Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

October 6, 2014

SCOTUS Won’t Review Shuster Estate’s Superman Decision

imageLet's go with the reliable Eriq Gardner's update at Hollywood Reporter that the Supreme Court has declined to hear the Shuster estate's appeal of the November 2013 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision that an agreement made by the sister of the character's co-creator, Jean Peavy, precludes the estate's ability to terminate the granting of copyright.

Chief Justice John Roberts did not participate in the decision to deny review.

The Shuster was also represented by Marc Toberoff, whose representation of the Kirby Family in a copyright case against Marvel recently led to settlement before the Supreme Court

According to Gardner's piece, the angle being taken by the petition was a review of the ability of contracts to end those right, a perhaps less-compelling set of legal issues than the core ideas outlines by supporters of the Kirby Family petition.

I'm sad for this because I think there's the potential for a better outcome for the Shuster Estate than what they've received -- and I do mean what they've actually received, not the horror-show shorthand designed to win lightly-informed Internet arguments. Hopefully, a better outcome in some areas isn't off the table now, and may even be back on. I'm also always sad to see someone perhaps get less than what they could have because of the specific situation of need that drives one side of the bargain -- a need created by the situation being resolved. I will continue to be made uncomfortable by the imbalance of reward represented by the character in his present-day employment as a licensing giant, iconic character and moral avatar.
posted 2:25 am PST | Permalink

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