Truth, justice and the American way

Jeff Trexler writes about what he describes as an historic decision in a case pitting the heirs of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel and DC Comics, also reported here in the New York Times. “Here’s the stirring conclusion,” he says:

After seventy years, Jerome Siegel’s heirs regain what he granted so long ago – the copyright in the Superman material that was published in Action Comics Vol. 1. What remains is an apportionment of profits, guided in some measure by the rulings contained in this Order, and a trial on whether to include the profits generated by DC Comics’ corporate sibling’s exploitation of the Superman copyright.

More powerful than a locomotive! Cape-tip to Technophobia Sci-Fi.

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Ron Coleman

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One thought on “Truth, justice and the American way

  1. This a a story I have been following since I was a young teenager and avid comic book collector. Way before law school.

    Sadly, Siegel & Schuster and many of the great Depression era comic book artists of that era took these jobs as mere “work for hire”. I say “sadly” in recognition of that I am an admirer of the sheer genius of Siegel & Schuster’s “Superman” character.

    However, copyright law is clear, these were “works for hire” and Siegel and Schuster and their heirs have been kicking up a storm ever since the Superman movie in 1980.But Siegel and Svhuster sold these rights to D.C. comics “fair and square”.

    Marvel comic books had similar problems with the Jack Kirby “co-creator” with Stan Lee for the creation of many of the Marvel comic book characters of the 1960’s such as Spiderman, Hulk and Thor.

    Once again, sadly, these are “works for hire” under copyright law.

    Very interesting and sad tale of how the law operates when one entity has superior bargaining position, but that is the state of copyright law and ownership in the United States of America.

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