Gaiman vs. McFarlane AGAIN?

201005260331 Gaiman vs. McFarlane AGAIN?It’s been seven (!) years since Neil Gaiman prevailed in a lawsuit against Todd McFarlane over the rights to characters he created in SPAWN, but this is one of those undead cases that still rises from the grave. According to a story in the Wisconsin State Journal, Gaiman has asked for another trial to settle the issue of how much money he’s owed for these characters. But Round Two isn’t a go yet, as the judge has merely called for a evidentiary hearing on June 14.

In a written opinion, Crabb wrote that Gaiman has a plausible claim with respect to the three newer characters: Dark Ages Spawn, Domina and Tiffany. She said each of the characters are visually similar to the others and have similar back stories.

Angela, Tiffany and Domina “are warrior angels with voluptuous physiques, long hair and mask-like eye makeup,” Crabb wrote. “Their ‘uniforms’ consist of thong bikinis, garters, wide weapon belts, elbow-length gloves and poorly adjusted armor bras.”


Well, you gotta love Judge Crabb already just for her powers of observation.

The original suit involved the characters Medieval Spawn, Angela and Cogliostro, which Gaiman was found to have copyright interest in. However, while Gaiman won a settlement, it has never been paid; thus the reincarnation of the suit. More particulars of the original case are here. Of course, the rights to Miracle/Marvelman are also somehow involved in this, but we gave up trying to figure that one out a million years ago. Kimota!

Comments

  1. David Hackett says:

    Not to rush to Todd’s defense, but if you can claim Dark Ages Spawn is derivative of Medieval Spawn, can’t MacFarlane turn around and claim Medieval Spawn is a derivative of Spawn?

  2. According to the transcripts in the 2003 trial, there was an agreement between Gaiman and McFarlane that Gaiman’s financial interest in characters were to be determined in the same way that DC would do in their contracts. DC’s contracts with Gaiman had percentages for derivative characters.

  3. Kevin Hynes says:

    Sigh, they need to hug.

  4. >> According to a story in the Wisconsin State Journal, Gaiman has asked for another trial to settle the issue of how much money he’s owed for these characters. >>

    No, according to the story, Gaiman’s asked for an accounting of what he’s owed. McFarlane doesn’t want to give one, and has asked for another trial, but the judge has called for an evidentiary hearing instead.

  5. Synsidar says:

    Gaiman raised a separate issue by claiming that three other characters were derived from characters he co-created. If the evidentiary hearing results in the finding that a trial is warranted, then there will be one.

    The journalist, Treleven, might have erred by referring to mere “accounting.”

    SRS

  6. Heaven help us if Tony Twist gets wind of this…

  7. demoncat says:

    if i remember right Neil offered to give up any claim to those characters if Todd would in exchange turn over his owner ship of miracle man. but Neil went for the money for the characters. and looks like some unfinished business. between the two.

  8. David Hackett says:

    @demoncat, But I think the court proceedings revealed that Todd’s actual ownership of Miracleman was in dispute as well (if the rights weren’t proven to not be his outright), so it essentially ended up off the table.

  9. .

    Let me see if I have this right.

    Voluptuous female characters in bikinis were Neil Gaimain’s idea? Wow. EVERYONE owes him money.

  10. Aaron says:

    Not to totally ‘poo poo’ the idea of copyright ownership, but really…are these particular characters really going to generate more money in any capacity? One needs to look at the risk/reward here and move on I think.

  11. >> Not to totally ‘poo poo’ the idea of copyright ownership, but really…are these particular characters really going to generate more money in any capacity?>>

    The issue at hand is, they already have generated money. Whether they generate more or not isn’t material at present, because the issue seems to be partly that Todd hasn’t paid Neil any of the share of profits he was ordered to in the last case, and partly that there’s a dispute over whether Todd owes money on derivative characters as well.

    >> One needs to look at the risk/reward here and move on I think.>>

    Companies that owe people money and refuse to pay count on them deciding it’s too much of a hassle, so they’ll move on. That way, the company never has to pay.

    kdb

  12. demoncat says:

    Yes but Todd has had a history of not paying court orders and the money owed Neil from the last one is the main reason besides if derivatives of said characters todd has made means Neil should get paid though the court could say the derivatives are original characters. and did not remember that todds claim of miracle man were found to be in disput and taken of the table .

  13. clam watcher says:

    Gaiman can’t be trusted. Gaiman is a Scientologist and is underwriting Scientology. The Scientologists list Neil Gaiman him in the Cornerstone Newsletter along with Mary Gaiman, as contributing $35,000.00 in 2009. Being listed in the Cornerstone Newsletter means you are in good-standing with the cult.

    In 2010, Mary Gaiman was awarded the “Gold Humanitarian Award” for her contribution of $500,000.00 to Scientology. This is significant because Mary Gaiman continues to be Neil Gaiman’s business partner in The Blank Corporation, which is now Neil Gaiman’s Scientology front and how he pays the cult.

    Gaiman is also the “Vitamin Heir” of Scientology. The Gaiman family owns G&G Vitamins which reaps 6 million a year from selling The Purification Rundown Vitamins.

    Gaiman’s two sisters, Claire Edwards and Lizzie Calciole are not just high-ranking Scientologists, they are the head of RECRUITING and the head of Wealden House, the Scientology stronghold in East Grinstead. These two cannot associate with Neil unless he is in good standing.

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