It’s on! Or it will be in November, when a POSSIBLE 8 person jury gets to decide if Gary Friedrich or Marvel own Ghost Rider:
Eight jurors will decide this fall if Marvel actually owns the copyright to Ghost Rider or not. That was the order (read it here) issued today by a federal judge who set trial for November 4. The decision by District Judge Katherine Forrest in NYC comes just over two weeks after the Second Court of Appeals overturned a 2011 ruling of hers in Marvel’s favor in the legal battle with former freelancer Gary Friedrich over the fiery motorcycle-riding superhero. Marvel’s lawyers indicated today in a courtroom conference meeting on the case that while they will not challenge the Appeals Court decision, they would seek to have the case handled without a jury in a motion to be filed at a later date.
Marvel doesn’t want a jury because this court almost always rules favorably for corporate interests. However before you start thinking about a heartwarming little guy, Spider-Man vs Galactus victory here, as our own Jeff Trexler pointed out, the appeals court ruling wasn’t so much a win for Friedrich as a loss for Marvel. Friedrich’s ownership claim faces a steep uphill battle.
UPDATE: The Beat’s legal advisor Jeff Trexler has passed along the actual order and points out that contrary to all the other reports a jury trial is NOT a done deal.
The court’s scheduling order does not state that the November trial will be a jury trial. It states that the parties have through July 3, 2013 to file motions as to whether there should be a jury trial or a bench trial. The judge may very well agree to a jury trial, but as of now certitude on the matter would appear to be premature.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.