Jack Kirby, Composers, and You

Catching up on a few things I missed this summer:

Jack Kirby Estate Loses To Disney

On the heels of Comic Con a judge ruled that Jack Kirby’s heirs are not entitled intellectual property rights to Marvel characters that he created because he did “work-for-hire”.

Last year I posted why Jack Kirby’s plight was very important for VFX artists. IA VFX Organizer Jim Goodman has a good post also:

In the event that a Court finds the individual to be an independent contractor rather than an employee, the contract requires that individual to “assign” the copyright.
So, the Studio play it both ways. They argue that artists such as you and composers and lyricists are independent contractors and not employees and therefore not eligible to the protections accorded under federal and state labor law, but, for purposes of copyright they are certainly employees and their work-product belongs to the nice people paying the bills.

Composers Lose Unionization Effort

Jim Goodman’s analysis is a good segue because just like VFX artists, composers have been trying to organize so they can have access to health insurance and retirement benefits. The studios have refused to recognize the effort because they deem them to be… wait for it…independent contractors!:

Sources said studio execs and AMPTP officials continue to believe that composers and songwriters are “independent contractors” — echoing a ruling by the National Labor Relations Board in the 1980s — and don’t feel there is any compelling reason to voluntarily go along with a unionization request.

Soldier On.


2 Responses to Jack Kirby, Composers, and You

  1. Vfxartist says:

    Is it legal yet to claim children as independent contractors? That way as a parent, I’m not liable if my kid throws a baseball thru the neighbors window. However when they are in my house, the kids have to do what I say.

  2. rfk says:

    Sorry; if they have to do what you say, then they’re not truly independent.

    … a fact that, if they’ve reached the teenage years, I’m sure they have already asserted.

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