Questions Whether "Iron Man" Comic Theme Song A Work Made For Hire Under 1909 Copyright Act; 2nd Cir.

Urbont v. Sony Music, No. 15-1778 (2d Cir. July 29, 2016).

Plaintiff, who claimed ownership rights in the composition of the "Iron Man" comic theme-song from the 1960s, raised sufficient questions of material fact to rebut defendants' "work made for hire" defense under the 1909 Copyright Act and its "instance and expense" test, holds the Second Circuit in reversing the district court's grant of summary judgment to the defendants on Plaintiff's copyright infringement claim.  Further, the defendants -- who were not the alleged employer (Marvel Comics was) and therefore a third-party to the alleged relationship -- had standing to assert the work made for hire defense.  However, the appellate court held that the lower court properly dismissed the plaintiff's state-law claims as pre-empted, rejecting the plaintiff's argument that there was a separate pre-1972 sound recording subject to state laws rather than the song as part of an audio-visual work and therefore preempted.

Call for Information

Dear Readers,

Anyone with information regarding Roswell Records, Inc. et al. v. Marvel Studios, Inc., No. 2:08 Civ. -1136-CAS-CT (C.D.Cal. filed Feb. 20, 2008), drop us a line. It appears to be a suit involving the Foo Fighters and Marvel (of comic book fame) arising out of "substantial excerpts" of the tunes "Best of You" and "Free Me," both off the 2005 album In Your Honor, used in a teaser for the upcoming animated series Wolverine and the X-Men. But, OTCS wants details. Anyone?

Hmmm, "Foo Fighters" -- sounds like a good action-hero name, doesn't it?