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Spiderman, Sony vs Marvel 250

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the legal-web-slinging dept.
An anonymous reader writes "It now looks like Marvel has a dispute with Sony over Spiderman. This short report tells how Sony is trying to take over Spiderman. First we saw the dispute between Marvel and Stan Lee, and now this."
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Spiderman, Sony vs Marvel

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  • Sony? (Score:2, Funny)

    What, that was the guy with the silver skin wasn't he?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    as in it's probably bullshit, or at the very least exagerated..

    Ie; "The loss of SPIDERMAN could affect all of SONY's future financial plans for its U.S. entertainment company"

    Yeah, I'm sure sony has no other way of making money and will file chapter 7 because of a little spiderman tiff.

    • more careful reading (Score:4, Informative)

      by GunFodder (208805) on Thursday April 17, 2003 @04:38PM (#5754300)
      I believe this quote is referring to Sony Pictures, the movie producing subsidiary of Sony. It is quite possible that the only profits Sony Pictures made last year were from Spiderman, so the economic impact of a loss of license would be huge.
      • Actually, after a quick search to verify facts, it's quite clear that Sony Pictures would have made a sizable profit even without Spiderman last year. This article [csmonitor.com] shows Sony with two other movies in the top ten from last year. So, I don't think there's any doubt the story is a bunch of bull.
    • by burgburgburg (574866) <splisken06&email,com> on Thursday April 17, 2003 @04:44PM (#5754344)
      to your use of the modifier "probably" in your comments!

      Drudge has worked very hard to ensure that everything he reports is a great big load, and your comments cast aspersions on his efforts.

      Shame. SHAME!

    • by bomb_number_20 (168641) on Thursday April 17, 2003 @05:12PM (#5754567)
      don't be a fucktard.

      Most of drudge's stories are just links to articles in other publications, most of whom get their news through AP or Reuters (their validity is an entirely separate argument). What you're complaining about is the focus he chooses to use for compiling his articles.

      sensationalistic? yes. but that doesnt mean he's wrong. the bigger problem is the same one that plagues /., no one bothers to read the articles. they glance at the headlines and then act like they've read the whole thing.

    • ... As opposed to Slashdot, which gets all of the stories right.

    • by AceM2 (655504)
      Freakin AC.. It said it *could affect* future financial plans.. Not that Drudge thought SONY would go under just because of a movie. I mean seriously.. If I see a new video card and decide I wanna buy it.. shelling out the $300 out of my checking account is going to *affect my future financial plans*.. As in.. I'm going to have to save more than I planned to buy some new games or whatever.. If you wanna come down on someone for bullshitting, at least have a good reason.
  • Easy way out (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fjordboy (169716) on Thursday April 17, 2003 @04:29PM (#5754204) Homepage
    Stan lee just has to "discover" a couple of "unpublished" comic strips that involve Spiderman being gay and dying in some way. Sony and Marvel won't touch spiderman w/ a ten foot pole after that! The creative power is still in Lee's hands...he just needs to make use of it! Sony and Marvel will give up their claims...and Lee will get royalties galore! Easy solution.
    • by NineNine (235196) on Thursday April 17, 2003 @04:32PM (#5754234)
      Even better. In the next issues, it comes out that Spiderman is a pedophile!! Sony would drop that faster than a hot potato. Then Stan Lee spins the plot (after Sony went away) so that it was all some evil plot to frame Spiderman. Everything's right in the world again.
    • Re:Easy way out (Score:4, Interesting)

      by King_TJ (85913) on Thursday April 17, 2003 @04:58PM (#5754437) Journal
      Heh.... I hate to say it, but I think Stan Lee might be the LAST person on earth to even consider a remotely "risque" situation in one of his comic strips.

      As much as I think Spiderman is a great superhero concept, the Sunday comic strip (which Stan Lee supposedly does himself) is *lame*!

