Dark Tower Didn't Ripp Off Time-Traveling Comic

Posted: March 4, 2019, 18:34
Judge Schlesinger confirms what the rest of us have known all along.

A Florida federal judge on Friday dismissed a suit claiming Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower” ripped off the time-traveling comic book series “The Rook,” ruling that the protected elements of the two works are dissimilar and that no reasonable jury could conclude King infringed the comic's copyrights.

U.S. District Judge Harvey Schlesinger granted summary judgment in favor of King after finding that even though the two series feature adventure-seeking protagonists who don Western garb and engage in time travel, they are far more different in substance.

The judge said the plaintiff, the nephew of now-deceased comic book writer William B. DuBay, “analyzes the characters at such a high level of abstraction and generality that it does not truly reflect the characters or their shared traits.”

DuBay’s nephew, Benjamin DuBay, claims in his suit launched in March 2017 that King’s eight-book fantasy series “The Dark Tower” featuring protagonist Roland Deschain infringes the copyrights to "The Rook," which features a hero called Restin Dane. Since the character first appeared in Warren Publishing Co.’s horror comic book magazine in 1977, more than 5 million copies of magazines that follow the character The Rook have been published in five different languages, according to the suit.

DuBay claims King was a “super fan” of William DuBay and admitted to copying his character in his memoir, “On Writing.” Since then, King has made more than $500 million off his Deschain character and “The Dark Tower” series, which he published between 1998 and 2004, according to the complaint.

But Judge Schlesinger said that while Roland Deschain and Restin Dane are both adventurers, they have little else in common.

Thanks to Herbert West