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View Full Version : Gaiman VS. McFarlane re: early Spawn continues


Troy Wall
08-01-2010, 11:33 AM
Man, I can't believe these two guys are still at it in court over those early Spawn creations that Gaiman contributed to the mythos: Medieval Spawn, Angela, and Count Cogliostro.

"A federal judge has dealt another blow to Todd McFarlane in his long-running copyright dispute with Neil Gaiman, ruling that the characters Dark Ages Spawn, Domina and Tiffany are mere derivatives of their earlier creations.

In a decision filed Friday, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb declared that the three characters are simply variations of Medieval Spawn and Angela, co-created by Gaiman in 1993 for McFarlane's Spawn series. Therefore, McFarlane has until Sept. 1 to provide Gaiman with an accounting of money earned from Dark Ages Spawn, Domina and Tiffany. As co-owner of the copyrights, Gaiman is entitled to one-half of the profits."

Full article here (http://robot6.comicbookresources.com/2010/07/judge-rules-dark-ages-spawn-domina-and-tiffany-are-derivative-characters/) at Robot 6, from our old pal Kevin Melrose.

CHWolf
08-01-2010, 12:11 PM
Damn, everyone hates MacFarlane! :laugh:

Devil's Advocate: How is Medieval Spawn not a derivative of Spawn, however...?

L Jamal
08-01-2010, 02:10 PM
He is derivative, but that doesn't mean that Gaiman doesn't own joint copyright to him. In Durham Industries, Inc. v. Tomy Corp. and earlier in L. Batlin & Son, Inc. v. Snyder, the Second Circuit held that a derivative work must be original relative to the underlying work on which it is based in order to be eligible for copyright protection.

CHWolf
08-01-2010, 02:59 PM
It just seems odd to me (though legally speaking, I'm sure it's very clear) that someone can create a derivative work based on a work derivative of their work.

As I say, I have no doubt it makes sense legally. Beyond that (in the realm outside courtrooms, etc.) I'm kind of scratching my head about not owning something you crated based on a creation based on your creation. :huh:

Basically, I'm just wondering how/if this applies to unauthorized derivatives of your work, as well.

L Jamal
08-01-2010, 04:41 PM
They both own it equally which means that they have to pay the other 1/2 the profits. It also means they both can use it however they wish. However, Gaiman would have the use the characters without the Spawn stuff that he doesn't own the copyrights to.

Deadfish07
08-01-2010, 06:04 PM
I found it funny that the judge uses comic book nerd logic to determine that there can't be another knight version of Spawn running around.

Seriously, it's Todd's universe. He should be able to break any rules he originally set. I feel that he could create the Spawn Knights of the Round Table if he desired, as long as one of them isn't the one Neil created.

Biofungus
08-01-2010, 06:18 PM
Coming soon from Neil Gaiman: Medieval Progeny!

ronin7
08-01-2010, 06:20 PM
I agree with Deadfish07, I don't know why Neil Gaiman is even suing for these characters. Todd isn't making a billion dollars off them. If he was, it would make more sense. But, just to deprive Todd of having parts of Spawn lore makes no sense.

CHWolf
08-01-2010, 06:45 PM
the Spawn Knights of the Round Table

Now... that, I'd read!

L Jamal
08-01-2010, 08:23 PM
I agree with Deadfish07, I don't know why Neil Gaiman is even suing for these characters. Todd isn't making a billion dollars off them. If he was, it would make more sense. But, just to deprive Todd of having parts of Spawn lore makes no sense.
Neil is suing because he owns 1/2 the rights to the characters. For Todd to go back and create the same characters with different names just means that now Gaiman owns 1/2 the rights to even more characters. Todd opened himself up to this mess when he let others create Spawn characters without a work for hire agreement.

Newt
08-01-2010, 11:16 PM
Note to self: stipulate "no new characters" in next WFH contract with Neil Gaiman.

Addendum: become immensely wealthy so as to be able to hire Neil Gaiman and put said stipulation in contract.

markenglert
08-02-2010, 06:13 AM
Time for me to put out my new book, "Medieval Sandman"!

L Jamal
08-02-2010, 08:29 AM
Note to self: stipulate "no new characters" in next WFH contract with Neil Gaiman.
If it's WFH then that's not a problem all creations within a WFH contract go to the employer unless otherwise stipulated. Todd's problem is that whatever contract he had was really vague and based upon being better than the contract that Gaiman had for Sandman.

HaphazardJoy
08-02-2010, 09:44 AM
I don't flat out adore Neil Gaiman, but I like him... despite him being engaged with Amanda Palmer and thus ending my hopes of doing the same. That being said, it seems like McFarlane calls this stuff down on himself. He's a huge role model for anyone into comics of roughly my age, and I respect him for a lot, but he also seems to be a little daft.

Justice41
08-04-2010, 02:17 AM
Eh, C'mon the guys name is Kneel Gayman.

Paul Sanderson
08-05-2010, 12:02 AM
I don't flat out adore Neil Gaiman, but I like him... despite him being engaged with Amanda Palmer and thus ending my hopes of doing the same. That being said, it seems like McFarlane calls this stuff down on himself. He's a huge role model for anyone into comics of roughly my age, and I respect him for a lot, but he also seems to be a little daft.

Agreed. He's done some good things in the industry, and achieved a lot, but he's also done (and said) a whole lotta dumb things.

The Dag
08-05-2010, 06:00 AM
Eh, C'mon the guys name is Kneel Gayman.

Ha!

pashburn25
08-05-2010, 08:12 PM
how about an old fashioned duel to the death?

sgm
08-06-2010, 02:58 AM
how about an old fashioned duel to the death?


No! To the pain.

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