Some people are going to be very irate over this news, while others will shrug their shoulders with the “should have read the fine print” attitude, but the Kirby Estate has lost its big case against Marvel in trying to get portions of the rights back to them for many of Jack Kirby’s creations.
Specifically, the estate of comic book superhero legend Jack Kirby, co-creator of Captain America, The Fantastic Four, The X-Men, The Avengers, Iron Man, Hulk, The Silver Surfer and Thor, sent notices terminating copyright to publishers Marvel and Disney, as well as film studios that have made movies and TV shows based on characters he created or co-created, including Sony, Universal, 20th Century Fox and Paramount Pictures. Normally these kinds of lawsuits are run of the mill for Hollywood. But not when they’re litigated by Toberoff, who is the bane of Big Media.
The big loser in this case is Marc Toberoff, who has a big track record in winning rights back from corporations.
In a prepared statement, the Walt Disney Company issued the following statement:
“We are pleased that in this case, the judge has confirmed Marvel’s ownership rights.”
There are a number of factors that went against the Kirby Estate in this case, including Jack signing paychecks that specifically stated signing the check constituted a work for hire and anything done became the property of Marvel.
You can read the complete ruling that Rich Johnston was able to track down right here.