Saturday, March 29, 2008

oh good

This New York Times article is very good news, and was, I think, inevitable. In brief, a share in the copyright to Superman that should have returned to the creators, under laws that helped creators of art and music who had been ripped off when younger to regain a portion of the rights to their song or creation, has been deemed by a judge to have been returned to the heirs of Jerry Siegel, with Time Warner and DC Comics kicking and screaming all the way. (On the one hand, I can hardly blame them. On the other, the law was obviously the law, the conclusion was pretty much inevitable -- although I'm sure it's been an enormous relief to the family -- and I suspect the main purpose of the court case has been to put off the moment of reckoning as long as possible; not the moment of financial reckoning, because that clock started ticking in 1999, but the moment that the heirs to Superman could license Superman to entities other than DC Comics, which, as co-copyright holders, they are entitled to do. Marvel Comics publishing their own Superman comic, anyone?)

When I did something like this on a much smaller scale, I remember how much of a relief it was when the court awarded me my share in the characters I'd co-created. (I really ought to do something with it. Anyone want to publish an ANGELA comic? Or Medieval Spawn?)

It's traditional for newspapers to get Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's names wrong, but the New York Times photo caption Max Shuster, left, and Jerry Siegel, right, sold the rights to Superman in 1938 for $130 is a welcome variation on an old theme.

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