Monday, September 21, 2009

Kirby Heirs File Notices of Termination on Marvel Characters

Disney Faces Copyright Claims Over Marvel Superheroes -

Newspapers are carrying the story that heirs of Jack Kirby -- who created, co-created, or had a hand in creating most of the Marvel characters of the 1960's -- filing notices of termination, represented by the same law firm that represents the heirs of Jerry Siegel in their successful quest to terminate a portion of DC's copyrights in the earliest Superman stories.  (Incidentally, the federal judge who ruled on the Superman case recently announced that he is leaving the bench for a private law career, unable to support his seven children on a federal district judge's salary.)

The terminations won't have an immediate effect (the earliest would take place in 2014); and most likely would not result in the characters being ripped away from Marvel, since Marvel would still own rights in them.  More likely the heirs would then negotiate licenses for their portion of the copyrights with future Marvel owner Disney.

The real effect of this story is bringing to the public's attention Kirby's role in creating these characters -- a role that has always been overshadowed by then-writer-editor Stan Lee, who always gave good interview.Jack
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