Essential Reading: Taking Back the Kirby Case

US Supreme Court Building, photo by Carol M. Highsmith, from the Library of Congress

Attorney Jeff Trexler has written an excellent essay for The Comics Journal titled “Taking Back the Kirby Case” that I emphatically recommend to anyone who cares about comics, the work of Jack Kirby, the implications of copyright law for independent contractors, or just plain fairness.

Trexler not only reviews the decisions in the Marvel v. Kirby lawsuit and considers their ramifications, but also gives a thorough rundown of the legal case histories behind those decisions, in effect explaining the whole complicated story of how case law interprets and affects the work of comics freelancers. He shows, in essence, how court opinions have effected a massive shift of intellectual property from artists to corporations. Along the way, he suggests how and why the U.S. Supreme Court might take an interest in the Kirby case.

Essential reading, for which many thanks to Jeff Trexler! I learned a lot from it.

2 thoughts on “Essential Reading: Taking Back the Kirby Case

  1. Jeff Trexler says:

    Thanks, and kudos to you for your excellent book!

    Your sense of the disconnect between law and life is right on target. There’s a quote from C.C. Beck regarding the Captain Marvel case that has stayed with me for years – “The lawyers and judge could understand copyright law but nothing more than that.”

    • charleshatfield says:

      Jeff, thanks for your kind comments. And for an eye-opening article!

      The line from Beck is, alas, so pertinent.

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