The Court Declares Superman's Copyright Situation Confusing

Illustration for article titled The Court Declares Supermans Copyright Situation Confusing

Despite Warner's legal victory against the family of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel over the character's copyright, the legal future of Clark Kent seems even more complicated than ever - leading the court to appoint an expert to explain it all.


In an announcement, the California Court presiding over the ongoing Siegel/DC/Warners Superman case declared that both parties come to an agreement of an impartial expert who can help explain the complicated issues surrounding the case following concerns over the arguments put forward by both sides in the recent trial:

The Court envisions that the Court-appointed special master/expert will not only submit a report in advance of trial, be subject to being deposed prior to trial, and proffer testimony at trial on the issues in question, but will also, in preparing for such tasks, be afforded the authority to appoint experts and other specials to assist him or her in performing those duties.


One of the reasons said expert is needed? Probably to help control such comments as those offered by Siegel family attorney Marc Toberoff, who yesterday unequivocally said 2013, the Siegels, along with the estate of Joe Shuster, will own the entire original copyright to Superman...

The problem being, according to the very legal decision Toberoff was responding to with those comments, that's not necessarily the case:

Although it is true that, should the Shuster estate be successful in terminating the grant to the copyright in Action Comics No. 1, then at that point in time plaintiffs and the Shuster estate, not DC Comics, would hold the entirity of the copyright published in that comic book and would sit, assuming common representation, in much the same position Warner Bros. was said to have sat at the beginning of the negotiations over the Superman film agreement... The problem with this line of reasoning, however, lies in its speculative nature... It is by no means a foregone conclusion that the Shuster estate will be successful in terminating the grant to the Superman material published in Action Comics No. 1.


Never mind the court. We need our own Superman legal expert just to understand who owns what part of the character. Can't we all just agree that Kal-El would want everyone to sort this out without needing to get lawyers involved, anyway?

Judge calls for special master in Superman case []


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And to think I thought his cape was made of stronger stuff than red tape.