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Mattel Victorious In Battle For Ownership Of MOTU Characters

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  • Mattel Victorious In Battle For Ownership Of MOTU Characters

    The intellectual property law website "Pirated Thoughts" just posted an article today by Michael Lee, about the battle between Donald Glut and Mattel over the ownership of the iconic 1980’s MOTU characters. As talk of a new movie began a few years ago, Donald Glut began to claim that the characters were not work-for-hire, and that he may have joint ownership with Mattel of some of the characters and settings. On Monday, a federal court in California ruled in Mattel's favor.

    You can read the full article by clicking HERE.

    "We must always value life. Even the life of one who opposes us." ― He-Man

  • #2
    Mattel is a monster.

    Comment


    • D.M.
      D.M. commented
      Editing a comment
      It is, but in this case, Don's a greedy arse.

  • #3
    How much money did Mattel spend to buy the judge ?

    Comment


    • D.M.
      D.M. commented
      Editing a comment
      Why would they? Everything he wrote for Mattel was Mattel's property since day 1.

    • Widukind
      Widukind commented
      Editing a comment
      If he went to court (risking to lose money), I guess the story must be a bit more complex than that, you know...

  • #4
    I wonder what kind of agreement Glut had signed before creating those characters!

    Comment


    • D.M.
      D.M. commented
      Editing a comment
      Freelance.

  • #5
    Somewhat interesting, but Glut looks like he didn't cover his bases - or was just trying to get some extra cash. I have to say though, if I ever had to do business with Mattel - I would be reading everything 10 times, making copies, taking pictures, maybe even recordings. They don't seem to play nice when it comes to intellectual property, or ANYTHING cutting into their profits.
    “Anything is a dildo, if you're brave enough"
    Thomas Jefferson

    Always looking to trade MOTUC to complete my collection.

    Comment


    • #6
      "Remember that my work was simply done as a "work for hire." I did it fast and turned it in. Not much thought or time went into any of it." -- Donald F. Glut

      It is no secret that Donald F. Glut was hired by Mattel as a "work-for-hire" on the Masters of the Universe toy line when it was first being developed. He even admits to this himself in an interview from 2001. The prototypes were all created by designers at Mattel, and were shown to him to work from for the mini-comics. He didn't create those characters, even though he claims he named a few of them (he has trouble remembering which ones he named in the interview). He states that he created Teela for the mini-comic before her actual figure was made, and that he took the name from a kids show that had featured a bull elephant named Teela. Glut also states that he came up with the name "Castle Grayskull" for the mini-comics after he saw pictures of the prototype castle (the castle was designed by Mark Taylor.)

      Anyone interested in reading his interview about his work on MOTU can check it out HERE
      "We must always value life. Even the life of one who opposes us." ― He-Man

      Comment


      • #7
        It's an interesting case, because in some respect, his work-for-hire agreement could have simply covered the original 1980's line, and his work on the original comics, and not the further exploitation of those characters in movies and such over the last thirty odd years. Just like many musicians and filmmakers have stated how their original contracts for their work does not cover their work's further exploitation in the digital age, Glut could have been thinking along these lines, that his work-for-hire agreement covered only a certain time frame or type of media. Several musicians and filmmakers have won in their own court cases and requests, against record labels and movie companies, so Glut may have had a chance if he took it to court... if he hadn't done that 2001 interview that is.

        I work freelance so these types of things are of concern to me. I've been involved in tons of situations where companies could exploit the content I've created for them, because of our contract, they own it. But that is part of the game - and Glut wasn't so naive then to think otherwise, so it's not like he didn't know Mattel would own everything he did on the MOTU project. Mattel has mentioned a lot in the past how they don't have a lot of the 80's records and contracts anymore- I'm sure someone saw that as an opportunity to try to fleece Mattel for money for more bikini dinosaur movies.

