To preserve its Marvel superhero property, The Walt Disney Company filed numerous lawsuits on Friday seeking to invalidate copyright notices issued by painters and illustrators associated with Marvel characters.
The charges were filed on Disney’s behalf in federal courts in New York and California by Daniel M. Petrocelli, a Los Angeles lawyer.
Marc Toberoff, a famous intellectual property lawyer, issued copyright termination notices on behalf of five clients against Marvel Entertainment. The reclamation attempts are based on a clause in copyright law that “allows creators or their successors to reclaim ownership of a product after a specified number of years.”
The Copyright Revision Act of 1976 prohibits “termination for employees who provided work at their employer’s “instance and expense.”
“Because these were works created for hire and so owned by Marvel, we filed these cases to confirm that the termination notifications were illegal and had no legal effect,” Petrocelli explained over the phone.
In addition, according to Disney’s case against Lieber, “Marvel gave Lieber tales to write, had the authority to exert control over Lieber’s efforts, and paid Lieber a per-page wage for his contributions.”
According to the lawsuit, these conditions constitute his contributions “work created for hire, to which the requirements of the Copyright Act do not apply.”
Toberoff vehemently disagreed, writing in an email to Indian Express, “At the time all these characters were developed, their content was not ‘work made for hire’ under the law.” “These people were all freelancers or independent contractors, working piecemeal from their basements for car fare.” As a result, he claimed, there will be no “conventional, full-time staff.”
“At the heart of these instances is an outdated and often criticized understanding of the term ‘work-made-for-hire,’” Toberoff said.
If the termination notice is successful, Toberoff’s clients will get a part of the revenues from any new works based on the copyrighted material.