Film Festival Today

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Battle Of The Superheros

Written by: FFT Webmaster | August 18th, 2011

One of the more intriguing legal battles currently underway in Hollywood is the tussle between the heirs of legendary comic book artist Jack Kirby and Marvel Entertainment and its partner the Disney Corporation. Kirby is the co-creator of Captain America, The Fantastic Four, The X-Men, The Avengers, Iron Man, Hulk, The Silver Surfer and Thor, but his estate has received little or no monetary compensation from the film adaptations which include these comic book characters. His estate has sued Marvel and Disney, which has distributed film adaptations of his original comic book creations, for violation of intellectual property rights. With the film adaptations among the biggest box office champions of the past few years, Kirby’s heirs have been pressing for a legal acknowledgement of character ownership, and therefore payout for the mega-hits produced by the films which include these comic book characters. The Kirby estate has been dealt a big blow by a decision last month by a federal judge in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York that went against the claim and sided with the movie studio. Marvel has argued that Kirby was a freelance writer in its employ who did work-for-hire and so did not retain the copyright to the celebrated comic book action heroes. The estate has filed an appeal to the judge’s ruling and has also 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. This is an epic battle worthy of a superhero, but the final decision is far from certain. Stay tuned……


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