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Old 09-20-2009, 09:14 PM   #1
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Default Jack Kirby Sues Everyone and their mom

http://www.slashfilm.com/2009/09/20/...and-the-x-men/


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Hot on the heels of the lawsuit filed by Jerry Seigel’s estate to reclaim ownership of Superman, the Jack Kirby estate is suing many companies — Marvel, Disney, Sony, Universal, 20th Century Fox, Paramount and others — to reclaim copyright ownership of characters created and co-created by Kirby. That’s a big roster: the Fantastic Four, Captain America, the X-Men, Iron Man, Thor and many others. Lawsuits like these aren’t uncommon, but there’s one ingredient that could make this one more likely to have long-term effects: it is being litigated by the lawyer who successfully won some Superman rights for the Seigel estate.
BleedingCool (via Nikki Finke) is reporting the news. The report says that:
[The Kirby Estate] 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, 20th Century Fox and Paramount Pictures. Just as the Jerry Siegel estate has done so with rights to Superman, so Kirby’s estate is looking to regain his share of copyright in the characters and their use in comics and other media.

Marc Toberoff, described by Finke as the “bane of big media,” is the lawyer arguing for Kirby’s estate. The payoff here, if the argument is found to have merit, would be that Marvel/Disney would retain the character trademarks, but Kirby’s family would negotiate new financial terms for the exploitation of his characters.
Kirby’s work has been a source of contention for years. His classic stories and characters were largely all created under implied work-for-hire arrangements. That is, he owned no rights to his creations. In 1978, copyright laws changed, and required all work-for-hire arrangements to be specifically controlled by contract. Kirby refused to sign Marvel’s, and left the company.
In the mid-’80s, Marvel was under pressure to return original artwork from the ’60s and ’70s to the artists, and Kirby’s art became a particular sticking point. (Artists could sell their original pages, generating significant extra income.) He refused to sign the contracts offered by Marvel, and the battle over his art became the greatest public spectacle in the comics world at the time. In 1987 Marvel returned around 1,900 pages of art to Kirby, less than a quarter of his output. (The Comics Journal has a much more in-depth report of this situation.)
Even at that point Kirby was arguing for creator-owned rights within the comics industry, and that argument had long repercussions. The formation of Image Comics, for example, was directly influenced by Kirby’s battle with Marvel. Kirby’s fight for copyright ownership began during this period as well, but as comic writer and Kirby friend Mark Evanier said (quoted in that Comics Journal piece), Kirby “had decided in the early 1970s that, financially and emotionally, the copyright issue was not a fight he was prepared to fight.”
So, this is bad, right?

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Old 09-20-2009, 09:19 PM   #2
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Default Re: Jack Kirby Sues Everyone and their mom

I'm not sure what to say.

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Old 09-20-2009, 09:38 PM   #3
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Default Re: Jack Kirby Sues Everyone and their mom

So the family just wants a share of the character and not the whole thing since Kirby did it work-for-hire? Plus, he didn't write any of these did he?

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Old 09-20-2009, 10:05 PM   #4
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Default Re: Jack Kirby Sues Everyone and their mom

Isn't it a bit too soon to try and do this? At least with Superman, he's been in existence for so damn long.

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Old 09-20-2009, 10:05 PM   #5
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Default Re: Jack Kirby Sues Everyone and their mom

Isn't it a bit too soon to try and do this? At least with Superman, he's been in existence for so damn long.

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Old 09-20-2009, 11:27 PM   #6
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Default Re: Jack Kirby Sues Everyone and their mom

He wrote MOST of them.

Lee scripted and co-wrote, Jack drew and co-wrote.

Jack co-created much of the Marvel Universe, and in some cases [like the Silver Surfer] he did it all by himself. Stan made the mistake of admitting this in print in the mid-60's - and he never did that again!

Jack deserves a piece of the pie, just like Stan got.

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Old 09-21-2009, 12:25 AM   #7
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Default Re: Jack Kirby Sues Everyone and their mom

oh i agree when its legally right for a creator or if they are dead for their heirs to get rights they are legally entitled to by the US courts and all that. But boy it does hurt the fans, and the business when these things go down. Hopefully it wont turn out to be like the mess that Superman is in with wb/dc and siegels/shusters heirs.

Hopefully the kirby heirs which i read is only 4 kids and 2 grandkids will just want get cash and not muck around with the business of the films/comics/merch. Though from what i was reading this is more mplying to his golden age stuff and not the later on 60s+ stuff for marvel/dc/etc.... companies since those were under some form of work for hire deals at the time.

Hopefully this doesnt mess up capt/thor/avengers films in the works. Though yea i know i am just being a picky fanboy there. Hopefully things all work out for marvel/disney and things can be settled.

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Old 09-21-2009, 12:27 AM   #8
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Default Re: Jack Kirby Sues Everyone and their mom

What does Spider-man have to do with Kirby?



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Old 09-21-2009, 12:27 AM   #9
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Default Re: Jack Kirby Sues Everyone and their mom

What does Spider-man have to do with Kirby?



