Nothing can stop the Man of Steel. Not mountains, strange planets or even the intricacies of copyright law. A judge ruled Wednesday that Time Warner (NYSE:TWX), which owns DC Comics, can maintain its share of the copyright on Superman.
At issue is the rights of the heirs of Joseph Shuster to control of the character, according to The Wall Street Journal. Shuster created the character, along with Jerome Siegel, in 1938 and assigned the comic book company exclusive rights to the character and story of Superman. Shuster and later his heirs have kept half of the copyright since that time.
However, in November 2003, Shuster’s heirs filed a termination notice for DC Comics’ copyright on the character. The long-running legal dispute placed ownership of the character in doubt. In 2010, Time Warner filed a suit asking for the termination notice to be invalidated because the heirs had forfeited their termination rights in a 1992 contract signed by the heirs and DC.
The judge ruled that the 1992 agreement was the time for Shuster’s heirs to renegotiate the copyright issue and that this agreement supersedes all prior arrangements. The decision simplifies the path to the big screen for the upcoming Superman film, The Man of Steel.