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  1. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by He-Kal View Post
    Please don't tell me this means a bunch of titles are going to have a silly statement of "with special arrangement with the Jack Kirby family" like the Superman titles say for the Siegel family. Cant they just say, "Created by" and be enough?
    They should have a have a 'co-creator' credit on the books a long time ago...instead they went with 'Stan Lee Presents'. Which, I guess just makes Stan Lee Marvel's version of Walt Disney. And no, that isn't a compliment.

  2. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by SupaHood View Post
    No . He is right . Stan should have the rights . Don't get me wrong , Jack was the brainchild early on . But Stan kept it all together business wise , on top of coming up with characters along with Kirby . That's alot to put in . He was a work horse .
    Kirby was the creative talent of the duo. Stan got his money. He sold his rights long ago, for a stipend of millions a year.

  3. #48
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    I think Marvel saw it as a win the battle lose the war. So they settled. Nothing like the Supreme court saying a Publisher has to renegotiate their creator contracts due to ancillary profit from Digital, TV, Movies and Video Games.

    That is a battle Marvel would have lost. Book Authors that create a literary work are compensated for ancillary works if not downright have other contracts outside of publishing. And that is something Comic Publishers would lose their cake over.

    yeah a talent signs on to write a book. But what about their stories use outside of paper publishing. Compensation for creating an intellectual property that will live way beyond its creators contract.
    Last edited by ExcelsiorPrime; 09-26-2014 at 04:30 PM.

  4. #49
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    Anyone who knows any history of Kirby and Marvel, knows that he was promised royalties for the characters he created for Marvel. He got screwed, the same way he and Joe Simon were screwed out of the royalties for Captain America in the 40s..which lead them to defect to National (now DC) and create several million copy selling titles for that publishing house.
    Kirby averaged 15 pages a week. That was creating the story, including dialog for Stan to go by.
    He worked hard, so his family would be taken care of when he was gone.
    So, all the bullshit posts about 'heirs being lazy' is just that, bullshit comments by people who know no better.

  5. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by ExcelsiorPrime View Post
    I think Marvel saw it as a win the battle lose the war. So they settled. Nothing like the Supreme court saying a Publisher has to renegotiate their creator contracts due to ancillary profit from Digital, TV, Movies and Video Games.

    That is a battle Marvel would have lost. Book Authors that create a literary work are compensated for ancillary works if not downright have other contracts outside of publishing. And that is something Comic Publishers would lose their cake over.

    yeah a talent signs on to write a book. But what about their stories use outside of paper publishing. Compensation for creating an intellectual property that will live way beyond its creators contract.
    Comics should be more like publishing..the writer owns the story and characters, the publisher publishes.

  6. #51
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    i was always under the impression marvel wanted to pay kirby more, but he had been so threatening of legal action that marvel lawyers wouldn't allow them to pay him or else he could use it as proof of being owed. shooter wrote some thing about this, he tried to give kirby a deal similar (but not as good ) as stan's but marvel legal wouldn't let him. i think if anything the heirs caved in on there demands and decided to take a check instead of continuously suing for ownership, which is what bit the shuster and seagle heirs in the ass.

  7. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by totalsellout View Post
    i was always under the impression marvel wanted to pay kirby more, but he had been so threatening of legal action that marvel lawyers wouldn't allow them to pay him or else he could use it as proof of being owed. shooter wrote some thing about this, he tried to give kirby a deal similar (but not as good ) as stan's but marvel legal wouldn't let him. i think if anything the heirs caved in on there demands and decided to take a check instead of continuously suing for ownership, which is what bit the shuster and seagle heirs in the ass.
    The story goes - Marvel Publisher Martin Goodman had promised Kirby more money and credit, but when Goodman sold the company to Cadence Industries no raise was forthcoming (Stan Lee signed a new contract with Marvel before the sale, probably at Cadence Industries insistence). Kirby then decided to quit and eventually went to National Comics (DC) where he was given more money and more creative control.

    Unfortunately his new titles (New Gods, Mister Miracle, Jimmy Olsen and The Forever People originally and then The Demon, Kamandi, OMAC, The Loser, Kobra, and Sandman) never caught on like the Lee/Kirby Marvel titles did and he eventually parted ways with National and returned to Marvel for a couple of years in the mid-'70s (working on titles like 2001: A Space Odyssey, Black Panther, Captain America, Machine Man, the Eternals and Devil Dinosaur). In 1979 Kirby left Marvel again to design characters for Hanna-Barbera.
    Last edited by The Bobster; 09-26-2014 at 05:21 PM.

