Ed West on the Marvel/Gary Friedrich Controversy
'Defend Your Copyrights and Trademarks'
Published: 02/22/2012 03:42am
Ed West, an editor in the book publishing field, from Garden City, Michigan read the recent ICv2 article regarding Marvel's claim against Ghost Rider creator Gary Friedrich for $17,000 and how this could potentially lead to discord between comic publishers and creators (see "2000s Trend Fuels Friedrich Controversy") and had this to say.
I do wish ICv2 had avoided the use of words like "warfare" and "feelings" in what was otherwise a fine article. As part of a book publishing company, one thing I was told by our copyright lawyers was very simple to understand: you must aggressively defend your copyrights and trademarks from infringement. The example given was if we take an infringer to court but his defense attorney presents the judge with one or two examples of other infringements that we did not act on, it could be claimed that we were negligent or even worse, we could be asked why we went after this particular infringer and not the other(s). We could plead ignorance but a judge might not buy that and it would work against us if we ran across another infringer in the future. Feelings do not count.
Producing unlicensed merchandise for the first Batman movie created legal problems for infringers in 1989. And I would chalk up this recent incident as part of a very real legal problem that comic book publishers, and other producers of Intellectual Property face, namely, the illegal use or reproduction of their characters' images and likenesses to make money or for non-authorized promotional purposes. Asking for permission, or obtaining a limited license would have solved this problem.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.
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