Stan Lee Media Sues Disney for Billions Over Comic Book Rights
Get Legal Help Today
Secured with SHA-256 Encryption
UPDATED: Oct 11, 2012
It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.
We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.
Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about legal topics and insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything legal and insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by experts.
Stan Lee Media Inc., a company founded by but since unconnected to Stan Lee, is bringing a copyright lawsuit against Disney over such household Marvel comic book names as Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man, The X-Men, and The Fantastic Four.
While Stan Lee Media Inc. (SLMI) is no longer in business, the company claims that in 1998, Stan Lee signed over the rights to all of his Marvel characters to the company. To complicate matters, Stan Lee Media is not the only one with such a contract; apparently, Lee signed over the same copyrights to Marvel Enterprises in the same year. However, the lawsuit alleges that Stan Lee Media’s contract came first, and that after Disney bought Marvel in 2009, the copyrights were never registered with the U.S. Copyright Office.
Stan Lee Media, therefore, claims that Disney never legally obtained the rights to produce movies based on Lee’s characters. In the lawsuit against Marvel and parent company, Disney, SLMI is asking for the maximum amount of damages they can obtain, which tops in the billions, based on the massive amounts of money generated by such films as X-Men First Class, The Amazing Spider-Man, Iron Man 2, and Thor.
Lawsuits to this caliber tend to ignite long, arduous legal battles. The burden is on SLMI to prove not only that Lee signed over the Marvel character rights to them first, but also that they are entitled to damages from Disney’s recent use of the characters. In addition, statute of limitations may come into play as civil actions such a copyright infringement lawsuits must be brought within three years of the violation, in most cases. Disney is famously a legal force to be cautiously reckoned; many are speculating that SLMI has a chance to prevail in the lawsuit, but a small one at that.