      I guess he's trying to make sure it's ok for younger kids to read and everything, but come on! The stilted conversations are almost unbearable. There's much more suspense and sense of believability in the dialog of "Brenda Starr", for crying out loud!
    • In one of the more recent issues (read: not more than a year ago), Aunt May finds out about Peter being Spiderman. Peter asks how she's doing, and she says that she's somewhat releived. Relieved, he says? Then she says something like

      "Well, we knew there was something you were keeping from us, and you were always so clumsy around girls. There was obviously something in the closet, I didn't know it was spandex rather than taffeta.."

      She's clear that she's not extremely opposed to it (something like "we'd
  • I'm confused... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Xerithane (13482) <xerithane&nerdfarm,org> on Thursday April 17, 2003 @04:29PM (#5754205) Homepage Journal
    I see Marvel has a point with the merchandising, that they are supposed to do most of it with the joint agreement. I'm not sure how Sony is violating Marvel's rights on the Spiderman franchise because as far as I can tell, they're making movies.

    This is a really horrible report, so Google News comes to the rescue and I found a fanboy site with a lot more information. [superherohype.com]

    Hope it helps, because the Drudge report was just confusing.
    • Re:I'm confused... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Dr Caleb (121505) <thedarkknight@hu ... m minus math_god> on Thursday April 17, 2003 @04:43PM (#5754338) Homepage Journal
      From reading the article, I glean that Sony is advertising Spidey in such a way as to not include Marvel in any way.

      "Spiderman" by Sony Entertainment. No mention of Marvel anywhere. At least, that is what I get from "MARVEL is accusing SONY of doing everything it can to disassociate SPIDERMAN and MARVEL in the minds of retailers."

      • Re:I'm confused... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dbrown (29388)
        This is absolutely true. Have you gone into Best Buy, Circuit City, or other consumer electronics stores? The Sony marketing department has made sure that Spider-Man film loops are prominantly displayed on all Sony TV's, especially the high-end flat plasma displays. Its even worse at the Sony Metreon [metreon.com]. All the Sony computers had Spider-Man themes, all the TV's were showing Spider-Man film loops, Spider-Man "the making of", etc., etc.

        When I think of Spider-Man, I now think of $10,000 Sony Plasma displays
        • Oh great. So now we're going to see people buying $10,000 Sony TVs... leaving them in the boxes so they can sell them in "mint condition" in 10 years "in its original packaging".

          This is just sad... ;-)

    • Re:I'm confused... (Score:2, Informative)

      by ad0gg (594412)
      I think sony was abusing the license for movie spiderman. Prime example is the game "Spiderman the move" [activision.com], Notice how there is no mention of marvel. Sony got the royalities since it was "based" on the movie. Also blockbuster used spiderman to advertise their products and same goes with bestbuy with spiderman in their commerical. These royalities were paid to sony not marvel.
      • Re:I'm confused... (Score:3, Informative)

        by WatertonMan (550706)
        This doesn't sound right as much of the video game involved characters not in the movie. (Although perhaps licensed) If they did do what you say though then clearly Marvel has a point.

        On the other hand Harry Knowles says this is nothing. (Not that his track record is that great, mind you) Ain't It Cool News [aint-it-cool-news.com]

    • I have seen tons of Sony/Spider-Man tie-ins since the movie came out. If I was Marvel I might be worried that people will start seeing Spider-Man as a Sony "mascot" in the same way Sonic the hedgehog was all over Sega.

      Since Spider-Man is arguably Marvel's hottest property, and that Spider-Man has appeared alongside the Marvel logo on and off for years they are probably getting nervous that their ace is getting played by another company and its mostly Sony seeing the profits.

      Then again the powers that be a
  • by mrgrey (319015) on Thursday April 17, 2003 @04:29PM (#5754209) Homepage Journal
    Sony vs Marvel

    Sony's next big console game....
    • EVERYONE thought that when they saw it, I'm sure. I was racking my brain thinking "what the fuck is a Sony character?"
    • In related news...

