Robot 6

Superman lawyer scores a minor win in brutal battle with Warner Bros.

From Action Comics #1

Three months after Warner Bros. trumpeted “a significant victory” in its lengthy legal brawl over the rights to Superman, the lawyer representing the estates of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster has claimed a small win of his own.

The studio sued Marc Toberoff in March 2010, two years after Siegel’s heirs were awarded a portion of the copyright to the Man of Steel, accusing the attorney of orchestrating a “web of collusive agreements” with the two families that led them to reject “mutually beneficial” longtime deals with DC Comics and seek to recapture the Superman rights. Warner Bros. based its claims on sensitive documents stolen from Toberoff’s office in 2008 by a disgruntled former associate and delivered anonymously to the studio. Toberoff argued that the papers were covered by attorney-client privilege, but in April the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a May 2011 ruling that Toberoff waived privilege when he turned over the documents in 2010 in response to a grand jury subpoena issued after he met with the U.S. Attorney’s office to discuss an investigation of the theft.

Toberoff responded to the lawsuit in August 2010 by filing an anti-SLAPP motion seeking to dismiss the studio’s claims, arguing they amount to bullying and interference with his client’s First Amendment right to petition. A district court denied his motion, leading Toberoff to appeal.

Hollywood, Esq. reports the twist, and the good news for Toberoff, is that the Ninth Circuit has determined that in its answer to the motion Warner Bros. can’t use any of the newly acquired evidence to bolster its argument that Toberoff was functioning not as an attorney but as an entrepreneur — one who stood to gain “a majority and controlling financial stake” in the Man of Steel — when he convinced the Siegel and Shuster heirs to seek to recapture the Superman copyrights. The website notes the studio could still try slip the evidence into the record, but it’s something the appellate court typically frowns upon.

A hearing on the matter is expected later this year. The big showdown, a jury trial requested by Warner Bros. in hopes of reversing the 2008 copyright decision, likely won’t come until 2013, at the earliest.

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Comments

44 Comments

Simon DelMonte

June 27, 2012 at 9:49 am

That’s a misleading headline. He isn’t Superman’s lawyer.

I’m not sure what to think about Toberoff at this point; certainly some people whose opinions I respect have raised some questions about his motivations and goals.

But on the other hand, I always did think it was something of an insane Catch-22 that the courts ruled that his confidential documents became admissible once he reported them stolen.

Sure wish this could be handled without all the acrimony and lawsuits. The law is clear that the statutory heirs of Siegel and Shuster are entitled to reclaim their Superman rights; what all parties should be focusing on right now is which rights that entails and how to carve out a distribution that benefits everyone.

(Well, except the public, seeing as Superman should have been public domain by now.)

So…..yay?

I am genuinely curious as to why if Siegel and Shuster sold Superman to DC their heirs are entitled to claim those rights back?

Surely if you agree to sell, even if the contract is a poor one, you give up those rights?

Does the contract Siegel and Shuster signed have a clause where the right are to be returned to them or their heirs after a period of time?

@Thad
There’s only one simple solution: WB/DC and the Heirs settle with a co-ownership deal. I’m planning to send a letter to the courthouse where this case is happening in an attempt to appeal to both sides to end this madness once and for all.

Gary: Congress extended the duration of copyright, and determined that, in fairness, those creators, their heirs or their estates should have an opportunity to terminate the assignment of copyright when the original term has lapsed.

See, I thought that YEARS ago, DC had reached some sort of agreement with S&S over these rights?? It included DC paying them some cash, providing health benefits, and some other details which I don’t know.

Is this correct?

If that IS correct, I don’t see how heirs can now go back and try to redo an agreement. THEY didn’t create the character of Superman.

I just wish this whole thing was over and done.

the heirs are LEGALLY, by federal laws, seen by the courts, AS THE CREATORS, in the event the creators are deceased, and the heirs are legally adopted, or blood heirs. –this = they have every legal right, just as YOU would in their position, to file a simple termination of copyrights on superman. especially since DC and Warner, repeatedly LIE about how much bank he makes for them, and in turn CHEAT the heirs out of Residuals awarded to them previously.

