Stan Lee Files Lawsuit Against Pow! Entertainment, Seeks US$1 Billlion in Damages
posted on by Jennifer Sherman
Stan Lee has filed a lawsuit against Pow! Entertainment and its executives Gill Champion and Shane Duffy, and he is seeking US$1 billion in damages. The lawsuit alleges that the company forged or fraudulently obtained exclusive rights to Lee's name, image, and likeness. According to the suit, Lee grants non-exclusive rights to his name, and he would not have intentionally signed away exclusive rights.
The suit states that Pow! Entertainment took control of Lee's Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts without permission. However, Lee's Twitter account posted on May 12, "Today was the first day I ever did a tweet myself. Before today, my account was done by others. I still do not have control of my Facebook. Someone else is doing it, NOT me." Lee also said on Twitter on Tuesday, "Help! Someone has hijacked my Facebook and Instagram. I want everyone to know whoever is writing them is a fraud and is impersonating me. How do I get them back? Can you guys help?"
Hong Kong-based company Camsing International Holding acquired Pow! Entertainment's assets last year. After the sale, Camsing's Duffy became the company's CEO, and Pow! Entertainment executive Champion became its president. Lee alleges in the suit that he did not agree to the sale to Camsing and notes that Pow! Entertainment shareholders are now suing him due to the deal.
The companies did not disclose how much the acquisition was valued at. The acquisition has led to Camsing acquiring the rights to all of the television shows, games, animation, and comics intellectual property under Pow! Entertainment. Lee stayed on as chief creative officer, and Camsing did not expect the acquisition to have a large effect on day-to-day management and production at the time of the sale.
Vivian Lo, chairman and CEO of Camsing, had stated that the company wants to "develop another ‘Marvel’ in the Asian market."
Lee founded Pow! Entertainment alongside Champion and Arthur Lieberman in 2001. The company has collaborated with Japanese and American publishers, as well as anime studios to produce content. It has collaborated with Shueisha and Viz Media to produce Hiroyuki Takei's Ultimo manga that ended in 2015. It collaborated with Bones and Wowmax Media to develop the Heroman anime and manga in 2010. Recently, it collaborated with Studio DEEN to develop The Reflection anime project, which premiered last summer and Crunchyroll is streaming.
Camsing has offices in Singapore, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Los Angeles, and has worked with PepsiCo, the China Construction Bank, Procter & Gamble, Nokia, the NBA, Visa, Blizzard, Disney, Hasbro, and Warner Bros., among others. The company has worked on such properties as Kung Fu Panda, Transformers, Star Wars, World of Warcraft, and Shaun the Sheep. It has interests in the oil and insurance industries in Chinese-speaking countries.
Source: ICv2 (Milton Griepp)