Courts Rule In Favor of Marvel Over Jack Kirby's Estate

A nearly two-year dispute between the estate of renowned artist Jack Kirby and Marvel Comics came to an end yesterday with the court ruling in favor of the comic book giant.

In 2009, Mr. Kirby's heirs sent Marvel and Disney 45 notices of a plan to reclaim copyrights in a series of Marvel comics that were published from 1958 to 1963. The comics included issues of "The Amazing Spider-Man," "The Avengers," "Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos," and others. In her ruling on Thursday, however, Judge McMahon said the notices "did not operate to convey any federally protected copyrights."

Marc Toberoff, the Los Angeles lawyer who represents the Kirbys, said, "We knew when we took this on that it would not be an easy fight given the arcane and contradictory state of 'work for hire' " case law under the 1909 Copyright Act. "We respectfully disagree with the court's ruling and intend to appeal this matter to the Second Circuit. Sometimes you have to lose to win."

Marvel, which always maintained that Kirby had created the characters under a "work for hire" contract, will now enjoy the unfettered benefits from his work for decades to come.

Read the full story at the New York Times.

Presented by

Daniel D. Snyder is a writer based in New Mexico.

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This wildly inventive short film takes you on a whirling, spinning tour of the Big Apple

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This short film takes you on a whirling tour of the Big Apple

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we save the night sky?

Video

The Faces of #BlackLivesMatter

Scenes from a recent protest in New York City

Video

Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life

The Supreme Court justice talks gender equality and marriage.

Video

The Pentagon's $1.5 Trillion Mistake

The F-35 fighter jet was supposed to do everything. Instead, it can barely do anything.

More in Entertainment

Just In