Jenner & Block

"A Battle For Superheroes? The Copyright Act's Termination Provisions Raise the Stakes," Los Angeles Daily Journal

Partners Steven R. Englund and Steven B. Fabrizio authored “A battle for superheroes? The Copyright Act’s termination provisions raise the stakes” as the August article for the Content, Media & Entertainment group's monthly column “Content Matters,” which appears in the Los Angeles Daily Journal and the San Francisco Daily Journal.  In this month's article, the authors discuss the Copyright Act’s requirements for termination of transfers as an increasing source of disputes within the content industry.  The article highlights Marvel Worldwide v. Kirby, a case in which the heirs of Jack Kirby, a legendary comic book artist, purported to invoke the Copyright Act’s provision for termination of transfers.  The court ruled in favor of Marvel, finding that the works Kirby helped create for Marvel were “works made for hire,” thus not subject to termination. The authors also describe the termination provisions of the Copyright Act and the issues they raise that are addressed, or left unaddressed, by the Kirby decision.  The authors also point out how content companies can mitigate some of their termination risk through deal structuring that focuses on the potential for termination.