Don Diego faces the greatest challenge of his life as he fights for justice against numerous unscrupulous – and well-armed – tyrants! It is the birth of the most famous masked hero. Zorro will also have a clever and courageous leading lady by his side: Ines, his twin sister. With her and Bernardo, his faithful friend, Zorro returns to save us when we need him most.
Runtime: 20 minutes
Zorro: The Chronicles - Zorro - Netflix
Zorro (Spanish for “Fox”) is a fictional character created in 1919 by American pulp writer Johnston McCulley, and appearing in works set in the Pueblo of Los Angeles during the era of Spanish California (1769–1821). He is typically portrayed as a dashing masked vigilante who defends the commoners and indigenous peoples of California against corrupt and tyrannical officials and other villains. His signature all-black costume includes a cape, a hat known as sombrero cordobés, and a mask covering the upper half of his face. In the stories, Zorro has a high bounty on his head, but is too skilled and cunning for the bumbling authorities to catch, and he also delights in publicly humiliating them. Zorro is an acrobat and an expert in various weapons, but the one he employs most frequently is his rapier, which he uses often to carve the initial “Z” on his defeated foes, and other objects. He is also an accomplished rider, his trusty steed being a black horse called Tornado. Zorro is the secret identity of Don Diego de la Vega (originally Don Diego Vega), a young man who is the only son of Don Alejandro de la Vega (originally Don Alejandro Vega), the richest landowner in California, while Diego's mother is dead. In most versions, Diego learned his swordsmanship while at university in Spain, and created his masked alter ego after he was unexpectedly summoned home by his father because California had fallen into the hand of an oppressing dictator. Diego is usually shown living with his father in a huge hacienda, which contains a number of secret passages and underground tunnels, leading to a secret cave that serves as headquarters for Zorro's operations and as Tornado's hiding place. In order to divert suspicion about his identity, Diego hides his fighting abilities while also pretending to be a coward and a fop. Zorro made his debut in the 1919 novel The Curse of Capistrano, originally meant as a stand-alone story. However, the success of the 1920 film adaptation The Mark of Zorro starring Douglas Fairbanks convinced McCulley to write more Zorro stories for about four decades: the character was featured in a total of five serialized stories and 57 short stories, the last one appearing in print posthumously in 1959, the year after his death. The Curse of Capistrano eventually sold more than 50 million copies, becoming one of the most sold books of all time. While the rest of McCulley's Zorro stories didn't enjoy the same popularity, as most of them were never reprinted until the 21st century, the character also appears in over 40 films and in ten TV series, the most famous being the Disney-produced Zorro series of 1957–'59, starring Guy Williams. Other media featuring Zorro include stories by other authors, audio/radio dramas, comic books and strips, stage productions and video games. Being one of the earliest examples of a fictional masked avenger with a double identity, Zorro inspired the creation of several similar characters in pulp magazines and other media, and is a precursor of the superheroes of American comic books, with Batman drawing particularly close parallels to the character.
Zorro: The Chronicles - Copyright and trademark disputes - Netflix
A dispute took place in the 2001 case of Sony Pictures Entertainment v. Fireworks Ent. Group. On January 24, 2001, Sony Pictures, TriStar Pictures and Zorro Productions, Inc. sued Fireworks Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, and Mercury Entertainment, claiming that the Queen of Swords television series infringed upon the copyrights and trademarks of Zorro and associated characters. Queen of Swords was a 2000–2001 television series set in Spanish California during the early 19th century and featuring a hero who wore a black costume with a red sash and demonstrated similarities to the character of Zorro, including the sword-fighting skills, use of a whip and bolas, and horse-riding skills. Zorro Productions, Inc., argued that it owned the copyright to the original character because Johnston McCulley assigned his Zorro rights to Mitchell Gertz in 1949. Gertz died in 1961, and his estate transferred to his children, who created Zorro Productions, Inc. Fireworks Entertainment argued that the original rights had already been transferred to Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. in 1920 and provided documents showing this was legally affirmed in 1929, and also questioned whether the copyright was still valid. The court ruled that “since the copyrights in The Curse of Capistrano and The Mark of Zorro lapsed in 1995 or before, the character Zorro has been in the public domain”. Judge Collins also stated that: “Plaintiffs' argument that they have a trademark in Zorro because they licensed others to use Zorro, however, is specious. It assumes that ZPI had the right to demand licenses to use Zorro at all.” Judge Collins subsequently vacated her ruling following an unopposed motion filed by Sony Pictures, TriStar Pictures and Zorro Productions, Inc. In another legal action in 2010, Zorro Productions, Inc., sued Mars, Incorporated, makers of M&M's chocolate candies, and ad agency BBDO Worldwide over a commercial featuring a Zorro-like costume. The case was settled with “each party shall bear its own costs incurred in connection with this action, including its attorney's fees and costs” on August 13, 2010. In March 2013, Robert W. Cabell, author of Z – the Musical of Zorro (1998), filed another lawsuit against Zorro Productions, Inc. The lawsuit asserted that the Zorro character is in the public domain and that the trademark registrations by Zorro Productions, Inc., are therefore fraudulent. In October, 2014, Cabell's lawsuit was dismissed, with the judge ruling that the state of Washington (where the case was filed) did not have jurisdiction over the matter. However the judge later reversed his decision and had the case transferred to California. In May 2017, U.S. District Judge Davila granted Zorro Productions, Inc.'s motion to dismiss Cabell's claim to cancel its federal trademark registrations. Cabell did not appeal. In June 2015, Robert W. Cabell's legal dispute with Zorro Productions, Inc. resulted in the Community Trade Mark for “Zorro” being declared invalid by the European Union's Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market for goods of classes 16 and 41. This follows the 'Winnetou' ruling of the Office's First Board of Appeal in which the Board of Appeal ruled that the name of famous characters cannot be protected as a trademark in these classes. Zorro Productions appealed the decision and, on December 19, 2017, the EUIPO Fourth Board of Appeal nullified the lower court's ruling, declaring the contested trademarks as valid, and required Cabell to pay the costs of the legal action, the appeal and Zorro Productions' legal fees and costs. Zorro Productions, Inc. owns approximately 1300 other ZORRO related trademarks worldwide.
The copyright and trademark status of the Zorro character and stories are disputed. Most of the entries of the Zorro franchise are still protected by copyright, but there are at least three exceptions: the 1919 novel The Curse of Capistrano, the 1920 film The Mark of Zorro and the 1922 novel The Further Adventures of Zorro are in the public domain in the United States since they publicly appeared before 1923. A company called Zorro Productions, Inc., asserts that it “controls the worldwide trademarks and copyrights in the name, visual likeness and the character of Zorro.” It further states “[t]he unauthorized, unlicensed use of the name, character and/or likeness of 'Zorro' is an infringement and a violation of state and federal laws.” In 1999, TriStar Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures, sued Del Taco, Inc., due to a fast-food restaurant advertising campaign that allegedly infringed Zorro Productions' claims to a trademark on the character of Zorro. Sony and TriStar had paid licensing fees to Zorro Productions, Inc., related to the 1998 film The Mask of Zorro. In an August 1999 order, the court ruled that it would not invalidate Zorro Productions' trademarks as a result of the defendant's arguments that certain copyrights in Zorro being in the public domain or owned by third parties.
Zorro: The Chronicles - References - Netflix