  8. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by totalsellout View Post
    i was always under the impression marvel wanted to pay kirby more, but he had been so threatening of legal action that marvel lawyers wouldn't allow them to pay him or else he could use it as proof of being owed. shooter wrote some thing about this, he tried to give kirby a deal similar (but not as good ) as stan's but marvel legal wouldn't let him. i think if anything the heirs caved in on there demands and decided to take a check instead of continuously suing for ownership, which is what bit the shuster and seagle heirs in the ass.
    Window dressing. The point the Kirby family had was the contracts were unfair. being paid to create characters and get profits solely from publishing while t-shirts, action figures, Tv shows, Movies and Video games were being produced without financial compensation is clearly unfair.

    if it stated that in the initial contract then I could see having some leeway, but the initial contracts didnt have those compensations nor did they notify the pursuant that they would be forfeiting their right to those profit.

    hence why the sneak move of putting such conditions in fine print on the back of a check later on.

    thank Goodness there is still some precedent for both parties understanding the language of their binding contract.
    Last edited by ExcelsiorPrime; 09-26-2014 at 05:38 PM.

  9. #54
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    I don't understand the negativity directed toward Jack "King" Kirby and his heirs. Good on the Kirbys!

    Also, keep in mind what brought about this latest suit -- the 1976 copyright act, which allows creators or their estates to terminate copyright assignments to publishers they assigned decades earlier.

    Marvel's only defense against Kirby's heir's suits was that it was work for hire, which is difficult to claim given that Kirby was never actually an employee.

    Despite earlier legal setbacks, Kirby's estate had a good claim.

    A comparable case involved the Village People, their songs, their record company and their formal lead singer, though there are of course differences. A nice overview:

    http://www.wipo.int/wipo_magazine/en...icle_0005.html

    Also, arguments about the heirs doing nothing to market or grow these characters and their popularity don't ring true. The heirs couldn't do anything with the characters as long as Marvel was claiming ownership with all their lawyers. The heirs did the right thing for themselves and creators' rights with these suits for their father's estate.

    Given the box office success of the X-Men, Avengers, Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and the Guardians of the Galaxy (Groot!), the settlement was surely VERY significant.

    As a reader and longtime fan, I am happy to hear Jack and his finally got some justice! And now the Kirby estate can get behind supporting Marvel and Disney. Make Mine Marvel!
    Last edited by Brian B; 09-26-2014 at 07:28 PM.

  10. #55
    Bishop was right. Sighphi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by funeralthirst7 View Post
    Why would that be awesome? Do you hate Marvel or something?
    It would be awesome cause then Marvel would have to use imagination instead of repeating the same stories over and over.

  11. #56
    Mighty Member Froggy's Avatar
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    Glad it was amicable at least
    Brad Pitt for Grifter in a WildCATS movie

  12. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian B View Post
    Good on the Kirbys!
    It feels like a hollow "victory," if that's what you want to call it. Jack isn't alive to appreciate the settlement. The ones to benefit are the ones who knew where the lawyer's office was. YAY! Victory for the litigious! I hope that, one day, my kids yet to be will sue somebody and reap the benefits of hard work they never did.

    Marvel's only defense against Kirby's heir's suits was that it was work for hire, which is difficult to claim given that Kirby was never actually an employee.
    Here's the thing. Freelance of salaried, the label for his work situation matters less than the ultimate real world execution.

    Imagine this scenario.

    I say, "Brian, walk my dog this week and I'll give you a check for $100." You walk my dog as promised. I then give you that check. You cash it. Later on, you find out that you could've gotten $400 instead. Do you sue me for the remaining $300? Of course not. We never had a contract in writing. I never put you on any sort of regular payroll. However, because you did the job I tasked you and then cashed my check, we effectively created and satisfied an ad hoc, impromptu contract.

    You could certainly debate the terms of this makeshift contract in court and that's fine. Oral contracts are debated all of the time. Can you win? That's the big question. Cashing my check was a bad move on your part though, especially if I wrote something like "paid in full" or "for services rendered" in the memo line. Once you take my money, in that instance, my business with you is done.

    Marvel offered Kirby work. Kirby delivered the work. Marvel paid Kirby. Kirby cashed his pay. By definition, that satisfies the requirements for a contract AND work-for-hire. It's not that hard of a concept to grasp. You can use whatever term you'd like. However, they still employed his services to mutually beneficial effect. Marvel might have benefited more than Kirby, but hindsight is always 20/20. The Kirby estate could argue that other terms were agreed upon, but proving it is always the problem. That's especially true when the creator in question is dead, the creations themselves are half a century old, and the co-creator testifies on behalf of the defense.

    Despite earlier legal setbacks, Kirby's estate had a good claim.
    A lost case and failed subsequent appeal don't make for a "good claim." Both courts deemed it work-for-hire, which hurts the Kirby claim. More over, anything created under their employ, on the company dime, can also be deemed "work product." The Kirby case, imo, was kinda shaky.

    Also, arguments about the heirs doing nothing to market or grow these characters and their popularity don't ring true. The heirs couldn't do anything with the characters as long as Marvel was claiming ownership with all their lawyers.
    The net effect is essentially the same though.

    Also, and this is a legitimate question, was there ever any point when the printed copyright notice listed Kirby as the IP owner? I don't think so. I'm thinking back and, frankly, I don't ever remember the copyright notice ever saying anything other than Marvel, Timely, or whatever shell company they had at the time. I've got a bunch of 1960s Kirby issues (very early X-Men & Avengers) that I could look through, but I'm pretty sure that Kirby wasn't listed as an IP holder. Uncontested, afaik, Marvel staked their claim on those rights long before the Kirby or the Kirby estate asked for a "do over" on the financials.

