5 thoughts on “-Link- NYT on Marvel copyright termination filings

  1. Kandou Erik

    I love Jack Kirby’s work. He really did get mistreated by Comic companies, but he fought for his recognition, and I think has achieved in the hearts and mind of comic fans.

    But – another lawsuit, especially right after Marvel got bought up by Disney, just seems bad. Also having the same lawyers as the Siegels doesn’t help. It just makes me think those lawyers are promising the families the moon, when really a settlement would be easier and quicker for all concerned. I really doubt DC never came to the Siegels with a generous offer of settlement. I know these law suits are about principles – but sometimes enough is enough.

    What really makes me side with Marvel and Disney is trying to get rights to Spider-Man. Of all the creations Jack Kirby did, why go after one he, at best, gave input on in the early stages. That character Steve Ditko’s, through and through.

  2. Bob Post author

    I believe calling it “another lawsuit” is wrong on at least two levels. First, I don’t know of any lawsuit that either Kirby or his estate brought against Marvel in the past. Second, this isn’t a lawsuit (though obviously it could lead to one) it’s a notice of intent to regain copyright, as allowed by changes made in copyright law. And as for the timing, while the Disney announcement might have influenced the exact timing, this was almost definitely in the works prior to that, and it’s not like this was something they could have done years ago. The window to file seems to start 10 years prior to the reversion, which for the FF is 2017, and the law doesn’t seem to really have any incentive to file as early as possible (really a disincentive, since it gives other parties more time to plan counter-claims).

    And your faith in corporations is greater than mine, since I really doubt either DC or Marvel would ever give anything close to a fair settlement without at least the threat of losing far more. Marvel especially, a company which doesn’t even think there’s something wrong with reprinting thousands of pages of Jack Kirby artwork every year without royalties to his estate.

    The Spider-Man thing, well, that’s more complicated, and not really something I want to get into without knowing some more details about the claim.

  3. dave

    While I agree this was likely in the works for awhile, strategy-wise, this is the perfect time to bring this sort of action. Neither Disney or Marvel want their deal to get bogged down over copyrights of the major characters Disney wants to buy and Marvel wants to sell. I guess I also don’t see how having the same legal team that got the Siegel estate a nice chunk of change from DC is somehow a bad thing. Doubting “DC never came to the Siegels with a generous offer of settlement” is not only a ludicrous statement on its face and indicative of a complete lack of knowledge on how corporations work, but demonstrably false by reviewing the events in the “Superman” case over the past 70 years.

    And let’s get this out of the way – if Kirby or Siegel and Shuster were still alive, this might be more about principle. But they’re not. This is about money. Good! The Kirby estate, between the expiring copyrights and (perhaps unexpectedly) the pending sale to Disney now have leverage. Why shouldn’t they get something out of the literally BILLIONS Jack Kirby’s “co-creations” have earned over just the last decade? Why should Marvel be allowed to harvest huge profits from Kirby’s work and not even have the decency to offer a token payment? I find it especially interesting that Marvel keeps the other “co-creator” on the payroll to the tune of a million dollars a year. Some might think it’s out of the “goodness of their heart,” but more likely, it’s so he won’t file a claim just like this.

  4. Bob Post author

    Let me just say before this goes on too long…

    “Siegel” and “Shuster” are the correct spellings (I’ve corrected those in the comments above). Seriously, I’ll put up with almost anything in these comments, but getting those two wrong is the old nails on a chalkboard to me.

  5. dave

    ““Siegel” and “Shuster” are the correct spellings” Yeah, I was going to spell check them (I knew they were wrong) and clicked submit too early…


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