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Please help Superman in Supreme Court case

The Man of Steel – or more specifically the heirs of Superman creator Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster – needs a few more allies as they prepare their case for the Supreme Court. You, as a professional artist, can add your name to an amicus brief (friend of the court) supporting the position of creator rights. Lynn Reznick Parisi is taking point on this effort (much like she did last month to support the heirs of Jack Kirby). If you would like to be listed in the amicus, send your name to Lynn by Tuesday 7/22 – 4 PM EASTERN TIME. Her email is: offthemarkcartoons@gmail.com. Please include the following:

a) Your full name
b) Cartoon feature (if available)
c) The type of cartooning work you do. (IE: Editorial Cartoonist, Illustrator, etc,)

Here is a synopsis of the Peary vs. DC Comics case (as passed to me):

Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created the iconic character Superman. To see their work published, they transferred the copyright to the publisher for $130. Superman – the first ?superhero? – was an instant hit and his value soared. But the publisher and its two partners – not Siegel or Shuster – enjoyed that commercial success.

Congress recognized this recurring scenario in which authors are cut off from any meaningful participation in the mounting value of their works. To rectify the inequity, Congress granted authors and their estates the inalienable right to terminate decades-old copyright grants. To protect authors from publishers? superior bargaining power, Congress unequivocally mandated that termination may be effected notwithstanding any agreement to the contrary.

However, a divided panel of the Ninth Circuit held that a generic release in a modest pension agreement signed by Shuster?s siblings -who held no rights – impliedly eliminated the Shuster estate?s statutory termination right.

The overwhelming majority of copyrighted works are subject to the Copyright Act?s termination provisions and the window to exercise termination rights for many of these works will open soon. The inability of authors or their heirs to effectively exercise termination will only take on greater salience. The courts of appeals? decisions in Kirby and Peary cast a pall over the ownership of billions of dollars in copyrights. Other grantees, inspired by the rulings of the courts of appeals, will no doubt opt to litigate upon receiving a copyright termination notice, imposing grave costs on any author or other statutory beneficiary seeking to avail herself of the rights Congress bestowed.

Community Comments

#1 mike peters
July/21/2014
@ 5:37 pm

For God’s sake every cartoonist should add their name to this list. Seigel and Shuster have been screwed for years by these corporate lawyers. Don’t just stand by and watch it happen again!!!

#2 john pirtel
July/21/2014
@ 8:53 pm

right the wrong!

#3 Mike Lester
July/22/2014
@ 9:47 am

Yea, this is a no-brainer and deserves support. Thanks for posting.

#4 josh Wilson
July/31/2014
@ 5:05 pm

There is no wrong. The Shuster family was paid and his nephew deserves nothing just because he’s greedy.

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