Gaiman v. McFarlane 2010: Post-Hearing Briefs in Brief

Monday, July 12, 2010

[This is part of my running report on the 2010 hearing on the Neil Gaiman v. Todd McFarlane case. To see coverage from the beginning, click here.]

Part Twenty-Three Following the June 14 evidentiary hearing, attorneys for Neil Gaiman and Todd McFarlane filed post-hearing briefs running more than a dozen pages each in support of their respective positions. In the words of the McFarlane attorneys, "The issue this Court is being asked to decide is whether Neil Gaiman is entitled to a share of profits attributable to characters known as Dark Ages Spawn, Tiffany and Domina. ... In the accounting process, there is no dispute that Mr. Gaiman is entitled to a share of profits from the comics in which the characters Medieval Spawn or Angela appeared or from derivative uses of those characters, such as action figures created of those characters. Mr. Gaiman now argues that he is entitled to a share of profits from other characters ... Mr. Gaiman's theory is that these other characters - Dark Ages Spawn, Tiffany and Domina - are derivative of the co-owned characters." In the words of the Gaiman attorneys, "The visual and literary similarities between the characters are far too striking to be brushed off as coincidences or merely similar 'ideas.' Under the law, a character is derivative if it would be an infringement when used by an unauthorized party. ... There can be no question that if anyone else had created comics using Tiffany, Domina, or Dark Ages Spawn, the McFarlane Defendants would have sued them for infringement of their copyrights in the Angela and Medieval Spawn characters, and won."

Each group of attorneys detailed the arguments for their side, citing testimony given during the June 14 hearing. Tomorrow, presumably before Judge Crabb announces her decision, I'll cite the lessons I have learned from all this. Then, we'll wait for the decision.



Antiqueight July 12, 2010 at 6:43 PM  

Thanks for posting all this - it has been most informative and interesting to follow.

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