3 Count: Marvel-ous Ruling

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1: Marvel Artist Kirby’s Heirs Lose Copyright Claim

First off today, heirs to comic book artist and creator Jack Kirby have lost their lawsuit against Marvel Comics. The heirs claimed that Kirby, who did not have a contract for much of his time at Marvel, should retain copyright in his creations, including “The Fantastic Four,” “The Incredible Hulk” and “The Avengers.” However, a judge ruled that Kirby was employed by Marvel and that his terms of employment met the requirements for a work for hire, meaning that Marvel Comics retains ownership of his creations. The heirs plan on appealing the verdict.

2: Anti-Piracy Lawyers Rip Off Work From Competitor

Next up today, Torrentfreak is reporting on a case of an anti-piracy attorney infringing the works of another anti-piracy law firm. The matter involves attorney John Steele, who it was discovered had lifted at least some of the content in his FAQs used in his settlement letters from the site of Copyright Enforcement Group, a competing firm. The Copyright Enforcement Group has said they may take action against Steele to ensure there is no further infringement.

3: A “Breakout” Case: Atari Games Corp. v. Oman

Finally today, in a bit of retro copyright news Patent Arcade has a very interesting look at the 1992 case Atari Games Corp v. Oman. Oman, who was the Register of Copyrights then, had denied Atari a copyright registration for its famous game Breakout. According to Oman, the work did not rise to the requisite level of creativity needed for copyrightability. Atari sued and took the case to the Supreme Court, which ruled that the game was copyrightable and that the Register must use the same standard, the Feist standard, on all works of creativity, including video games.


That’s it for the three count today. We will be back tomorrow with three more copyright links. If you have a link that you want to suggest a link for the column or have any proposals to make it better. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I hope to hear from you.

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