Last Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit overturned the 2015 decision in the Iron Man copyright lawsuit. In 2011, Jack Urbont filed a lawsuit against Sony, Razor Sharp Records, and Dennis Coles (professionally known as Ghostface Killah) claiming that Ghostface Killah sampled the “Iron Man” theme song he had created in the 1960s without his permission.
Sony had argued that since the theme song was created for the television show “The Marvel Super Heroes,” it was a “work made for hire” and therefore owned by Marvel. Marvel had hired Urbont specifically to create the theme song, requiring Urbont to follow Marvel’s specifications when composing the piece. Urbont had not created the piece himself, following his own standards, in hopes of selling it to Marvel. The district court wrote that the $3,000 paid to Urbont by Marvel was sufficient to show that the piece was “created at Marvel’s expense.” Therefore, the district court found that because Urbont was hired by Marvel to create the theme song, Marvel is the true owner of the piece and Urbont does not have standing to bring the case against Sony.
Disagreeing with this decision, the second circuit claimed that the district court had made an error and dismissed the case, providing the parties with 30 days to restore the action. The parties have now settled, bringing the five-year long case to an end.
Credit: Cristina Gabrielyan
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