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Disney Defeats Lawsuit Over Stan Lee Comic Book Franchises -- Again THR

A Colorado judge dealt another blow to Stan Lee Media, the company the comic book legend founded in the mid-1990s, which lost its franchises including Fantastic Four, X-Men and Spider-Man after emerging from bankruptcy a decade ago.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Stan Lee Media “has attempted to hold various parties responsible for that fate,” including Lee himself, Marvel, and “last but not least, Disney.”

“Last October, SLM filed a billion dollar lawsuit that alleged Disney had committed copyright infringement on Lee's famous comic characters, ‘based upon Disney's independently actionable conduct which occurred after April 2009,’" the story says.

The article adds: “Even though SLM argued that this case was different than what came before, U.S. District Judge William Martinez disagrees."

In a ruling Thursday, the judge wrote: "Plaintiff has tried time and again to claim ownership of those copyrights; the litigation history arising out of the 1998 Agreement stretches over more than a decade and at least six courts. Taking its cue from the Southern District of New York and the Central District of California, this Court holds that Plaintiff is precluded from re-litigating the issue of its ownership of copyrights based on the 1998 Agreement."

The judge added that SLM can't make a claim of copyright infringement, because such a claim first requires “ownership of a valid copyright," the story adds.

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