WASHINGTON, March 22 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court Monday let stand a ruling that left the copyright of art in the "Tarzan" books with the estate of the author, not the artist.
The artist, Burne Hogarth entered into an agreement with the estate of the author, Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc., in 1970 to create pictorial versions of "Tarzan and the Apes" and stories from the "Jungle Tales of Tarzan."
Because the work was completed before the 1978 Copyright Act, the case was governed by the 1909 Copyright Act
In 2000, Hogarth's estate and family filed suit against ERB Inc., asking a federal judge to assign them the copyright to the artwork. Hogarth was an independent contractor, not an ERB Inc. employee, they argued.
Hogarth assigned his copyright renewal right to ERB Inc., they conceded, but died before that renewal came about -- leaving the renewal right to his family, his estate contended.
A federal judge and a federal appeals court ruled for ERB Inc., and the Supreme Court denied review Monday without comment.