–DC comics, DID NOT create superman. they should then NOT own superman. they should create something “New.” the heirs were awarded the superman copyright. the ruling goes into effect in 2013. –nothing warner or DC can do, except cut their losses, and create a new hero name for their version, like sentry, supreme, invincible, venture, and superior, are all rip offs of superman. -the superman character does not factually make enough bank, to warrant constantly spending that bank, defending him in court.

@Kevin thanks for the info.

I was under the impression that Siegel and Shuster sold Superman to DC, therefore making him the company’s property, not just leased him for a term.

The main thrust of this case is who owns superman. Do the shusters and siegel own him or DC. Superman was bought out right by National comics andit similar to work by hire. The shuster amd siegel sold superman. Yes they created him but they dont own the character. The case should reflect the time superman was sold, in the 40′s they knew how mich they were getting and sold the character fairly to make money. So DC as the right holder should retain the rights to superman.

it was not a work for hire. DC bought the character in 1938. the creators created him in 1932. they did not pay fair “future-value”. DC knew how much of a goldmine they had. when endeared by the courts to pay up, they refused to do so, to the fullest extent that they could, after making billions of dollars. this led to the heirs filing a legal, termination of copyrights on superman. the case should reflect “current” creator laws of the time the case is brought fourth to the courts. –down with greedy corporations that cant draw stick-figures, and up with actual creators.

Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster tried to sell Superman to every news outlet in the country and was rejected at every turn. It wasn’t until a few years later that the Superman strip was found in a SLUSH PILE by a DC editor and put into Action Comics #1 after Siegel and Shuster SOLD THEIR RIGHTS to the character. No one at the time (including Siegel and Shuster) knew how big Superman would become. They sold the character and took the money for an agreed upon price. DC took the chance to publish the character. Neither Siegel nor Shuster put their own money into Superman’s publication. DC did.

Now, that said, after Superman became a household name and was making millions for DC – MORALLY, DC should have taken better care of Siegel and Shuster. Not toss them to the side and treat them like hired help. It took over 30 years for DC (Warner) to finally step up and take care of Siegel and Shuster and their heirs. They didn’t have to do it but it was the right thing to do.

This case has nothing to do with the Siegel/Shuster heirs. It has to do with an outside party (Toberoff) USING the heirs to take control of a money-earning property. Toberoff is a crook. Pure and simple. It’s been proven in the (stolen) court documents. He wants to control Superman. Not give them to the Siegel/Shuster heirs. Like a comic book villain – He wants Superman! IF they win their case, Toberoff will take controlling interest in the character – Not the heirs.

If this were a clear cut case and it was the heirs vs. DC (no Toberoff), then by all means – For all the crap DC put Siegel and Shuster through during the 40s to the 60s – Give them control of Superman! Or at least partial control. They deserve it. However, this is not the case. Toberoff is using the heirs and if they win – He wins. And he doesn’t deserve that.

Andrew, you’re wrong: the heirs want to get Superman back because that’s what S & S wanted. If Toberoff can win what nobody else could, then why not? Maybe the next stage will be the heirs vs Toberoff but right now the property needs to return to the heirs.

“Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster tried to sell Superman to every news outlet in the country and was rejected at every turn. It wasn’t until a few years later that the Superman strip was found in a SLUSH PILE by a DC editor and put into Action Comics #1 after Siegel and Shuster SOLD THEIR RIGHTS to the character. No one at the time (including Siegel and Shuster) knew how big Superman would become. They sold the character and took the money for an agreed upon price. DC took the chance to publish the character. Neither Siegel nor Shuster put their own money into Superman’s publication. DC did.”

