The heirs to Superman co-creator Joe Shuster will not be getting back some of the rights to the hero next year as they wanted. A judge said today that an agreement the estate signed 20 years ago with DC Comics rules out any effort by his heirs to terminate the copyright granted to the Warner Bros-owned company. The order granting partial summary judgment (read it here) comes in response to a motion from DC Comics. “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which represented the Shuster heirs’ opportunity to renegotiate the prior grants of Joe Shuster’s copyrights, superseded and replaced all prior grants of the Superman copyrights.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, as a post-1978 grant, it is not subject to termination,” wrote District judge Otis Wright III today. DC’s motion is based on their 2010 claim to stop the Shuster heirs taking back rights to some early Superman works on October 26, 2013. In 2008, the estate of the other Superman co-creator, Jerry Siegel recaptured half of the original Superman rights through the courts. “The order for the most part is the tentative order issued over six weeks ago before oral argument. We respectfully disagree with its factual and legal conclusions, and it is surprising given that the Judge appeared to emphatically agree with our position at the actual summary judgment hearing,” says defendants’ lawyer Marc Toberoff. Warner Bros had no comment on the order today.
As all this has been going on, WB have been preparing their Zack Synder-directed Superman reboot Man Of Steel, which is scheduled to fly on the big screen next summer.