The Legal View: Siegel Court Issues Final Judgments


The Superman and Superboy lawsuits are officially over, pending appeal.After an obligatory mop-up opinion whose outcome & reasoning was foreshadowed in my previous post, Judge Otis Wright has issued the court’s official final judgments in both the Superman and Superboy lawsuits.

The verdict in each is in DC’s favor. As with the concluding opinion, the final judgments were issued on April 18, 2013, the seventh-fifth anniversary of Superman’s first appearance in Action Comics #1.

Of course, the Siegel side could still appeal, but inasmuch as the court followed the appellate court’s reasoning in reaching these judgments the likelihood of success would be small, to say the least. The case also doesn’t raise the sort of issues likely to attract attention from the Supreme Court.

Judge Wright has already notified the Copyright Office of his decision in the Superboy lawsuit, and a notice on the Superman case should be forthcoming.

So it goes.



  1. Charles says:

    Three Cheers for DC!

  2. Thomas Wayne says:

    I like what Kurt Busiek had to say about Superman the other day…that he should really be in the public domain.

    DC would still have the biggest hand in the cookie jar with all the corresponding characters and history…but it would be fun if not interesting to see what others would do with the character.

    Imagine Superman popping up in Invincible or one of the countless Avenger books as a totally new character….might be fun if done right…

  3. The Gibbler says:

    Thanks to Disney this is now what we have far as copyright is concerned.

  4. So DC finally has to pony up and pay the Siegels 21 million for the rights to Superman. Unlike Disney, they may actually cough up the money And they may not have to split it with their lawyer, because technically, he “lost” the case.

  5. DC always offered the money. It’s the families that either got greedy or sucked in by lawyer. Now everyone can get on with business and life’s.

  6. jonboy says:

    @ The Beat
    I find it incredibly distasteful (but rather unsurprising given the Beat’s viewpoints on corporate comics) that the image chose to run with this article is the Death of Superman.

    @ T Wayne
    I always hear this crap about how Superman should be in the public domain. Well, nothing is stopping people from writing pseudo-Superman stories. Look at Kirkman’s Invincible and Waid’s Irredeemable for just two examples.

    As Allen said, DC was always willing to pay what the settlement agreed to.

  7. Jeff Trexler says:

    @jonboy Don’t blame Heidi for that image – I chose it, and I did so precisely because it’s susceptible to multiple meanings from various perspectives. It’s a Rorschach test. If you see it as anti-corporate, well, that’s one way of looking at it, but it’s not the only one.

    Still, de gustibus non disputandum et all that.

    An alternative image I had in mind was a page from Superman 75–in particular, the girl on the lower right. I wasn’t sure how many folks would get the reference, but it sure is prophetic, if a bit on the nose:

    Again, multiple levels.

    While I’m on this theme, there was a striking real-world analogue to the Superman 75 page in This is New York exhibit after 9/11. I’m not sure this is exactly it — memory fades, though at the time I had a print of it made for my office — but it’s the same scene as the photo here:

  8. Thanks for the update, Jeff. Just an Earth-2 P.S.: on the same day of the decision, Cleveland celebrated Superman Day. Laura Siegel Larson spoke to a large crowd. I’ve posted the footage here:


  9. jonboy says:

    Thanks for the clarification.
    I rescind my bash against The Beat, and transfer it to you.
    I would propose this image instead:

    Bumbling (by everyone involved) seemed to rule the roost here.

    Great article by the way, they are much appreciated.

  10. Jeff Trexler says:

    @Brad Thanks for posting that video of the celebration–excellent.

    @jonboy Thanks for the good words. While I stand by my picture choice, yep, I always did find Otis the most personally resonant character in the Superman films!

    Heading off to stumble through the subway …

  11. Kate Halprin says:

    “I always hear this crap about how Superman should be in the public domain. Well, nothing is stopping people from writing pseudo-Superman stories. Look at Kirkman’s Invincible and Waid’s Irredeemable for just two examples.”

    Which kind of demonstrates the point that something is stopping people from writing non-pseudo-Superman stories, hence the public domain point.


  1. […] Jeff Trexler once again writes about the lawsuit at The Beat: […]

Speak Your Mind