Thursday, July 31, 2014

SCOTUSblog Founder Joins Marvel Superhero Appeal for Jack Kirby Estate (Exclusive); Hollywood Reporter, 7/29/14

Eriq Gardner, Hollywood Reporter; SCOTUSblog Founder Joins Marvel Superhero Appeal for Jack Kirby Estate (Exclusive) :
"In what might be yet another sign that Marvel should begin to fret that the U.S. Supreme Court could review a massive superhero rights dispute, the respected attorney Tom Goldstein is now co-representing Jack Kirby's family members. Goldstein is perhaps most famous for running the invaluable SCOTUSblog, which on July 21 highlighted Kirby v. Marvel Characters as its "Petition of the Day."
The dispute started when the family of comic book legend Kirby sent termination notices to Marvel and its licensees Sony, Fox and Universal over such superhero characters as Spider-Man, X-Men, Captain America, Iron Man, Incredible Hulk and others. The bid fell short when the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court's ruling that the former Marvel freelancer had contributed his materials as a "work made for hire." As such, Marvel was considered the statutory author, and Kirby (and his heirs) never had any termination rights under the 1976 Copyright Act.
The high court has been asked to review the 2nd Circuit opinion, and in recent months there's been signs that it could indeed be taken up: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told Marvel to respond to a cert petition after it initially declined to do so. Then Kirby's side got amicus support from the former director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the former U.S. register of copyrights and various Hollywood labor guilds."

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