A few estates, including those of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, tried to file suit to get back the rights to the characters that they created. Disney/Marvel filed back, alleging that those characters are ineligible for copyright termination.
Hope they win.
But they wont.
If any of the heirs win their cases against Marvel, it is expected that Disney would at least maintain co-ownership, meaning the company would have to share profits.
There it is.
It will settle and they will co-own.
This is just another arrow in the quiver of independent publishers and platforms like Substack.
That being said, it sounds like these heirs are being greedy and trying to cash in on their family member’s work.
Well, copyrights are inherently not merit based when it comes to heirs. If you produce something that you somehow managed to keep from getting gobbled up by corporations, the copyright lasts for your life plus 70 years. So, it will always at least trickle down to the next generation and potentially two more generations who didn’t necessarily do anything to make the copyright worth something.
I’d rather see individuals own some awesome works with copyrights than most corporations…
Well, right. It’s not like the corporations did anything to deserve the fruits of those copyrights anymore than living natural heirs of the human who made them either.
The corporate copyright lifetime is 90 years, which probably underlies Mickey Mouse’s weird ass “90th Birthday” push of merchandising a few years ago. Certainly a strange anniversary to celebrate unless (a) you don’t plan on being in business another 10 years; or (b) (more likely) your statutory copyright protection is about to expire so you need to produce a whole bunch of new likenesses to try and preserve the lifetime of your rights with new media and derivative adaptations.
But didn’t Disney win over congress to extend the original expiration of Mickey Mouse and such cause he’s like 92 (almost 93) now right?
Ah yeah, found this on quick google search:
Mickey Mouse is set to enter the public domain in 2024 , at which point MSCHF could make a Mickey Mouse artwork.
I can’t wait, I’m gonna make me all kinds of Mickey Mouse merch to sell…
It will enter an annoying complex version of public domain. I think we’ll find that the original depictions will be public domain while newer depictions will still be covered. At least that’s the argument that Disney will make.
We may not even find out because Disney may get their way and have the copyright extended further. I’m not sure the question has ever been answered to what extent a character who has been reinvented over the years actually enters the public domain. So, if his first appearance is Steamboat Willie and that depiction enters the public domain, do later versions that don’t even resemble the first enter the public domain? My hunch is this was the theory Disney was operating under while pumping out all the 90th Birthday merch.
They’ll argue, sure you can make a steamboat willie t-shirt, but not a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse style Mickey t-shirt. Or, not a Steamboat Willie vinyl figure because we just barely made that version of the character in that medium in 2018 or whatever. Further complicating things is the fact that Mickey is also Trademark protected which overlaps and is also mutually exclusive of copyright. It also has no expiration so long as its used in trade. So, functionally, Mickey Mouse is untouchable still.
Tis is true. The variations will and likely do fall under new copyright laws for the character. Like I pointed out in another topic. Like Bucky as Winter Soldier is relatively new but anyone soon enough will be able to use the old Bucky as they see fit when he himself enters the public domain.
Right. Sort of similar to how the original stories from the land of oz are fair game. That’s how The Wiz and Wicked were produced. However, the elements unique to the film are still copyright protected. As are the elements unique to the Wiz and Wicked now.
Disney should be scared after today
“I am happy to have resolved our differences with Disney,” Johansson said in a statement. “I’m incredibly proud of the work we’ve done together over the years and have greatly enjoyed my creative relationship with the team. I look forward to continuing our collaboration in years to come.”
Looks like she will be in the upcoming Tower of Terror by Disney as well.
Yeah, this has been going on in comics for decades.
I wonder how much the settlement checks will be to make this all go away. Disney will spend millions to save billions, after all.
That’s probably a wise thing to do… can be applied to any sum right? Gotta spend money to make money… even when it’s good ol litigation in our courts!