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Judge rules Dark Ages Spawn, Domina and Tiffany are derivative characters

A federal judge has dealt another blow to Todd McFarlane in his long-running copyright dispute with Neil Gaiman, ruling that the characters Dark Ages Spawn, Domina and Tiffany are mere derivatives of their earlier creations.

In a decision filed Friday, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb declared that the three characters are simply variations of Medieval Spawn and Angela, co-created by Gaiman in 1993 for McFarlane's Spawn series. Therefore, McFarlane has until Sept. 1 to provide Gaiman with an accounting of money earned from Dark Ages Spawn, Domina and Tiffany. As co-owner of the copyrights, Gaiman is entitled to one-half of the profits.

McFarlane's attorneys had argued the three characters were based on the Spawn universe, and not on earlier creations. Gaiman, and ultimately the judge, disagreed.

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The best part of the ruling is the judge saying, "Y'know, if you wanted to make a historical Hellspawn, there were so many ways you could have done it -- a Portugese explorer, a companion to Odysseus, an American Indian warrior, an aristocrat in the Qing dynasty..." Someone get that judge a title at Image.

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Knowing more than MacFarlane about most things isn't difficult. He's often referred to by creators and fans alike as "the most successful mentally-challenged person in the industry." Which combines with that tendency of those who know the least to talk the most and the loudest to form a double-barrelled shotgun blast of chronic public douchebaggery that spans three decades.

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The best part of the ruling is the judge saying, "Y'know, if you wanted to make a historical Hellspawn, there were so many ways you could have done it -- a Portugese explorer, a companion to Odysseus, an American Indian warrior, an aristocrat in the Qing dynasty..." Someone get that judge a title at Image.

I agree, this judge seems very cool; I'd love to read her whole verdict now, possibly as a comic!

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