Marvel and Ditko Estate Settle Copyright Dispute
An agreement has been reached between Disney’s Marvel and the estate of the famous artist Steve Ditko. This ends their court battle over the rights to Spider-Man and Doctor Strange. In a document filed in a federal court in Manhattan on December 6, the terms of the deal were made public.
Marvel and Ditko Estate: The terms of the settlement will remain secret.
The copyright dispute between Marvel and Ditko’s estate “amicably resolved” in a joint filing. The details of the settlement, like any financial deals or concessions made by either side, were not made public, though. Even though they have ask, Marvel and Ditko’s estate have not yet responded with words.
Marvel and Ditko Estate: What the lawsuit is about
Marvel sued several comic book artists in 2021 to get the rights to use characters like Iron Man, Ant-Man, and Thor. This case was the last one in that series. After the other cases settled in June, this one will also be over.
Marvel and Ditko Estate: Learn about the copyright laws in the US
Under US copyright law, writers can cancel a copyright assignment after a certain amount of time has passed. Marvel’s lawsuits were aimed at artists from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s who wanted to get back the rights to figures they helped create.
What Steve Ditko Left Behind
Steve Ditko died in 2018. He was the artistic brain behind Doctor Strange and helped make Spider-Man. From 1962 to 1966, Ditko worked on Marvel comics, according to his estate, which proved his importance in creating these famous figures. Ditko’s estate told Marvel in 2021 that it wanted to end the company’s rights to the stories and characters.
Marvel’s Legal Point of View
Marvel said that Ditko’s and other artists’ works “made for hire,” which meant that they couldn’t get their titles back. On the other hand, Ditko’s estate said in May that Steve Ditko a freelancer who created his heroes. Also tales on his own. Because of the “dire state of its business” at the time, they said, Marvel purposely didn’t hire him.
Examples from the past
A similar case involving the children of artist Jack Kirby happened in 2013 in a US appeals court and is similar to this one. That case finally over in 2014, right before the US Supreme Court had to decide if it would be heard.
What the Case Is
The case heard in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. And officially call Marvel Characters Inc. v. Ditko. Dan Petrocelli and Molly Lens of O’Melveny & Myers were Marvel’s lawyers, and Marc Toberoff of Toberoff & Associates Ditko’s estate’s lawyer.
A Wrap-Up of a Chapter
This deal ends an important part of the long legal history of comic book characters. And the people who made them. The decision makes people think about the balance between creator rights and business interests. Which is something that the comic book industry has talked about for a long time.