Stan Lee Media Seeks Billions From Disney for Marvel Characters

Defunct Internet company claims copyrights to Lee's creations

October 10, 2012 2:40 PM ET
Stan Lee
Stan Lee
Jason Merritt/Getty Images

A shuttered Internet company co-founded by Stan Lee has hit Disney with a multi-billion dollar lawsuit over Marvel characters created by Lee, the Los Angeles Times reports. Stan Lee Media, which sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2000, filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in Colorado, claiming a 1998 contract assigns them the rights to Lee's creations, including Spider-Man, the X-Men and most of the Avengers team. Lee is no longer involved with the company. The suit targets many of Marvel and parent company Disney's recent box office successes, including Iron Man 2, Thor and The Avengers, as well as the licensed X-Men: First Class and The Amazing Spider-Man.

"The true facts are that Stan Lee Media Inc. owns the copyrights to Stan Lee's creations," reads the lawsuit. "Accordingly, Stan Lee Media Inc. is entitled to the billions of dollars of profits that have been kept by Defendant Disney."

Documents state that Lee signed a contract on October 15th, 1998, assigning his past, current and future creations to Stan Lee Media. But two weeks later, Lee signed another contract with Marvel assigning them the same rights. Stan Lee Media claims their rights take precedence over Marvel's contract, and that Disney never publicly recorded Marvel's contract with Lee with the U.S. Copyright Office. Disney bought Marvel at the end of 2009.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Movies Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.