      Capcom, Inc., sues Sony, claiming its newest game, Sony vs. Marvel, violates its trademarks and dilutes its market share. The game, featuring Sony character "Spider-Man" and other properties tag-team fighting members of Marvel's legal teams, was first developed by Capcom. Since then, Sony has "relatively taken over the game, branded it as theirs, removed all ties to Capcom and used the characters to market other Sony products," an insider at Capcom claimed.
  • by NineNine (235196) on Thursday April 17, 2003 @04:29PM (#5754210)
    ... when Spiderman wasn't a corporate trademark to be argued over, but just a cool comic book that I'd pick up and read. So nice to have the corporate legal eagles shit all over it.
    • by SoftCoreHonesty (665319) on Thursday April 17, 2003 @04:51PM (#5754394)
      You must be pretty old because I remember owning Spiderman underoos about 30 years ago. Spiderman became an over-commercialized corporate trademark long before Sony came along. Spiderman, Batman, Hulk, and Superman were all sell outs. Now give me Ghost Rider anyday.
    • by Syncdata (596941) <.moc.oohay. .ta. .17atadcnys.> on Thursday April 17, 2003 @05:50PM (#5754897) Journal
      Spiderman was a cool comic book because Marvel, not sony, not you, and not some amorphous, non corporate comic machine in the sky, paid cool artists, and cool writers, to produce a cool comic, which had to be printed on a cool press, and distributed nationwide.
      This takes money, and if Marvel doesn't recieve the fat royalties that come from having a lucrative franchise (are people allowed to have those anymore on /.?)then there will be no more cool comics.
      I remember when someone could be protective of their own intellectual property, and not be sanctimoniously lectured about it.
      This is not a troll, though it will likely be modded as such.
      • I even hit preview a couple of times before submitting. Shame on me.
      • Spiderman was a cool comic book because Marvel, not sony, not you, and not some amorphous, non corporate comic machine in the sky, paid cool artists, and cool writers, to produce a cool comic, which had to be printed on a cool press, and distributed nationwide.

        Ah, but one could argue that this all happened in a different age, before Marvel became a publicly traded corporation, before corporate raider Ron Perelman decided to ream the company out for quick profits, dragging it into bankruptcy. Only after a [amazon.com]

      • I remember when someone could be protective of their own intellectual property, and not be sanctimoniously lectured about it.

        I do too. It was back when it wasn't called intellectual property.

        I feel a rant coming on....
        The problem is, Sony didn't make a Spiderman movie, make some money, and that's that. They are trying to establish the Spiderman Franchise. Nothing is "normal" anymore, everything has to be pushed way too far. You can't just get something good and then appreciate it for that - you ha

  • Hmm (Score:4, Funny)

    by AvantLegion (595806) on Thursday April 17, 2003 @04:31PM (#5754230) Journal
    I guess Spiderman himself wasn't available for comment...

  • by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Thursday April 17, 2003 @04:33PM (#5754242) Homepage Journal
    should be "LawyerMan". Armed with the Pen of Destruction and the Briefcase of Neverending Legal Briefs, he wages war in the shadowy world of corporate dealings.

    And he never loses. Well, maybe he loses every so often to make things interesting, but he always wins on appeal ;-)

  • by sssmashy (612587) on Thursday April 17, 2003 @04:33PM (#5754251)

    MARVEL accuses SONY of literally kidnapping Spidey.

    SONY literally kidnapped Spiderman? What, a bunch of Sony exectuves have Spidey chained up in the basement of their corporate HQ? This sounds like a good plot for the next comic book... sure, Spidey can defeat the Green Goblin, but does he stand a chance against capitalism run amok?

    • They probably paid Doc Ock to do it.
    • SONY literally kidnapped Spiderman? What, a bunch of Sony exectuves have Spidey chained up in the basement of their corporate HQ? This sounds like a good plot for the next comic book... sure, Spidey can defeat the Green Goblin, but does he stand a chance against capitalism run amok?

