U.S. Court of Appeals yesterday heard arguments from Jerry Siegel's daughter, Laura Siegel Larson, over whether she can terminate agreements with DC Comics that have stood from 1938. The argument against is that DC states that Larson and her late mother made a new agreement with DC in 2006 which they are unable to contradict. They are also asking for the ruling that Superman comics after Action Comics #1 were work-for-hire to be overturned as well.
But DC Comics also want a previous ruling made in 2008 overturned or put to a jury, that a 2001 agreement between both parties was non-binding, because there was no detailed long-term contract. And the decision that the material in Action Comics #1 was not work-for-hire and so the full copyright could be reclaimed.
If that 2001 agreement was legally enforced, DC believes it would tie up all further litigation. The Siegel and Shuster representative, Marc Toberoff, argues that Warners changed the terms of the 2001 agreement - which was only in principle - and that the 2006 agreement letter was invalidated by Warner's replies that amended what royalties the heirs would receive.
While DC continues to argue that Toberoff tempted the Siegels and Shusters away from their original deal, with the promise of a better deal and for Toberoff to gain control of the character.
Jesus this is a mess.
On the one hand if there is an injustice then it needs to be squared off, on the other there are so many times Warners can be fairly expected to say "okay, how about this" before it gets ridiculous.
And you KNOW that even if the heirs from both sides win, they will be quick at each others throats as to the best course of action on how to use the characters and who should profit the most from it
Actually, 1) we DON'T that will happen and 2)
Originally Posted by MurrayC
And what exactly would the heirs DO with those characters? Would they license them back to DC? Find another publisher? Publish themselves?
this is a fallacy that a lot of people say. "Oh, what will they do with the characters...we won't have Superman comics anymore." Superman, whomever ends up owning him, will continue along just as he always has, published by DC (where he'll be written into irrelevance before too much longer, a few writers with some brain cells notwithstanding and the odd elseworlds book here and there) and merchandised the hell out of. The heirs will just get a bigger cut of all the cashflow.