Safeguarding the Marvel superhero franchises, Disney Company filed mass of lawsuits to disapprove copyright termination imposed by artists involved with the development of superheroes like Spiderman and Iron Man.
Daniel Petrocelli, a high-powered Los Angeles contender, filed the complaints on Disney’s behalf in federal courts in New York.
The discontent started when the prominent property lawyer, Marc Toberoff who served Marvel Entertainment, which now Disney owns, with notices of copyright termination. It includes Stan Lee who was chief editor and the editor of Marvel Comics, Lawrence D. Lieber, a comic writer and an artist well-known for his contribution to the development of Marvel characters like Ant-Man, Iron Man, and Thor. Stan Lee is Mr. Lieber’s older brother.
Disney is no stranger to intellectual property lawsuits. The company spent 18 years battling a rights-contravention case involving Winnie the Pooh, ultimately winning. Disney pushed hard for an extension of copyright terms in 1998 that the resulting law was derisively named the Mickey Mouse Protection Act. The Brothers who wrote the original screenplay to the 1987 film “Predator” are battering Disney over the franchise, the brothers, are seeking to reconquer rights.
Other clients of Toberoff are the estates of the comics social critic Steve Ditko and Don Heck. They are seeking to retain rights related to the Marvel characters they had a hand in creating, including Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel, Hawkeye, Thor, Falcon, Blade, and the Iron Man, several of which have become star revenue achievers for Disney, appearing in films and television shows, along with surf of commodities.
Mr. Toberoff has a reputation in Hollywood for representing people who claim ownership over old television shows, films, or comic book properties. He scored a notable triumph over Warner Bros. involving “The Dukes of Hazzard” in the 2000s. Then came a hard-hearted legal battle between Mr. Toberoff and Warner over Superman rights, with Mr. Petrocelli representing the studio. Warner won two favorable federal court rulings.
Two courts supported Marvel which argued that Jack Kirby’s work was done at Marvel’s instance and expense, and the case was eventually settled.
Edited by Anupama Roy