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Home · News · Court Rules Marvel Comics Owns Copyright

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Court Rules Marvel Comics Owns Copyright

Walt Disney the parent company of Marvel Entertainment has won its fight in court. A New York federal judge has ruled that the company, not the artist owns the copyright to 45 book superheroes including Iron Man, Spider-Man and the x- Men. The ruling handed down by Judge Colleen McMahon invalidates all of the 45 notices that were sent to Marvel by the heirs of Jack Kirby, the artist who rendered the drawings.

The heirs of Kirby's estate wanted to terminate all claims that Marvel held on comics published from 1958 to 1963. They sought to have the rights terminated beginning in 2014 and lasting through 2019. Mr. Kirby who helped develop many of the most popular comics died in 1994. His heirs argued that the creations should be a part of the estate.

Judge McMahon's ruling in favor of Marvel and Disney was based on the Copyright Act of 1909. Under the law because Kirby was employed by Marvel the art work was deemed as "work for hire" and was the sole property of the corporation. Another big factor that tilted the scales even more in Marvel's favor was an agreement signed by Kirby in 1972 stating that he was aware that he did not retain any rights to ownership for creations.

Many of the superheroes in dispute have not only appeared in comic books but also in movies making them a very lucrative holding for Marvel Entertainment. The movie Iron Man brought in almost 600 million worldwide while Spider-Man 3 raked in almost 900 million. While the ruling was a huge success for Marvel their court days might not be over. Lawyers for the estate have already announced their intent to appeal the ruling.

01.08.2011. 11:28


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