For five years the estate of comic book illustrator Jack Kirby, who co-created Captain America, Thor, X-Men, The Avengers and many other classic Marvel characters, has been in a legal battle with Marvel and Disney over the rights to the characters. Now there is a possibility the US Supreme Court will become involved in the case.
Next Thursday the SCOTUS will meet in a private conference and discuss if they wish to hear the case. If the court agrees to the March 21 petition filed by the Kirby estate than an oral argument will be scheduled later this month for the courts next term, which is in October.
R. Bruce Rich, lawyer for Disney, field a waiver with the Supreme Court on April 24, saying that Disney and Marvel “did not intend to file a response to the petition…unless one is requested by the Court.”
The Kirby estate argues that since they are using Jack’s creations they should receive some form of compensation. In 2009 the estate sent out termination notices to any studio that made a property based on one of Kirby’s characters, which includes Disney, Marvel, Sony, Fox, Universal and Paramount.
Marvel argues that Kirby was under a work-for-hire deal and therefore has no rights to termination. This argument was upheld by a New York Federal Court in 2011 and again in 2013 by an appeals court. Marvel sued the Kirby estate in 2010 to invalidate their termination notices.
Representing the Kirby family is Marc Toberoff, who represented the airs to the Superman creators in a similar legal between DC Comics and Warner Bros.
Do you think this case will go before the Supreme Court? Is it even worth going in front of them? Sound of in the comments.