II movie, and is paying Nicholas Cage millions to portray a character that Friedrich created, now wants money from Friedrich – in specific $17,000. And they’d like that $17,000 now, please. In full.
“The recent stipulation and order states as follows (spelling intact):
WHEREAS, in order to avoid potentially unnecessary litigation and in consideration of the tolling agreement and plaintiffs’ consent to the injunction set forth below and other good and valuable consideration, defendant and counterclaim plaintiff Marvel Characters, Inc. (“MCI”) has agreed to enter into and cause to be filed a stipulation dismissing its second counterclaim (trademark infringement) and third counterclaim (false description, false representation, and false designation of origin under 15 U.S.C. §1125(a)(1)(A) (collectively, the “Trademark Counterclaims”) (Doc. 48), without prejudice and without costs to any party, IT IS HEREBY STIPULATED AND AGREED as follows:
1. The profits realized by plaintiffs in connection with the distribution and sale of goods depicting the Ghost Rider character appearing in Marvel Spotlight, Vol. 1, No. 5 (the “Work”) which is the subject of MCI’s copyright infringement counterclaim amount to $17,000.
2. Upon the entry of the Final Judgment (i) dismissing all claims pleaded in the amended complaint, (ii) awarding damages to MCI against plaintiffs on MCI’s counterclaim in the amount of $17,000, (iii) permanently enjoining plaintiffs and all natural or legal persons acting on their behalf or in concert or participation with them from manufacturing, reproducing, distributing, adapting, displaying, advertising, promoting, offering for sale, selling, using or purporting to authorize others to use the image of any characters appearing in, or any copyrightable material expressed in, the Work or any materials that are substantially similar to, or based on, any element of the Work in connection with the sale of any goods, merchandise or services including, without limitation, publications, posters, toys, games and playthings, prerecorded videotapes and DVDs featuring live action or animated motion pictures, video game software and other video products, T-shirts and other items of apparel (provided, however, that such injunction shall not prohibit plaintiffs from selling Gary Friedrich’s autograph by affixing the same to a product manufactured by MCI or by others under license or permission from MCI and purchased by plaintiffs at retail), and (iv) awarding defendants the costs and disbursements of this action available as a matter of law pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(d) and 28 U.S.C. § 1920, MCI and plaintiffs will execute and cause to be filed a stipulation dismissing the Trademark Counterclaims without prejudice and without costs to any party.
3. In consideration for MC1′s agreement to dismiss the Trademark Counterclaims, plaintiffs consent to an injunction enjoining them and all natural or legal persons acting on their behalf or in concert or participation with them from using or purporting to authorize others to use the words “Ghost Rider” as a trademark, trade name, or similar designation of origin in connection with the sale of any goods, merchandise, or services.
4. The statute of limitations applicable to the Trademark Counterclaims is hereby tolled and if such counterclaims are filed within 90 days after the Final Judgment becomes non-appealable or are reasserted in this action within 90 days after the final determination of any appeal from the Final Judgment which results in this Court reacquiring jurisdiction over this action, the Trademark Counterclaims shall be treated as if they had never been dismissed.
5. Plaintiffs irrevocably submit to the personal jurisdiction of this Court and agree that they will not contest MCI’s right to reassert the Trademark Counterclaims in this action within 90 days after the final determination of any appeal from the Final Judgment which results in the District Court reacquiring jurisdiction over this action or within 90 days after the Final Judgment becomes non-appealable based on any objection they now have or hereafter may have based on venue in the Southern District of New York or forum non conveniens. Dated: February 6, 2012
This stipulation has been agreed upon and so ordered by the court, with the final judgement reflecting all that contained within. This now means that Gary Friedrich has the right to appeal, and appeal he shall, but it also means that he now owes Marvel Comics, a multi-million dollar making machine, backed by the multi-billion dollar Disney company, $17,000 and cannot ever sell anything related to Ghost Rider, nor can he even say that he created Ghost Rider for any form of gain or advertising. Well done Marvel!! I do wonder though, how does the likes of Joe Quesada, who has also made millions from Marvel in recent times, take the court’s judgement? As Friedrich himself has stated, he is unemployed, has no real assets and is, for all intensive purposes, destitute. $17,000 might be chump change for some, but for someone in Friedrich’s situation it’s a lot of cash.
Marvel should be ashamed. Those in management there are probably congratulating themselves, having paid their legal team hundreds of thousands of dollars to pursue this claim, and are more than likely overjoyed that they not only won, but also eked out the last cash from Friedrich’s pockets. And for all of those who are intending to go and see the Ghost Rider movie – remember the fate of the man who made it possible, all those years ago. I doubt he can afford a ticket, and Marvel won’t be inviting him to the premier any time soon. I think, instead of going to see the movie, I’ll see if anyone is starting a fund to raise the $17,000 on Gary’s behalf and will donate to that instead. And if you have Quesada’s ear, let him know what you think of this, and don’t accept any weak excuses in return.