Wednesday afternoon Warner Bros. scored a major victory in the long running legal battle over the ownership of the Man of Steel. U.S. District Judge Otis Wright shot down the heirs of Superman co-creator Joe Shuster in their attempt to reclaim 50% of the rights to the Last Son of Krypton. The reasoning behind this that back in 1992 Shuster’s sister, Jean Peavy, struck a deal with DC Comics in 1992 covering her late brother’s debts (plus paying her $25,000 a year for the rest of her life). A deal that then DC VP Paul Levitz warned would ‘fully resolve any past, present or future claims against DC’ by the Shuster estate. Case closed.
Had the ruling gone the other way, WB and its DC Comics subsidiary would have lost the right to use key elements to the of the characters mythos, severely hampering any future projects. As it stands there is still the other creators estate to contend with, Jerry Siegel‘s heirs can still terminate half of Warner’s Superman copyright in 2013. This will be appealed on the 5th of Novemeber by the studio.
So what does this mean? WB/DC now firmly hold half of Superman and under copyright law can use the character however they see fit (just so long as they keep paying Siegel’s estate half of the profits.)
Wow, comic book law is exciting stuff, huh?
Without dropping into the abyss of the creator rights debate once more, let’s focus on the good things here. This now means the studio is free(er) to move ahead with little risk on projects like next summers Man of Steel and more importantly the long stalled Justice League movie.
Yes, that’s right. Justice League. Just one day after the ruling The LA Times is reporting that filming will begin next year and the DC Comics super team will hit the big screen in the summer of 2015. Apparently they have a script, written by Will Beall, ready to roll and are just looking to attach a director and cast the lead roles.
One word of caution, the source that the LA Times cites is described as ‘a knowledgeable person not authorized to discuss the matter publicly‘ – so if you had ‘Summer 2015’ in your Justice League release date office betting pool hold off on collecting your money till we get the official word.
You guys have a Justice League release date office betting pool too, right?