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Superman legal battle over? Options
padreglcc
Posted: Friday, November 22, 2013 9:53:31 AM

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A recent verdict in the case by the families of Shuster and Seigel against DC may spell the end of the legal battle over the rights to Superman. You can read the CBR article here and the Deadline article here. What do you think about this whole case? Should DC retain the whole rights to Superman or share them with the families?

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Spider-Man
Posted: Friday, November 22, 2013 10:37:54 AM

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It was a different time back when Superman was created and Shuster and Seigel may have never been fairly compensated, but this was all about greedy relatives IMO.

DC should retain ownership of the character. If I read correctly, they are paying a small negotiated amount to some heirs and that should continue.






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Xylob
Posted: Friday, November 22, 2013 11:26:51 AM

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Agreed. Shuster and Siegel were employees at a creative company - it's rare for the "talent" to own the rights to anything and the various previous agreements and settlements all seemed fair.
"I created that!!!" loses a lot of its power when the truthful and honest response is "That's your job.".
I don't expect my employer to thank me each and every day for showing up and doing what I'm supposed to do - that's what I get a paycheck for.

These people have literally done NOTHING to earn or deserve what they're already getting, certainly not the "MORE MORE MORE" they're demanding.

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JimmmKelly
Posted: Friday, November 22, 2013 11:36:38 AM
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I think this is a legal matter and the law should be a guide for settling what is copyrighted and what creators or their heirs are entitled to.

Talking about who is greedy or who is nice or who is cold-hearted--that's not a legal argument. You have cases that are drawn out over years and years--so if the case could be thrown out because the initial creator died, then there would be no reason for corporations to resolve the case--they could just wait until the creator dies. So heirs do and should have rights before the law.

Whenever this matter is discussed, too many people talk about the characters involved rather than the law. Maybe because most aren't lawyers, but all can talk about character. If goodness of character was the test for who should get money, then I ought to be a billionaire.

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BurningDoom
Posted: Friday, November 22, 2013 11:59:35 AM

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They'll just file another appeal down the road, like they've already done.

But I agree with most of the people here. If they went into the deal, knowing they were selling the character and rights to a creative company; then they can't decide years down the road when the character is a huge success that they want it back.

And if you know the story about the creation of Superman, DC wasn't the first, second, or even third attempt at them trying to sell the character. They were trying to pawn him off to anyone that would take him. So it's not like they got tricked into it or anything.

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padreglcc
Posted: Friday, November 22, 2013 12:06:51 PM

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BurningDoom wrote:
They'll just file another appeal down the road, like they've already done.

The only appeals they have left with this particular case are either to the full 9th Circuit, or to the Supreme Court.

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Khaine
Posted: Friday, November 22, 2013 6:10:15 PM
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Confused I was confused after I read the part where DC paid all the guys debt plus gives his kids 25k a year.

I'd be doing the happy dance if I got 25k or even 12.5k a year just for breathing air.

I wish I was lucky enough to set my kids up with 25k a year for the rest of their lives...

anyways no love for those people. bust a deal face the wheel
outcast
Posted: Friday, November 22, 2013 7:13:27 PM
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Xylob wrote:
Agreed. Shuster and Siegel were employees at a creative company - it's rare for the "talent" to own the rights to anything and the various previous agreements and settlements all seemed fair.
"I created that!!!" loses a lot of its power when the truthful and honest response is "That's your job.".
I don't expect my employer to thank me each and every day for showing up and doing what I'm supposed to do - that's what I get a paycheck for.

These people have literally done NOTHING to earn or deserve what they're already getting, certainly not the "MORE MORE MORE" they're demanding.
That's just factually incorrect.

Siegel and Shuster were NOT employed by the publishing company that was to become DC Comics when they created Superman. They were free agents when they created the character, and they owned the character outright when they submitted the first story to the publisher.

