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Marvel Wins Rights Over Spiderman, Avengers, Hulk , Iron Man in Lawsuit
A US federal judge ruled that heirs of comic creator Jack Kirby cannot lay any claim to a platoon of Marvel characters viz the Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, the Avengers, X-Men and the Incredible Hulk.
According to Judge Colleen McMahon, Kirby's works were made "for hire," meaning that they are exempt from a provision of copyright law that allows authors and artists to obtain rights to their original creations after a certain passage of time, reports Variety.
She alluded to a statement made by Jack Kirby himself where he stated that he worked at a time when the ownership of all characters he drew vested in the company who assigned the work.
The judge ruled that none of the facts provided by the Kirby heirs "makes so much as a dent in the 'almost irrefutable' presumption that the Kirby Works were works made for hire." She also said that the facts presented did not necessitate any trial.
She said the 1909 copyright law that applies to the case presumed that Marvel was considered the author and owner of Kirby's creations as they were made at Marvel’s behest and expense.
Kirby died in 1994 and he is credited with creating some of the most valuable characters in the Marvel library. The suit focused on the work that he did for Marvel comics from 1958 to 1963.
The judge gave a lot of credence to Stan Lee’s testimony. Lee was the editor at Marvel during that period and he testified that he did not purchase work from artists that was not an assignment from him. He elaborated that he would give a general outline of the plot and characters to the artists which after submission was further edited and dialogues and caption added.
In September 2009, the heirs served 45 notices of termination to Marvel for works published during that time, which also include the Mighty Thor, Iron Man and Nick Fury. In January 2010, Marvel sought a declaration from a federal court that it retained the copyright, and the Kirby heirs then filed for a ruling that their termination notices were valid. (Source Variety).
The ruling comes as a great victory for both Marvel and its parent company,Walt Disney Co. Walt Disney has grand plans to exploit Marvel’s library of characters in projects featuring the characters.
Disney said in a statement, "We are pleased that in this case, the judge has confirmed Marvel's ownership rights."
The Kirby’s lawyer, Marc Toberoff, said that they "respectfully disagree" with the ruling and intend to appeal to the Second Circuit. "Sometimes you have to lose to win," he added.
Thor And X-Men First Class Tipped To Hammer Home Results...
Thor and X-Men: First Class got great reviews and their awesome, and Captain America: The First Avenger seems set to hit the spot to, but big questions remain about Green Lantern, and the vibe is not particularly good. Green Lantern with Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively is getting very mixed reviews. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes has a 23% approval among movie critics, according to the 153 reviews counters. But 72% of the 62,000 plus user reviewers say that they "liked it" with it just premiering in the U.S theaters Friday after a midnight release on late Thursday/early Friday. Comic Book Movie.com indicates are pretty negative on the flick. One reviewer called the movie "inert, artificial and dead on arrival." During the midnight release on Thursday, the film drew $3.35 million in the same region that alike movies that were recently released did; X-Men: First Class brought in $3.37 million on June 2nd, and Thor did $3.25 million on May 5th. X-Men: First Class and Thor both had a budget significantly less than Green Lantern; the former had a budget of $160 million while Thor had exactly half the budget of Green Lantern — $150 million. While the flick will likely end up eventually surpassing its budget, the fact the other comic book movies had much less budget isn’t a great result. Ultimately, X-Men: First Class raked in $55.1 million in its opening weekend while Thor did $65.7 million. With this being the third comic book-based movie released in a month-and-a-half and mixed reviews, will Green Lantern under perform this weekend, or will the hardcore - fanboy type audience that has been largely ripping on it, check it out at the cinema?
Our top picks: Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger looks like a safe bet.
Be it movies, comics or games, we think that Marvel Entertainment leads the pack, followed by DC Comics, with Dark Horse Comics getting a third, based on the positive news leaks and insider tip offs we've been getting.
As Marvel living legend Stan Lee would say, Excelsior!
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