The comicbook publisher retains rights to the character Nicolas Cage has played twice on the bigscreen
Marvel’s lawyers have been busy: Just after winning a victory to dismiss a copyright suit over the rights to iconic superheroes Spider-Man, The Avengers, Iron Man, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, the comicbook company has settled a separate lawsuit involving Ghost Rider.
Marvel will continue to own the character, a motorcycle riding vigilante with supernatural powers and a flaming head, after ending a dispute with co-creator Gary Friedrich out of court.
Details of the settlement are undisclosed, but a lawyer for Friedrich sent a letter to a New York federal judge to say both sides have come to terms and “have amicably agreed to resolve all claims.” A trial was set to take place in November.
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In the copyright case, Friedrich claimed he owned the rights to the character’s origin story, first introduced in 1972′s “Marvel Spotlight #5.”
The settlement comes three months after the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals set the November trial to determine ownership after a judge found that contracts between Marvel and Friedrich were “ambiguous.”
Marvel has long argued that Friedrich worked as a freelancer for the company when the character was created and contributed to Ghost Rider as a “work made for hire,” which involved the collaboration of other Marvel staffers. As a result, full ownership belonged to Marvel, it said. The company also owns characters created by Stan Lee, given that he was a Marvel employee.
Marvel has yet to say what it plans to do with Ghost Rider now that it’s owned by Disney.
In addition to comicbooks, the character’s appeared on the big screen in two films, both starring Nicolas Cage. The most recent one, “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance,” earned nearly $133 million worldwide in 2012. The first “Ghost Rider” generated nearly $229 million at the global box office in 2007. Both pics were released by Sony, which controlled the film rights to the character before recently handing them back to Marvel after the pics struggled to find a following at the megaplex.