Monday, September 21, 2009
As Disney pursues the purchase of Marvel comics, the heirs of one comic book artist involved in the creation of The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Spider-Man, The Avengers, X-Men, and The Fantastic Four have sent out notices of copyright termination and an intent to regain certain copyrights.
A New York Times article explains that,
Under copyright law, the author or his heirs can begin a process to regain copyrights a certain period of years after the original grant. If Mr. Kirby’s four children were to gain the copyright to a co-created character, they might become entitled to a share of profits from films or other properties using it. They might also find themselves able to sell rights to certain characters independently of Marvel, Disney, or the various studios that have licensed the Marvel properties for their hit films.
Michael Cieply and Brooks Barnes, In Wake of Disney-Marvel Deal, Cartoonist's Heirs Seek to Reclaim Rights, NY Times, Sept. 20, 2009.Special thanks to Joel Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.