Who Owns Captain America?

In January, Marvel Comics filed a lawsuit in federal court in New York seeking a declaration that all of Jack Kirby’s creations belong to Marvel under the “work -for-hire” doctrine.  This month, the Kirby kids have retaliated by filing suit against Marvel and Disney in federal court in Los Angeles seeking a declaration that the copyright termination notices they sent out last September are valid, and that the copyright in all of Kirby’s characters —  including Captain America, the Fantastic Four, Thor, and the X-Men — will revert to the heirs over the next several years.

The timing of the suit could not be better — given Hollywood’s continuing fascination with superheroes, and the upcoming release of the first Captain America movie, the litigation theatrics should commence shortly. Stay tuned for further details, and be sure to check out  Eriq Gardner’s article in the The Hollywood Reporter.

I am a commercial litigator and intellectual property lawyer in Orange County. Although my practice encompasses a wide variety of business disputes, I have a particular fondness for, and am prone to wax philosophical on, the subjects of copyright and trademark infringement in music, literature, art, and film.

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