2011 Merchandise & Miscellaneous News Archives

July 3, 2011: Examining the Superman Legal Battle

Superman Court Case Jeff Trexler has written another insightful article on the ongoing legal battle over the rights to Superman that rages between the Siegel/Shuster families and DC Comics/Warner Bros.

The article claims the relaunch of the DC Universe of comic books is an effort by DC Comics to get around the legal issues and create a character they soley hold the rights to. Here's a portion of the article...

    If DC's lawyers are relying on the relaunch, changes in powers or any other variant in Superman's characterization as the basis for establishing that the contemporary Super-verse has no intrinsic ties to the Siegel and Shuster material, it's a strategy that has little chance of success. Such differences may reduce the amount of any payout to the heirs in apportioning post-termination profits, but they have littl chance of erasing the incontrovertible connections between the past and present Superman universe, from Clark Kent, Lois Lane, and the super-strong do-gooder from Krypton to recurring narrative themes that apparently will continue through the relaunch and beyond.

    Nonetheless, even if the parties do not settle and it looks like the Shuster heir will succeed in recapturing the remaining 50% of the original Siegel and Shuster Superman material in 2013, there are ways for DC to try to minimize the potential damage. Not only would DC continue to have the right to continue to sell copies of items created between 1938 and the 2013 termination date, the company would likely challenge any new works by the heirs that call to mind the Superman with which we are familiar, on the grounds that such material would infringe on the copyrighted elements that DC will continue to own. There are arguments to counter such legal action, but the fight would no doubt be expensive.

Read the complete column at ComicsBeat.com.

Thanks to Doug Randolph for the lead on this story.

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