Warner Bros.'s Rights to Superman UpheldFriday, November 22, 2013
A federal appeals court on Thursday upheld a lower court decision giving Warner Bros. Entertainment’s DC Comics the ownership of the Superman character.
The decision by two Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals judges brings to an end the legal battles over the Man of Steel between DC and the heirs of Joseph Shuster and Jerry Siegel, the creators of Superman.
In the eight-page majority ruling, the panel agreed with the decision by Los Angeles U.S. District Court Otis D. Wright that a 1992 agreement between the parties could not be terminated by the heirs as they attempted to do in 2003. Judge Sidney Runyan Thomas filed a dissent.
The ruling is significant for Warner Bros. since the “Superman” franchise has grossed billions for the studio.
DC Comics became part of Warner Bros. in 1969 and in 2009 was folded into the DC Entertainment division.
Shuster co-created “Superman” with Siegel in 1938. The pair would later tangle with DC over ownership rights, which resulted in a settlement in 1948 that was amended in the years afterward.