The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan agreed with a lower court judge who rejected an ownership claim by the family of Jack Kirby. The heirs wanted to terminate Marvel's copyrights from 2014 through 2019 to comics published from 1958 to 1963.
The key argument was that Kirby's work was done "for hire" and Marvel therefore was the owner of Kirby's work. The appeals court said that
Kirby's completed pencil drawings, moreover, were generally not free-standing creative works, marketable to any publisher as a finished or nearly finished product. They build on pre-existing titles and themes that Marvel had expended resources to establish — and in which Marvel held rights — and they required both creative contributions and production work that Marvel supplied. That the works are now valuable is therefore in substantial part a function of Marvel's expenditures over and above the flat rate it paid Kirby for his drawings.
Read the AP story here.