Long story short: Stan Lee Media Inc. was formed in the late 90’s by Stan Lee, which quickly went bankrupt. While Stan Lee himself is no longer a part of Stan Lee Media Inc., the former shareholders of said company have been insisting that they have claim over Spider-Man and other Marvel characters co-created by Stan Lee.
Disney has had enough and last week asked a federal judge to end the shenanigans once and for all. From HitFix:
Indeed, Stan Lee Media has yet to win any of the numerous lawsuits filed since 2006 in an effort to reclaim properties the company claims were improperly lost during its bankruptcy. (Marvel and Disney haven’t been the only targets: An appeals court last year denied SLM’s bid for the rights to the Conan characters, which were purchased in 2000 but then sold two years later, shortly after the company filed for bankruptcy.)…
And, as Hollywood, Esq., notes, SLM has some deep pockets to draw from — an investment group backed by the $21 billion hedge fund Elliott Management — allowing the company to continue its pursuit of the Marvel characters.
However, in its motion, Disney asserts that not only have four federal courts precluded SLM from relitigating its ownership of the copyrights based on its 1998 agreement with Stan Lee, but that SLM’s claims are barred by a three-year statute of limitations. In short, Disney says, the dot-com had known “since its earliest transactions personally with Stan Lee” that Marvel asserted ownership to Spider-Man and the writer’s other co-creations, and could have raised objections at that time.
What’s more, Disney says, Stan Lee Media is an “administratively dissolved corporation that lacks the capacity to license.”
What’s even nuttier about all this is that it was sparked by a Pennsylvania production trying to use music from Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark. Heh!