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Thread: Update to Supes Rights case.. origin goes to heirs

  1. #1
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    Update to Supes Rights case.. origin goes to heirs

    Now this is interesting:

    http://www.variety.com/article/VR111...&cs=1&nid=2563

    Warner Bros. and DC Comics have lost a little more control over the Man of Steel.

    In an ongoing Federal court battle over Superman, Judge Stephen Larson ruled Wednesday that the family of the superhero's co-creator, Jerry Siegel, has "successfully recaptured" rights to additional works, including the first two weeks of the daily Superman newspaper comic-strips, as well as portions of early Action Comics and Superman comic-books.

    The ruling is based on the court's finding that these were not "works-made-for-hire" under the Copyright Act.

    This means the Siegels -- repped by Marc Toberoff of Toberoff & Associates -- now control depictions of Superman's origins from the planet Krypton, his parents Jor-El and Lora, Superman as the infant Kal-El, the launching of the infant Superman into space by his parents as Krypton explodes and his landing on Earth in a fiery crash.

    The first Superman story was published in 1938 in Action Comics No. 1. For $130, Jerry Siegel and co-creator Joel Shuster signed a release in favor of DC's predecessor, Detective Comics, and a 1974 court decision ruled they signed away their copyrights forever.

    In 2008, the same court order ruled on summary judgment that the Siegels had successfully recaptured (as of 1999) Siegel's copyright in Action Comics No. 1, giving them rights to the Superman character, including his costume, his alter-ego as reporter Clark Kent, the feisty reporter Lois Lane, their jobs at the Daily Planet newspaper working for a gruff editor, and the love triangle among Clark/Superman and Lois.

    While ownership of the Man of Steel is one point of all this legal activity, the real issue is money and how much Warner Bros. and DC owe the Siegels from profits they collected from Superman since 1999, when the heirs' recapture of Siegel's copyright became effective.

    DC owns other elements like Superman's ability to fly, the term kryptonite, the Lex Luthor and Jimmy Olsen characters, Superman's powers and expanded origins.

    In a statement, Warner Bros. and DC said, "Warner and DC Comics are pleased that the court has affirmed that the vast majority of key elements associated with the Superman character that were developed after Action Comics No. 1 are not part of the copyrights that the plaintiffs have recaptured and therefore remain solely owned by DC Comics."

    The Shuster estate originally did not participate with the Siegels' case because Shuster has no spouse or children. But his estate later won a ruling of a recapture identical to the Siegels, which will be effective in 2013. At that point, the Siegels and Shusters will own the entire copyright to Action Comics No. 1. That will give them the chance to set up Superman pics, TV shows and other projects at another studio.

    If they want to get a new "Superman" or even "Justice League" pic featuring the superhero, Warner Bros. and DC will be forced to go into production by 2011.

  2. #2
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    Interesting...let's hope we get a new Superman Movie out of the deal. WB have been sitting on their Butts long enough.

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    If that's the case,shouldn't they have the rights to the name "Kal-L" not "Kal-El"?

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    Just read on the comicblocforums (Geoff Johns' place) that someone is claiming to have heard that Marvel Comics approached the Siegels to attempt to buy out their half of the Superman rights recently.

    Now THAT would really get interesting.. (would never happen though, fingers crossed). Dan Didio would have a stroke on the spot.

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    Unless the Siegels just won't license or sell their half to DC/Warners out of spite, then you can guarantee Warners won't let Supes get away. They'll back a HUGE truck of money up to their door.

    Chris

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    Agreed it is highly unlikely, but the image of that proverbial truck of money is very enticing! (at least for me, anyway!)

  7. #7
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    Marvel would absolutley destroy the Superman mythos, they'd make him abrooding/emo headcase.. oh wait they already have that.

    I have no faith in Marvel to handle an actual cape super hero.
    Looking for Infinite Heroes Robin and Catwoman
    And Super Powers Batman

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    This is getting ridiculous.....someone please make the Siegels and Shusters just go away....IMO they had their day in the sun, got paid several times over, made poor business deals and now their heirs keep coming back for more. National/DC has done more with and for Superman than the actual creators ever would have if left to their own devices. They were peddling versions of the strip for years on their own, to no avail...would they really have turned Superman into the cultural icon he is if they hadn't hooked up with National? The answer is "no"....
    Think OUTSIDE the Box! For the BEST in Repro & Custom Packaging!

  9. #9
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    This is getting ridiculous.....someone please make the Siegels and Shusters just go away....IMO they had their day in the sun, got paid several times over, made poor business deals and now their heirs keep coming back for more. National/DC has done more with and for Superman than the actual creators ever would have if left to their own devices. They were peddling versions of the strip for years on their own, to no avail...would they really have turned Superman into the cultural icon he is if they hadn't hooked up with National? The answer is "no"....
    I kind of think that too BUT there was some legal precedent for this.I've read so much of this crap here lately my brain's numb, but basically there is a precedent for creators to reapply for copyright material after a certain period, and that's what essentially is happening here.

    Chris

  10. #10
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    Yeah but just because it's "legal" it doesn't mean I'm crazy about it
    Think OUTSIDE the Box! For the BEST in Repro & Custom Packaging!

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