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Superman’s WB Future at Stake as Appeals Court Battle Begins

March 27, 2012

In advance of oral arguments, Warner Bros. files a 117-page brief in attempt to hold onto all rights to the famed superhero. The outcome will determine the future of the franchise, but in dueling legal briefs, the parties discuss the history.

On Friday, Warner Bros. made its move to hold onto all its rights on the Superman franchise. The studio filed a brief before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals explaining why the estate of co-creator Jerry Siegel shouldn’t be allowed to execute a copyright termination notice on the property.

The subject of Superman rights has been intensely litigated over the past five years. In 2008, a federal judge in California handed Siegel’s heirs a big victory by determining that the termination was valid, but not a complete victory as it only applied to the first editions of the Action Comics that first told Superman’s story. The later works were deemed to be “work for hire.”

This meant a potential split in the Superman universe. Siegel (and his co-author Joe Shuster) would reclaim many of Superman’s defining characteristics, including his costume, Clark Kent and the origin story. But Warner (as successor to DC Comics) would retain other elements, including Lex Luthor and Kryptonite.

Read more at THR-

Superman’s WB Future at Stake as Appeals Court Battle Begins.

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