Superman - 'Superman' Rights Claim Denied By Judge; Warner Still In Control Of Character
Warner were breathing a sigh of relief in court yesterday (October 17, 2012) after an attempt by the heirs of 'Superman' co-creator Joseph Shuster to reclaim 50% on the character was rejected by judges. 'Superman' has generated more than $500 million for Warner Bros at the box office in the USA and billions more from various affiliated merchandise and television shows including 'Smallville'.
Yet if Warner had lost this case in Los Angeles, they would've had to forfeit the use of certain key aspects of the 'Superman' story, including his super strength and speed, his secret identity as Clark Kent, his girlfriend Lois Lane unless they'd reached a new expensive agreement with the Schuster family. In short, he'd just be a pretty average bloke walking around in a cape and a onesie trying to start fights with burglars but most likely getting beaten up and ridiculed by the neighbourhood for his outlandish garb. Not so super at all.
Thankfully for them though, the judge ruled that an agreement signed between the two parties in 1992 was still binding, saying "The court finds that the 1992 agreement, which represented the Shuster heirs' opportunity to renegotiate the prior grants of Joe Shuster's copyrights, superseded and replaced all prior grants of the Superman copyrights. The 1992 agreement thus represents the parties' operative agreement and... is not subject to termination." A shame, though, that they didn't at least lose the right to allow him to wear his underpants outside his suit. No one needs to see those.