      I think he was speaking figuratively when he said Sony literally kidnapped Spiderman.
  • by NanoGator (522640) on Thursday April 17, 2003 @04:34PM (#5754253) Homepage Journal
    Sony's every bit as evil as you guys thing Microsoft is. I don't know why they're not on Slashdot's radar.

    The basic gist of the complaint is that they are attempting to rebrand Spiderman as a Sony product. Though I don't have any opinion as to whether they're guilty here or not as I don't have enough info to base an opinion on, I do know that Sony's been complained about before. Anybody remember when they were developing the Super NES CD that never arrived? It fell through because Sony wanted this to be a Sony branded machine. They basically wanted to take over Nintendo's well developed market. Fortunately, Nintendo had the balls to stand up to them. That's indirectly how Sony came around with the Playstation.

    Slashdot really should be eyeballing Sony. Sometimes you guys pay too much attention to Microsoft.
    • by mojowantshappy (605815) on Thursday April 17, 2003 @04:40PM (#5754313)
      Mostly because Sony is the big competition for the X-Box, so a lot of anti-microsoft people like to rally behind them (me included).

      Also, Sony is quite broken up compared to most companies. They have their movie division, their music division, their computer division, their video games division, etc. So though I really hate Sony's music and movie division, I still like their video game division.

      Also, offering linux for PS2 can't hurt.
      • by JordanH (75307)
        • Also, offering linux for PS2 can't hurt.

        Yeah, they don't oppose and even encourage Linux on the PS2. That's important around here.

        Also, they sell (sold? haven't seen one recently) CD-RW drives, DVD-RW drives, MP3 players, etc. even though they are into producing content in a BIG way.

        Their laptops are cool (but pricey) and run Linux pretty well.

        They just seem to "get it". They may be bare knuckled when dealing with competitors and collaborators, but they make/sell and support things that people want

        • "Yeah, they don't oppose and even encourage Linux on the PS2. That's important around here. "

          You mean the $200 Linux kit that doesn't allow you to burn your apps to disc for others to play with? I guess I can give them credit for kissing Slashdot's ass. It's not so interesting when you read the FAQ and realize it's not near as interesting as it could be. Sega had it right with their Dreamcast.

          "Also, they sell (sold? haven't seen one recently) CD-RW drives, DVD-RW drives, MP3 players, etc. even though
          • Okay, find me a Sony brand Digital Camera that supports anything besides Memory Stick.

            You mean like the CD Mavica that writes directly to 8cm CD-R disks? Or were you thinking of the FD Mavica that writes directly to floppies?

            Actually, I agree with your general point that Sony likes using technology that doesn't always interoperate well, going back at least to the days of VHS vs. Beta. I'm not sure, though, that it's necessarily an issue of trying to lock users in. Sony just doesn't seem to get the id

    • If it weren't for the playstation 2 and all those countless hours of enjoyment I recieve from it every night I might suspect Sony of being an Evil Media Company.
    • The basic gist of the complaint is that they are attempting to rebrand Spiderman as a Sony product


      This is hardly a surprise. My HP2 desk calendar mentions Quidditch(tm), Hogwarts(tm), Hagrid(tm), and others, with fine print at the bottom stating that "characters...are trademarks of and (c) Warner Bros."

      Wonder what JKR thinks of all this...
    • Sony _is_ on the slashdot radar because of DRM flak and other things.

      Sony v. Nintendo is a case of evil v. evil. No real love lost either way.

      I knew that Sony made Playstation as a result of the Nintendo CD game system deal falling apart. Because it is almost a cheap romance novel gone amok (i.e. he said, she said), I've never found any clear corroboration as to _why_, just speculation, and I've seen a few theories.
  • more info (Score:2, Informative)

    by ih8apple (607271)
    More info [superherohype.com] that Drudge doesn't mention...
  • Knowles Knows (Score:5, Informative)

    by Malicious (567158) on Thursday April 17, 2003 @04:35PM (#5754266)
    Harry Knowles has explained the scenario [aintitcool.com] pretty well already.

