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Mar­vel, Kirby Heirs Set­tle Dis­pute

Mar­vel and the heirs of comic book artist Jack Kirby have set­tled their long-run­ning copy­right dis­pute over the cre­ation of many of the company’s most popular char­ac­ters.

The par­ties re­leased a joint state­ment that reads:

“Mar­vel and the fam­ily of Jack Kirby have am­i­ca­bly re­solved their le­gal dis­putes, and are look­ing for­ward to ad­vanc­ing their shared goal of hon­or­ing Mr. Kirby’s sig­nif­i­cant role in Mar­vel’s his­tory.”

Kirby, who died in 1994 at the age of 76, was the artist who worked with Mar­vel ed­i­tor and writer Stan Lee to cre­ate in the 1960s the vast majority of the comic-book pub­lisher’s hit su­per­heroes.

While Mar­vel claimed Kirby’s work was all done un­der work-for-hire cir­cum­stances, the artist’s heirs claimed the copy­rights were sub­ject to ter­mi­na­tion un­der U.S. copy­right law. The heirs no­ti­fied Mar­vel in 2009 of its in­tent to ter­mi­nate 45 as­sign­ments of copy­right.

A fed­eral court up­held Mar­vel’s po­si­tion in 2011, but Kirby’s heirs had been press­ing for re­view of the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. The court was due to de­cide whether to take the case, a decision made moot by the set­tle­ment.

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