Less than three months ago, Marvel Studios filed a number of lawsuits aimed at retaining full ownership of the rights to characters such as Spider-Man, Iron Man, Doctor Strange and Mighty Thor. This issue may of course go on for years, but suddenly there are developments.
Not only was this past weekend a great start at the box office Spider-Man: There is no room for home. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has also seen some massive behind-the-scenes events at the US Supreme Court, potentially changing the rules of the game in Hollywood and changing the plans for the Spider-man franchise forever.
The copyright issue is important
Copyright in the United States allows authors and their heirs to claim rights granted to publishers and studios, provided they have waited a certain period of time. So Disney sees the termination of the contracts of famous superheroes.
But the regulations do not apply to all businesses. If the work is assigned by the employer, the employee cannot claim the rights. It gets more complicated when it comes to situations where there is a freelance translator. It was, which makes it very complicated. How would you classify Marvel works from the 1960s?
That’s right, according to The Hollywood Reporter Game of Life He takes on an important role. It was first sold in 1960 and made by Robin Klammer in collaboration with Bill Markham. Markham was a game designer who introduced the concepts and developed the prototype.
Decades later, Markham’s heirs decided to claim the copyright. However, the judge ruled that the work was done under contract, so the rights belong to publisher Milton Bradley (later acquired by Hasbro). In short: heirs cannot claim copyright.
The US Supreme Court must now consider this issue. This is because the lower court relied on a provision to operate under the Copyright Act 1976. But the game was designed under the Copyright Act 1909. And so the heirs want the court to look into that. If the case is accepted, it could have serious consequences for Marvel Studios.
Marvel Heroes Rights
Disney’s main argument is that contributions made by independents to Marvel Comics (such as those about Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, and more heroes) were under the publisher’s control. It doesn’t matter to the studio that people like Steve Ditko, Jane Collan, Don Heck and others made creative choices and often did so at great financial risk. This is while they were only paid when Marvel Comics wanted to publish the works.
Disney assumes that the success of a decade ago has been achieved in the Jack Kirby case. But the new issue is around Game of Life It makes things more complicated. A decade ago, Disney agreed to a settlement with Kirby’s heirs worth tens of millions of dollars to avoid the risk of losing the rights.
When the matter is over Game of Life It may have serious consequences if the decision falls on the part of the heirs. Thus, the question in the coming months is in which direction it will go, and what will be the consequences for the film studio. It just might end badly.
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