    • Thanks for the link... at least Harry bothered to talk to a real person before conclusion jumping (which should be an Olympic sport these days)

      Spiderman is dead, Long Live Spidey !
  • by gpinzone (531794) on Thursday April 17, 2003 @04:35PM (#5754268) Homepage Journal
    What a waste. I actually read the article first before posting this time. I've learned my lesson.
  • by Jace of Fuse! (72042) on Thursday April 17, 2003 @04:36PM (#5754275) Homepage
    Look, everyone here at Slashdot should realize Sony is a big evil megacorp akin to (or worse than) Microsoft. Sony goes through some really big lawsuits all the time, some of them for doing some really fucked up shit.

    It's not news. It's Sony. So, while I hope Marvel comes out ahead through all this (either by gaining more money, correcting the situation, or taking Spiderman from Sony altogether) I still can't help but wonder what exactly Marvel expected from Sony?

    Contracts? In the hands of an evil entity like Sony, contracts don't mean anything that money can't change.

    Ethics? There is no ethics in business.

    Plain old common sense? HAHAHAHAH

    You know what they say about dancing with the devil....
    • How is Sony more evil than Microsoft? At least when Sony tries to corner a market all to themselves, their product is quality. No rational person will argue that VHS was actually superior to Beta. Are Microsoft operating systems quality? Wait, I don't think I have to wait for an answer to that since we are all on Slashdot. Was IE superior to Netscape prior to the infamous bundling? Nope. As for Sony slapping Nintendo around, Nintendo deserved it. Nintendo was a monopolist that stole Atari's intellec
  • All this copyright crap is backfiring on these corporations. It's ridiculous. By now Spiderman is so commonly known that it would be terribly hard to "damage" the image of Spiderman, even if it was "hijacked" by modern day story tellers. I mean the "proper rights owners" killed superman and none of us bought that bullshit, did we? If copyright lasted only the 12 years or whatever it was supposed to last this wouldn't be a problem. Whoever told the best Spiderman story would be king of the box office, not wh
  • in my next life... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mario (94577)
    ..I'll study law and specialize in copyright issues - I think the chances *not* to have a well-paid job are very low, if I look at the numerous stories about problems, that some companies seem to have in this area :)
  • Why does this remind me of two young kids in the playground, with one whining:

    "It was mine first, give it back!"
    "Nuh uh, you gave it to me!"
    "Did not!"
    "Did too!"
    "Did not!"
    "Did too!"
    ...
  • I want to know how come Peter Parker didn't see this coming with his tingling spider sense?
  • by Chocolate Teapot (639869) on Thursday April 17, 2003 @04:39PM (#5754307) Journal
    ...comes a great army of lawyers.
  • "Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive."
  • by Torinaga-Sama (189890) on Thursday April 17, 2003 @04:43PM (#5754339) Homepage
    So which one is Apple and which one is Microsoft?

    Mr.Lee is very obviously Xerox.

  • 'Spiderman 2' will not be affected by this, the film will be out next May. Merchandising will be affected, and most probably, a lot of those crappy commercials/ads with Spidey in them (cough, verizon) won't appear next year. Marvel will have problems that Sony hasn't paid them fully for merchandising--that part of the case, I believe, will closely mirror the people who used to own Winnie the Poo's suit against Disney (which Disney won).

    To put it briefly, buy your movie-themed Spidey Underoos and Spidey
  • by binaryDigit (557647) on Thursday April 17, 2003 @05:02PM (#5754484)
    As new Minister of Marketing.

    "Those infidels at Sony don't even have the rights to the character at all. If they think they do, it's all in their minds"

    "I feel safe from Sony, so should you"

    "They are going to surrender or burn inside their little rice burners"

    "Sony has never made a Spiderman film! This I tell you!"

    "We will welcome them, with lawyers and taunts!"

