You thought the Superman lawsuit was a big deal? Well, Jack Kirby’s estate has gone one better, delivering ‘termination notices’ to Marvel/Disney and other studios that are currently using Kirby-created characters. That’s right – Kirby’s kids want the rights back to Captain America, Thor, The Fantastic Four and the X-Men, among others.
These claims don’t take effect right away. According to the Los Angeles Times, ‘Under copyright law, creators can seek to regain copyrights they
previously assigned to a company 56 years after first publication and
can give notice of their intentions up to 10 years before that.
‘Kirby’s children would be eligible to claim their father’s portion of
the copyright of the Fantastic Four in 2017; the Hulk would come up in
2018 and X-Men in 2019. The copyrights would then run for 39 more years.’
Even then, this is probably not that big a deal. The paper has a quote from a Disney spokesman simply saying: “The notices involved are an attempt to terminate rights seven to 10
years from now and involve claims that were fully considered in the
acquisition.” So they saw this coming.
Kirby’s kids are 100% acting in their pops’ memory, as Kirby himself was a big proponent of creator rights. Kirby fought to get his original artwork back from Marvel back in the day, which makes him one of the pioneers of creator’s rights. There’s no reason the Kirby children shouldn’t be swimming in the cash their father’s genius has made for other corporations.
The law firm behind this suit is the same behind the Superman suit; I expect there to be similar fearmongering and terror among fans about all this, but you shouldn’t worry. Kirby’s kids don’t want to start their own company. They just want a piece of the profits that should be theirs anyway. It’s in their own best interest that Marvel superhero movies, comics and video games keep getting produced.