Walt Disney Co. may not get full ownership of many of Marvel Entertainment's most famous superheroes if new copyright claims by the family of the late artist Jack Kirby have merit.

Four children of Kirby, who co-created a number of Marvel's best-known superheroes in the 1960s including the X-Men, Fantastic Four, Thor and the Hulk, have served 45 "notices of termination" to Marvel, Disney, Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures and Universal Pictures. The notices seek to regain copyright control of certain characters.

Disney this month agreed to buy Marvel for $4 billion. Sony owns the movie rights to Spider-Man, Fox to the Fantastic Four and X-Men; Paramount and Universal have distribution rights for certain Marvel-produced films.

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