DC Comics, and by extension Warner Bros. Entertainment, cut a deal in 1992 that basically meant they assumed 50% ownership of everything Superman in perpetuity. This has since been hotly contested by Joe Shuster‘s heirs, even though it was his sister and heir Jean Peavy that made the agreement in the first place. After a lengthy legal battle, the court has now ruled that the 1992 agreement stands, and Warner Bros. totally owns 50% of Superman.
Judge Otis D. Wright issued an 18 page ruling in favor of Warner Bros. and DC Comics yesterday, dismissing the argument made by Mark Warren Peavy – Shuster’s nephew – and attorney Marc Toberoff that a 1992 agreement between DC Comics and Jean Peavy that saw the publisher handle debts left following Shuster’s death and a transference (to his siblings) and increase in an annual pension in exchange for relinquishing any termination rights to DC’s ownership of all of Shuster’s co-creations for the company was invalid. Strongly disagreeing with the arguments put forward by Peavy and Toberoff – the ruling repeatedly points out that they “have offered no evidence in support of” their positions, going on to mention where their argument seemingly contradicts itself in the citation of particular legal cases used to prove precedent – Wright found no reason to disagree with Warners and DC’s position that it has, since 1992, held Shuster’s share of the character in permanent possession.
In addition to fighting with Shuster’s heirs over the 1992 agreement, Warner Bros. is trying to avoid handing back the other half of Superman to Jerry Siegel‘s heirs next year. They’re just that classy.
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