Marvel Retains Rights to ‘Ghost Rider’ in Lawsuit Settlement

An appeals court in June had revived Gary Friedrich’s claim that Marvel no longer owned rights to the popular comic character.

Marvel settles lawsuit with Ghost Rider creator
Marvel settles lawsuit with Ghost Rider creator
Marvel has reached a settlement agreement in a long-running lawsuit filed by Ghost Rider creator Gary Friedrich over ownership of the character. While the settlement hasn't been fully executed, both sides, "have amicably agreed to resolve all claims." The terms of the settlement agreement were not made public at this time, with Marvel retaining the right to use the character in future projects.

Back in June, Gary Friedrich won an appeal over Marvel, overturning the comic book studio's victory and set up a trial slated to begin in November, before the settlement came through. Gary Friedrich worked as a freelancer for Marvel in the 1970s, creating the Ghost Rider character who first appeared in 1972's Marvel's Spotlight #5. The primary issue of the case was whether Friedrich contributed the character as a "work for hire," which would mean that Marvel retains all ownership rights and Friedrich would have no entitlement to the copyright renewal term. At the time, Friedrich was working under what was known as the "Marvel Method," and the studio argued the character was created in a collaborative environment with Marvel personnel and resources.

A federal judge ruled that the contracts Friedrich signed in the 1970s gave the company all rights to the character, but the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that decision in June, citing the contracts were ambiguous, particularly one from 1978 that covered the origin story he created six years earlier. However, the appellate judge didn't give Friedrich a full victory in June, stating that the author had an "uncopyrightable idea for a motorcycle-riding character" when he presented it to Marvel, because he had not, "fixed the idea to a tangible medium." The impending trial, which will be cancelled when the settlement is fully executed, would have likely explored the Marvel workplace in the 1970s, and a comic book author's stake in ownership under such conditions.

We reported in May that Marvel Studios had re-acquired the movie rights to the Ghost Rider franchise, although it isn't known if they are actively developing a reboot or another sequel. Nicolas Cage portrayed the title character in 2007's Ghost Rider and 2012's Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance.

Ghost Rider was released February 16th, 2007 and stars Matt Long, Raquel Alessi, Brett Cullen, Peter Fonda, Nicolas Cage, Donal Logue, Tony Ghosthawk, Hugh Sexton. The film is directed by Mark Steven Johnson.

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Comments (22)

  1. Cheetoboy

    I hope they do have a darker toned reboot. Nicolas Cage wasn't bad a the Rider, it was just the stories of both films that were so mediocre.

    2 years agoby @cheetoboyFlag

  2. WongFu

    @jasonkat since Blade and Gh are being rebooted - it would be cool to see them together in the same film once the first two films on either one is done.

    2 years agoby @instead8909Flag

  3. JasonKat

    Well Ghost Rider, wasnt really a bad movie, i actually liked it. surely it could have been better but it was still watch worthy.
    I feel like things could have taken off in ghost rider:2, but it got derailed and went to crap. For that i dont blame Nicolas Cage nor any other actors in the film, , i blame the studio for letting such an idiot writer screw this up.
    And because of him, the whole thing needs a reboot.
    Somebody who knows alot about Marvel & this character should make it, write it & direct it. & i agree it needs to be darker, r-rated . and if they cant make it r -rated then keep it on the same level as the dark knight, excitement.

    2 years agoby @jasonkatFlag

  4. Sean

    @Brizzy Well I would think that it is more possible now since Marvel Retained Rights to Ghost Rider, then it was before that had happened.

    2 years agoby @themoviefanaticFlag

  5. jasdjqs

    agree with some below, Movie needs to be darker

    2 years agoby @jasdjqsFlag

  6. David garcia

    Might as well to make a reboot, I mean since the avengers have a supernatural deity, why not another like ghost rider. And did Bin diesel said that marvel would bring different franchises together, this could probably be it? And maybe..."MAYBE", Sony and Disney made an agreement of some sorts, that we can finally have a crossover of ghost rider and Spiderman. :P

    2 years agoby @David-garcia-67788063Flag

  7. WongFu

    @jasonkat I agree with you, it does need to be rebooted badly.
    Besides it's needs to be rated R, like the first two Blade films, it needs to be that dark, not soft bunny like the two Rider films.

    The some of the reviews on amazon for the second GR film declare it a better film. I don't think so.

    2 years agoby @instead8909Flag

  8. Brizzy

    @themoviefanatic There is no way in hell that GR is in A2. No way.

    2 years agoby @BrizzyFlag

  9. ed_wood

    I agree with Crypt, movies need to be darker.

    2 years agoby @ed-woodFlag

  10. The Cryptkeeper: Resurrected

    I really like the story of Ghost Rider, but don't think the movies are dark enough. I hope for a Marvel reboot.

    2 years agoby @cryptFlag

  11. The Cryptkeeper: Resurrected

    I really like the story of Ghost Rider, but don't think the movies are dark enough. I hope for a Marvel reboot.

    2 years agoby @cryptFlag

  12. Nick C.

    Who do you all see as a good Ghost Rider, if they were to reboot without Cage? They'd need someone good, rapedif they wanted to at all incorporate him into the Avengers films...

    2 years agoby @knightmare90Flag

  13. Bawnian©-Dexeus

    Feel bad for the guy, but the facts remain.

    2 years agoby @bawnian-dexeusFlag

  14. Sean

    @jasonkat I agree 100% percent.

    2 years agoby @themoviefanaticFlag

  15. JasonKat

    I'm down for a reboot/remake, and i dont care if they got rid of nic. cage. On the other hand. who ever wrote the story/screen play for part2, should be banned from making movies. that1 was just plain crap. People hated the first 1 but look at part2, it makes part1 look like a great film. even if you disliked both.
    If theres a new ghost rider on the way. they better cast the right actor(s)/actresses) have a good story/direction so that in the future, ghost rider's character could be brought in sum way, sum how into the avenger world. the same way they did for hulk.

    2 years agoby @jasonkatFlag

  16. OhhmeohhMy

    I don't care 1 and 2 sucked. And 2 was a big number 2 tho. Eww nasty movie.

    2 years agoby @OhhmeohhMyFlag

  17. Sean

    @jasonkat There won't be a Ghost Rider 3. There may be a Ghost Rider reboot eventually though, considering that Marvel Retained Rights to Ghost Rider.

    2 years agoby @themoviefanaticFlag

  18. Sean

    @therealGoku Oh, I see.

    2 years agoby @themoviefanaticFlag

  19. JasonKat

    Ghost Rider (4 stars)
    Ghost Rider 2 (1 star)
    Ghost Rider 3 (0 stars)
    Ghost Rider: Reboot: (5 stars)

    2 years agoby @jasonkatFlag

  20. The Real Goku

    @themoviefanatic I highly doubt it. Ghost rider doesn't fit

    2 years agoby @therealGokuFlag

  21. Sean

    Does this mean that Ghost Rider might be in The Avengers: Age of Ultron and/or The Avengers 3 ? Or that there might be another Ghost Rider movie with someone else starring as Ghost Rider ?

    2 years agoby @themoviefanaticFlag

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