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Marvel Sues Buena vista Over Spider-Man Image Use

9 May, 2002 By: Holly J. Wagner

Marvel Comics has sued Buena Vista Home Entertainment to stop the company from using unauthorized images of Spider-Man in ads for videos of the animated cartoon series released last month.

Buena Vista has used the image of a slinking Spidey clinging to a building in newspaper ads to promote the videos, but Marvel contends in the lawsuit, filed in New York, that the image is licensed to Activision, which makes a Spider-Man video game.

The comic giant is seeking a court order that would force Buena Vista to retrieve all of the images -- including advertising materials and posters already distributed to retailers – and destroy them. The complaint also seeks unspecified money damages.

Buena Vista denied wrongdoing but released a statement saying it would recover and destroy the offending materials “in deference to our relationship with Marvel.”

“Buena Vista Home Entertainment absolutely respects and observes copyright ownership. Here, however, BVHE did not violate anyone's right s and the plaintiff's request is meritless and unnecessary,” said a BVHE statement. “Marvel does not contest BVHE's rights to market the Spiderman home video cartoons…and Buena Vista is licensed to use Spiderman images to promote those videos.”

Although Marvel acknowledged Buena Vista has agreed to make “a good faith effort to remove all point-of-sale materials to which Marvel voiced objection prior to the lawsuit,” a spokesperson told the Associated Press that many Toys ‘R' Us and Wal-Mart stores are still displaying the posters.

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