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Ken Penders' Case Against Sega Dismissed… For Now

ken_penders_sonicArchie Comics settled with Ken Penders over the rights to a number of characters he created for the Sonic The Hedgehog and Knuckles comic book series, that then went on to appear in games from Sega and Electronic Arts.

It doesn't seem to have gone quite as well.

The Ninth Circuit on Wednesday refused to revive a copyright lawsuit against Sega of America Inc. and Electronic Arts Inc. from an artist who penned "Sonic the Hedgehog" comic books for more than a decade, affirming the dismissal of the case in favor of a related suit in New York.

The appeals court said U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright correctly applied the "first to file" rule last year when he dismissed Kenneth Penders' lawsuit, which claimed Sega and EA lifted characters, plot points, themes and other creative elements from his Sonic comics for a new game released in 2008.

Penders had argued on appeal that the case should have been stayed, rather than Judge Wright's dismissal without prejudice, because even a ruling that later allowed him to refile his claims would have the effect of placing most of the game's big profits outside of the three-year statute of limitations for copyright claims.

On Wednesday, the court didn't buy that argument, saying Penders hadn't made his concerns about losing out on possible damages sufficiently known to Judge Wright when the case was tossed.

There's still more to come though. Could the next step be the US Supreme Court?

You can listen to the court case right here.


Penders continues to create The Lara-Su Chronicles: New World Order with the characters he created for Archie.


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Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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