An Attorney's Opinion On Changes To "Superman"'s Appearance

View previous topic View next topic Go down

An Attorney's Opinion On Changes To "Superman"'s Appearance

Post  Apologist Puncher on Wed Sep 14, 2011 12:22 am

This was posted in June, hadn't come across it until now. But I agree with a lot of what he is saying. Just too bad we'll never know the truth:

http://www.comicsbeat.com/2011/06/17/the-legal-view-super-style-and-the-dcu-relaunch/

THE LEGAL VIEW: Super-style and the DCU Relaunch
POSTED ON JUN 17 2011 AT 5:54 PM BY THE BEAT

By Jeff Trexler

Judging from the images released so far, it would appear that the relaunched versions of Superman and Superboy will be different from previous versions. Superman will no longer be wearing red shorts over his blue tights, and his belt, boots and S-symbol have also undergone notable alterations. Somewhat more dramatically, Superboy is sporting a black shirt and pants, a black-and-white S-shield mini-cape attached to his back, and a stylized red S-shield tattoo. It also appears that both characters will have significant changes in their continuity, most notably Superman’s age and his relationship with Lois Lane.

This changes in the Superman costume are in themselves not likely to provide a solid foundation for erasing the Siegel heirs’ ownership interest. However, the costume changes and other shifts in continuity are consistent with DC’s arguments for limiting what the Siegels now own.

As we saw in the case review, the Siegels argue that they should be 50% co-owners of the current Superman material, inasmuch as it all substantially derives from Siegel and Shuster original. However, DC counters this by arguing that Superman is a dynamic, not a static character. DC claims that the 1938 Superman is “stylistically dated”–if the company had stuck with the Siegel and Shuster original, the character would now be worthless.

Instead, DC has told the court, the company’s distinct creative contributions are what has kept the character economically viable. Rather than drawing from the outdated material sold by Siegel and Shuster in 1938, the company continues to present “an ever-evolving portrayal of Superman” featuring additional new material and changes in Superman’s appearance. This extends both to the Superman copyright and to the iconic S-shield, which the Siegels claim to co-own as a work derived from the S-shield worn by the character in Action #1.

Judging by what DC has released, the changes made in the Superman relaunch would seem to reflect DC’s strategic emphasis on creative change. Costume alterations may not establish that the character is wholly new, but they do arguably provide evidence of how the company is creating stylistic elements distinct from the character’s original form. Changes in continuity are also consistent with DC’s argument, inasmuch as they underscore the company’s ongoing creative input and quite possibly take the disputed material further away from the key elements present in the co-owned Siegel content.

The changes to Superboy are a bit more radical, which could be a reflection of the special circumstances in the Superboy case. On the one hand, the character’s new look reinforces the organic differences between this version and the character that is at issue in the Siegel Superboy case. In contrast to the Siegel version of the character, the Superboy in the DCU since the mid-1990s is not a young Clark Kent, nor has he been wearing the traditional supersuit. That said, Superboy will presumably continue to have powers that are arguably derived from the Superman material co-owned by the Siegels, so the difference is not absolute.

Which is why Superboy’s new color scheme is particularly noteworthy. As you may recall from my previous post, the Siegels’ victory in 2008 was not entirely clearcut–Judge Larson had to find a way to deal with DC’s copyright interest in the black-and-white version of the Action #1 cover in these ads. His solution was to make DC the owner of a superhero wearing a black-and-white costume–a property that DC is free to exploit without any competing claim from the Siegels. Thus, the most important characteristic about the new Superboy may not be his differences from Superman, but rather, his similarity to the black-and-white costumed strongman from the promotional ads for Action #1.

That this Superboy also sports a couple of different S-shields is itself consistent with DC’s arguments in the Superman case. The Siegels argue that because the S-shield derives from the S-shield on the original Superman that they co-own, they should also be co-owners of the S-shield trademark. DC, however, not only argues that it owns the S-shield free and clear due to its appearance in the promotional ads, but it also claims that the company continues to make substantial changes to the S-shield beyond the version that appeared in Action #1. Perhaps not coincidentally, a close look at the relaunch Superboy reveals a black-and-version with a rounded S similar in style to the Action #1 version reproduced in the ads, as well as more cutting-edge S-shield tattoo.

