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Warner Bros. wins another key Superman court battle against co-creator’s heir

By Daniel S Levine,

Warner Bros. has won another important legal battle in its pursuit to keep its copyright claims to Superman, one of the most popular comic book heroes in the world. The studio, which owns publisher DC Comics, won an appeal against Laura Siegel Larson, the daughter of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel.

According to The Los Angeles Times, the studio appealed an earlier decision by a U.S. District Court judge that allowed Larson to end half of Warner’s copyright claim. This would have meant that the studio would not be able to use key specifics of the Superman mythos without paying higher royalties.

However, 9th US Circuit of Appeals judge Stephen Reinhardt overturned that 2008 decision yesterday, reports the BBC. Reinhardt cited a 2001 letter in which Larson allowed Warner to keep the character’s rights.

The judge said the letter “accurately reflected the material terms they had orally agreed to” in October 2001.

This decision comes after an October ruling against the heirs of Joe Shuster, who created the character with Siegel. They had also failed in their attempt to recover their half of the copyright.

“The court's decision paves the way for the Siegel finally to receive the compensation they negotiated for and which DC has been prepared to pay for over a decade,” Warner said in a statement.

Now, the studio can finally move ahead with its plans to make future films with Superman. Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel is already in the works and is set to hit theaters this summer. The character’s films have made over $500 million at the box office.

 
 

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