A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit of Appeals ruled that Warner Bros owns the Superman character and that a 2001 agreement between Warner Bros and the heirs of Jerry Siegel is legit giving the heirs 50% share of Superman.
The ruling Thursday trumps a 2008 trial court decision ordering Warner Bros. to share an undetermined amount of money earned since 1999 with the heirs, and to give the family control of key components of the Superman story, including his costume. If that decision were to stand, the studio would have had to negotiate a new costly royalty agreement with the family.
“The court’s decision paves the way for the Siegel finally to receive the compensation they negotiated for and which DC has been prepared to pay for over a decade,” Warner Bros. said in a prepared statement, referring to its DC Comics division. “We are extremely pleased that Superman’s adventures can continue to be enjoyed across all media platforms worldwide for generations to come.”