That they were too naive to strike an equitable deal for their property when the story was accepted for publication, and that the publisher took such egregious advantage of their naivete, is one of the enduring scandals of the comic-book industry.
BurningDoom
Posted: Friday, November 22, 2013 8:43:37 PM

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outcast wrote:
Xylob wrote:
Agreed. Shuster and Siegel were employees at a creative company - it's rare for the "talent" to own the rights to anything and the various previous agreements and settlements all seemed fair.
"I created that!!!" loses a lot of its power when the truthful and honest response is "That's your job.".
I don't expect my employer to thank me each and every day for showing up and doing what I'm supposed to do - that's what I get a paycheck for.

These people have literally done NOTHING to earn or deserve what they're already getting, certainly not the "MORE MORE MORE" they're demanding.
That's just factually incorrect.

Siegel and Shuster were NOT employed by the publishing company that was to become DC Comics when they created Superman. They were free agents when they created the character, and they owned the character outright when they submitted the first story to the publisher.

That they were too naive to strike an equitable deal for their property when the story was accepted for publication, and that the publisher took such egregious advantage of their naivete, is one of the enduring scandals of the comic-book industry.


"Naivete"?

If they were so naïve about it, then why did they already try to sell the character to other publications unsuccessfully for years before? It sounds like they knew exactly what they were doing and were desperate to sell the character to anyone, from what I've read.

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outcast
Posted: Saturday, November 23, 2013 5:30:47 AM
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BurningDoom wrote:
"Naivete"?

If they were so naïve about it, then why did they already try to sell the character to other publications unsuccessfully for years before? It sounds like they knew exactly what they were doing and were desperate to sell the character to anyone, from what I've read.
It's hardly clear (at least to me) that Siegel and Shuster were "try[ing] to sell the character." Certainly, they were trying to get Superman published. From what I have read of the situation, I believe they expected to continue to own the character. Their failure to solidify this point of the deal prior to publication is ample evidence of their naivete.
Xylob
Posted: Saturday, November 23, 2013 8:13:52 AM

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outcast wrote:
Xylob wrote:
Agreed. Shuster and Siegel were employees at a creative company - it's rare for the "talent" to own the rights to anything and the various previous agreements and settlements all seemed fair.
"I created that!!!" loses a lot of its power when the truthful and honest response is "That's your job.".
I don't expect my employer to thank me each and every day for showing up and doing what I'm supposed to do - that's what I get a paycheck for.

These people have literally done NOTHING to earn or deserve what they're already getting, certainly not the "MORE MORE MORE" they're demanding.
That's just factually incorrect...
All of it?
Sorry for not studying up on history (though is does seem that a lot of lawyers on both sides already have done a lot of that).
Please enlighten me on what exactly his nephew has done all these years to earn or deserve the "MORE MORE MORE" that he is demanding (aside from paying the aforementioned lawyers for their research). My own research thus far hasn't turned up anything.
I'm just having a really hard time understanding how anybody outside of spouse or child could even try to claim the "right" to what these men created.
Frankly, you'll be hard-pressed to convince me that the spouse or child would either, unless the creator already owned all rights clear and free and expressly stated in writing that they would get them when they passed.
Seems like an awful lot of people have a very over-inflated sense of entitlement in this situation.

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outcast
Posted: Saturday, November 23, 2013 8:55:18 AM
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Xylob wrote:
outcast wrote:
Xylob wrote:
Agreed. Shuster and Siegel were employees at a creative company - it's rare for the "talent" to own the rights to anything and the various previous agreements and settlements all seemed fair.
"I created that!!!" loses a lot of its power when the truthful and honest response is "That's your job.".
I don't expect my employer to thank me each and every day for showing up and doing what I'm supposed to do - that's what I get a paycheck for.

These people have literally done NOTHING to earn or deserve what they're already getting, certainly not the "MORE MORE MORE" they're demanding.
That's just factually incorrect...
All of it?
Sorry for not studying up on history (though is does seem that a lot of lawyers on both sides already have done a lot of that).
Please enlighten me on what exactly his nephew has done all these years to earn or deserve the "MORE MORE MORE" that he is demanding (aside from paying the aforementioned lawyers for their research). My own research thus far hasn't turned up anything.
I'm just having a really hard time understanding how anybody outside of spouse or child could even try to claim the "right" to what these men created.
Frankly, you'll be hard-pressed to convince me that the spouse or child would either, unless the creator already owned all rights clear and free and expressly stated in writing that they would get them when they passed.
Seems like an awful lot of people have a very over-inflated sense of entitlement in this situation.
No, not all of it. Did my bolding of your assertion of fact escape your notice? Isn't there ample precedent in these forums for the stylistic choice of quoting at length, and bolding the portion to be addressed?

