HOLLYWOOD — Marvel Enterprises, which owns the rights to Spider-Man, has sued Walt Disney Co.’s Buena Vista home entertainment unit, saying Buena Vista used its artwork without permission to promote a Spider-Man cartoon series unrelated to the current hit film.
Suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan late Wednesday, seeks an injunction against Buena Vista to stop it from using the artwork. It also wants the court to order Buena Vista to retrieve and destroy all copies of the artwork already in circulation.
Marvel alleges Buena Vista copied artwork picturing Spider-Man scaling the side of a tall building from the vantage point of someone on the roof looking down at the character creeping up.
The complaint also states that Buena Vista timed the release of a new Spider-Man homevideo cartoon series to coincide directly with the opening of Columbia Pictures’ “Spider-Man” movie, which opened last week and set a new box office record by pulling in $115 million in its first weekend.
According to the complaint, Buena Vista had sought its permission to release the cartoon series but had not been given authorization to use the company’s “Spider-Man” artwork for use in its advertising and promotion materials.
“Buena Vista is advertising and promoting its exploitation of the series through the use of artwork that is directly copied from the Marvel ‘Spider-Man’ artwork,” Marvel said in its suit. “Marvel has not consented to or approved of such usage.”
(Reuters contributed to this report.)