The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has rendered a final verdict in the Gaiman vs. McFarlane case, finding once again in Gaiman's favor. The Court of Appeals ruling affirms the verdict in the original jury trial held in Madison, Wisconsin (see 'Gaiman Keeps Share of Spawn Characters'), as well as the 'Second Amended Judgment' handed down by Judge John C. Shabaz (see 'Gaiman Wins Again). It now appears that this rather protracted legal proceeding is finally over.
Writing on his Website, Gaiman saw the decision as '...an important judgment for protecting creators from rapacious or crooked publishers, in that it clarifies what a copyright notice is there for, and what a copyright form is there for. A publisher can't (as Todd did) file a form with the copyright office three years after something has been published, claiming to have written something that was written by someone else and thus start the statute of limitations running for copyright purposes.' McFarlane's lawyers had argued that since Gaiman did not contest McFarlane's 'stealth' copyright filings during the 3-year statute of limitations period, they were valid -- a notion the court rejected definitively, 'Authors don't consult the records of the Copyright Office to se whether someone has asserted copyright in their works.'
Gaiman reaffirmed that. '...any money successfully extracted from McFarlane on this nonsense and left over from legal bills goes straight to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.' The only question left somewhat up in the air is the fate of the Miracleman property, which Gaiman also addressed on his site, stating. 'It's still full steam ahead now for the Miracleman plans.' Stay tuned for more details.