Your remaining comments seemed to me a matter of opinion. As such, they were not what I was addressing as being "factually incorrect."
Xylob
Posted: Saturday, November 23, 2013 9:15:05 AM

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fair 'nuff

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JimmmKelly
Posted: Saturday, November 23, 2013 10:00:51 AM
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Again, why do we have to psycho-analyze people who are exercising their legal rights?

Do we do the same for the Donenfeld family, the Warner family, the Goodman family? If the law allows people to pursue their rights, and the courts to divine those rights--then why bring some moral judgement into the question?

It seems to me there are far more people who have claims and money owing to them, who never pursue those rights, either out of ignorance or a misguided sense of humility.

If you don't like the law, then act to change it. But don't cherry pick who gets to use the law for their advantage, based on your own self-interests.

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Xylob
Posted: Saturday, November 23, 2013 11:20:12 AM

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What about the rights of the tax-payers as a whole?
What about the countless wasted tax dollars and tax funded resources be burned up in repeated frivolous court cases while criminals go free because the courts are tied up by somebody already getting $25K a year for doing nothing just because they want more than they've earned?

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BurningDoom
Posted: Saturday, November 23, 2013 12:31:26 PM

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outcast wrote:
BurningDoom wrote:
"Naivete"?

If they were so naïve about it, then why did they already try to sell the character to other publications unsuccessfully for years before? It sounds like they knew exactly what they were doing and were desperate to sell the character to anyone, from what I've read.
It's hardly clear (at least to me) that Siegel and Shuster were "try[ing] to sell the character." Certainly, they were trying to get Superman published. From what I have read of the situation, I believe they expected to continue to own the character. Their failure to solidify this point of the deal prior to publication is ample evidence of their naivete.


That doesn't prove a thing about their naiveté. When they were shopping Superman around, super-heroes were a new concept. Most publishers were putting out funny books and detective stories. They didn't think super-heroes were a profitable genre. That's why they had a hard time selling the character. This is all well documented stuff.

Superman didn't even start as the character we know. The first concept they tried to sell Superman as (well before they shopped it to DC Comics), he had mental powers.

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JimmmKelly
Posted: Saturday, November 23, 2013 1:52:16 PM
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I don't know for certain about the American legal system, but I would guess that civil cases probably help to underwrite the costs of criminal cases. In civil cases, the lawyers are paid by their clients not usually the taxpayer, and the court costs are paid either by both sides or by one side. So it's a largely self-funding system and that money then would go into funding the courts in general, which helps pay for the cost of criminal cases--the hiring of more judges, buidling infrastucture and the like. So I think it's a foolish idea that taxpayers are paying for this or that civil courts take away resources from criminal courts.

And just in general, spreading money around is good economic activity that benefits everybody--even if it's just trickle down economics. Providing jobs for the legal system means more people are employed. More employment means more spending. More spending means more revenues going back into the system.

What about all the DC investors who have made billions from Superman, even though they have never created a single thing? If they and their heirs have legal rights to profits, why shouldn't the legal system ensure that creators and their heirs enjoy equivalent rights?

I wonder what kind of bizarre legal and economic system some people are advocating out of their irrational outrage over the Siegel or Shuster families exploring their legal and economic rights.


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padreglcc
Posted: Saturday, November 23, 2013 2:09:54 PM

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JimmmKelly wrote:
I don't know for certain about the American legal system, but I would guess that civil cases probably help to underwrite the costs of criminal cases. In civil cases, the lawyers are paid by their clients not usually the taxpayer, and the court costs are paid either by both sides or by one side. So it's a largely self-funding system and that money then would go into funding the courts in general, which helps pay for the cost of criminal cases--the hiring of more judges, buidling infrastucture and the like. So I think it's a foolish idea that taxpayers are paying for this or that civil courts take away resources from criminal courts.

