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mygif

As far as the trademark issue:
DC controls the trademark, but not the images constituting the trademark. Mixed copyright-trademark makes my head hurt, yes, but in short DC has the trademark right to signify source, endorsement, affiliation etc. with the S-shield and name (probably the color scheme of the jumpsuit and cape, too), but the composition of the shield itself is copyright-controlled. Jingles are a good metaphor for trying to understand this.

Of course, the real story here is the money. Said issue is very difficult, I barely know how to even approach it given the limitations of the decision (only as appearing in Action #1, but not in the promo therefor, and only Siegel’s share thereof, and only domestically, and probably including revenues from other Warner enterprises).

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mygif

I liked the electric superman and the whole personality split of red and blue superman thing too. Mainly because light splits into three colors and I don’t think DC ever touched upon what happened to the Green Superman or what his personality would be.

Then again, I also like this steampunk Superman costume too.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/planetx/2147689277/

Although, to be honest. That chest design makes me want to scream COBRA!

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mygif

I just have to say this: reading AC #1, I must agree with Lois’s initial assessment:

Clark Kent is a coward.

She’s got the facts wrong, but Clark not revealing himself to her (not like that, perv!) is an act of sheer cowardice.

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mygif

As far as I’m concerned, as long as DC is enabled to continue publishing/reprinting Superman/Superboy content, the Siegel and Shuster estates can have all the money they can convince the courts to give them. I would just hate for this to turn into an issue like we have with Superboy right now, where neither side has enough rights to do anything with the character.

Here’s a legal question for you, Bird–assuming Superman enters into public domain in twenty years, to what extent can Marvel, Image, et al. publish their own Superman comics?

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mygif
IslandLiberal said on March 29th, 2008 at 2:27 pm

Hypothetically, if DC still has the trademark, other companies wouldn’t be able to make use of the character in advertising, on covers, etc. (similar to the current DC situation with Captain Marvel). The interiors would be fair game, I believe so long as they kept to whatever aspects of the character had fallen out of copyright (a villain created in 1973 wouldn’t be out of copyright in the manner that someone created in 1941 would).

Now, in reality, so long as companies like Disney and Time-Warner are sitting on copyrighted characters worth millions of dollars a year in steady merchandising revenue, copyrights won’t expire.

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mygif

If Superman could get money off every crappy song that ever name-checked him, his costume would be made out of brazillion dollar bills. This is in way a criticism of THAT particular song, which I’ve always thought was very sweet. Just all the other songs.

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mygif

It really is too bad they couldn’t find some guy whose name rhymed with “money” other than “Solomon Grundy.”

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mygif
wandering editor said on March 29th, 2008 at 7:18 pm

Bill Bob Kane

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mygif

Just letting you know I’ve included a link to your commentary at my own blog

http://pacioccosmind.blogspot.com/2008/03/good-start.html

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mygif

BSD – DC *do* control the copyright of the S-shield, since it didn’t appear in that form til long after Action 1. I think it might be possible to make a legal argument that it’s derivative of the original Shuster shield, but I wouldn’t expect that to work…

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mygif

My only statement on this is that yes, you’re absolutely right. DC is just in it for as much money as they can grab. So are Siegel and Shuster’s heirs. That’s a perfectly natural thing to have happen in this situation. There is a big pile of money on the table, and naturally, both sides are hiring lawyers and attempting to convince a judge that they deserve that money.

What I get irritated by is the idea that this is somehow a “moral issue” for the Siegel estate, like they’re finally reclaiming a family heritage that was stolen from them by heartless corporate suits. That might be the case for some people (I sincerely believe that Paul McCartney wants his song rights back for that reason, for example), but this really is just a case of Siegel’s heirs feeling they were underpaid, and wanting extra money. They’re not going to go out and try to publish Superman comics “the way Jerry would have done them”, they’re not going to start trying to exercise more control over the character’s public image (it’d be difficult to be more cautious with Superman than DC is already, anyway.) This is all about money to both sides. Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is either foolish, or has a monetary stake in convincing people it’s a moral issue.

Again, I’m not saying that it’s bad for the Siegel estate to feel they were underpaid and that they want more money; certainly, the evidence seems to suggest they were. But a) the issue is the valuation of the property, not who “deserves” the rights, and b) that’s for a judge to decide, and I really don’t have to care who wins, because my caring won’t affect the outcome either way. :)

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mygif

It’s interesting that victories like this just don’t mean all that much until you put a dollar figure on it.

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mygif

Didn’t Superboy get sent back to DC because the judge said, and I’m paraphrasing “any retard could come up with a young Superman”?

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mygif

I’m coming to this party far, far too late, but would DC not wanting to say Smallville is about Superboy be in any way related to why, in the Legion of Super-Heroes cartoon, the young Clark Kent is explicitly addressed as Superman?

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