Monday, March 4, 2013
I previously blogged about the heirs of Superman co-creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster and their suit against Warner Brothers in a lawsuit that has been going on for eight years. In January, The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Siegel family came to an agreement with Warners' subsidiary D.C. Comics in 2001 to settle the termination fight.
Now the case is bank at a lower federal court in California. Warners has a summary judgment motion pending seeking a declaration that the 2001 agreement is enforceable and that DC owns all the copyrights.
The Siegels and their attorney, Marc Toberoff, are claiming that the ninth circuit ruling was limited and that there are several outstanding issues that preclude DC from the relief it seeks. Toberoff is also trying to reintroduce his idea that the Copyright Act prevents the anticipatory transfer of terminated rights through contract. While he won a case involving Lassie on that argument, other decisions have gone the other way on that argument, including against the estate of Joe Shuster, the other Superman co-creator.
See Eriq Gardener, 'Superman' Heirs Still Hope to Grab Back Rights, The Hollywood Reporter, Mar. 4, 2013.