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House of Ideas Sued by Guy Who Came Up With Them

The estate of Jack Kirby, co-creator of a majority of Marvel Comics' most famous and lucrative characters, is suing Marvel to terminate copyrights and claim profits. Along with Stan Lee, Kirby created superheroes such as Iron Man, the X-Men, and the Fantastic Four in the sixties, but the characters have always been owned in full by Marvel because of strict freelance agreements made at the time. Since Kirby always worked with a collaborator, the suit is careful to claim non-exclusive control of the intellectual properties, which could result in some nightmares for Marvel and its parent company, the Walt Disney Company, if the estate is successful in terminating the copyrights. The most difficult potential scenario would involve the Kirby estate winning the ability to license competing versions of the same characters, resulting in, say, Iron Man 3 facing off against a completely different Iron Man film from another studio in the same year, or a rival publisher putting out their Fantastic Four comics. [Esq/HR]