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Old 09-21-2009, 12:32 AM   #10
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Default Re: Jack Kirby Sues Everyone and their mom

nothing lol that was all lee and dikto/romita sr. Plus spidey's copyright is nothing to worry about for ages on end i believe. Marvel fullys controlls spideys rights i believe.

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Old 09-21-2009, 12:33 AM   #11
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Default Re: Jack Kirby Sues Everyone and their mom

nothing lol that was all lee and dikto/romita sr. Plus spidey's copyright is nothing to worry about for ages on end i believe. Marvel fullys controlls spideys rights i believe.

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Old 09-21-2009, 12:41 AM   #12
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Default Re: Jack Kirby Sues Everyone and their mom

This is a much better thing than the Superman fiasco. Fox, Universal and Sony will NEVER be able to afford to keep the characters. 20th Century Fox will definitely be stubborn but Rothman can't do anything in front of the long arm of the law.

Disney will fight tooth and nail to keep Iron Man, Cap, Thor and maybe even Hulk. They have the money and resources to form a deal with the Kirby's and eventually may BUY back characters like the FF and Ghost Rider

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Old 09-21-2009, 01:17 AM   #13
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Default Re: Jack Kirby Sues Everyone and their mom

yea hopefully this wont turn into the mess that the superman copyright rights are in now with this lawyer and the siegels. Hopefully the kirby kids just want to get some extra bucks and let the characters stay in the comics/movies/merch stuff and not monkey around those things.

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Old 09-21-2009, 01:22 AM   #14
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Default Re: Jack Kirby Sues Everyone and their mom

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What does Spider-man have to do with Kirby?


If I'm remembering right, Kirby contributed the first on-paper design of Spider-Man, going as far as to do the layout of the cover of Amazing Fantasy #15. But Stan Lee didn't like how heroic the character looked under Kirby's pen, so he went to Ditko.

So, I guess, there are some image royalties? I don't know. He sure as hell didn't write any of the stories, or design anything past Spidey himself.

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Old 09-21-2009, 03:51 AM   #15
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Default Re: Jack Kirby Sues Everyone and their mom

Does anyone else just find it greedy?

As others have said, with most of the characters he co-created them with Stan Lee. The thing is, is that was Jack Kirby who co-created them...not his kids/grandkids. I think it's kind of ridiculous that they think they should get $$$ from something that isn't theirs. Yeah they're family but he was the one that co-created them and technically they are Marvels.

Not to mention as the article states, he co-created most of them in a work for hire program, which kind of means Marvel has more of a right to these characters than even Kirby and Stan(if Stan was also doing a work for hire thing). I just think this is a pure opportunistic attack rather than them actually giving a flying **** about his work.

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Old 09-21-2009, 04:44 AM   #16
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Default Re: Jack Kirby Sues Everyone and their mom

It doesn't bother me 'cause Punisher is out of this.

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Old 09-21-2009, 06:37 AM   #17
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Default Re: Jack Kirby Sues Everyone and their mom

2009 will be known as the year comic books died. I see this getting worse before it gets better. Bill Finger and Bob Kane's family will be next to come out and sue mark my words. As will Steve Ditko's family, and just about every other artist or writers family. They all see what happened in the Superman BS and are seeing dollar signs. The bottom line is to me anyway is, If you were not smart enough to lock up your rights when you create or help to create a character then too bad for you. Your family should not be able to just wait till you die and then sue for something they had nothing to do with. The only reason this is happening is because everyone knows what a cash cow superhero movies are now, so they sue for something their grandfather drew and they don't even care about, other then for money. If you want money for comics then start drawing and writing them.

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Old 09-21-2009, 08:18 AM   #18
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Default Re: Jack Kirby Sues Everyone and their mom

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2009 will be known as the year comic books died. I see this getting worse before it gets better. Bill Finger and Bob Kane's family will be next to come out and sue mark my words. As will Steve Ditko's family, and just about every other artist or writers family. They all see what happened in the Superman BS and are seeing dollar signs. The bottom line is to me anyway is, If you were not smart enough to lock up your rights when you create or help to create a character then too bad for you. Your family should not be able to just wait till you die and then sue for something they had nothing to do with. The only reason this is happening is because everyone knows what a cash cow superhero movies are now, so they sue for something their grandfather drew and they don't even care about, other then for money. If you want money for comics then start drawing and writing them.
Yep, this sums up my anger with the situation. I'm just worried that so many greedy people blinded by the dollar signs in their eyes are going to be biting and clawing to get a piece of the pie, that eventually there'll be no pie left.

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Old 09-21-2009, 08:29 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by AnorexicBatman View Post
This is a much better thing than the Superman fiasco. Fox, Universal and Sony will NEVER be able to afford to keep the characters. 20th Century Fox will definitely be stubborn but Rothman can't do anything in front of the long arm of the law.

