Go Back  DVD Talk Forum > Entertainment Discussions > Movie Talk
Reload this Page >

Future Marvel movies could potentially be in jeopardy (rights issues)...

Movie Talk A Discussion area for everything movie related including films In The Theaters

Future Marvel movies could potentially be in jeopardy (rights issues)...

Old 09-21-09, 01:29 PM
  #1  
DVD Talk God
Thread Starter
 
Deftones's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Arizona
Posts: 74,265
Future Marvel movies could potentially be in jeopardy (rights issues)...

Just saw this. Interesting.

http://www.darkhorizons.com/news/152...perhero-rights

The estate of Jack Kirby, co-creator of Marvel comic book heroes like Captain America, The Fantastic Four, X-Men, The Avengers, Iron Man, Hulk, The Silver Surfer and Thor, has 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, Fox and Paramount says Bleeding Cool via Deadline Hollywood Daily.

Notable is that the estate has hired Marc Toberoff to litigate, the man who not that long ago helped "Superman" creator Jerry Seigel regain his share of copyright in the characters and their use in comics and other media from DC Comics and Warner Bros. Pictures. He also successfully won copyright cases for properties like "Get Smart," "The Dukes of Hazzard" and "The Wild Wild West".

If successful, the rights reversion wouldn't come into effect until 2014. However Marvel/Disney would still own the trademarks meaning a negotiation will quite likely be made well before the deadline for Marvel to continue publishing comics based on his work.
I'm sure deals will be worked out, just as they could potentially with the Superman rights, but I can see how this might crimp the studios from doing too much after 2012.
Deftones is offline  
Old 09-21-09, 02:38 PM
  #2  
Banned by request
 
Supermallet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Termite Terrace
Posts: 54,156
Re: Future Marvel movies could potentially be in jeopardy (rights issues)...

Good timing on his part.
Supermallet is offline  
Old 09-21-09, 04:12 PM
  #3  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
TylerDurden_73's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Rochester, N.Y.
Posts: 1,393
Re: Future Marvel movies could potentially be in jeopardy (rights issues)...

Good for kirby's family. No reason they shouldn't get a piece of the pie. I love Stan Lee, have even met him. BUT Kirby was as important as him. And even though he is dead, his estate should be compensated.
And don't forget...Stan Lee sued Marvel and Sony for more money after Spiderman the movie. So he is not stupid about how much money these characters have made for other companies.
TylerDurden_73 is offline  
Old 09-21-09, 04:34 PM
  #4  
Banned
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Puerto Rico
Posts: 11,975
Re: Future Marvel movies could potentially be in jeopardy (rights issues)...

While I do agree that these creators should get a piece of the pie, sometimes the estate (family, rights owners) become a pain in the ass because they want the cake and eat it too. Hopefully this is not the case here and all parties could sign an agreement that doesn't affect any film developments.

I'm surprised that DC comics wasn't included in the lawsuit.
dx23 is offline  
Old 09-21-09, 04:58 PM
  #5  
DVD Talk Hero
 
JasonF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 39,070
Re: Future Marvel movies could potentially be in jeopardy (rights issues)...

Lord knows Marvel treated Kirby shamefully over the years, particularly in the 70s and 80s. He (and Stan, and Steve Ditko, and John Romita, and a few others) deserve to have gotten rich off those characters.

That said, it's going to be an uphill climb for Kirby's heirs. There are important differences between the Siegel/DC relationship (on the one hand) and the Kirby/Marvel relationship (on the other) that mean the Kirby heirs have a much harder case than the Siegel heirs.
JasonF is offline  
Old 09-21-09, 05:00 PM
  #6  
DVD Talk Hero
 
JasonF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 39,070
Re: Future Marvel movies could potentially be in jeopardy (rights issues)...

Originally Posted by dx23 View Post
While I do agree that these creators should get a piece of the pie, sometimes the estate (family, rights owners) become a pain in the ass because they want the cake and eat it too. Hopefully this is not the case here and all parties could sign an agreement that doesn't affect any film developments.

I'm surprised that DC comics wasn't included in the lawsuit.
Kirby didn't create anything for DC Comics in this time frame. I suppose his heirs could file something on some of his Golden Age or pre-Silver Age stuff like the Newsboy Legion, Guardian, or Challengers of the Unknown. But the window may have closed on that.

In a few years, they'll be able to move on his 70s DC stuff -- things like the Demon, Kamandi, Omac, and the New Gods.
JasonF is offline  
Old 09-21-09, 05:20 PM
  #7  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: STL
Posts: 3,197
Re: Future Marvel movies could potentially be in jeopardy (rights issues)...