Even without the specter of termination rights, a company maintaining an IP farm such as the DCU has a significant incentive to make periodic additions and changes–every new creative element provides more material to exploit. The Superboy and Superman lawsuits would appear to be channeling this impulse in intriguing ways, from alterations to the iconic S-shield trademark to evolving superhero couture.

[Jeff Trexler is a lawyer and consultant and a comics fan who writes frequently about how legal matters pertain to comics.]

Thoughts?

_________________
BJ Routh and Bryan Singer WERE the worst thing to happen to Superman since Bepo the Super Monkey.

Apologist Puncher
Admin
Admin

Posts : 4864
Points : 7476
User Reputation : 548
Join date : 2010-10-11
Age : 40
Location : West Coast, USA

http://supermanfilmwatchdog.forumcanadien.org

Back to top Go down

Re: An Attorney's Opinion On Changes To "Superman"'s Appearance

Post  non_amos on Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:00 am

I just wish this farce would end. One & done!

non_amos
Christopher Reeve
Christopher Reeve

Posts : 2305
Points : 2717
User Reputation : 250
Join date : 2010-10-16

Back to top Go down

Re: An Attorney's Opinion On Changes To "Superman"'s Appearance

Post  thecolorsblend on Wed Sep 14, 2011 2:01 am

All it does is reinforce how much damage the Siegel Parasites are doing in attempting to steal Superman. If these are the lengths to which DC must go to protect the character (and I'm not totally convinced the entire reason for all the changes), the harm this is inflicting on this icon is self-evident.

thecolorsblend
Moderator
Moderator

Posts : 4257
Points : 5802
User Reputation : 287
Join date : 2010-12-02

Back to top Go down

Re: An Attorney's Opinion On Changes To "Superman"'s Appearance

Post  Rduce on Wed Sep 14, 2011 11:22 am

I am of the same general opinion as TCB, in their efforts to own something that they, themselves, have no direct input with, they will end up killing the creation they wish to have a piece of.

Now, the standard for these types of cases should simply be, what did you contribute to this products success or popularity? NONE, well then you do not get to own anything! 70 years ago a relative owned and then sold and was paid for this property, you have no claim, PERIOD!

But, our screwed up justice system lets killers walk free to kill again if they so chose, but some asshole relative feels some sense of “entitlement” and wants a share of the pie after having done nothing but been born!

Rduce
Reputation: Asshole

Posts : 181
Points : 196
User Reputation : -17
Join date : 2011-01-31
Location : Middle America

Back to top Go down

Re: An Attorney's Opinion On Changes To "Superman"'s Appearance

Post  webhead2006 on Wed Sep 14, 2011 11:37 am

A nice article there. I too reall wish this whole legal stuff would be over.

webhead2006
Missing In Action
Missing In Action

Posts : 4344
Points : 4854
User Reputation : 2
Join date : 2010-10-16
Age : 31

Back to top Go down

Re: An Attorney's Opinion On Changes To "Superman"'s Appearance

Post  Apologist Puncher on Wed Sep 14, 2011 11:00 pm

I think the lawyer has a point that is hard to refute though. Yes, Siegel & Shuster created Superman. There is no doubt there. But the Bros. Warner CAN claim they have changed the character to something almost completely "different" now. And I don't see how that won't work.

I mean, do you see Alexander Graham Bell's ancestors suing every time a new cell-phone comes out on the market? He DID create the telephone, didn't he?

_________________
BJ Routh and Bryan Singer WERE the worst thing to happen to Superman since Bepo the Super Monkey.

Apologist Puncher
Admin
Admin

Posts : 4864
Points : 7476
User Reputation : 548
Join date : 2010-10-11
Age : 40
Location : West Coast, USA

http://supermanfilmwatchdog.forumcanadien.org

Back to top Go down

Re: An Attorney's Opinion On Changes To "Superman"'s Appearance

Post  thecolorsblend on Thu Sep 15, 2011 12:07 am

Apologist Puncher wrote:I think the lawyer has a point that is hard to refute though. Yes, Siegel & Shuster created Superman. There is no doubt there. But the Bros. Warner CAN claim they have changed the character to something almost completely "different" now. And I don't see how that won't work.

