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Ghost Rider suit reinstated

by The Associated Press on June 12, 2013 10:40 AM

NEW YORK — A lawsuit against comic book publisher Marvel Entertainment by a man who claims he owns the rights to the Ghost Rider character was reinstated on Tuesday.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a 2011 lower-court decision that dismissed the lawsuit brought by Gary Friedrich, who had sued in 2007, claiming he was owed a cut of the box office proceeds from a film version starring Nicolas Cage.

The comic features a motorcycle-riding character with a flaming skull named Johnny Blaze, who agreed to let the devil have his soul in return for his adoptive father being cured of cancer. The cover of its 1972 debut says it was conceived and written by Friedrich.

The lower court found that Friedrich relinquished his rights in a 1979 agreement with Marvel. But the appeals court on Tuesday found that the contract language was open to dispute.

“There are genuine disputes of material fact regarding the parties’ intent to assign renewal rights in that agreement, the timeliness of Friedrich’s ownership claim, and the authorship of the work,” the court said in sending the case back for trial.

An email sent Tuesday to a representative for Marvel Entertainment LLC seeking comment did not immediately get a response.

Friedrich’s attorney, Charles Kramer, said, “We’re going to aggressively and vigorously pursue the case.” He said a court date had been set for later this month to determine when a trial would take place.

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NEW YORK — Ringo Starr is turning an old Beatles favorite into a children’s book.

The drummer has a deal with Simon & Schuster’s Children Books for “Octopus’ Garden,” based on one of the few songs the drummer wrote and sang while with The Beatles. The publisher announced Tuesday that the book will come out in Britain this fall and in the U.S. in early 2014. The book will be illustrated by Ben Cort, whose credits include “Aliens Love Underpants.”

Starr, who turns 73 next month, first wrote the song while on Peter Sellers’ yacht in 1968. Starr and Sellers co-starred in the film “The Magic Christian.”

“Octopus’ Garden” first appeared on The Beatles’ “Abbey Road” album, released in 1969.

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LAS VEGAS — Donald Trump’s Miss USA pageant will be judged by experts in cooking, fashion and looking hot.

Pageant officials announced this week that Betsey Johnson, the over-the-top fashion designer, and Bob Harper, star of the weight-loss reality show “The Biggest Loser,” will be among the celebrity judges at the 62nd annual pageant on June 16 in Las Vegas.

Cooking channel host and panelist on NPR’s ‘Wait Wait ... Don’t Tell Me!” Mo Rocca also will help name the next Miss USA.

The winner goes on to compete in the Miss Universe pageant.

Real housewife NeNe Leakes, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and “Duck Dynasty” personality Jessica Robertson round out the judging panel.

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Superintendent’s degree questioned
June 12, 2013 10:30 AM
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