by Mike Masnick
Mon, Sep 28th 2009 1:15pm
We were just writing about how the heirs of Jack Kirby were alerting... well... pretty much all of Hollywood that they were going to use their termination rights to take back the copyright on a large number of famous comic book characters. We noted how this showed one of the more bizarre aspects of copyright law. However, there's another, perhaps even more ridiculous parts: which is with these sorts of characters, no one's really sure who actually owns the copyright. For example, one of the characters the Kirby heirs are looking to get control over is Spiderman. The problem? There's a fair amount of evidence (including quotes from the Kirby family) that Jack Kirby did not create Spiderman and thus never should have the copyright on Spiderman. If true, that would indicate a rather major case of copyfraud, whereby someone claims copyright over something they have no rights to. But, in this case, it also highlights the silliness behind termination rights on things that were, at best, group creations for larger entities.
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