Disney will fight tooth and nail to keep Iron Man, Cap, Thor and maybe even Hulk. They have the money and resources to form a deal with the Kirby's and eventually may BUY back characters like the FF and Ghost Rider
Rothman isn't in charge of 20th Century anymore. He's got Searchlight and Fox TV now.

And I do think this is greedy. Why should they get money for something they haven't done?

It's sorta like when a husband and wife separate the wife gets most of the stuff...even if she hasn't actually earned anything herself. Like the guy works every single day whilst the women is at home, when they break up she gets half of everything. Why?

It's like sitting on your ass, not doing any work then expecting money.

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Old 09-21-2009, 09:39 AM   #20
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Default Re: Jack Kirby Sues Everyone and their mom

Soon "The Kirby Effect" will have an entirely different meaning.

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Old 09-21-2009, 09:59 AM   #21
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Does anyone else just find it greedy?

As others have said, with most of the characters he co-created them with Stan Lee. The thing is, is that was Jack Kirby who co-created them...not his kids/grandkids. I think it's kind of ridiculous that they think they should get $$$ from something that isn't theirs. Yeah they're family but he was the one that co-created them and technically they are Marvels.

Not to mention as the article states, he co-created most of them in a work for hire program, which kind of means Marvel has more of a right to these characters than even Kirby and Stan(if Stan was also doing a work for hire thing). I just think this is a pure opportunistic attack rather than them actually giving a flying **** about his work.
More than greedy. I agree with a quote I saw on the front page: "Blood sucking relatives. Here is a thought, go out and make something of yourself instead of piggybacking off of your relatives!"

There ya go. Greed and stupidity = The Kirby legacy now. Way to sell out a good name. I hope this suit gets crushed.

What should be factored in, and why the laws are written as they are, is that each character has evolved so much since the 60's. Every writer and artist since then has added to the character. They are popular and profitable today because of that linage. Taking a percentage now that you had no legal right to back then is stealing other people's work. If those characters would've stayed as juvenile and basic as they were in the 60's, they would've died off years ago.

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Old 09-21-2009, 10:51 AM   #22
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Default Re: Jack Kirby Sues Everyone and their mom

I know all this legal battles happening now are crazy. Sure legally the creator and/or his heirs in the case of death are entitled to certain things. But with all these battles like the shusters/siegels stuff for superman can have long lasting effects on the comics and other media. With things getting picked apart on who owns what and all that. Hopefully marvel/disney can keep this out of the court system(if they go to court hopefully wont get the judge who doing the siegel case).

If kirby's kids are just after money plan and simple i hope disney/marvel and them can work out some reasonable deal for them to make a certain percentage of profits made on said character kirby created or co created. But also wouldnt stan lee, joe simon and others who helped create said characters too have a factor in all this. They would have the same rights to and if the others do side with marvel it could hurt the kirby's shot on things.

I just crossing fingers this wont turn into the same mess superman is and will be for the next few years. As for bob kane and that finger guy who created batman i think things were different for them when they sold things to dc back in the day and he wasnt screwed like the siegel/shuster were. So i doubt batman will be in the same boat as all these current legal problems.

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Old 09-21-2009, 11:45 AM   #23
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Default Re: Jack Kirby Sues Everyone and their mom

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More than greedy. I agree with a quote I saw on the front page: "Blood sucking relatives. Here is a thought, go out and make something of yourself instead of piggybacking off of your relatives!"

There ya go. Greed and stupidity = The Kirby legacy now. Way to sell out a good name. I hope this suit gets crushed.
yeah, greed. Just like those greedy orphans profiting off JM Barrie's Peter Pan all those years. Get a job you bums!

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Old 09-21-2009, 11:46 AM   #24
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More than greedy. I agree with a quote I saw on the front page: "Blood sucking relatives. Here is a thought, go out and make something of yourself instead of piggybacking off of your relatives!"

There ya go. Greed and stupidity = The Kirby legacy now. Way to sell out a good name. I hope this suit gets crushed.

What should be factored in, and why the laws are written as they are, is that each character has evolved so much since the 60's. Every writer and artist since then has added to the character. They are popular and profitable today because of that linage. Taking a percentage now that you had no legal right to back then is stealing other people's work. If those characters would've stayed as juvenile and basic as they were in the 60's, they would've died off years ago.
That's another good point. Kirby and Lee may have created most of the greats at Marvel but over the decades they have changed quite a bit.

It would be like if Bill Fingers relatives wanted to sue WB/DC for rights to Batman. Just look at the character back then to how he has been in the past 30-40 years. As someone on the previous page mentioned(I think it was Keyser) everone would be wanting a piece of the pie untill there wasn't any pie left at all. Just think if all the familys(if artist/writer is deceased) or writers and artists currently living that have all worked on Spider-Man for example wanted to sue for a percentage of the rights, it would be ridiculous.

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Old 09-21-2009, 11:49 AM   #25
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Default Re: Jack Kirby Sues Everyone and their mom

Jack Kirby is dead, he is not suing anybody. This thread title needs to be changed.

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