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RE: non-Groo: Superman's Rights



Elie;

Your understanding of copyright law may be incomplete, but on point enough
that you got the essence.  There are several ways in 
which a copyright could "revert back" to an individual.  My understanding of
this particular situation is that it is basically a "done matter".  A little
paperwork here, a little in fighting there, and baboom, copyright in
Superman will revert to one of the creators.

Is this a good thing or a bad thing.  Who knows really.  I think it should
be pretty harmless to us.  DC will keep on putting out Superman comics.
They are good income for DC even if they will be required to share a portion
with one of the creators.  (by the by, since only one of the creators is
seeking reversion, DC will retain 1/2 the rights in the character.)  Also
the creator (or his estate) will reap substantial amounts of the rewards of
his creation rather than the peanuts he received prior to exercising his
rights.
I don't see DC as being categorically better at providing direction for
Superman than others.  I'm sure someone who has rights in only one character
would be more careful and diligent in promoting the character than someone
who has more than 100 character copyrights.

Ari
-----Original Message-----
From: Elie A Harriett [mailto:eharriet@s-cwis.unomaha.edu]
Sent: Monday, February 14, 2000 10:50 PM
To: The Groop
Subject: non-groo: Superman's Rights


Thought I would query some of you Groopers in the know about something I
just read in the latest issue of Wizard:

Just read that the heirs of Jerry Siegel are attempting to regain the
rights to Superman.  Apparently, after 56 years, the law states the
original copyright owner can legally reclaim their copyright.  Does anyone
know about this?  Is this something that they are REALLY serious about?
If so, what would become of Superman?

This came about as a 'by-the-way' in an article that the original creator
of Captain America is trying to do the same thing with his character so he
can move it in a new direction.  

If this works, what could happen to Batman (whose 56 years are also up),
Wonder Woman, and the other comic book classics?

I know Sergio refused to publish Groo until he met up with a publisher who
would allow him to retain his rights to the character, and after reading
about Mr. Siegel's and Mr. Shuster's fates at DC, it was a good thing
Sergio waited.  But what about the older ones?

Elie