        But Mattel sued him first, which to me, says they thought he might have had a legitimate chance, interview or not. And that's another point here- many people are misinterpreting it as if Glut was actually suing for ownership and he sued Mattel. No. Mattel sued him. And it continues a pattern of corporate-owned superheroes becoming billion dollar industries, and the people who created them getting shit on. Contracts or not, there's right and wrong. You'd think that giving the people who made these things up a little credit and a slice of the giant, giant pie would be on some of these people's agendas, but you know, someone needs to send their undeserving kid to Yale, and someone else needs a fourth yacht. MOTU is a little different than the comic superheroes, as it is a wholly corporate creation and has no one "father" so to speak, it's a combination of many different people's ideas, but that doesn't mean we need to shit on the original creators of it.
        “What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist."― Salman Rushdie

        Comment


        • #8
          Originally posted by _RZ_ View Post
          But Mattel sued him first, which to me, says they thought he might have had a legitimate chance, interview or not. And that's another point here- many people are misinterpreting it as if Glut was actually suing for ownership and he sued Mattel. No. Mattel sued him. And it continues a pattern of corporate-owned superheroes becoming billion dollar industries, and the people who created them getting **** on. Contracts or not, there's right and wrong. You'd think that giving the people who made these things up a little credit and a slice of the giant, giant pie would be on some of these people's agendas, but you know, someone needs to send their undeserving kid to Yale, and someone else needs a fourth yacht. MOTU is a little different than the comic superheroes, as it is a wholly corporate creation and has no one "father" so to speak, it's a combination of many different people's ideas, but that doesn't mean we need to **** on the original creators of it.
          The lawsuit was filed by Mattel last June, in response to Donald Glut’s public assertions that he created the Masters of the Universe characters and was entitled to copyright ownership of them. Glut emerged with his ownership claim during development of the new feature film, claiming that he had licensed the work to Mattel and that the license would expire in 2016. He essentially set a 2016 deadline for them to pay up, which resulted in him getting sued.

          Some more information on the case can be found this week at The Hollywood Reporter.
          "We must always value life. Even the life of one who opposes us." ― He-Man

          Comment


          • #9
            Seems similar to what Larry Hama did for the GI Joe franchise as he did the bios, wrote the comic and eventually assisting with the cartoon. But he was brought in to develop character and I'm not too sure if he had any hand in creating or designing the toys (with the exception of some characters like Kwinn and maybe a few other characters). But I think Hasbro did their thing and took care of him for what he has contributed to their franchise.

            Comment


            • GREP-A-TOR
              GREP-A-TOR commented
              Editing a comment
              Larry gets treated like royalty. I remember when someone mentioned that Larry did not get an invite to the GI JOE premier, fans went bananas. Everything turned out for the best. It does help that Mr. Hama is a genuinely nice person, an actual fan of GI JOE and understands fandom.

            • GarrettCRW
              GarrettCRW commented
              Editing a comment
              Larry Hama had absolutely *nothing* to do with the Sunbow show. Ron Friedman generally threw out a great deal of the bios he got from Hasbro, and Steve Gerber and co. made even further changes from what Friedman did for MASS and Revenge of Cobra (as well as heavily revising Pyramid of Darkness). The antipathy between Hama and the Sunbow staff was enough that the character of Falkhama on The Visionaries was named after Hama, and the christening was *not* a compliment.

          • #10
            This just reinforces the fact that Mattel will sieze any opportunity to get money, even if it means ruining other people's lives in the process. That's why Neitlich is cherished so much by the company... he's the living embodiment of the kind of company Mattel really is.

            Comment


            • #11
              Don Glut saw dollar signs, and that's why he started making those claims, and that's why he lost. The man has long disowned his toy-related work, which includes a number of episodes of G.I. Joe and The Transformers (essentially creating the personalities for the five Dinobots along the way, though it must be admitted that it wasn't his idea to make them into comic relief characters).
              Webmaster of The Cartoon Review Website!
              http://www.cartoonreviewsite.com

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