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First off today, in a move that was widely expected, the heirs of Jack Kirby have filed an appeal to their recent loss against Marvel. The estate has been in a lengthy legal battle over the fate of several of Marvel’s best-known characters including Captain America, Spiderman and the X-Men among others. The characters were created by Kirby while he was working with Marvel but the heirs sought to terminate Marvel’s rights to them under the law but Marvel argued, successfully in the lower court, that the works did not qualify for termination as Kirby was an employee at the time and the creation were works for hire. There has been no response from Marvel about the appeal.
Next up today, Martha Stewart is being sued for copyright infringement by Gregory Beauchamp, a designer who had previously created an announcement for her magazine. According to Beauchamp, Stewart’s publication contacted him about creating a graphic for a “save the date” announcement in one of their 2010 publications. He obliged and the graphic ran as expected. However, he claims Stewart broke the law when she published a similar graphic in 2011 without credit or permission. Beauchamp is seeking unspecified damages, in addition to attorneys’ fees, court costs and interest.
Finally today, the previously predicted wave of copyright termination requests may have already begun. Earlier this year, Victor Willis, the original lead singer of the 70s group The Village People, filed to retake control of the copyright of the group’s hit “YMCA”. The current owners of the song, Scorpio Music, a French business, and Can’t Stop Productions, one of its American affiliates, claim that it was a work for hire and doesn’t qualify for termination, setting the stage for a legal battle that may impact hundreds of other artists from that era.
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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