The MCU is rocking back into action with projects such as Shang-Chi, Eternals and Spider-Man: No Way Home. However, the dominance of the Marvel universe has been threatened across more than just film, but comics and merchandise as well.
In a report by The Hollywood Reporter, it was revealed that the Estate of Steve Ditko is attempting to gain control of popular Marvel IP. The estate of the late comic book artist filed a notice of termination. If successful, this would strip away Marvel's rights to use character’s such as Spider-Man, Iron Man and more.
Marvel sues the Ditko Estate
Last Friday, Marvel officially began the lawsuit to retain control to popular comic book characters. Those characters include: Iron Man, Spider-Man, Dr. Strange, Ant-Man, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Falcon, Thor and more.
The company is facing litigation from more than just the Ditko Estate. Other comic book creators such as Larry Lieber are also attempting to gain rights to their created characters. However, none of these lawsuits would leave Marvel with nothing.
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What happens if they lose?
If the lawsuit is lost, Marvel will lose full ownership of the aforementioned cast of characters. Disney wouldn't lose access to any of the characters. However, the company would have to enter a shared ownership of characters.
Joint ownership of copyright would create some complexities with Disney's usage of characters. Giving third-party companies the right to, say, make merch of a character would require certain agreements. As far as the MCU goes, nothing would really change, other than some money going to the characters’ creators.
Of course, it's unlikely that Disney will lose the lawsuit. Disney has often fought to manipulate and change copyright law. It's not impossible for The House of Mouse to do the same with comic book characters.
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