Just a money grab.............
anomynous is offline  
Old 09-21-09, 06:22 PM
  #8  
DVD Talk Hero
 
JasonF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 39,070
Re: Future Marvel movies could potentially be in jeopardy (rights issues)...

Originally Posted by anomynous View Post
Just a money grab.............
The fact that Kirby's heirs filed or the fact that Disney won't just roll over and give them what they want?
JasonF is offline  
Old 09-21-09, 06:49 PM
  #9  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: STL
Posts: 3,197
Re: Future Marvel movies could potentially be in jeopardy (rights issues)...

Kirby's heirs filed, they saw what happened with the Superman case, so now they want theirs
anomynous is offline  
Old 09-21-09, 06:51 PM
  #10  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
TylerDurden_73's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Rochester, N.Y.
Posts: 1,393
Re: Future Marvel movies could potentially be in jeopardy (rights issues)...

Originally Posted by anomynous View Post
Just a money grab.............

Obviously you've never done any work for hire as a writer or artist. Just because he isn't alive, doesn't mean his family shouldn't reap the benefits. Kirby was treated like crap while he was alive by the big two. That doesn't give them the right to not pay their share. Kirby was taken advantage of just like the rest of the creators of the 30's thru the '91. It took some artists banding together to form their own company for their own creations to put the industry on it's ear. In almost twenty years the industry has changed for the benefit of creators.
TylerDurden_73 is offline  
Old 09-21-09, 07:54 PM
  #11  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 738
Re: Future Marvel movies could potentially be in jeopardy (rights issues)...

Originally Posted by Suprmallet View Post
Good timing on his part.
Uhh more like bad timing?

Before, they would have dealt with Marvel alone. Now Marvel is backed by Disney, so yeah....
Labor is offline  
Old 09-21-09, 09:10 PM
  #12  
DVD Talk Hero
 
JasonF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 39,070
Re: Future Marvel movies could potentially be in jeopardy (rights issues)...

Originally Posted by anomynous View Post
Kirby's heirs filed, they saw what happened with the Superman case, so now they want theirs
If its theirs, aren't they entitled to it?
JasonF is offline  
Old 09-21-09, 11:12 PM
  #13  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 5,147
Re: Future Marvel movies could potentially be in jeopardy (rights issues)...

If Kirby was working for Marvel, why should his family get money? Marvel paid him to come up with characters. He was doing his job. Marvel should own all rights to what they paid him to create for him. If I'm create something at my job that my job was paying me to create, the company owns it, not me. Kirby is lucky they credit him.
resinrats is offline  
Old 09-21-09, 11:41 PM
  #14  
DVD Talk Hero
 
JasonF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 39,070
Re: Future Marvel movies could potentially be in jeopardy (rights issues)...

Originally Posted by resinrats View Post
If Kirby was working for Marvel, why should his family get money? Marvel paid him to come up with characters. He was doing his job. Marvel should own all rights to what they paid him to create for him. If I'm create something at my job that my job was paying me to create, the company owns it, not me. Kirby is lucky they credit him.
Copyrights were only 56 years when Kirby created the FF (for example). So if Marvel paid him $1,000 (for example), that was paid in exchange for the right to use the FF for 56 years. However, Congress has extended copyrights twice since then. The FF is now copyrighted for 95 years -- an extra 39 years.

In other words, Marvel paid for 56 years but would be getting 95 years.

Congress thought this was unfair, so when they extended copyright, they included a reversion clause. In essence, the reversion clause says that the default is that Marvel gets the extra 39 years. However, if the original creator speaks up, then he gets the extra 39 years.

It's probably as good a solution as any once you go down the road of extending copyright terms retroactively.
JasonF is offline  
Old 09-22-09, 12:11 AM
  #15  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 5,147
Re: Future Marvel movies could potentially be in jeopardy (rights issues)...

But doesn't that mean Kirby would have had to file for ownership of the character when he created them? If not, I don't see how he would have any rights to them since he was an employee of Marvel and they were created for Marvel. Doesn't this mean every single comic character that has appeared in Marvel Comics (or DC) could, in theory, be lost from Marvel & DC if their creators' familys say so?

What about Stan Lee's half? Lee is 1/2 of the characters' creator. If Kirby's family says no, & Lee's says yes, what happens then?
resinrats is offline  
Old 09-22-09, 01:11 AM
  #16  
Banned by request
 
Supermallet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Termite Terrace
Posts: 54,156
Re: Future Marvel movies could potentially be in jeopardy (rights issues)...

