I've not posted anything on the the Gary Friedrich suit against Marvel for the ownership of Ghost Rider, nor the recent judgement against him to the tune of $17,000, and thats partly because it has gone so viral that it really isn't necessary for me to do so.
Daniel Best has, once again, with the time and inclination to read through the court documents and understand the legalese to the point where he can break it down for us laymen. i wanted to link out to further distribute the short and dirty version of where it all stands right now, with the second movie about to open and in trailers.
Gary has no way to win this really. If Jack's heirs couldn't win against Marvel and their lawyers, then Gary has no chance of it. I guess I find it just shocking how these piddly little properties that were given away for $35 a page have turned into million dollar inventions. For the record, the second comic I ever owned was Marvel Team-Up #15, with Spider-Man and the Ghost Rider. Now there is a Kane/Romita cover I'd love to own.
And, as always, the little guy gets screwed. Period. And you'd think that Marvel would want to avoid the obvious bad press, but their lawyers are (quite correctly) worried that allowing any loophole, any crack of precedent to show through, will open the floodgates. Wolfman and Colan's heirs would go after Blade (again) and so would all the rest.
And none of this would have happened had the industry not been born on the backs of utter mobsters and crooks. Reasonable contracts up front would have taken of all of this, or at least made it a little easier. But when Seigel and Shuster and Bill Finger and Friedrich and Burgos and Everett all practically on or over the edge of poverty, there is no nice, there is no warm fuzzy spot. There is only the sound of us long time, life long comic fans sliding the tectonic plates of our nostalgia around to accomodate all the evil done to the creators over the years.
They don't sit easily together, do they?