Marvel sues artists and their heirs to block them from rights to Spider-Man, other heroes


Category:  News & Politics

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  2 months ago  •  2 comments

By:   Diana Dasrath and David K. Li

Marvel sues artists and their heirs to block them from rights to Spider-Man, other heroes
Superhero court battle between Marvel and artists to determine who owns rights

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

Superhero factory Marvel asked a federal court on Friday to block artists behind iconic figures such as Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, and those artists' heirs, from wresting away control of those valuable rights.

The federal civil suits from Marvel Characters Inc., filed in the Southern District of New York, claim the work of several artists and authors belong to the company and not to those original creators or their heirs.

The first two issues of the Spider-Man comic book series.Mario Tama / Getty Images file

Those artists, or their descendants, had previously filed action with the U.S. Copyright Office seeking termination notices to end Marvel's control over their characters.

In the multiple civil actions filed by Marvel, attorney Daniel Petrocelli cited the precedent of the court siding with Marvel against late, great artist Jack Kirby, who co-created "The X-Men," "Thor" and "Iron Man."

Kirby's heirs had sought to reclaim copyright to his creations, but the federal courts found that Marvel controlled rights and that the artist had crafted his those now iconic characters in a work-for-hire arrangement.

Petrocelli repeatedly cited that precedent in his filings against Lawrence Lieber, best known for writing the first appearances of Iron Man, Thor and Ant-Man; heirs of Donald Heck, who pencilled the debuts of The Avengers, Iron Man and Ant-Man; the estate of Stephen J. Ditko, the legendary artist who co-created Spider-Man and Doctor Strange; the wife and son of the late Don Rico, co-creator of Black Widow; and the wife and son of the late Gene Colan, the revered artist who co-created Falcon and Blade.

The artists were paid on a "per-page rate" and "did not obtain any ownership interest" for any of those contributions, according to Marvel.

Marc Toberoff, an attorney representing all the artists and their heirs, said the precedent set in the Kirby case is "anachronistic" and a "highly criticized interpretation."

Toberoff said a new review of the facts would lead to a favorable result for the artists.


jrDiscussion - desc
Split Personality
PhD Principal
1  Split Personality    2 months ago

They may be dreaming.

Heirs are often paid royalties as part of an author or musicians estate.

These artists, when they were alive, were paid on a per page basis and not receiving royalties.

Look no further than the music industry where there are huge "books" of rights to certain artists original materials.

The publishing rights of the Beatles has come full circle.

From 1964 to 1969, they essentially, as owners of Northern Songs, controlled their own destiny

but they were bought out by Britain's Associated Television.  The Beatles pulled out.

By 1985 ATV was struggling and forced to sell the publishing catalog when Paul McCartney was outbid by

Michael Jackson for $48M. Cue the music.  By 2008, Jackson was in huge financial difficulties and had used the catalog

as collateral for different projects.  He surrendered the catalog to Sony/ATV in 2016 for $750M.

US copyright allows for the rights "to be reverted" back to the original artist after 56 years.

Having already wrested control of some songs from Sony/ATV after 56 years

McCartney and Sony settled for an undisclosed sum in July 2017.

Professor Principal
1.1  Gordy327  replied to  Split Personality @1    2 months ago

Given the massive financial success of the MCU and its characters, it would seem these heirs are looking for a cut of the profits or cash in on the characters.


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