Originally Posted by Labor View Post
Uhh more like bad timing?

Before, they would have dealt with Marvel alone. Now Marvel is backed by Disney, so yeah....
Disney has more money in the coffers than Marvel, so yeah...
Supermallet is offline  
Old 09-22-09, 06:00 AM
  #17  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 7,478
Re: Future Marvel movies could potentially be in jeopardy (rights issues)...

Originally Posted by JasonF View Post
Copyrights were only 56 years when Kirby created the FF (for example). So if Marvel paid him $1,000 (for example), that was paid in exchange for the right to use the FF for 56 years. However, Congress has extended copyrights twice since then. The FF is now copyrighted for 95 years -- an extra 39 years.

In other words, Marvel paid for 56 years but would be getting 95 years.

Congress thought this was unfair, so when they extended copyright, they included a reversion clause. In essence, the reversion clause says that the default is that Marvel gets the extra 39 years. However, if the original creator speaks up, then he gets the extra 39 years.

It's probably as good a solution as any once you go down the road of extending copyright terms retroactively.
Actually Kirby was an employee of Marvel and anything he created automatically belonged to Marvel. It's called "work for hire". Part ownership has to be written into an employee's contract. This happens alot in the research industries. Staff researcher discovers a drug and the drug company he works for owns it lock, stock and barrel. If you want part of what you own or create get it into an employment contract, or you're out of luck.
rw2516 is offline  
Old 09-22-09, 07:56 AM
  #18  
DVD Talk Legend
 
stingermck's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: NC
Posts: 14,860
Re: Future Marvel movies could potentially be in jeopardy (rights issues)...

Originally Posted by resinrats View Post
If Kirby was working for Marvel, why should his family get money? Marvel paid him to come up with characters. He was doing his job. Marvel should own all rights to what they paid him to create for him. If I'm create something at my job that my job was paying me to create, the company owns it, not me. Kirby is lucky they credit him.
Money Grab. I wish my grandfather created some cool comics so I could sit back and cash in, instead of just being proud.

I'm an artist and long time fan, but come on, this was how comic companies were run back then. If Bob Kane was able to negotiate his contract the way he did, on day one for Batman, others could have also.
stingermck is offline  
Old 09-22-09, 09:34 AM
  #19  
DVD Talk Hero
 
JasonF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 39,070
Re: Future Marvel movies could potentially be in jeopardy (rights issues)...

Originally Posted by resinrats View Post
But doesn't that mean Kirby would have had to file for ownership of the character when he created them? If not, I don't see how he would have any rights to them since he was an employee of Marvel and they were created for Marvel. Doesn't this mean every single comic character that has appeared in Marvel Comics (or DC) could, in theory, be lost from Marvel & DC if their creators' familys say so?

What about Stan Lee's half? Lee is 1/2 of the characters' creator. If Kirby's family says no, & Lee's says yes, what happens then?
There's an argument to be made that Kirby was a Marvel employee acting within the scope of his employment responsibilities, and therefore Marvel is the true creator of the FF, etc. in the eyes of the law. There is also an argument that Kirby was an independent contractor, that he is the legal co-creator of the FF, etc., and that he simply sold his copyrights to Marvel. If the former is true, then Disney wins. If the latter is true, then Kirby wins. (This is grossly simplified).

If Kirby's heirs have half of the copyrights and Marvel has half of the copyrights, then the basic rule is that either copyright owner can do whatever he wants with the copyrights, but must pay the other owner half of the proceeds. Also, Marvel will still own the trademarks. What this means si that the onlyt hing that will prevent Marvel from publishing an FF comic (or making an FF movie) is whether it will be financially worth their while given the need to pay Kirby's heirs.

Lee's half is almost certainly never going to leave Marvel -- Lee was absolutely an employee, and it would be next to impossible for him to win a reversion case. Never say never and all that, but Lee would need to have a superstar IP lawyer to prevail in a reversion claim.

Finally, to address your first question, the copyright statute identifies a particular time when you must file a reversion claim. Basically, the creator has a five year window to claim the reversion, begining 56 years after the copyright was initially secured (2017-2022, in the case of the FF). The creator must file a reversion claim that identifies the date on which they claim the reversion will occur (Kirby's kids presumably picked 2017), and they must give at least 2 and no more than 10 years notice. In other words, for the FF, there was a window of the years 2007 through 2020 for the filing. This is all spelled out in Section 304 of the Copyright Act.
JasonF is offline  
Old 09-22-09, 09:36 AM
  #20  
DVD Talk Hero
 
JasonF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 39,070
Re: Future Marvel movies could potentially be in jeopardy (rights issues)...

