'He-Man' Comic Book Author Sues Mattel Over Franchise Rights
: Outsiders - 2013.06.28
Mattel is trying to keep the power of Greyskull to themselves and any piece of the franchise from writer Donald Glut. Glut, a writer and toy-maker for television and comic books has filed a lawsuit in California federal court that seeks a declaration of its rights. He is claiming that he created the characters and is entitled to copyright ownership. Mattel says that Glut worked for them over three decades ago and his contributions fall under the work-for-hire doctrine. If Mattel can prove this was a work-for-hire, under copyright law, that would mean that the company is deemed to be the author. Glut can try and prove that his ownership was licensed to Mattel, which would mean that it's subject to termination in 2016.
Within the lawsuit, it states that 'Mattel, around 1980, tasked its design department with creating a new boys property and settled on a concept of a muscle-bound hero who has the power to travel through various time periods.'
Mattel says Glut did work as "one of the independent contractors" with instruction by the company on "certain key elements." Glut has come forward to say that he created the backstory for He-Man and other characters and is credited in 1981 for writing four mini-comics, "He-Man and the Power Sword," "The Vengeance of Skeletor," "Battle in the Clouds," and "King of Castle Grayskull."
In 2001, Glut gave an interview with him saying that he was only paid "flat-rate work-for-hire fees." The interview with Glut continues, "My work on 'Masters of the Universe' taught me one basic lesson: Don't create anything original, especially concepts that someone else will make millions of dollars from, unless you have a percentage of the profits or part ownership. It's a lesson I've managed to stick to since my days with He-Man and the gang."
Read the lawsuit here.
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