    The heirs did the right thing for themselves and creators' rights with these suits for their father's estate.
    Want rights? Contract for them. Didn't? Don't cry after the fact. This whole issue of "creator rights" might not have been a big thing in the 1960s and that's a shame. I agree. Had Kirby complained and demanded a cut of the pie beforehand, he probably wouldn't have gotten the work. It was a different time.

    That said, BECAUSE it was a different time, he handled the situation differently than a modern artist might. That mindset worked against him. Renegotiating the terms ex post facto doesn't work. AFAIK, they'd have to mutually dissolve that prior ad hoc contract and create a new one. Proving that ever happened for stuff in the "handshake deal" era is tricky.

    I'm not an expert on the case. I'll admit that. However, to me, the idea that Kirby would argue for ownership or a royalty stream in those days seems, well, a little hard to swallow. Historically, the broad realization and valuation of that concept is really a post-"Star Wars" sort of thing. Prior to 1977, the long term fiscal benefits of IP didn't really hit home with a lot of companies or creators. The full impact of that realization didn't hit the comics industry until over a decade later when "creator owned" became the new industry buzz term. IMO, original IP holds a far different potential value today than it might have 50 years ago.

    Given the box office success of the X-Men, Avengers, Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and the Guardians of the Galaxy (Groot!), the settlement was surely VERY significant.
    I don't think that we'll ever know. We might, but the terms of such settlements aren't often disclosed to the general public. There'll be rumors and wild figures out there, but probably nothing hard. I suspect that it might not have been as large as you might think though.

    Disney is a publicly traded company. Had the settlement been large enough to take a bite out of Marvel's bottom line, I'd imagine that they might have closed the trading day on a low note. Instead, Disney ended up by 0.76%. Whatever the settlement was, it wasn't enough to shake the key investors.

    In 2005, Marvel settled with Stan Lee for $10M. Lump sum. No royalty, afaik. Tweak that number for inflation and altered market valuation. You could probably make a decent guesstimate.

    I'd be shocked if they settled for more than $25M-$50M. Whatever the real number, it's definitely not in the 9-figure or above range. No royalties either. No crazy half-billion dollar figure. Given the fact that the legal precedence is in Disney/Marvel's favor, why give them [the Kirby estate] the proverbial keys to the kingdom? Seeing as how Marvel probably stood to win again, I can't see them going crazy like that. IMO, the settlement was probably modest, but enough to shut down that itch to sue again later.

    And now the Kirby estate can get behind supporting Marvel and Disney.
    The average fan or casual moviegoer won't notice any difference.
    Last edited by cookepuss; 09-26-2014 at 11:52 PM.

  13. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sighphi View Post
    It would be awesome cause then Marvel would have to use imagination instead of repeating the same stories over and over.
    Hardly. Big business likes the "lather, rinse, & repeat" MO. Find something that worked once & repeat it ad infinitum. Hollywood does it as easily as you breathe. Comics are no different. Forcing Marvel to do something 100% new would accomplish nothing. They'd just beat that new horse dead instead.
    Last edited by cookepuss; 09-26-2014 at 11:40 PM.

  14. #59
    Fantastic Member KingsLeadHat's Avatar
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    It feels like a hollow "victory," if that's what you want to call it. Jack isn't alive to appreciate the settlement. The ones to benefit are the ones who knew where the lawyer's office was. YAY! Victory for the litigious! I hope that, one day, my kids yet to be will sue somebody and reap the benefits of hard work they never did.
    Are you not aware that Kirby's main concern was "providing for his family" and leaving them something after his demise? This is not a situation where a family was estranged, and after the death of the creator, the hated family rushes in to get a piece. I'm 1000% certain that Kirby would have fully supported this.

    The amusing thing to me is that these corporations are now basically being shamed into "doing the right thing" even when most of the legalities are on their side. The divide between real justice and the law is a wide one indeed.

    It's not like Kirby was ever claiming that he co-owned any of the characters he created for Marvel (or DC). The original beef was over the simple fact that Marvel lied to him, gave him no real credit for creating everything and wouldn't even give him basic health insurance. Later, they refused to return his art, a borderline criminal act. Given his enormous contribution to their multimedia empire (I'd argue that he was the single most important part) he wasn't even treated with the respect of a valued work-for-hire employee, much less the creative genius and invaluable asset that he truly was.

    So, yeah, I think people are on the side of right when they shame, sue or otherwise cause a big stink to get these soulless corporations to do what they should have done in the first place. The game shouldn't never have been set up like it was and they shouldn't get a pass for the sins of yore. The paradigm is different when art is involved. Sorry, it's not just a product. These creators aren't manual laborers or otherwise non-creative cogs in a vast machine; they are the reasons these companies have any worth and its high time they're treated as such.

  15. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Batman#22 View Post
    If anyone should be getting the rights to Marvel characters it should be Stan Lee. Nuff said.
    Wasn't Stan Lee related to the publisher and made sure his work (and only his work) wasn't considered work for hire?

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