The only part in that paragraph that matters from a legal standpoint is that Siegel and Shuster brought Superman to DC. When they transferred copyright to the publisher, the duration was 56 years (two terms of 28). Congress essentially changed the conditions of that agreement — and many agreements — in 1976 and again in 1998 when it extended the duration of copyright. Why should DC (or any company) be allowed to benefit from that legislative change while Siegel, Shuster (and other creators) and their heirs cannot?

I thought DC was settling with these families until Toberoff came along and screwed everything up. Now the story is that he plans on screwing the Siegels and Shusters himself, by winning co-ownership of Superman.

Yeah, this headline is misleading and it implies that the main fight is “Superman vs. DC” when really it’s “Creators’ heirs vs. DC”.

And, also, if there were any justice in this world, Superman (and Mickey Mouse, and a million other characters) would simply be PUBLIC DOMAIN ALREADY. Meaning that, much like Robin Hood or Heracles, anyone could write their own Superman story and sell it.

The corporation, the creators, and the creators’ heirs have ALL profited off this VERY OLD creation for long enough now. It’s time for REAL FREEDOM rather than arguing over profits.

This..doesn’t sound too good.
I want my real superman back!

Glad to see the court changed their decision on this. I never understood why DC should’ve been allowed to steal documents from his office and have it admissible in court.

Just to educate some of you on Public Domain. PD only applies to properties over 50 years of age that have had significant lapses in publication. All DC has to do to keep Superman from being public domain, is to publish him consistently more than 4x a year, and since he has at least 2 comics with a monthy frequency, it doesn’t apply.

Ben, none of what you wrote is true.

@Anthony
I’m with you on that. It doesn’t matter whether or not it’s the heirs’ Superman or DC’s Superman–as far as I’m concerned, it’s MY Superman, and I’m not going to let a grudge between a corporation and civilians take that away from me. That letter I mentioned in my earlier posting? This is it:
“To the Parties present in the fight for the rights to Superman-
Growing up, I watched the Superman cartoon series made by Warner Brothers in 1996; a while later I began to read some of the stories created by Siegel and Shuster. Since that time, I’ve always associated the Man of Steel with two entities, BOTH of whom were always present on the same page in a comic book: Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, AND DC Comics, not one or the other. I want that imagery to stay that way for good, and I won’t take no for an answer. If you refuse, you’ll be hearing from me with a vengeance; THIS I promise. All I ask is this: I want my Superman safe and sound, safe from ANY legal action, any statute, code or charter; I want both parties to have a peaceful and tranquil co-ownership where the company can continue to publish him, yet the families of the character’s creators can survive financially (even if they do have jobs that provide); I want quality Superman stories told, both in print and in film or television, without the threat of any legal or corporate speed bumps hidden under the floorboard like the Tell-Tale Heart; and finally, I want my Superman to continue to be an inspiration to all people around the world, untarnished by a black and desolate legal legacy forever hanging around his neck, like the chunk of Kryptonite on Christopher Reeve in the 1978 film Superman: The Movie. You heard me right—I want MY Superman back. So again, I strongly urge you, END this petty squabble once and for all, while the character still has an ounce of dignity and respect, and while you yourselves still have an ounce of dignity as well. Think of the children and the young at heart; think of the generations to come who have yet to experience the phenomena and legend of the Man of Steel. PLEASE, I beg you, BOTH of you. Ask yourselves this:
WHAT WOULD SUPERMAN DO?

