Superman Copyright Case and….Facebook?!?!

Image   The latest update to the ongoing legal issues with the Superman copyright takes a page from the rulings on the founding of Facebook as a guide to the latest decisions.

Back in 2001, the Siegel heirs entered into a binding agreement with DC Comics in order to receive compensation for the continued use of Superman by DC Comics. The terms of the agreement between the two parties did not get finalized, but there was an understanding between the two parties that the specific terms would be spelled out later.

The story of the Winklevoss twins and the founding of Facebook was popularized in the movie The Social Network. The legal outcomes from the Winklevoss’ case involved something similar to the Siegel’s agreement with DC; the Winklevoss’ entered into a mediated agreement with Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, about how they could be compensated for what they claimed was Zuckerberg stealing the idea for Facebook. The details were not specified, but both parties had an outline and agreed that the specific terms would be handled later.

The Winklevosses claimed that the agreement was non-binding, but a California court disagreed. This precedent was then referenced in the decision for the Siegel’s case with DC Comics by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The court stated that the 2008 case that was decided in the Siegel’s favor could not stand and that the original 2001 agreement had to take precedent.

This does mean that the Siegel heirs will be compensated for the use of Superman by DC since that 2001 agreement, which stands to be a lot of money for the heirs. This decision, along with the previously reported loss by the Shuster heirs to claim their half of the copyright, means that DC Comics will more than likely retain the copyright to Superman once the legal battle is decided. The 9th Cirucit Court of Appeals stated that DC’s other claims involved in the court case will need to be ruled on by the district courts who originally ruled in Siegel’s favor in light of this new decision.