And you can't find it either in the no-talent foolsBob Dylan, Last Thoughts On Woody Guthrie, 1963
That run around gallant
And make all rules for the ones that got talent
And it ain't in the ones that ain't got any talent but think they do
And think they're foolin' you
Well, not good news on the legal front, as a judge handed down a summary ruling siding against the Jack Kirby heirs in their attempt to terminate the transfer of copyright on the characters Kirby created between 1958 and 1963 that were published by Marvel, including The Fantastic Four, Thor and Hulk. I don't have any legal expertise, so I don't pretend to understand all the legal issues involved, and my bias on the case is probably obvious. I imagine there'll be some type of appeal, which may reverse the whole thing, or at least let it get a full hearing in front of a jury. Despite what some people may say about judges dealing in facts, they very much do deal in opinion, they just happen to be opinions backed by the force of law. And as successful appeals and split Supreme Court verdicts repeatedly demonstrate, judges given the exact same evidence can come up with polar opposite decisions.
But there's no question that the latest decision, like many prior ones for similar cases, raises the hurdle for the side I favour in this case, and it may well be that the law as written isn't on the side of creator rights (from what I've read in the decision, this judge seems to think that, absent any supporting written contracts from the period, the onus should be on the Kirby estate to prove that the work was not work-for-hire as then defined, not on Marvel to prove that it was). Sometimes, as a Mr. Dickens once wrote, "the law is a ass". And as young Mr. Dylan observed almost fifty years ago, at the tail end of the period in question, it's the no-talent fools who make rules for the ones that got talent. And as for "ones that ain't got any talent but think they do", well, 'nuff said.