Not long after they created the character in the late 1930s, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster started to push back against National Periodical Publications for a bigger share in the rights to Superman. Over 70 years later, that battle is still being played out in a much more complex and unexpected way than almost any other intellectual property rights fight in history.
Today, Warner Brothers (owner of DC Comics and by extension Superman) fled suit against attorney Mark Toberoff who has represented the families of Siegel and Shuster in their attempt to gain back a percentage of rights and profits on the character. Deadline Hollywood reports that the suit focuses on the money Toberoff would supposedly gain if the Siegel and Shuster families earn the full rights to Superman back in 2013. If successful, the Warner Brothers suit may force Toberoff to step back from representing the families, giving the studio a better chance of winning future rights battles.
In the suit, the studio appeals to the court with the fact that Siegel and Shuster chose to work with DC on settling the rights dispute while they were alive as well as the fact that years of comics, TV and movie materials produced by DC and Warners would be stripped from the company in terms of its profits if they lost all the rights.
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