And just in general, spreading money around is good economic activity that benefits everybody--even if it's just trickle down economics. Providing jobs for the legal system means more people are employed. More employment means more spending. More spending means more revenues going back into the system.

What about all the DC investors who have made billions from Superman, even though they have never created a single thing? If they and their heirs have legal rights to profits, why shouldn't the legal system ensure that creators and their heirs enjoy equivalent rights?

I wonder what kind of bizarre legal and economic system some people are advocating out of their irrational outrage over the Siegel or Shuster families exploring their legal and economic rights.

The costs of the US legal system don't quite work that way - we chew through a tremendous amount of tax dollars to fund our court systems, even in civil cases. But that's really beside the point.

I have no problem with creators retaining their rights to characters and for their heirs to also retain financial/creative rights as well... if that's they way it's set up. In the case of Superman, for right or wrong, it wasn't. And as these cases have dragged on, it has cost everyone involved mountains of money with the Seigel and Shuster families repeatedly on the loosing side. At this point I think it pretty clear whose side the law is on. If the families want to continue to bring this court, more power to them, but all it does is cost everyone money and drag the Superman name (not to mention that of his creators) through the mud.

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JimmmKelly
Posted: Saturday, November 23, 2013 4:29:36 PM
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If you think the legal system is wrong then work to change it. The Siegel family can do whatever they want within the law and the courts will decide what's fair. It seems to me that people are picking on this one case because of how they feel about Superman--not how they feel about the legal system in general.

This case shouldn't be viewed in isolation. If the legal system allows such things to happen then the Siegels have every right to do as they please. It's a bit rich for people to be councilling what is in the Siegels' best interest--when really folks are just upset about their own little interest in Superman. I find it hypocritical. People should be more honest about where their real interests lie and not dressing up their arguments in some ridiculous outrage over what other folks have decided to do with their own lives and casting apersions on the character of others.

It's a court case--so let the case be decided on the law by the court not on the character of the litigants or the self-interests of the fans. That seems to be the most reasonable approach--fans let themselves get too emotonal about ths stuff and they should understand it's not about their feelings--it's purely a matter of facts and the law. If folks look at the matter with less passion and more reason, then they won't get so upset about it, when things don't go the way they want.

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padreglcc
Posted: Saturday, November 23, 2013 5:23:03 PM

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I agree with you that this is a case for the courts. The courts have now ruled multiple times in favor of DC and Warner Bros., and against the families/heirs. Most of what the heirs receive from DC was not mandated by the courts, but was given in an agreement from DC. It simply astonishes me that at every turn, when denied what they want by the courts, the families continue to file more injunctions and more suits. They are, of course, within their legal right to do so, but if it were me, I don't know that I'd keep going after this most recent loss. But Superman represents an enormous amount of money, so perhaps they will trudge ahead. However, I really don't see any higher court (either the full 9th Circuit or the Supreme Court) overturning anything that's been decided up to this point.

As for believing that the legal system is broken... there is really no doubt about it. We as a society are far, far too litigious. I feel the same way about many other cases I've seen go through the courts as I do about the Seigel/Shuster families' cases. People abuse the system. It's sad. I've seen people be dragged through the system, loosing time, money, dignity, privacy, reputation, etc., simply because someone else has the "right" to go after them but not the common sense, decency, or self-restraint to know that it's wrong to do so. When I see that happen to members of the church where I'm a pastor, yes, I tend to get passionate and upset.

Am I passionate and upset about the Superman cases? No. I have no vested interest in them other than that they coincide with my hobby and therefore enjoy discussing it, nor have I cast aspersions on the plaintiffs in any way. Do I need to be chided about this discussion or instructed in how my legal system work or what I should be doing to affect it? No. Therefore, I'd ask the discussion to please keep focused on topic - that is, the Superman rights cases.

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