Entertainment & Arts

Ghost Rider copyright legal battle reaches settlement

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance film still
Image caption There have been two films featuring Nicolas Cage as Ghost Rider. The 3D sequel Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance was released in 2012

Marvel comics has reached a settlement with a writer over the rights to the Ghost Rider character.

Gary Friedrich started legal action in 2007 over ownership of the motorcycle-riding superhero with a flaming skull.

He had demanded a share of the box office from the 2007 film version starring Nicolas Cage.

A court filing at the US District Court in Manhattan said both sides had now "amicably agreed to resolve all claims".

Ghost Rider first appeared in a comic in 1972, which stated the character had been conceived and written by Gary Friedrich.

It told the story of Johnny Blaze, a motorcycle stunt rider who promised his soul to the devil to save his adoptive father from cancer.

He quickly became one of Marvel's most popular comic book heroes.

In 2007, Friedrich launched a legal bid saying he was due a share of the box office takings from the film version.

He sought compensation for the character's use in films, toys, video games and other merchandise.

While acknowledging that Friedrich contributed his ideas, Marvel said the Ghost Rider characters and story were created through a collaborative process with Marvel personnel and resources, and that they owned the rights.

In 2011, Manhattan federal court judge Katherine Forrest ruled that Friedrich relinquished his rights to the character to Marvel in 1978.

But an appeal court overturned this verdict in June, ruling that the contracts he had signed were "ambiguous" and a new trial was ordered.

No further details have so far been given about the terms of the settlement.

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