Your little war over the copyright of Superman has resulted in the disillusionment of the many fans of the character that’ve followed him for years, AND may have been a factor in the decision of the big line wide re-launch by DC Comics, something that has also caused a great deal of controversy with those same fans (despite its semi-successes so far). I’m sorry if there isn’t a lot of legal knowledge in my background, but I have seen the voices of those who are utterly disgusted with the way this case has been going on, something that shouldn’t have gone on this long. You’ve ended up like that infamous rascal of a stockbroker Gordon Gekko of Oliver Stone’s Wall Street. Newsflash, ladies and gentlemen: greed is not good.
I don’t know why either of you want more control over the guy, but because of your legal dispute, you’re costing the reputation of the character its sense, sanity, and integrity. Have you seen the way Superman has been underappreciated and made fun of by many fans in the past decade? Your little fiasco in 2005 with the whole Superboy copyright issue also didn’t help. Your legal battles are wreaking havoc with the way Superman is currently perceived, and it’s not making people happy. The new version of Superman is now out on the shelves, in DC’s re-launched titles such as Justice League, Action Comics (volume 2), and Superman (volume 3), and most fans are still completely dissatisfied with the new design of the Superman costume—many even accuse this legal dispute of being the cause for Superman being “re-booted”! Joanne Siegel made a sensible argument, but did either of you listen? NO. This lawsuit, this whole circus, this mockery of justice, isn’t fair to anyone, not to the fans, not to the people who aren’t fans, not to people who just know Superman as a pop culture icon.
What would the people, even the ones who’ve never picked up a comic book in their lives, think of all this? Don’t you think they would’ve gotten tired of it by now after so long? Look at the monumental achievements this character has already made, both in real life and in fiction: the first volume of Action Comics, the title he first appeared in, is now one of the longest running comic book series in history, at nine-hundred and four issues; a town in Illinois is THE Superman destination of America; Superman finally married Lois Lane in 1997, and they’ve been one of comics’ most successful couples for two decades (though the “New 52” has since rendered that aspect void); Smallville, the television series based around a young Superman that just recently ended its run, is now the longest-running comic book-based television show, and has garnered multiple awards; and now he’s getting a chance to make up for that not-too-successful Superman Returns film from five years back, thanks to the man who brought new life to Batman on film. Superman is nearly seen and admired all over the world (even an idiot will know who Superman is); if either of you pushes to win your legal war, do you really want to take all that made the Man of Steel so great away from us, the people who have followed the character, bought his merchandise, watched every television show and film based on him, for nearly over a century????
If that is your game, then history won’t remember either of you as the home of Superman (DC/Warner Bros.) or the families that created him, but as “the company that defaced its own property” (if DC/Warner Bros. wins) or “those money-hungry heirs” (if the families win). But there still is time to do something different, to end this quarrel once and for all: just settle on equal terms. “Play nice”, be completely transparent and honest; work out a fair and flawless royalties deal, start a legal precedent called “equal copyright law”, or something, something that is not counterproductive. Otherwise, go ahead, continue to waste money that could be well-spent on improving the storytelling of Superman in all media; let the Man of Steel fall into the public domain; let the comic book industry—the superhero aspect of it, at least—die because of that; let Superman belong to everybody; let the world continue to drift into a downward spiral of continued disillusionment with superheroes, anything to continue twisting the proverbial shard of Kryptonite in our backs.
Sincerely,
Arno D. Orson, a gravely concerned Super-fan.

@ acer:

and it’s us vs creators rights again.we don’t care about the creators or their heirs rights.it;s about us again.national fired siegel and shuster from the comic book of the character they created and they had to sue ,around i think in the early 60′s or was it the 70′s, just for the company to acknowledge them as the creators of superman.earning millions,maybe billions with all the superman comics,novels,movies,toys and other merch, and cartoons since the 40′s and they give siegel and shuster and their heirs spare change.read some of dave sim’s essays on the back of cerebus comics and some magazines in the 90′s about creators rightsto give you something to think about,because without these creator’s,comic books be still just pieces of paper.

