The Legal Battle Over Superman Essay

1149 words - 5 pages

Superman is a fictional character created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in 1933. The duo created this marvelous superhero intended to be a telepathic villain, whose goal was to achieve world domination. This idea of Superman dramatically changed when the two creators made Superman into an iconic superhero with superhuman strength, speed, hearing, flight, and many other extraordinary powers. These two men are the creators of a worldwide iconic figure that has made billions of dollars since the creation. However, has their sale to Warner Brothers and DC Comics caused them to lose all rights to the incoming money their creation is bringing? While Shuster and Siegel sold all rights of Superman for simply $130, Warner Brothers and DC Comics have made billions of dollars more, over the past few decades. Siegel and Shuster fight for their earnings over many years of this thrilling legal battle over the rights of Superman. But, does the duo really deserve earnings over their creation? Even after they sold their copyrights? Throughout this case, Shuster and Siegel find themselves in a series of difficult situations.
The fight over the possession over debatably, the greatest superhero of all time, began in the very early stages of his creation decades ago. This prolonged court case has been brought up many times, back and forth favoring the Siegel/Shuster heir on appeals, and others favoring the Warner Brothers and DC Comics. In 1947, Shuster and Siegel battled for the rights over the copyright of Superman against DC Comics for $5 million because Siegel and Shuster suspected the royalty checks from DC Comics were a scam. Siegel and Shuster lost their case to take back Superman. However, the duo did manage to recover the copyrights on Superboy, which DC Comics later bought for $94,000. As almost three decades pass, with DC’s renewal for the copyright on Superman approaching, Siegel decided to attempt to make his claim for it. Shuster and Siegel claimed that according to the copyright law of 1909, which allowed DC Comics to achieve their copyrights in 1947, copyrights required a renewal, which was when Shuster and Siegel tried to obtain ownership. As the two try to recover their copyrights, they both are slowly slipping into poverty by the 1960’s. Their claim is denied and they file for an appeal. Siegel and Shuster believe that their final chance of repossessing Superman would be to take this case to the United States Supreme Court. Warner Brothers at this time was getting ready to release a Superman film and wants Siegel and Shuster to give up on this battle because of the negative publicity going around the media. They sent out varies press releases to multiple media sources explaining the tragic life the two are facing, while being poor and nearly blind, trying to change this with the ownership over Superman.
In 1975, Warner Brothers came up with a settlement with Siegel and Shuster. Because of the bad publicity from the media and fans along with...

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