Beginning Next Week: InsideCounsel will become part of Corporate Counsel. Bringing these two industry-leading websites together will now give you comprehensive coverage of the full spectrum of issues affecting today's General Counsel at companies of all sizes. You will continue to receive expert analysis on key issues including corporate litigation, labor developments, tech initiatives and intellectual property, as well as Women, Influence & Power in Law (WIPL) professional development content. Plus we'll be serving all ALM legal publications from one interconnected platform, powered by, giving you easy access to additional relevant content from other InsideCounsel sister publications.

To prevent a disruption in service, you will be automatically redirected to the new site next week. Thank you for being a valued InsideCounsel reader!


2nd Circuit finds agreement over Ghost Rider copyright “ambiguous”

The dispute between Marvel and Gary Friedrich, creator of the modern Ghost Rider, is reignited

On Tuesday, the 2nd Circuit revived a dispute between comics goliath Marvel Entertainment LLC and Ghost Rider creator Gary Friedrich, saying that there is some question as to who has the rights to the character.

In December 2011, a judge ruled in favor of Marvel, but the 2nd Circuit found that a 1978 agreement is “ambiguous” on whether the parties meant to give renewal rights to the superhero character to Marvel.

Friedrich claims that his design of the modern Ghost Rider, who rides a motorcycle (the original 1950s version rode a horse and was Western-style), was not work-for-hire under federal copyright law. He argues that in 2001, when the original copyright term expired, the rights for Ghost Rider should have reverted to him. But now that the 2nd Circuit has unearthed some doubt in that 1978 agreement, the lawsuit is alive again.

“It is doubtful the parties intended to convey rights in the valuable Ghost Rider copyright without explicitly referencing it,” U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin wrote in the decision. “It is more likely that the agreement only covered ongoing or future work. Hence, there is a genuine dispute regarding the parties’ intent for this form contract to cover Ghost Rider.”

Read more at the Wall Street Journal.


For more InsideCounsel coverage of comic book characters, see below:

Superman co-creator’s daughter has no rights to the character

Webcomic writer raises money for charity in response to ridiculous lawsuit

Warner Bros. wins latest round in Superman copyright conundrum

Owner of Tarzan and John Carter characters sues over allegedly infringing comics

Join the Conversation

Advertisement. Closing in 15 seconds.