Claude Parish

June 28, 2012 at 7:12 am

This WOULD be a public domain case IF Warner’s and DC Comics were not profiting mightily from this character and licensed materials based on this character for almost 75 years. FACT: Siegel and Shuster sold Superman for less than $150 because they were told that they would not be paid for their work if they didn’t sell the character. Someone seems to have forgotten that bit of coercion from back in the 40′s when such was the norm. I believe that this root cause of losing control of the character in the first place would be a good basis for returning copyright to the heirs.

glad the court decided that the documents that were stolen and warners are using to try and make it so Tobien can not continue to help the heirs of siegel and shuster reclaim by right under the copyright law the rights to superman since dc originaly rejected and then turned around and published the character with out telling the two. and screwed them. though knowing warners who are too stubborn to work for a nice deal will try and use the papers which will wind up hopefuly backfiring and end up with the estates getting their rights to super man in the end and maybe taking super man somewhere else

Brian from Canada

June 28, 2012 at 9:38 am

Kel:

According to WB, there was an agreement in principle but nothing had been written into legal contract. THAT’S when Toberoff got involved, suggesting to the families that they are in fact owed more money. These documents, accidentally included in the discovery, prove that Toberoff becomes a copyright holder of Superman should the courts find in his clients’ favour — and WB is balking because Toberoff has already made licensing agreements for Superman’s image when those rights revert.

Brian from Canada

June 28, 2012 at 9:46 am

Ben:

It’s not public domain that they are worried about.

If S&S regain copyrights, they have the right at any time to license Superman to anyone they want without DC approval — not to mention control any reprints or uses of Superman within the DC universe. WB would then have to get a license EACH TIME they wanted to do a Superman or Justice League trade.

But it’s a bigger problem when the question of WHAT “Superman” is in the original license. Does it include the original Superboy, which is a derivative created separately many years later? Supergirl? The Daily Planet? Lex Luthor? etc.

It’s a complicated legal case that’s made worse by the fact that the framers did not consider the comicbook question: they thought of music mostly, because (like comic creators) the early artists had no idea of the longstanding value of their material. “Pop” music was never meant to last and it did.

In a just world, WB would retain Superman indefinitely according to a royalty agreement. In a real world, it may become just financially prudent to introduce a villain that finally kills the Kryptonians once and for all.

@eric:

It’s my understanding that DC didn’t fire Siegel and Shuster until after S&S had filed suit against DC around 1946-48 (somewhere in there). At the time that S&S sued DC, they were making six figures (my sources weren’t clear if they were making six figures together or six figures each), and they wanted a bigger share of the pie. They spent all their savings on their lawsuit, and in the meantime DC fired them (because, really, do you want someone working for you who’s suing you?), so S&S settled with DC. Given these facts, I don’t have nearly as much sympathy for S&S as I might’ve had if DC had bought the rights to Superman and then kicked S&S to the curb (and never offered them any other work). I think DC should’ve been more forthcoming with profit-sharing in the first place (which probably would’ve solved this whole problem), but they didn’t, and S&S made some bad business decisions. I’m not convinced S&S’s heirs should get the pie, either, given that it appears Toberoff will end up with controlling interest in the character (not majority, but it would take all the others ganging up on him to overturn whatever he votes on). I’m sort of in Limbo about what happens, because it looks like a bunch of greedy people wanting to get control of the Superman franchise no matter which way one turns.

@eric
I’m not talking about US vs creator rights–this is ME vs creators AND corporations. Because in my eyes, BOTH sold their souls to fight over this timeless creation.

Newsarama got this quote from Neal Adams, who led the charge to get Siegel and Shuster their deal in the late 70s:
I don’t know the real, complete facts, just what I am told and have read on the Internet from the U.S Court of Appeals, 9th District.

1. I am told long after Jerry Siegel died, that Jerry and Joanne’s daughter Laura, accepted an offer of 3 million dollars in advance, plus 5 million dollars a year ongoing, and 6% royalty on product.

2. I am told, her lawyer would have received 4 or 5%.

3. I am told, for whatever reason, another lawyer came in, halted the final signing, and did or did not offer Laura 15 million dollars from an outside investor, and he, (the lawyer), would take over the negotiations.

4. I am told, that she did not receive the money.

5. I am told, that the new lawyer is to receive 40% of any money. (Can this be true?) I am not stating this as a fact, just repeating what I read in the public documents from the U.S. Court of Appeals.

6. JoAnne has died.

Who profits from all of this?

