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Andrew Garfield shoots hoops with kids while dressed as Spidey

spidey-basketball

When he’s not facing Electro or the Rhino, there are few things your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man enjoys more than playing basketball with a couple of local kids.

Taking a break from filming The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in New York City’s Chinatown, star Andrew Garfield headed to a nearby basketball court — in full costume, no less — to take on two pint-sized opponents. And, as the video below shows, they may have gotten the better of him. (As the person who shot the video notes, Garfield’s co-star and girlfriend Emma Stone, aka Gwen Stacy, can also be seen in the video, with the dog.)

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Marvel tells appeals court Friedrich signed away Ghost Rider rights

Marvel on Monday urged the Second Circuit to deny Gary Friedrich’s attempt to revive his copyright claims to Ghost Rider, reiterating that the writer no only signed away his rights to the character three decades earlier but waited too long to file his lawsuit.

Friedrich sued Marvel, Columbia Pictures and Hasbro, among others, shortly after the 2007 release of the first Ghost Rider movie, insisting he had regained the copyright to the fiery Spirit of Vengeance some six years earlier. He argued he created Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider in 1968 and later agreed to publish the character through Magazine Management, which eventually became Marvel Entertainment. Under the agreement, the publisher held the copyright to the character’s origin story in 1972′s Marvel Spotlight #5, and to subsequent Ghost Rider works. However, Friedrich alleged the company never registered the work with the U.S. Copyright Office, permitting the rights to revert to him in 2001.

In December 2011, a federal judge rejected Friedrich’s lawsuit, finding the writer gave up ownership to the property when he endorsed checks that contained language relinquishing rights to Marvel’s predecessors. The judge said Friedrich signed over all claims to the character in 1971 and again in 1978 in exchange for the possibility of more freelance work for the publisher. (Two months later, Marvel agreed to abandon its 2010 countersuit accusing Friedrich of trademark infringement if the writer would pay $17,000 in damages and stop selling unauthorized Ghost Rider merchandise.)

The writer appealed in July, arguing the court erred in ruling that the language on the back of Marvel paychecks in the early 1970s and in the 1978 contract were sufficient to constitute transfer of copyright. However, his attorney also reasserts the claim that the agreement was entered into under duress, with Friedrich told “if I wanted to continue to work for Marvel that I would have to sign it.”

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‘You’re laying on your boobs’: Stan Lee boosts Spider-Man movie tie-in

Like its predecessors, Columbia Pictures’ The Amazing Spider-Man has its share of promotional partners, from Target to Twizzlers to Kellogg’s. But it’s undoubtedly sibling fast-food chains Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s that have produced the most offbeat tie-ins.

To celebrate the July 3 release of director Marc Webb’s film, the restaurant will give a free cheeseburger — no, make that “Amazing Grilled Cheese Bacon Burger” — to anyone who comes to a Carl’s Jr. or Hardee’s location on Independence Day dressed as the wall-crawler. (“No masks, please.”) And to help spread the word, they turned to Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee, who offers some occasionally biting advice to potential burger-winners on the restaurants’ websites.

For the above image, for instance, the legendary creator says, “You’re laying on your boobs. I don’t know what’s going on there.” For another photo, of a man who appears to be wearing boys’-size Underoos, Lee grimaces, “That’s just obscene.” But when faced with the photo of a woman in a cleavage-revealing costume, he marvels, “Oh, wow. … I don’t know about the costume, but that’s some set of wheels.” It’s as if Lee had discovered Chatroulette.

You can listen to more of Lee’s commentary on the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s websites. You can watch the Carl’s Jr. Amazing Spider-Man commercials, and Lee’s behind-the-scenes video, below.

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Marvel prevails in lawsuit over rights to Ghost Rider

A federal judge on Wednesday rejected a four-year-old lawsuit by Ghost Rider co-creator Gary Friedrich, who claimed the rights to Marvel’s fiery spirit of vengeance reverted to him in 2001.

Friedrich filed the lawsuit in April 2007, shortly after the release of Columbia Pictures’ Ghost Rider movie, accusing the studio, Marvel, Hasbro and other companies of copyright infringement, false advertising and unfair competition, among other counts. The film grossed $228 million worldwide; a sequel, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, will be released in February.

The writer asserted he created Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider in 1968 and, three years later, agreed to publish the character through Magazine Management, which eventually became Marvel Entertainment. Under the agreement, the publisher held the copyright to the character’s origin story in 1972′s Marvel Spotlight #5, and to subsequent Ghost Rider works. However, Friedrich alleged the company never registered the work with the U.S. Copyright Office and, pursuant to federal law, he regained the copyrights to Ghost Rider in 2001.

But The Associated Press reports that on Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest ruled Friedrich gave up ownership to the property when he endorsed checks that contained language relinquishing rights to Marvel’s predecessors. The judge said the writer signed over all claims to the character in 1971 and again in 1978 in exchange for the possibility of more freelance work for the publisher.

“Either of those contractual transfers would be sufficient to resolve the question of ownership,” Forrest wrote. “Together, they provide redundancy to the answer that leaves no doubt as to its correctness.”

“The law is clear that when an individual endorses a check subject to a condition, he accepts that condition,” the judge ruled, contending her finding made it unnecessary “travel down the rabbit hole” to determine whether Ghost Rider was work for hire.

Ghost Rider co-creator must defend himself against Marvel claims

While the big legal story is, of course, a federal judge’s ruling that the family of Jack Kirby has no claim to the copyrights for the characters he co-created for Marvel, the company also scored a courtroom victory this week in another, lower-profile case.

A judge declared on Tuesday that Ghost Rider co-creator Gary Friedrich will have to defend counterclaims by Marvel accusing him of violating its trademark by using the phrase “Ghost Rider” and the character’s image on posters, cards and T-shirts, Courthouse News Service reports.

The dispute stems from a 2007 lawsuit filed by Friedrich against Marvel, Columbia Pictures, Hasbro and other companies alleging the copyrights used in the Ghost Rider movie and related products reverted to him in 2001. He sought unspecified damages for copyright infringement, and violations of federal and Illinois state unfair competition laws, negligence, waste, false advertising and endorsement, and several other claims.

Friedrich claimed he created Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider in 1968 and, three years later, agreed to publish the character through Magazine Management, which eventually became Marvel Entertainment. Under the agreement, the publisher held the copyright to the character’s origin story in 1972′s Marvel Spotlight #5, and to subsequent Ghost Rider works. However, Friedrich alleged the company never registered the work with the U.S. Copyright Office and, pursuant to federal law, he regained the copyrights to Ghost Rider in 2001.

The case has taken a few turns, with a judge in May 2010 dismissing the claims made under state law after determining that the Copyright Act of 1976 is the relevant federal statute. That decision was followed in December by counterclaims by Marvel Characters, the subsidiary that actually holds the rights to the company’s characters, accusing Friedrich of the unauthorized sale of Ghost Rider posters, T-shirts and cards online and at comic conventions.

Friedrich, who amended his complaint in March 2011, attempted to have the counterclaims dismissed. However, on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Barbara Jones rejected his motion. Courthouse News Service notes that Friedrich’s lawsuit is in discovery, with Marvel and the other defendants so far turning over 34,000 pages of documents.

Ghost Rider, the 2007 film based on the character Friedrich co-created, grossed $228 million worldwide. Columbia Pictures will release the sequel on Feb. 17, 2012.


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