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Author Topic: Jack Kirby's copyrights and Steve Ditko's departure from Marvel Comics  (Read 7921 times)

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Offline bchat

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Re: Jack Kirby's copyrights and Steve Ditko's departure from Marvel Comics
« Reply #75 on: April 07, 2011, 12:15:05 PM »
Read Jim Shooter's Blog (where "comicscommentary" got their quotes) to get his take on things regarding Jack Kirby.

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Re: Jack Kirby's copyrights and Steve Ditko's departure from Marvel Comics
« Reply #75 on: April 07, 2011, 12:15:05 PM »

Offline John C

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Re: Jack Kirby's copyrights and Steve Ditko's departure from Marvel Comics
« Reply #76 on: April 07, 2011, 04:34:38 PM »
What makes me wonder though, if such a document exists wouldn't it quickly end the entire proceedings?  This is where the law gets complicated and I turn to JohnC to explain it.
;)

Hey...why I gotta be the shark?

Ahem.

Anyway, to the extent I understand it (and I went through that same line of reasoning), it's probably not a huge impact, because the current case is about the termination of copyright transfer.  A document that says Kirby gave up his rights in the '60s or the '80s or even last week doesn't have a bearing because the law says that you can't (and retroactively couldn't) make a perpetual copyright grant.  And on top of that, whenever the grant was, now's the time it can be terminated (if a grant was made, that is).

Arguably, the document harms Marvel's side of the case a bit, because--if it can be viewed as a contract, in which each side receives something of value--the fact that they had to relinquish rights in exchange for something that wasn't their property would suggest that the artists had rights to give up and were "selling" them, in effect, to Marvel.  If the artists didn't own the copyrights and if the form was a contract, then Marvel received no "consideration," voiding the contract.  (In that case, the returned art was an informal gift, and the paperwork was just random bureaucracy to piss everybody off.  And that sound you hear might be the IRS getting interested, since I doubt any of those artists mentioned such extravagant gifts on their taxes...)

Offline Yoc

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Re: Jack Kirby's copyrights and Steve Ditko's departure from Marvel Comics
« Reply #77 on: April 07, 2011, 05:17:02 PM »
Oh man, I'd hate to see all those other innocent artists getting raked over the coals as collateral damage from the case.  :(

Offline John C

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Re: Jack Kirby's copyrights and Steve Ditko's departure from Marvel Comics
« Reply #78 on: April 08, 2011, 05:22:53 AM »
I was half-joking, Yoc.  I'm pretty sure the statute of limitations on tax evasion is less than thirty years (it's three or six, generally, depending on how obnoxious you were), and original art since that time has been considered the property of the artist.

Since there's a handy chart, and since the URL contains the handy acronym "SOL":

http://www.justice.gov/tax/readingroom/2008ctm/CTM%20Chapter%207%20SOL.htm

Offline Yoc

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Re: Jack Kirby's copyrights and Steve Ditko's departure from Marvel Comics
« Reply #79 on: April 08, 2011, 10:24:38 AM »
Good, picturing a nice guy like Dick Ayers say getting a nasty letter - well that would be just sad!

Offline josemas

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Re: Jack Kirby's copyrights and Steve Ditko's departure from Marvel Comics
« Reply #80 on: April 17, 2011, 11:17:54 AM »
Stan Lee and Jack Kirby WBAI radio, New York
March 3, 1967
Interviewed by Mike O'Dell Transcribed by Steven Tice
UNEDITED
MIKE O'DELL Who goes around saving maidens, preventing banks from being robbed,
and committing deeds of that type, under an alter ego for the name, 'Peter
Parker?" How about "Tony Stark?" Would you believe "Reed Richards?" "Stan Lee?"
'Jack Kirby?' Well, except for the last two, they're all superheroes and they
belong in Marvel comics, and they are written and drawn by Stan Lee and Jack
Kirby. And Mr. Lee and Mr. Kirby are going to be answering questions about their
superheroes. And I guess the first one would be addressed to Stan Lee, and it's
the title of this program. Stan, will success spoil Spider-Man.
STAN LEE: [chuckles] Well, I don't think anything could spoil old Spidey, as we
lovingly call him. Just have to correct one thing you said, though. You said
that, except for Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the others are superheroes. We like to
think of ourselves as superheroes, too. Might add also that there are other
artists and other writers who do some of the other books, too. Jack and I don't
do them all, although we do the Fantastic Four and Thor. Spider-Man has been a
success since he started, and, luckily, I don't think he's been spoiled yet, so
we just have our fingers crossed.
MIKE O'DELL I ran across Marvel comic books about six or eight months ago, and
one oof the things that drew me to Marvel comic books, and Spider-Man in
particular, is a panel that showed Spider-Man swooping down on some bank
robbers, and they said , "Whoops, here comes Spider-Man!" And he replies, "Who
were you expecting? Vice president Humphrey?" Now, this is not a line you expect
to find in a comic book, and it sort of symbolizes your whole approach to the
field, which is offbeat and interesting. Was it your idea, Stan? Where did it
come from?
STAN LEE: Well, I guess, in that sense, in was my idea, since I write the
dialogue. In a nutshell, our theory is—Although maybe I shouldn't give the
theory in a nutshell, because then I don't know what we'll talk about for the
rest of the half hour. But, at any rate, in a nutshell, our theory is that
there's no reason why a comic magazine couldn't be as realistic and as
well-written and drawn as any other type of literature. We try to write these
thing so that the characters speak the way a character would speak in a
well-written movie, well-produced television show, and I think that's what makes
our book seem unique to a person who first picks them up. Nobody expects, as you
say, that sort of thing in a comic book. But that's a shame, because why
shouldn't someone expect reasonable and realistic dialogue in a comic book? Why
do people feel that comic books have to be badly written? And we're trying to
engage in a one-company crusade to see to it that they're not badly written.
MIKE O'DELL: Jack, you drew and invented, if I'm not mistaken, Captain America,
one of the earliest superheroes, who's now plying his trade in Marvel comics.
How did Captain America come to be, and does he have any particular relationship
to your other superheroes?
JACK KIRBY: I guess Captain America, like all of the characters come to be,
because of the fact that there is a need for them, Somebody needed Captain
America, just as the public needed Superman. When Superman came on the scene,
the public was ready for him, and they took him. And so, from Superman, who
didn't exactly satiate the public's need for the superhero, so spawned the rest
of them. The rest of them all came from Superman, and they all had various
names, and various backgrounds, and they embraced various creeds. And Captain
America came from the need for a patriotic character because the times at that
time were in a patriotic stir. The war was coming on, and the corny cliche, the
war humor, quite a bit of humor, to them, there is an underlying sincerity. We
take them seriously, and I think the readers are aware of this.
MIKE O'DELL Did you also innovate the letters page? It adds to your stories, and
frequently I sometimes find in the blurbs you run that you advance the stories
by means of these letter pages.
STAN LEE: The letters pages are one of our most successful devices. It also
established a rapport between ourselves and the readers, and I'm happy to say
most of our readers feel that were all friends. When they write a letter, they
don't say, "Dear Editor." They say, "Dear Stan and Jack," "Dear So-and-so." They
call us by name. And we give ourselves nicknames. We started this as a gag, and
they've caught on. The fellow here on my right isn't just Jack Kirby. He's Jolly
Jack,
MIKE O'DELL I'll get you for it. [laughs]
STAN LEE: Or Jack "King" Kirby. And I'm "Smilin' Stan." This is kind of cute,
too, because, as I mentioned to you earlier, I think before we were on the air,
we sort of think of the whole thing as one big advertising campaign, with
slogans, and mottos, and catch phrases, and things that the reader can identify
with. And besides just presenting stories, we try to make the reader think he's
part of an "in" group. In fact, we've discussed before, we're always a little
worried about being too successful, where the readers will feel, "Oh, gosh, now
everybody's caught on to it. We have to find something new."
MIKE O'DELL Is there a real Irving Forbush?
STAN LEE: Oh, I don't think that it would be right for me to answer that. [Jack
laughs] When we're off the air, I might hint at it. He's real in our
imagination, I'll put it that may.
MIKE O'DELL I think you also pioneered the use of mythological superheroes. I'm
talking about Thor, which you two come up with every month.
STAN LEE: Well, you've got the right guy here, because I always say that Jack is
the greatest mythological creator in the world. When we kicked Thor around, and
we came out with him, and I thought he would just be another book. And I think
that Jack has turned him into one of the greatest fictional characters there
are. In fact, I should let Jack say this, but just on the chance that he won't,
somebody was asking him how he gets his authenticity in the costumes and
everything, and I think a priceless answer, Jack said that they're not
authentic. If they were authentic, they wouldn't be authentic enough. But he
draws them the way they should be, not the way they were.
MIKE O'DELL Did you do a lot of homework on that, a lot of Norse myths, and so
forth?
JACK KIRBY: Weil, not homework in the sense that I went home one night and I
really concentrated on it. All through the years, certainly, I've had a kind of
affection for any mythological type of character, and my conception of what they
should look like. And here Stan gave me the opportunity to draw one, and wasn't
going to draw back from really letting myself go, So I did, and, like, the world
became a stage for me there, and I had a costume department that really went to
work. I gave the Norse characters twists that they never had in anybody's
imagination. And somehow it turned out to be a lot of fun, and I really enjoyed
doing it.
MIKE O'DELL Isn't it rather tough to come up with villains that are a suitable
match for a Norse god? JACK KIRBY: Well, not if they're Norse villains.
MIKE O'DELL Well, you've also dragged in some Greeks. I remember one epic battle
with Hercules.
JACK KIRBY: Well. Hercules had Olympian powers, which certainly are considered
on an equal basis with the old powers of the Norse gods, and therefore we felt
that they were an equal match for each other. and by rights they should contend
with each other.