Originally Posted by rw2516 View Post
Actually Kirby was an employee of Marvel and anything he created automatically belonged to Marvel. It's called "work for hire". Part ownership has to be written into an employee's contract. This happens alot in the research industries. Staff researcher discovers a drug and the drug company he works for owns it lock, stock and barrel. If you want part of what you own or create get it into an employment contract, or you're out of luck.
It's not clear whether Kirby was an employer or an independent contractor. If this goes to litigation, that's going to be the big question.
JasonF is offline  
Old 09-22-09, 09:43 AM
  #21  
DVD Talk Hero
 
JasonF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 39,070
Re: Future Marvel movies could potentially be in jeopardy (rights issues)...

Originally Posted by stingermck View Post
Money Grab. I wish my grandfather created some cool comics so I could sit back and cash in, instead of just being proud.

I'm an artist and long time fan, but come on, this was how comic companies were run back then. If Bob Kane was able to negotiate his contract the way he did, on day one for Batman, others could have also.
Bob Kane is a terrible example to use. He had a shitty deal with DC on day one. In the 1940s, when it came time to renew, he went into DC and said "Hey, remember that contract you signed with me? Guess what -- I was a minor when I signed it, so you don't have a valid contract. Unless you give me a great contract now, I'm taking Batman down the street to another publisher."

All evidence now suggests that Kane was lying when he said he was underage at the time of the original contract, but DC had no way to prove it at the time, so they gave Kane a great deal.

I never understand why people think Martin Goodman's kids should be able to inherit all of the cash that Goodman made as a comic book publisher, but Kirby's kids shouldn't be able to inherit the one asset that Kirby had as a creator -- his rights under the Copyright Act.
JasonF is offline  
Old 09-22-09, 10:00 AM
  #22  
DVD Talk Legend
 
stingermck's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: NC
Posts: 14,860
Re: Future Marvel movies could potentially be in jeopardy (rights issues)...

Im just saying at least Bob Kane came in with Batman, Robin, and a lawyer. I only assume other creators turned in the work, and hoped for the best.
stingermck is offline  
Old 09-22-09, 11:31 AM
  #23  
DVD Talk Hero
 
JasonF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 39,070
Re: Future Marvel movies could potentially be in jeopardy (rights issues)...

Originally Posted by stingermck View Post
Im just saying at least Bob Kane came in with Batman, Robin, and a lawyer. I only assume other creators turned in the work, and hoped for the best.
Bob Kane responded to a request by DC for "Characters like Superman" by coming up (with some help from Bill Finger) with Batman. He brought Batman to DC and they gave him the same shitty deal they gave everyone else back then. It was only when Batman got as huge as Superman that Kane was able to get his great deal, and then only because he lied and told them they didn't actually have a pre-existing contract with him.

William Moulton Marston was really the only comic book creator who got himself a good deal right off the bat (no pun intended). It's probably no coincidence -- while virtually every other creator was a 20-something ghetto kid trying to break out of poverty with talent and a pencil, Marston was a 50-year-old professional.
JasonF is offline  
Old 09-22-09, 12:39 PM
  #24  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Boston
Posts: 1,902
Re: Future Marvel movies could potentially be in jeopardy (rights issues)...

This isn't a new out of the blue issue. Kirby was fighting with Marvel for nearly 30 years about creator rights. It's why he left Marvel in the 70s and started working for DC and never went back. He was fighting Marvel until the day he died for the rights to his work. They held thousands and thousands of pages of his original arts and royally screwed him for years and years.

He's lucky to be credited? The man is personally responsible for almost all modern comics as you know them. His influence on popular culture is incredibly, whether the people who are influenced by his creations and ideas know it or not.

Anyone who thinks this is a "money grab" is incredibly ignorant to the facts.
Lastdaysofrain is offline  
Old 09-22-09, 01:24 PM
  #25  
DVD Talk Legend
 
stingermck's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: NC
Posts: 14,860
Re: Future Marvel movies could potentially be in jeopardy (rights issues)...

Originally Posted by JasonF View Post
William Moulton Marston was really the only comic book creator who got himself a good deal right off the bat (no pun intended). It's probably no coincidence -- while virtually every other creator was a 20-something ghetto kid trying to break out of poverty with talent and a pencil, Marston was a 50-year-old professional.
Didn't Marston have a deal, that Wonder Woman had to be in print so many times a year for DC to continue using her, or am i imagining that?
stingermck is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.