The Lawsuit Saga!

As most of you know, this web site was generally started by the lawsuit DeCarlo filled against Archies comics during the making of the 'Josie' movie in 2000.

What follows is a brief description of the suit and how it turned out.

In June 2000, DeCarlo had filed a suit against Archies, seeking creator credit, accounting of 30 years work of comic book royalties and 50% of the profits from 'Josie' merchandise. This suit came on the heals of Archies signing the 'Josie' movie rights to Universal Studios. Soon after the suit was filed, Archies fired DeCarlo after over 40 years of employment and countersued to cover their legal fees.

Later, Archies issued a statement to Comic Buyers Guide saying in part that they "ultimately found they (Archie's management) and their employees, could not stomach having Dan, in their words, 'sneaking' around Archies' Comics offices." Soon after THIS, the pages of CBG and the comic industry itself began to complain about the company's actions.

Just about everything between Archies Comics, DeCarlo/Josie fans and comic professionals almost went to a head at the 2000 San Diego Comic Con. Archies had long ago made plans to be there as well as DeCarlo. By now, however, the mood had changed. After several months of fans and pro criticisms, Archies backed out four days before the show. There were even a wildly distributed flyer that was protesting Archies and listed both their snail and E mail addresses, as well the 800 number to Wal-Mart as, as according to the flyer, Archies was making a large profit from the sale of the mini-book/comics sold at Wal-Mart cashier counters.

In January, a federal judge dismissed DeCarlo's and, therefore, Archies' case. The judge's decision to dismiss DeCarlo's case was based on a legal term known as 'estoppel'. Basically, by falling to act in this case after such a long time, DeCarlo was ceding his rights to his characters. Also, as pointed out by the judge, he failed to act during the three-year window of allowed for legal action under the 1976 federal copyright law.

Asked why he took so long for action, DeCarlo replied that at that time, he received wrong advice. After a blow-up with Archies over the cartoon show, DeCarlo went to Cartoonists Association and complained, but was told if he took action, he'll be blacklisted by the company and, possibly, the rest of the industry. "I followed the wrong advise, and if I hadn't, I probably would have won this time." said DeCarlo in a Phoenix New Times article.

In a RARE public statement, Archie Comics chairman Michael Silberkleit remarked, "it's news to me that they're appealing, but all I can say is it's a shame that after 40 years, a guy decides to sue us." It should be noted that after the case was thrown out, Silberkleit offered DeCarlo a "peace deal" that included a voucher they wanted DeCarlo to sign stating that he didn't create Sabrina and Cheryl Blossom. DeCarlo declined.

LAWSUIT UPDATE (as of 3/04/05):
According to Comics Journal #254 (July 2003), Dan DeCarlo's lawsuit against Archies Comics to reclaim 'Josie & The Pussycats', 'Sabrina' and 'Cheryl Blossom' has come to a posthumous end. DeCarlo had died in December 2001, but his estate had taken up his lawsuit from April 2, 2000.

After losing the first case and their first appeal, DeCarlo's lawyer, Whitney Seymour, tried another appeal based on new evidence, DeCarlo's handwritten copy of a back-of-check endorsement assigning ownership of copyrights to Archies in 1970.

This appeal was dismissed. "The executrix of the DeCarlo Estate is DeCarlo's widow, Josette DeCarlo," according to the Journal, "which means that the new ruling in effect enjoins Josie from making any further claim on the rights of 'Josie'."
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Name: Don Fields
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