The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed a lower court ruling giving WB the copyright to Superman and setting aside a 1998 copyright termination notice filed by the heirs of Joe Shuster.
The court agreed that a complex 1992 agreement gave WB the rights to Superman in exchange for a lifetime compensation.
The ruling was 2-1, with one judge dissenting because the heirs could technically not have filed for copyright termination in 1992, because at that point only surviving spouses and children could use the provision. (Joe Shuster had no children and a sister and her son were his heirs and executors.)
Although this seems to end all legal matters in the case of Superman, the dissenting appeals court could leave one tiny sliver open for a Supreme Court consideration—or so it seems to us legal amateurs. Such a thing would be infinitesimally likely, but Jeff Trexler, our legal expert, will be explaining what really happened momentarily.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.