Is Marvel suing Disney?

Who sold Marvel to Disney?

On August 31, 2009, The Walt Disney Company announced a deal to acquire Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion, with Marvel shareholders to receive $30 and approximately 0.745 Disney shares for each share of Marvel they own.

wikipedia.orgMarvel Entertainment – Wikipedia

Entertainment: Disney sues to keep full rights to Marvel characters including Spider-Man, Black Widow, and more

The suits, filed on behalf of Marvel Entertainment (which Disney owns), come in response to copyright-termination notices filed earlier this year, seeking to return the rights to Marvel’s characters to the authors who created them. (Under U.S. copyright law, authors or their heirs may reclaim rights from publishers after a certain number of years.) If successful, these notices would allow Marvel to continue using the characters, but require the studio to share ownership and profits with the creators’ heirs.

Disney’s lawsuits, filed by L.A. attorney Daniel M. Petrocelli and obtained by EW, argue that the characters in question were created as “work made for hire, to which the Copyright Act’s termination provisions do not apply,” according to the complaints.

“Marvel assigned Steve Ditko stories to illustrate, had the right to exercise creative control over his contributions, and paid him a per-page rate for his contributions,” reads the complaint against Ditko’s estate, in language echoed in the other lawsuits. “As a result, any contributions Steve Ditko made were at Marvel’s instance and expense.”

Petrocelli (who is also representing Disney in Scarlett Johansson’s lawsuit against the studio) declined EW’s request for further comment, but told The New York Times, “Since these were works made for hire and thus owned by Marvel, we filed these lawsuits to confirm that the termination notices are invalid and of no legal effect.”

Toberoff argues that “for the first six decades” of the Copyright Act, courts interpreted it as applying only to “traditional full-time employees,” which Marvel’s writers and artists were not. “These guys were all freelancers or independent contractors, working piecemeal for car fare out of their basements, selling by the page those pages a publisher liked,” the lawyer said in an email. “So at the time all these characters were created their material was definately [sic] not [work-for-hire] under the law.”

As noted, Toberoff has represented creators in similar cases in the past. He spent years battling DC Comics and Warner Bros. for the rights to Superman on behalf of the Man of Steel’s creators, with Warner ultimately winning in two separate court rulings. Toberoff’s case against Marvel on behalf of Kirby, meanwhile, nearly reached the Supreme Court before settling in 2014.

“At the time, I was asked whether I regretted not righting the legal injustice to creators — which I indeed did,” Toberoff said in his statement. “I responded that there would be other such cases. Now here we are.”

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Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my