Offline Yoc

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Re: Jack Kirby's copyrights and Steve Ditko's departure from Marvel Comics
« Reply #81 on: April 17, 2011, 12:33:52 PM »
Thanks for sharing that J

Offline josemas

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Re: Jack Kirby's copyrights and Steve Ditko's departure from Marvel Comics
« Reply #82 on: April 19, 2011, 10:30:33 AM »
The following developments in the Warner Bros/Siegel & Shuster case (which, in some ways, parallels the Disney-Marvel/Kirby case) were recently reported at the Comic Book Resources site.

http://robot6.comicbookresources.com/2011/04/warner-bros-dealt-a-setback-in-superman-legal-battle/

A federal judge on Monday denied an effort by Warner Bros. to gain access to sensitive documents that are alleged to show an agreement between the heirs of Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster not to strike further copyright deals with the studio, Hollywood, Esq. reports.

The documents, which were at the center of Warner Bros.’ May 2010 lawsuit against Siegel family attorney Marc Toberoff, also purportedly contain a formula for how the two estates, and Toberoff, would divide the Superman assets once they successfully terminate the studio’s rights to the property.

Zaresky’s decision is a setback for Warner Bros., which has been waging an increasingly bitter legal battle to hold onto Superman following a 2008 ruling that Siegel’s widow Joanne Siegel and daughter Laura Siegel Larson had successfully recaptured half of the original copyright to the Man of Steel. The door will open in 2013 for Shuster’s estate to do the same. (Last month Toberoff asked the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to determine exactly what elements from Superman’s mythology his clients can reclaim as a result of the 2008 decision.)

The tone and tactics of the dispute were the subject of a letter written in December by Joanne Siegel to Time Warner Chairman Jeffrey L. Bewkes, just two months before her death.

Although Toberoff had convinced the judge in the first trial that those documents were protected by attorney-client privilege, Warner Bros.’ new outside counsel Daniel Petrocelli argued in the 2010 lawsuit that the consent agreement violates the U.S. Copyright Act and, therefore, can’t be insulated from discovery. However, U.S. Magistrate Judge Ralph Zaresky ruled this week that the studio’s assertion that the documents are illegal doesn’t necessarily make them illegal.