Penders Counsel Asks Court to Ban Knuckles Archives #4 Sale, Related Material in Dispute

Penders Counsel Asks Court to Ban Knuckles Archives #4 Sale, Related Material in Dispute

by April 19, 2013

Evidence Documents “issues and concerns” with Sega

Laywers representing former Sonic comic writer Ken Penders in the ongoing legal dispute with Archie Comics have petitioned the judge in the case to allow an injunction that would “prevent Archie Comic Publications, Inc. [….] from releasing, distributing and selling Knuckles Archives Volume 4 [….] and any other works which Mr. Penders created, which he is the copyright owner of, and which are the subject ofthe Case,” according to public records obtained by TSSZ this morning.

The move comes amid what appear to be broken down settlement talks we first told you about in December.  Back then, terms of settlement appeared to have been agreed upon.  That no longer looks to be the case, and with still legally valid copyrights in tow, Penders’s attorneys now want the court to halt any sales of materials in dispute.  You may remember that we reported Diamond Comics at least temporarily halted distribution of Knuckles Archives #3 last year due to this dispute.

“Mr. Penders is compelled to move for relief, seeking to enjoin the release and distribution of the Knuckles Archive Vol.4 both online and in”real space” stores and wishes to also enjoin ACP from releasing, distributing or otherwise selling his work, which is the subject of this litigation,” the letter says in part.  “A major concern of Mr. Penders is ACP’s continuing failure to properly credit Mr. Penders for his work. If the Knuckles Archives Vol.4 is released, Mr. Penders will suffer irreparable harm beyond financial consequences.”

Judge Richard Berman has given attorneys for Archie Comics until Tuesday at noon to respond.  It does not appear a decision has been made as a result of this petition.  Berman has also encouraged both parties “to continue to pursue settlement,” according to his endorsement.

Here’s the interesting part of the petition: Included as evidence and on the public record is an exchange between attorneys on both sides, which is usually subject to attorney-client privilege .  It details Penders attorney Phil Daman asking Archie attorney Joshua Paul whether Penders “is pperly [sic] credited for his work which ACP is reprinting.”  After a response from Paul, Daman asks “if the mediation is to focus on issues and concerns you [Archie] have re: SEGA or simply the schedule.”

Though it is not the first time we have seen the Sega name pop up among the proceedings–you may remember concerns about Sega renewing the Sonic licensing deal with Archie comics that has since been assuaged–it does play into some fan concerns that Sega is taking a more direct role overseeing the comic’s content in light of this litigation.

Should the injunction go through and be granted, the impact on sales and distribution for past Sonic comics, at least in the short term, would be profound.  We will continue to monitor developments.