Another chapter in the long battle over Marvel’s characters ended today when a three-person New York appeals court upheld Marvel’s victory in a lawsuit bought by Jack Kirby’s heirs over copyrights to iconic characters such as the Hulk and Captain America. The court ruled that Kirby’s work for Marvel had been done under work-for-hire conditions and that “Marvel’s inducement, right to supervise, exercise of that right, and creative contribution with respect to Kirby’s work during the relevant time period is more than enough to establish that the works were created at Marvel’s instance.”
You can read the entire judgement here:
The suit began in 2009 when Kirby’s four children sued Marvel, claiming that characters the legendary artist drew had not been created under the work for hire. In 2011, a court ruled for Disney/Marvel, but an appeal was filed. Along the way, Marvel also sued the Kirbys, who were represented by attorney Marc Toberoff, who also represents the Siegel and Shuster estates in the battle for the copyright to Superman.
This appeal ruling would seem to end the matter, but hopefully legal expert Jeff Trexler will be along later to explain what happened.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.