June 25, 2014

Marvel Studios could lose rights to ‘The Avengers’

Marvel Studios and other studios are at risk of losing control over comic book characters including the Avengers, Spider-Man and X-Men.

An appeal filed by the heirs of Jack Kirby, aimed at terminating the studios’ rights to the iconic characters he co-created, has gathered support this week from Hollywood guilds. An amicus brief delivered by the Writers Guild of America, the Directors Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA urges the US Supreme Court to hear the appeal.

In August last year, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court’s ruling that Kirby’s heirs could not terminate Marvel’s rights to the iconic character, because Kirby’s work as a freelancer was considered “work for hire”.
This ruling makes Marvel the statutory author of his characters, meaning that Kirby and his estate have no termination rights.The guilds state that the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruling “jeopardises the statutory termination rights that many Guild members may possess in works they created”, and therefore has ramifications for artists beyond the comic book world.

Marvel Studios currently holds the rights to the Avengers and all characters therein, while 20th Century Fox owns the X-Men and the Fantastic Four, and Sony Pictures owns Spider-Man.

Source: Digital Spy

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