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Superman Lawsuit Far From Over: Judge Opens New Avenue

Posted By: Matt McGloin
Sat, 03/23/2013 - 10:54

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:6275:]]The past few months we have been hearing about various reports of the Warner Bros. victories related to the rights of Superman.

The latest hit on Thursday with the good news for Warner Bros. that the court held up a previously ruling that the copyrights were indeed transferred to WB in a 2001 agreement.

...holds that the October 19, 2001 agreement remains enforceable and operated itself to transfer the Siegels Superman rights to DC.

However, there is the matter of question if those agreements remain in effect today:

But subsequent events may have affected the present enforceability of that contract, as by a material breach followed by an effective rescission of the deal.

The court goes on to state that they are only concerned with the enforceability of the contract and not the breach.

The Court is concerned here only with the present enforceability of the October 19 contract. The Siegels’ breach and repudiation defenses do not affect the enforceability of the agreement, but rather constitute grounds for termination or a breach-of-contract action.

And here's the kicker:

Because no party presently asserts a breach-of-contract claim, these defenses therefore are not properly before the Court.

What that actually mean is "this court."

And there's this (bold my own):

Further, the parties’ arguments regarding breach and repudiation are not  properly before this Court on DC Comics’s fourth counterclaim for declaratory relief, as those arguments go to performance of the October 19 agreement, not the agreement’s underlying enforceability today. Because the Court finds there was no rescission, acquiescence, or abandonment as a matter of law, the contract remains in existence and enforceable, and any claims for breach of that agreement are now appropriate in a separate state-law action for breach of contract.

So assuming my reading is correct, the court stated that based on what is presented before them - now - the copyrights did transfer to Warner Bros. 

But, the question of breach of contract is out of this court's hands and would need to be opened in a separate case.

So basically the judge pointed the Siegel's in another direction they could take their lawsuit.

While we pop a couple Advils after reading all that, near the closing of the judgment, the parties involved are asked to submit additional briefings related to Superboy and early Superman ads.

The parties are therefore ORDERED to file supplemental briefs addressing how the Court’s holding that the October 19 agreement remains binding and enforceable today affects the parties’ respective rights to Superboy and the Superman ad works.

Read the court's decision for yourself.