Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Marvel-ous Copyright Suit

NEW YORK - AUGUST 31: In this photo illustrati...Image by Getty Images via Daylife
Seven months after The Walt Disney Co. dropped $4 billion to acquire Marvel Entertainment (see "TUOL" post 9/1/09), the heirs of Marvel comics legend Jack Kirby have sued to terminate copyrights and reap the profits of Marvel's superhero creations.

The suit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Lisa R. Kirby et al. v. Marvel Entertainment Inc. et al. (Case No. 8:10-cv-00289-CJC-AN), seeks to terminate copyrights and cash-in on profits from comics icons such as The Incredible Hulk, X-Men, Spider-Man and Iron Man. During the '50s and '60s, Kirby, who died in 1994, worked alongside Stan Lee to build Marvel's superhero stable.

Marvel sued in January 2010, claiming the various superheroes who emerged from Marvel's lab were "works made for hire" owned by Marvel, the "author" pursuant to the 1909 U.S. Copyright Act (P.L. 60-349), which still governs works created before 1976, but otherwise has been superseded by the Copyright Act of 1976 (17 U.S.C. sec. 101 et seq.). The suit initiated by Kirby's children asks for declaratory relief, including the termination of copyrights, which if allowed, could translate into millions of dollars for the Kirby brood.

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1 comment:

  1. Declaratory relief sounds very Southern: "I declare, you are a relief."