Radical lawsuit hits comic book powerhouse

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Radical lawsuit hits comic book powerhouse

Wed Jul 22, 2009 @ 06:10PM PST

By Eriq Gardner

Hercules In the comic book world, there are heroes and evil-doers. In the real world, it's sometimes hard to tell the difference.

Just in time for Comic-Con comes allegations that Radical Comics owner Blatant Entertainment, the company behind characters including Hercules, Caliber, Ryder of the Storm and Assassins, has performed less than heroically for one of its co-founders.

David Elliott has filed a lawsuit against Blatant (which also owns the film arm Radical Pictures) and shareholders Barry Levine, Jesse Berger and Matthew Berger in California Superior Court. Elliott says he's the co-founder, co-publisher, and former editor-in-chief of the company and its various publishing efforts, and that it terminated him in April. Elliott alleges that Blatant hasn't given him his full salary, failed to properly credit him on several projects including Hercules and Aladdin, and is exploiting properties without consideration where Elliott owns a portion of the copyrights.

One thing we find interesting about this complaint is the following allegation: 

"Blatant's management failed to have any of its employees sign work-for-hire agreements and/or assignments of copyrights, thereby clouding title to all of Blatant's projects, and making it impossible for Blatant to provide proper chain of title documents and guarantees to investors, production companies, studios, and insurers, to the detriment of its shareholders."

True? Blatant declined to comment on the lawsuit. Perhaps chain-of-title-- and this lawsuit--will make for good discussion at Comic-Con.

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to [email protected]

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