Marvel Sues Family of Comics Artist
Marvel Entertainment (NYSE:MVL) sued the heirs of the comic book artist Jack Kirby on Friday to end the family’s recent efforts to regain long-term rights to some of Marvel’s most popular characters.
(NYTimes.com) The copyright dispute started in September, when heirs to Mr. Kirby, who was a principal creator of Marvel mainstays like the X-Men, sent the company 45 notices of copyright termination. The notices said that various rights transferred to Marvel would revert to the family starting in 2014. Marvel, now officially a division of the Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS), said it believes the claims are baseless.
Rather than battling the family behind the scenes — a potentially costly endeavor even if successful — Marvel decided to file a lawsuit in Federal District Court in Manhattan asking that the notices be declared invalid. John Turitzin, Marvel’s general counsel, said in a statement, “Everything about Kirby’s relationship with Marvel shows that his contributions were works made for hire.” Marc Toberoff, a lawyer representing the Kirby family, did not return calls seeking comment.