• Sat. Oct 23rd, 2021

Marvel Sues to Prevent Losing Copyrights to 'Avengers' Characters

Sep 24, 2021

Heirs of several Marvel writers are seeking to reclaim rights to Iron Man, Spider-Man, Dr. Strange, Ant-Man, Hawkeye, Black Widow and Falcon

Sony Pictures

Marvel is suing to prevent losing copyrights to many key Avengers characters, including Spider-Man, Iron Man and Black Widow.

The comic book powerhouse filed four lawsuits on Friday that challenge multiple copyright termination notices that have been filed by the heirs of Marvel comics writers, seeking to reclaim the rights to the likes of Iron Man, Spider-Man, Dr. Strange, Ant-Man, Hawkeye, Black Widow and Falcon.

Marvel is arguing that since the characters were created under “work for hire” arrangements, the heirs have no valid claim to those copyrights. The suits were filed against Lawrence D. Lieber, Patrick S. Ditko, Michelle Hart-Rico and Buz Donato Rico III, and Keith A. Dettweiler.

Patrick Ditko is the brother of Steve Ditko, who co-created Spider-Man and Dr. Strange.

Under the Copyright Act of 1976, heirs are permitted, in certain circumstances, to terminate the grant of a license or transfer to a copyrighted work — such as a comic book — via a properly executed notice.

In its lawsuits, Marvel is pointing to a similar lawsuit involving Jack Kirby, who co-created Iron Man, Thor and the X-Men. Kirby’s heirs sought to reclaim those copyrights, but the federal court took Marvel’s side, arguing that the characters were made under work for hire agreements.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this story

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