Marvel’s Black Panther took the world by storm in 2018. It featured a star-studded cast led by Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Letitia Wright, Daniel Kaluuya, and Angela Bassett, amongst others. The movie was heavily-marketed with the cast and crew attending press runs several times a week. Disney’s marketing muscle allowed the movie to the promoted on Disney-related networks like ABC and ESPN. Black Panther delivered too, with about $1.3 billion in gross revenue, making it one of the top-10 grossing films in history and the top grossing film by a Black director.

Black Panther could make history again. Marvel and Black Panther were recently hit by a copyright infringement lawsuit from Ralph W. Baker, Jr., author Shock Exchange: How Inner-City Kids From Brooklyn Predicted the Great Recession and the Pain Ahead. The lawsuit, Baker v. Coates et al, was filed September 19th in the New York Southern District Court. Over the weekend Mr. Baker held Trump And The GE: Ta-Nehisi Coates Gets Hit With Copyright Infringement Lawsuit where he described how Marvel and Black Panther could be collateral damage. At the 41:00 mark of the following video, Baker describes the lawsuit pursuant to Disney, Marvel and Black Panther:

Now we get to Disney … this is where it gets a little more complicated ’cause you have two comic books and a movie, and two movies really … two comic books and two movies. I’m asking for the copyright for all the comic books – the Black Panther comic book and the Captain America comic book. I’m asking for the copyright for Black Panther … the first Black Panther that was put out in 2018. I’m asking for statutory damages as well. They made over a billion dollars … billions of dollars. They made billions of dollars on the Black Panther movie. That doesn’t include the accessories … The theaters made money as well …

I deserve to be compensated. You just can’t take my book and re-write and say its yours. Disney wouldn’t allow this. Disney would not allow you to copy Mickey Mouse and all of his features – how he sounds, how he looks, how he moves, his mannerisms, and his voice and you then you make billions of dollars off it and say, “I never heard of Disney.” They wouldn’t allow it. It wouldn’t be allowed in this country.

The case is still early. Baker v. Coates et al has been assigned to a judge. Shock Exchange understands that all of the defendants have been served with legal papers. This is shaping up as David v. Goliath. Shock Exchange could be in for the fight of his life. For now, the public does not appear to be aware of the lawsuit or its implications. At the end of the day, Shock Exchange: How Inner-City Kids From Brooklyn Predicted the Great Recession and the Pain Ahead is shaping up to be the Book of Eli.


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