I mean, do you see Alexander Graham Bell's ancestors suing every time a new cell-phone comes out on the market? He DID create the telephone, didn't he?
I'd like to think that would work. I mean, hell, they HAVE changed Superman. That started in the early 50's and continues to this day.

But... frankly, I don't have faith in the legal system on this. None. The tendency among a lot of judges seems to be driven by emotion and "what's fair" than facts, logic and history.

thecolorsblend
Moderator
Moderator

Posts : 4257
Points : 5802
User Reputation : 287
Join date : 2010-12-02

Back to top Go down

Re: An Attorney's Opinion On Changes To "Superman"'s Appearance

Post  Apologist Puncher on Thu Sep 15, 2011 12:33 am

thecolorsblend wrote:
I'd like to think that would work. I mean, hell, they HAVE changed Superman. That started in the early 50's and continues to this day.

But... frankly, I don't have faith in the legal system on this. None. The tendency among a lot of judges seems to be driven by emotion and "what's fair" than facts, logic and history.

It's how it's SUPPOSED to work. Justice is supposed to be blind....


_________________
BJ Routh and Bryan Singer WERE the worst thing to happen to Superman since Bepo the Super Monkey.

Apologist Puncher
Admin
Admin

Posts : 4864
Points : 7476
User Reputation : 548
Join date : 2010-10-11
Age : 40
Location : West Coast, USA

http://supermanfilmwatchdog.forumcanadien.org

Back to top Go down

An old axiom by someone whose name I have forgotten…

Post  Rduce on Thu Sep 15, 2011 12:55 am

Justice is the means by which established injustices are sanctioned.


Rduce
Reputation: Asshole

Posts : 181
Points : 196
User Reputation : -17
Join date : 2011-01-31
Location : Middle America

Back to top Go down

Re: An Attorney's Opinion On Changes To "Superman"'s Appearance

Post  Apologist Puncher on Thu Sep 15, 2011 12:58 am

Rduce wrote:Justice is the means by which established injustices are sanctioned.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady_Justice

Since the 15th century, Lady Justice has often been depicted wearing a blindfold. The blindfold represents objectivity, in that justice is or should be meted out objectively, without fear or favor, regardless of identity, money, power, or weakness; blind justice and impartiality.

_________________
BJ Routh and Bryan Singer WERE the worst thing to happen to Superman since Bepo the Super Monkey.

Apologist Puncher
Admin
Admin

Posts : 4864
Points : 7476
User Reputation : 548
Join date : 2010-10-11
Age : 40
Location : West Coast, USA

http://supermanfilmwatchdog.forumcanadien.org

Back to top Go down

Re: An Attorney's Opinion On Changes To "Superman"'s Appearance

Post  Rduce on Thu Sep 15, 2011 1:05 am

Yes, I am very aware what blind justice means AP, I just was remembering a noted lawyer’s quote I once read and has stuck with me…

Rduce
Reputation: Asshole

Posts : 181
Points : 196
User Reputation : -17
Join date : 2011-01-31
Location : Middle America

Back to top Go down

Re: An Attorney's Opinion On Changes To "Superman"'s Appearance

Post  Apologist Puncher on Thu Sep 15, 2011 9:39 pm

Rduce wrote:Yes, I am very aware what blind justice means AP, I just was remembering a noted lawyer’s quote I once read and has stuck with me…

I understand that, but how does it apply to the topic at hand?

_________________
BJ Routh and Bryan Singer WERE the worst thing to happen to Superman since Bepo the Super Monkey.

Apologist Puncher
Admin
Admin

Posts : 4864
Points : 7476
User Reputation : 548
Join date : 2010-10-11
Age : 40
Location : West Coast, USA

http://supermanfilmwatchdog.forumcanadien.org

Back to top Go down

Re: An Attorney's Opinion On Changes To "Superman"'s Appearance

Post  Sponsored content Today at 8:56 pm


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum