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  1. #1
    Extraordinary Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Default Ditko Estate Lawsuit

    https://www.cbr.com/steve-ditko-esta...rights-marvel/

    The Ditko Estate governed by Steve's brother Patrick is launching a lawsuit to claim the whole nine yards - Spider-Man and Doctor Strange.

    10 years ago the Kirby Estate did a similar deal so maybe the hope is for a similar settlement or deal but this could be fascinating and interesting.

    All I say is and I mean this sincerely, "Sue 'em for all they got".

    And let me say that if this deal leads to the Ditko Estate getting sole custody of Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, if that means no more comics/movies/games with Spider-Man and so on, if it means the Ditko Estate put out cease and desist on stuff like my articles online for their use of panels and so on...if it leads to all that, let me say and I mean it sincerely, "Sue 'em for all they got".

    The next Spider-Man run, or the Next PS5 game or whatever, or, to speak something close to my heart, the Spider-Man story undoing OMD isn't worth the saga of exploitation that is on the spine of the comics industry.
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  2. #2
    Astonishing Member Lukmendes's Avatar
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    And a few years ago we had possible rights issues that could maybe kick Spidey out of MCU, now this, wonder if it's gonna become a running gag every few years.

  3. #3
    Extraordinary Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lukmendes View Post
    And a few years ago we had possible rights issues that could maybe kick Spidey out of MCU, now this, wonder if it's gonna become a running gag every few years.
    There's a way out of this.

    Public Domain.

    Say it with me, loud and proud: Public Domain.

    Once a title falls into PD the tragedy and farce of these rights issues reaches its happy ending.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    https://www.cbr.com/steve-ditko-esta...rights-marvel/

    The Ditko Estate governed by Steve's brother Patrick is launching a lawsuit to claim the whole nine yards - Spider-Man and Doctor Strange.

    10 years ago the Kirby Estate did a similar deal so maybe the hope is for a similar settlement or deal but this could be fascinating and interesting.

    All I say is and I mean this sincerely, "Sue 'em for all they got".

    And let me say that if this deal leads to the Ditko Estate getting sole custody of Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, if that means no more comics/movies/games with Spider-Man and so on, if it means the Ditko Estate put out cease and desist on stuff like my articles online for their use of panels and so on...if it leads to all that, let me say and I mean it sincerely, "Sue 'em for all they got".

    The next Spider-Man run, or the Next PS5 game or whatever, or, to speak something close to my heart, the Spider-Man story undoing OMD isn't worth the saga of exploitation that is on the spine of the comics industry.
    Okay, so you’d be fine with never reading another Spidey comic again? That also means an end to the reprints of the classic comics you love from years past (including JMS). Also, yes, Ditko got screwed, but I think the pendulum has now swung too far in that direction and people are starting to deny Stan Lee had any part at all in his creation. Why should the Ditko estate get sole ownership of Spidey? Instead they should get a fat settlement to address old wrongs and everyone should go on their merry ways. There is something also to be said for “estates” (aka greedy family members) suing for custody/ trademark/ ownership of a property only after the original creator of co-creator is deceased. If it meant this much to Ditko, he would’ve sued when he was alive, but I think he had moved on from Spidey and was not invested in the franchise anymore or the fallout from his departure.

  5. #5
    Astonishing Member MRP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    There's a way out of this.

    Public Domain.

    Say it with me, loud and proud: Public Domain.

    Once a title falls into PD the tragedy and farce of these rights issues reaches its happy ending.
    Public domain doesn't solve it because copyright and trademarks are separate. Even if the copyright expires and the content enters public domain, Marvel/Disney still holds the trademarks to the names Spider-Man and Doctor Strange and related material, so even though the content is available, no one else could use those names in the titles or in the marketing of the content or new material produced based on that content. And trademark never expires as long as its holders renew it and defend it. So unless the trademark is abandoned by its holder, it nearly impossible to exploit or market public domain material that has existing trademarks attached and in use. Public domain is not the panacea people believe it to be. It helps, but it really only complicates matters of rights holding, it doesn't resolve anything.

    -M
    Comic fans get the comics their buying habits deserve.

  6. #6
    Astonishing Member Lukmendes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    There's a way out of this.

    Public Domain.

    Say it with me, loud and proud: Public Domain.

    Once a title falls into PD the tragedy and farce of these rights issues reaches its happy ending.
    While I really, really doubt that's happening, at least not anytime soon, a name as big as Spider-Man becoming public domain would be delicious.

    Can only wonder about the possibilities, like, would DC make a comic about Spider-Man too?

    I'd certainly be more hyped about the video game side of things, 'cause as much as Spidey's combat sounds like it could be amazing, it's generally, not, since generally games don't really implement his flexible movement and speed into the combat, so other companies having their shot at this would be nice.

    Though I would still not have a lot of hope in that since generally, action games don't really have that interesting combat... But hey, dreaming is nice.

    Of course, Spidey becoming public domain would also mean we'd get like 50 games per year about him for a while lol.

