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Superman Heir’s Letter to Fans on Warner Bros. Fight.

David Gillette 10/14/2012 News, Reviews

Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel’s daughter Laura Siegel Larson wrote an open letter to fans about her long-running legal battle with Warner Bros. The long-running fight with Warner Bros. has taken an ugly turn in recent days as DC Comics has sued Siegel Larson and her lawyer Mark Toberoff, claiming unfair competition.Laura Siegel Larson and Joanne SIegel

The legal case took a turn in 2008 when Siegel Larson was able to exploit an aspect of copyright law with a California judge determining that her termination notice on copyright for the first editions of Action Comics telling Superman’s story were valid.

Toberoff and the family have promised to file an anti-SLAPP motion to dismiss the lawsuit.The case is headed for the U.S. 9th Circuit where lawyers for each side will make their case on the ownership of copyright, which could have a huge impact on Warner Bros. and DC Comics fortunes with the character for the foreseeable future. That could effectively take away control of their biggest cash cow.

Below is a copy of her letter to fans advocating her position.

Laura Siegel Larson's LetterLaura Siegel Larson's LetterLaura Siegel Larson's LetterLaura Siegel Larson's Letter

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About The Author

Unofficially a I'm a musicologist, journalist, and comic book/prose writer. Officially, a teacher and father of three. I also have a big nose. When I'm not teaching or writing for Comic Booked, I'm writing my new series The Ghost Notes. +David Gillette

  1. Skott Jimenez 10/14/2012 at 9:59 am

    I'm so sick of these people always trying to get more and more money our of Warner/DC. Debts were paid and relatives got money from the company and that is where it needs to end.

    It almost seems like every time they need money for something they threaten DC over Superman again.

    My sympathy for these people is gone. I wish they were as well.

    • David Gillette 10/14/2012 at 10:44 am

      The legal struggle has been a long one. Personally, I sympathize with the family. DC and Warner have been very shady in the dealings. This is a struggle that goes back to the 1940s. I suggest you take a look at this timeline of events to get a better sense and context of the legal battle.

      http://www.comicbookbrain.com/superman-legal-case

      • Skott Jimenez 10/18/2012 at 9:29 am

        In 1992 DC agreed to cover Joe Shuster’s debts and pay his sister, Jean Peavy, $25,000 a year for the rest of her life. I'd say that's fair enough.

        But this is my problem here: These people wanting money and ownership of Superman had NOTHING to do with his creation. I'm willing to bet they weren't even that supportive of S&S in their efforts to bring him to the masses. Also, if DC hadn't taken a chance on the character we wouldn't have him today. One thing people always love to not realize is the chance DC took in buying the character.

        I'm not saying something shady didn't happen years and years ago but I think DC and Warner have both done enough to make up for it.

        The heirs needs to move in with their lives.

        • David Gillette 10/18/2012 at 12:01 pm

          The current people at Warner & DC had nothing to do with his creation. Yes, DC helped publish and bring Superman to the masses, but your argument is reductionist to the point of being a chicken and egg comparison. I also think it's a huge assumption on your part to say that Siegel's family wasn't that supportive. Let's deal with fact instead of opinion.

          Fact: The Siegel family exercised their RIGHTS under copyright law, which are in place to for matters like this. Warner and DC have made back that $130 investment in Superman. Copyright law holds that the rights revert back to the family at a given point determined by certain criteria. A judge ruled in their favor that the criteria had been met.

          Wanting the rights is not enough. Being a money grabber is not enough. Having a competent lawyer that knows copyright law and having legal standing is what made the judge rule in their favor. It's also just good business for the family to reclaim their copyright, which was afforded by the law just the same as DC was afforded the right to profit for almost 60 years under their legal rights.

          They have been stifled by Warner and DC through the entire process by a team of lawyers that has profited mightily from this rather than paying the family an appropriate fee for re-licensing the character. Someone even broke into the Siegel family lawyer's office and stole many documents related to the case with them "magically" appearing at the desks of 3 Warner Bros executives.

          I respect your opinion, but I completely disagree with you.

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