Warner Bros wins latest round of Superman rights battle
The Superman rights battle continues to go Warner Bros' way, paving the way for the release of Man Of Steel this summer...
The messy, ongoing legal battle between Warner Bros and the heirs of the Superman character's creators shows little sign of stopping, and the latest round has gone in the studio's favour.
Warner Bros had reportedly been reticent to push ahead with its Justice League movie project while legal battles were ongoing, and it scored a crucial victory in the Ninth Circuit Court Of Appeal back in January. The ruling, that upheld a deal Warner Bros and the estate of Jerome Siegel that had been done in 2001, gave the studio the control it wanted over Superman, and it was full steam ahead.
The latest round of the legal fight has now seen a federal judge also confirm that 2001 deal, and paves the way for Warner Bros to release this summer's Man Of Steel without legal fuss. That's thanks to a further ruling made this week.
But there may yet be further problems for the studio. Judge Wright added this week that there's a "lingering issue of what to do with Superboy and the early Superman ads", and The Hollywood Reporter suggests there may yet be the issue of TV shows such as Smallville to consider.
The 2001 deal that's been referred to was when Warner Bros inked a deal with the widow of Jerome Siegel, compensating her for the rights to Superman that her husband had, in the eyes of the law, sold. That deal was thrown into doubt though, when in 2008, the estates of the Superman creators won a big ruling, that seemed to give them the rights to the Superman backstory (factoring in the 1976 copyright act). That 2008 ruling was overturned earlier this year.
This all leaves Warner Bros in pole position as far as Superman is concerned, and it looks as if it's just got some legal mopping up work to do, and a few more cheques to write, before the rights issue is settled for good. But don't be surprised if there aren't yet more twists and turns...
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