Marvel Settles With Gary Friedrich Over Ghost Rider Rights
In what could only be considered a victory for Ghost Rider co-creator Gary Friedrich, Marvel Comics has apparently offered a settlement in his case against the publisher for ownership of the character.
Friedrich's attorney informed a federal judge in New York that the creator and Marvel have worked out a deal to dismiss the lengthy case without having to go to trial. The details of that deal haven't been revealed and the agreement hasn't yet been fully executed.
In June, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals opened the door to Friedrich having some claim to the character, stating that a work-for-hire contract he signed in 1978 were ambiguous on the topic of copyright renewal. That ruling overturned a judge's ruling stating that Friedrich had no claim to Ghost Rider.
Friedrich sued Marvel over ownership of the character in 2007, after the first Ghost Rider movie was released.
The news is surprising given the lack of similar settlements in other high profile comic book copyright battles, like Marvel's lengthy courtroom saga with the Kirby family (although it doesn't necessarily mean settlements weren't discussed in those cases). That a settlement is evidently possible could open the door to further creator claims to characters or other litigation.