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Marvel can keep rights to the Fantastic Four and other comic book characters

The 2nd Circuit ruled the creation of the superheroes “work-for-hire” and said the creator's children have no rights to them

Wham! Pow! Biff!

Marvel Entertainment, LLC won a smackdown at the 2nd Circuit on Thursday in its dispute with the children of comic book artist Jack Kirby, who created many of the brand's famous superheroes, including the Incredible Hulk and the Fantastic Four.

Kirby's children have been engaging in legal fisticuffs with Marvel for a couple years now, trying to take back the rights to the characters their father created in tandem with the famous Stan Lee. But the 2nd Circuit in its Thursday ruling said that those characters were legally “work-for-hire” and therefore belonged to Marvel.

“It is beyond dispute that most of Kirby’s work during this period was published by Marvel and for established Marvel titles,” the court wrote.

As superhero movies continue to knock out at the box office, issues of character ownership have been critical for Marvel of late. The company is currently facing another lawsuit from Ghost Rider creator Gary Friedrich, who the 2nd Circuit said in June might have a valid claim to the character's rights.

 

Read more at the Wall Street Journal.

For more comic-centric lawsuits on InsideCounsel, see below:

2nd Circuit finds agreement over Ghost Rider copyright “ambiguous”

Superman co-creator’s daughter has no rights to the character

Warner Bros. wins latest round in Superman copyright conundrum

Owner of Tarzan and John Carter characters sues over allegedly infringing comics

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