Once again, I am not close enough to this to know the real facts. Nor will I play favorites in any way. But, as a working professional, I am horrified at this wranglin, that I believe could have been settled easily, by common sense and fairness, and in fact, was settled.

I once stepped-up, offered my help, and made things better.

What is happening now creates division in our industry, and makes it incredibly hard for creatives to get a fair deal, because too many people have been forced to take sides in problems that could have been settled, easily and fairly.

My concern, along with others on here, is that a self-serving lawyer has hitched his wagons to Siegel’s heirs in an attempt to become an entertainment mogul. If this continues, the chances of a fair deal for Siegel’s daughter dwindles, especially considering she’s not in good health. Toberoff’s end-game seems clear to me and it’s not any more altruistic than the corporation he’s fighting.

That last paragraph is mine, not Adams’. I thought I put more space between them than that.

@ alan
whould dc just agree to renogotiate superman royalties to the families,in return of their use of superman,as i really think it’s time for the corporations to share the billions they’ve earned.what i don’t get is when gaiman sued macfarlane with his co-created angela,cogliostro and medieval spawn (which is weird med spawn was included,bec he was just a variation of the original character),almost everyone on diffrent forums was behind him and todd was an evil greedy man not paying neil his royalties, but when it comes to the big 2 characters,the creators or/and ther heirs are the greedy ones?that they don’t deserve to get anything from the character they created or deserve pennies as on the original contracts.and that many saying that they signed a contract,etc,sold the rights..as such angela,cog and med. spawn i think, havent earned to tmp,what the big 2 characters did.

I’m confused here to be honest.

Did they sell the copyright to DC or the ownership of the character? Surely those two things are separate?

How could they be separate?

@eric:

If the Siegel and Shuster heirs were interested in the characters their progenitors created–not just Superman, but all of them–then I might be more sympathetic to their cause. However, the heirs are solely interested in Superman, and solely because the character still generates a lot of revenue, and based on what I’ve read, they’re working with a lawyer who’s intent on taking control of the character to mine it for his own profits.

Besides which, if DC hadn’t invested in the character, initially in the form of publishing him and later with handling licensing, merchandising, publicity, etc., then we’d probably never have seen this case at all. It’s reductivist, IMO, to say that DC needs to fork over a big chunk of profits because “corporations are evil entities who screw over creators” or some similar refrain I’ve seen all-too-often repeated online. Corporations have expenses, too. Are they supposed to operate at a loss?

If Congress hadn’t intervened, Superman would’ve been public domain a long time ago, and nobody would have control of the rights. Then neither DC nor the S&S heirs would have anything coming to them other than profits from what they produced themselves, which would’ve left the S&S heirs in no better position.

I wrote in the first place, and continue to believe, that DC ought to do some profit-sharing. What I’ve read online (and, apparently, Neal Adams has read the same things) indicates that DC tried to do that. That the heirs were talked into this case because someone offered them a lot of money (and apparently never paid it) doesn’t make me sympathetic to their cause. Sorry if that offends you.

“If the Siegel and Shuster heirs were interested in the characters their progenitors created–not just Superman, but all of them–then I might be more sympathetic to their cause. However, the heirs are solely interested in Superman, and solely because the character still generates a lot of revenue, and based on what I’ve read, they’re working with a lawyer who’s intent on taking control of the character to mine it for his own profits.”

I’ve seen that argument made several times before, and it doesn’t make any sense from either a legal or a logical standpoint.

The Siegel heirs were able to file to reclaim the copyright because Superman wasn’t work made for hire; Siegel and Shuster created Superman in 1932 and sold a version to the story/character to DC some six years later (the window for the Shuster estate opens next year). Other characters, like Slam Bradley, The Spectre, Ultra-Humanite and Robotman, were more clearly created at the behest of the publisher (and in the case of Slam Bradley, with the publisher), and therefore not eligible for termination.