    But yeah, even if they win this, which's a mountain climb, hardly means they'd make Spidey public domain.

    Quote Originally Posted by HypnoHustler View Post
    Okay, so you’d be fine with never reading another Spidey comic again? That also means an end to the reprints of the classic comics you love from years past (including JMS). Also, yes, Ditko got screwed, but I think the pendulum has now swung too far in that direction and people are starting to deny Stan Lee had any part at all in his creation. Why should the Ditko estate get sole ownership of Spidey? Instead they should get a fat settlement to address old wrongs and everyone should go on their merry ways. There is something also to be said for “estates” (aka greedy family members) suing for custody/ trademark/ ownership of a property only after the original creator of co-creator is deceased. If it meant this much to Ditko, he would’ve sued when he was alive, but I think he had moved on from Spidey and was not invested in the franchise anymore or the fallout from his departure.
    Apparently he didn't seem to like talking about Spidey that much (He did clear up a few stuff though, like Norman always being planned to be Green Goblin), but who knows what he really thought.

    Quote Originally Posted by MRP View Post
    Public domain doesn't solve it because copyright and trademarks are separate. Even if the copyright expires and the content enters public domain, Marvel/Disney still holds the trademarks to the names Spider-Man and Doctor Strange and related material, so even though the content is available, no one else could use those names in the titles or in the marketing of the content or new material produced based on that content. And trademark never expires as long as its holders renew it and defend it. So unless the trademark is abandoned by its holder, it nearly impossible to exploit or market public domain material that has existing trademarks attached and in use. Public domain is not the panacea people believe it to be. It helps, but it really only complicates matters of rights holding, it doesn't resolve anything.

    -M
    Oh, reality checked, I guess lol.

  7. #7
    Moderator Frontier's Avatar
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    I'm not really into the public domain idea personally, but I hope they come up with something to satisfy Ditko's estate.

  8. #8
    Extraordinary Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HypnoHustler View Post
    Okay, so you’d be fine with never reading another Spidey comic again?
    If that's the price of justice, and fair practices then yeah.

    Fandom need to stop being corralled into becoming Corporate Stooges by the "we'll lose out on stuff" argument because that makes us a bunch of scabs and strikebreakers.

    That also means an end to the reprints of the classic comics you love from years past (including JMS).
    The case of the freelance ongoing writer/artist (i.e. the ones who continue on a title after the original run after the creators are done) is something that's separate and apart from the main creator disputes (mostly because that kind of basic stuff isn't done at all). There's not much advocacy for this in comics but it's something that's being built up.

    Certainly there's a case to be made that every writer/artist who had contributed to Spider-Man should have ownership over their part of the continuity and material (i.e. dialogue, characters, costume designs, new powers, retcon, origins etcetera). By that logic, JMS could theoretically get rights to reprint his run and nothing more and JRJR and others could get their original art back. In either case, first things first. The Ditko Estate should wrest control from the corporation, and then disputes can be settled with the Ditko Estate. Ideally the JMS/JRJR to be published in the manner that Carl Barks and Don Rosa's run on Donald Duck comics are done by Fantagraphics or other specialty titles because even if Barks and Rosa didn't create Donald Duck, they ought to be treated as great writers and contributors and claim their patch of land.

    If it comes to that, maybe it'll be time to sue the Ditko Estate then. It's like supporting the Civil War to end slavery (backing the Ditko Estate) and then advocating for voting rights for women and men of the lower class (making a case for all freelancers). It's not egalitarianism and a strike for the little guy but it's a step forward. Alternatively, comics writers and artists can form a union, engage in collective bargaining and create an entirely new way of working in this industry. That possibility is also open.

    Quote Originally Posted by MRP View Post
    Public domain doesn't solve it because copyright and trademarks are separate. Even if the copyright expires and the content enters public domain, Marvel/Disney still holds the trademarks to the names Spider-Man and Doctor Strange and related material, so even though the content is available, no one else could use those names in the titles or in the marketing of the content or new material produced based on that content. And trademark never expires as long as its holders renew it and defend it. So unless the trademark is abandoned by its holder, it nearly impossible to exploit or market public domain material that has existing trademarks attached and in use. Public domain is not the panacea people believe it to be. It helps, but it really only complicates matters of rights holding, it doesn't resolve anything.

    -M
    I don't mind complications if it leads to something fair. I am okay with reading Spider-Man comics without the logo or special presentation or if it has a different title and whatnot.

    The alternative to injustice not being a panacea doesn't mean one settles for injustice.

    Besides, nothing's stopping anyone from making a case against trademarks either.
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  9. #9
    Fantastic Member Dzika_Sowa's Avatar
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    So, why didn't Ditko sue them himself? I see it as a case of greedy family members. I'm not defending Marvel here, or corporate practices, but if the man himself had no problem with Marvel holding on to the characters, It's all about his family wanting money.

  10. #10
    Extraordinary Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dzika_Sowa View Post
    So, why didn't Ditko sue them himself?
    Why didn't Bill Finger sue Bob Kane and DC for walking all over him for the duration of his life?