    "they are nowhere near completion on the sequel ..they are lost in the Australian desert...they can not read a compass...they are retarded."
  • One megacorporation sues a mega-megacorporation. Boo hoo. In other news, the new Hulk trailer is coming out May 2nd! Now that's some real news!
  • Whether Sony has been trying to take the brand over (either intentionally or not), Marvel's plan probably goes more like this: 1.licence brand out to movie studio 2.big movie made, everyone makes lots of money, more films started. 3.Movie studio invests lots of money to make next movies 4. threaten to attempt to revoke licence (we are here) 5. Movie studio sees investment threatened, gives marvel big wads of cash. 6 (sorry, had to put it) profit!!!
    • 4. threaten to attempt to revoke licence (we are here)

      It is about revenge... Last time they got a % of net - which the $400M gross netted $0 after accounting. Whoops! Bet they want % of gross this time...
  • by Phroggy (441)
    It's actually "Spider-Man", not "Spiderman".

    Somebody who used to work at Marvel said (on a previous Slashdot article) that they take the hyphen very seriously - for an employee to call it "Spiderman" is a terminable offense. Dilution of trademark.
  • by MisterMook (634297) on Thursday April 17, 2003 @05:13PM (#5754574) Homepage
    HEY! I thought Sony was on the verge of destruction thanks to the 47 billion dollars worth of illegal file trading my 11 year old engaged in last week! Now that I know it's just Spiderman I feel much better.
  • I can't find a link at the moment, but last year when this (or a previous) tiff was heating up, Marvel made the case that Sony wasn't paying them for Spidey. The gist of the story was that Sony had agreed to share box office profits with Marvel at some percentage. Then Sony went and declared Spidey a profit-less movie with $400M of revenue, but, with 'creative accounting', no revenue.

    • Studio Math 101 (Score:3, Interesting)

      by John Leeming (160817)
      It's not "creative accounting"...it's called "Studio Math".

      Studios arbitrarily state that a movie must make 3xCost to make a profit; if a movie costs $10million, it must make $30million to break even.

      The expenses are the cost of the production, the cost of advertising/promotion, and the cost of distribution.

      What the public does _not_ know is that promotion is an arbitrary figure, and distribution is a set amount established each year when the NATO Group (National Association of Theatre Owners) say how ma
  • Who cares about 'Spiderman', I'm a much bigger fan of Spider-Man?
  • giant screw up (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BigBir3d (454486) on Thursday April 17, 2003 @06:09PM (#5755040) Journal
    This entire thing has been f'ed up since the beginning. Stan Lee gave away something he shouldn't have. So did Marvel. IMO, both of 'em are getting what they deserved. Bunch of money hungry, no foresight, whiney bitches.

    Stan Lee should have said everything SM related, ever, has my name on it, and I get x%.

    Ditto for Marvel (with Stan's agreement intact).
  • It is "Spider-Man". Calling it anything other than "Spider-Man", i.e. Spiderman or Spider Man (please Marvel don't sue me) is considered dilution of their trademark. They will rigorously attack anyone misusing their trademark - like the makers of "Kleen-ex" failed to do.

    I do believe this dispute started during the early trailers for the movie "Spider-Man". For awhile there the Sony movie website was spiderman.sony.com ... Marvel quickly told them about dilution of trademark and forced them to change the
  • ...that the 'Sony Clie [sonystyle.com]' tries really hard to make you forget that it's a Palm device?

    Sony's got a track record for this, no?
  • by dwheeler (321049) on Thursday April 17, 2003 @06:29PM (#5755172) Homepage Journal
    <PendanticMode> It's "Spider-man", not "Spiderman". There's a hyphen in the name. If you're going to fight over $millions, at least get the name right. </PendanticMode>
  • Hmmmm...... (Score:2, Funny)

    by FaasNat (522755)
    This looks like a job for Superman!
  • MARVEL accuses SONY of literally kidnapping Spidey.

    Unfortunately, in the public's eyes, Spider Man might be a Sony character. I'm guessing, but the movie probably made more money than the last 10 years of Spider Man comic books. Technically, Spider Man belongs to Marvel, but if courtrooms are won by whoever buys the most lawers, then Sony could win this.

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