Shuster heirs take Superman rights battle to Supreme Court

News Simon Brew 1 Jul 2014 - 07:10

The battle for the rights to Superman might not be fully done just yet...

The battle between the heirs to Superman and Warner Bros has not been a particularly pleasant one, and it's perhaps of little surprise that Warner Bros ultimately prevailed, unlocking its plans for Man Of Steel, Justice League and the now-filming Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice in the process.

However, it seems as though the heirs to one of Superman's creators, Joe Shuster, are attempting again to win the rights back. As Law360 reports, the Shuster heirs have asked that the US Supreme Court overturn a Ninth Circuit court ruling that Jean Peavy and Frank Shuster - Joe Shuster's children - waived their rights to Superman back in 1992.

The latest chapter in the case is centered on an argument that at the point those rights were supposed to have been waived (in exchange for $600,000 and an annual payment of $25,000 apiece) - are you still following this? - that Jean Peavy and Frank Shuster were in no legal position to do so.

The Shuster estate "filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the high court on June 20, asking the justices to reconsider the appeals court's ruling that a 1992 agreement in which Shuster's siblings allegedly gave up their rights prohibits", reports Law360.

Expect Warner Bros to contest this vigorously. We'll update as we hear more.


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Someone from the Shuster family will always come out of the woodwork. The will never get the rights to the character & they know it, so the reason is simply cash. They threaten Warner Bros. and hope they throw some money at them to go away. The Shusters don't have a hope in hell, and the last case definitively gave D.C. / Warner Bros all rights. This is now nothing to do with the original claim by Joe Shuster regarding money / rights going back to the 1940's. Joe Shuster was treated unfairly for sure and it took him until the 1970's to get financial restitution; but his greedy heirs simply want another hand out.

The odds that the Supreme Court will hear this are probably slim. The 9th is a much more liberal leaning court than the Supreme Court is. The conservative justices (Who, when counting the Chief Justice, frequently are the majority) won't want to risk overturning a pro-big business ruling from a circuit court that tends to be pro-consumer and regulation.

I so hope they don't try to buy them off - obviously WB could throw a couple of million their way and they would be happy to drop the case, but that's what they want and I hope WB don't give it to them. Im not taking sides here, I just hate how people will use the law to make a quick buck and hope for the magical term "out of court settlement".

Well there's a number of stories regarding what originally happened with the Superman rights.

One says that Shuster and Siegel happily sold the rights to DC as they wanted to move on to other projects as they didn't think Superman was that good a character and thought they could do much better.

Another says they were signed up for WW2 and DC asked that they signed over the character to them so they could continue publishing the comic should anything happen to them with the promise that once they came back from the war, DC would sign the character back to Shuster and Siegel.

I mean, I understand that originally the creators wanted restitution but it just seems now that the families are just going "More money now"

Lawyers need the money to build that bowling alley in the house!

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