    Does that mean that it was wrong of his family and well-wishers to advocate for him as they have done in the 2010s (leading to credit and revenue going to Finger's grand-daughter)?

    Copyright law and estate management doesn't operate on schoolyard rules of "no backsies".

    It's all about his family wanting money.
    So what? As the actor Matt LeBlanc said about his high salary which he and his cast negotiated for Friends:
    https://www.huffpost.com/entry/matt-...lary_n_6443690

    "If you’re in a position in any job, no matter what the job is — if you’re driving a milk truck or installing TVs or an upholsterer for a couch — if you’re in a position to get a raise and you don’t get it, you’re stupid. "

    Which is to say if the Ditko Estate, which is dedicated to upholding the legacy of a great artist and are the inheritors of his work are in a position to get more control and money, they'd be pretty dumb to not get it.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post


    So what? As the actor Matt LeBlanc said about his high salary which he and his cast negotiated for Friends:
    https://www.huffpost.com/entry/matt-...lary_n_6443690

    "If you’re in a position in any job, no matter what the job is — if you’re driving a milk truck or installing TVs or an upholsterer for a couch — if you’re in a position to get a raise and you don’t get it, you’re stupid. "
    .
    By that logic, there’s no lawsuit too frivolous or driven by greed as long as there’s a chance you can attain more $$$$. What an awful lens to view the world with. And it’s positively laughable that LeBlanc has the audacity to compare his million-dollar-an-episode salary to the economic pressure of those in working class jobs. But Hollywood celebrities are not known for their self-awareness or modesty I suppose.

    Again, if Ditko had a problem, Ditko would’ve sued. To say otherwise is to deny him his personal agency. This is greedy family members who had no part in Spidey’s creation seeing dollar signs.

  12. #12
    Extraordinary Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HypnoHustler View Post
    By that logic, there’s no lawsuit too frivolous or driven by greed as long as there’s a chance you can attain more $$$$.
    Well...yeah. I don't think people seeking redress from the courts is a bad thing. That strikes me as a strange attitude.

    What an awful lens to view the world with. And it’s positively laughable that LeBlanc has the audacity to compare his million-dollar-an-episode salary to the economic pressure of those in working class jobs.
    Until LeBlanc worked in Friends, he (and the others in the cast) were struggling hustling actors who didn't come from wealth or money. They basically struck gold with Friends and I don't know why it's a bad thing that they negotiated to have a big chunk of that goldmine. To be honest, the comics business would have been better if they were more like that. A lot of big Hollywood celebrities only got that money and stuff because of union representation and successes of collective bargaining in the past.

    Again, if Ditko had a problem, Ditko would’ve sued. To say otherwise is to deny him his personal agency.
    Well Ditko's personal agency ended when he died and it's frankly irrelevant.

    This is greedy family members who had no part in Spidey’s creation seeing dollar signs.
    As opposed to a greedy corporation currently staffed and headed by people who had no part in Spidey's creation getting actual dollars with actual signs?

    You'd have a point if Ditko was out of sorts with his family or that he disinherited them, lol but he was actually quite close to them in his life (one of the few facts known about him personally).

    I wrote about that here:
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by HypnoHustler View Post
    By that logic, there’s no lawsuit too frivolous or driven by greed as long as there’s a chance you can attain more $$$$. What an awful lens to view the world with. And it’s positively laughable that LeBlanc has the audacity to compare his million-dollar-an-episode salary to the economic pressure of those in working class jobs. But Hollywood celebrities are not known for their self-awareness or modesty I suppose.

    Again, if Ditko had a problem, Ditko would’ve sued. To say otherwise is to deny him his personal agency. This is greedy family members who had no part in Spidey’s creation seeing dollar signs.
    Eventually this will be settled. No one wants Spider-Man or Dr. Strange to stop being used (not Disney/Marvel or the Ditko Estate). One of the longest such disputes involved Kevin McClory ( he wrote the James Bond Thunderball story) and EON/MGM. It took over 40 years for the McClory Estate and EON/MGM to settle which is why Bond fans did not see SPECTRE and Blofeld for decades ( except for the McClory produced Never Say Never Again):

  14. #14
    Incredible Member Maestro 216's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frontier View Post
    I'm not really into the public domain idea personally, but I hope they come up with something to satisfy Ditko's estate.
    Doubt it the lawyer seems to want the rights full stop.

  15. #15
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    I've said before that a settlement is the best way to this.
    While I'd love for creators to own their own work, it's just not viable in a shared universe, just look at the mess that is early Image.

    Marvel nor the Ditko estate want to cease Spider-man.
    Marvel because it makes them too much money and Ditko because there isn't as much as they could do with Spider-man alone.
    You'll get a lot of his villains, yes, but you won't get MJ or Venom etc.

    Ceasing publication is the worse course for anyone as it means no one wins, not Marvel, not Ditko And not the audience.

    A writers union is needed for better wages however.

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