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Stan Lee Media sues Disney over Spider-Man

Stan Lee Media is going back into court to assert ownership to the Spider-Man character. It’s a bit confusing how they got there and quite frankly, I wonder how much of it was orchestrated. The best explanation of what’s going on comes from Kevin Melrose over at Robot6:

In September, Disney Enterprises, Marvel and Cameron Mackintosh Ltd. sued Lancaster, Pennsylvania-bases American Music Theatre, saying it violated copyrights and trademarks by using elements of Spider-Man, Mary Poppins and The Lion King in its musical revue Broadway: Now and Forever (Disney and Mackintosh jointly hold the copyright to the Mary Poppins stage production). The theater responded in November with the surprising claim that Disney doesn?t own Spider-Man. Instead, the counterclaim stated, the character belongs to Stan Lee Media, which licensed the rights to the American Music Theatre.

The theater also filed a third-party counterclaim against Stan Lee Media, conveniently opening the door for the failed dot-com in December to seek a declaratory judgment that it, and not Disney or Marvel, owns Spider-Man, Iron Man, the X-Men, Thor and other superheroes.

Kevin also gives the 411 on the background of Stan Lee Media and their claims.

Community Comments

#1 Noah
@ 2:16 pm

From this snippet alone, it sounds like Stan Lee Media is actually being sued by the same people that are being sued by and counter-suing against Disney.

In the article (which is definitely worth reading for this story and the history of SLM!) they say how SLM is suing Disney (who owns Marvel) over full copyrights of Spider-Man. It looks like Disney/Marvel actually owns everything and Stan Lee Media (which has little or nothing to do with Stan Lee) is grasping at straws. The whole thing reminds me of the sad Jack Kirby stuff from a few years ago.

#2 Bearman Cartoons
@ 2:37 pm

Didn’t Stan Lee make some reference to like Jack Kirby his characters were work for hire as an employee and not his copyright. Where he made money in the company was being a manager not a creator and later by being the face of the company?

#3 Gerry Mooney
@ 4:08 pm

The lesson here is, if you ever form a corporation, don’t use your own name to name it!

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