One of Stan “the man” Lee’s former production companies, Stan Lee Media, Inc., wants to sue Disney over the rights and profits from box office over Marvel characters.
The company, which Stan has had no connection with for years now, was originally founded by Lee and former friend Peter F. Paul back in 1998. Only 2 years after its formation, it had filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection in 2000. They were released from bankruptcy in 2006 and this is not the first time they’ve gone after Stan’s creations claiming that they own the copyrights.
They go on to say that “in November, 1998, Stan Lee signed a written agreement with Marvel Enterprises, Inc. in which he purportedly assigned to Marvel the rights to the Characters.” The problem with that, they claim, is that Stan no longer had the right to do this and that they owned the rights to the characters at that time.
So basically, due to previous actions by Stan Lee, they say that Disney never had the rights to the characters in question when they purchased Marvel back in December of 2009.
Why would Disney have bought Marvel otherwise???
They also go on to say that Disney has used the Marvel characters in Iron Man 2 (May, 2010), Thor (May, 2011), X-Men: First Class (June, 2011) Marvel’s The Avengers (May, 2012) and The Amazing Spider Man.
Check me if I’m wrong here, but Disney didn’t have anything to do with X-Men: First Class or The Amazing Spider Man. That was 20th Century Fox and Columbia Pictures, respectively. And while I don’t claim to know everything about production or distribution of a motion picture, I’m pretty sure that Disney’s not involved in either one of those films since the movie rights on those characters have not yet reverted back to them. So, SLM (or their lawyers) need to do some better fact checking on their claims before they decide to go after Disney for billions of dollars.
In any case, the paperwork was filed yesterday (click here if you want to see a copy of it) and we will definitely keep following this story!