Marvel Characters, Inc. v. Kirby

US Court of Appeal (2nd Cir.) Opinion Affirming in Part, Reversing in Part re works "made for hire"


Before: CABRANES, SACK, and CARNEY, Circuit Judges.

Appeal by the defendants-counter-claimants from a judgment of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Colleen McMahon, Judge) granting summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs counter-defendants on their claim for declaratory relief and denying the defendants-counter-claimants' cross-motion for summary judgment.

Plaintiffs-counter-defendants commenced this lawsuit in response to notices sent by the defendants counter-claimants, the children of comic book artist Jack Kirby, purporting to terminate alleged assignments in certain of their father's works pursuant to 5 section 304(c)(2) of the Copyright Act of 1976.

We conclude that:

(1) the district court incorrectly determined that it had personal jurisdiction over Lisa and Neal Kirby;

(2) Lisa and Neal Kirby were not indispensable parties to the action under Rule 19(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure;

and (3) the district court correctly determined that the works at issue were "made for hire" under section 304(c), and that Marvel was therefore entitled to summary judgment.

Affirmed in part; vacated in part.

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Reference Info:Decision | Federal, 2nd Circuit, New York | United States

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