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.
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