But even if, say, Slam Bladley could be reclaimed, it wouldn’t make much sense for the heirs to jump through costly legal hoops to (re-)gain the rights to a property they couldn’t really exploit commercially (no one’s clamoring for a Slam Bradley comic or movie). To dismiss the heirs because they’re interested in the Superman revenues — as opposed to what, his sentimental value? — seems particularly absurd given that DC and Warner Bros. are interested in the very same thing. Would the studio be putting up such a ferocious fight if there weren’t millions upon millions of dollars at stake?

@Kevin
I’d rather see BOTH parties pay for what they’re doing to the character’s legacy and dignity.

Does a fictional character have “dignity”?

@Kevin
In the eyes of the public, yes. A character held up high in the public atmosphere for generations should have even some ounce of dignity.

“Would the studio be putting up such a ferocious fight if there weren’t millions upon millions of dollars at stake?”

Of course DC and WB are putting up a fight. They’re collectively the ones who’ve also invested millions of dollars over the decades to generate that revenue stream. I don’t see what your point is there. While it’s really easy to say that the heirs to the original creators should get to reap the rewards, it misses the point that the “evil corporation” is the entity that took the chance and invested all the money in the first place.

but the creators did invest something,just not monetary,their imaginations,time and hard work they put in those pieces of paper. siegel and shuster wanted to renogiate thier contract they had with national then, when they saw that it was earning millions for national,but national did’nt want to,and that caused the 2 to sue and national fired them.but i agree that the lawyer shouldnt have a piece of control over superman,and 10% more than the heirs of siegel and shuster get (it says toberoff get 40%, the heirs of each family only 30%,he can get total control if he can kick one of them off that deal or buy 1 off.)

but i dont get why archie cant use the fly character because of a lawsuit by simon and kirbys heirs?they use fly girl in hte new crusaders digital comic ),as i think kirby and simon didnt create her,and just passively mention him (not in namey,only as a father of one of the new characters.but it seems the courts favor the bigger companies with this type of cases if thats the reason archie cant or wont use the fly.

Alan: Clearly, I didn’t say anything about “the evil corporation.” Yes, DC and Warner Bros. have invested in the property, and they’ve been rewarded many times over for that. But Congress, in extending the duration of copyright (twice), recognized that it must consider the rights of the creators, allowing them an opportunity to benefit from a change to the law that would otherwise favor only those with all the power and money (e.g. Disney and the other corporations who lobbied for the extensions).

and at that time creators dont have the ways to publish comics that they can trademark themselves,unlike today as multiple publishers offer this deals now,like dark horse,slave labor,image or you can self publish your creations yourselves.like the tmnt,laird and eastman became millionare with all the toys,movies and tv shows.and when laird sold the tmnt trademarks he was the 1 who reaped the rewards,so what does this old timers or families do,they go to courts to get some share in those profits.thats also why dc or marvel doesnt have new interesting owned characters,maybe characters that the editors thought up and the writers just flesh it out or varations of existing characters like sentry (superman like) or x-23 (wolverine) .dc seems dont have any creation thats outlasting as the 40′s chracters they had.but outright creating them nope.they save em up for their creator owned comics.

Kevin: And again, as I pointed out in the first place, if Congress hadn’t intervened, Superman would’ve passed into the public domain, where anyone who can put out good stories with the character(s) and concept(s) could profit. So while I kind of understand the whole “consider the rights of the creators” thing, I also understand that it’s just a transfer of control over “intellectual property.”

eric: I never said the creators didn’t invest anything. I was just pointing out that the corporation invests in the success of the product as well.

Kevin: Sorry, got distracted and cut off my own last sentence in reply to you. It should read thus:

So while I kind of understand the whole “consider the rights of the creators” thing, I also understand that it’s just a transfer of control over “intellectual property” that ultimately begs the question of whether either party actually has the sense to take care of that cash cow they’re milking or if they’re just going to let it run dry–which is why I can’t see the S&S heirs in any better light than I can Warner/DC.

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