As I finish off my chamomile tea and get ready to hit the hay, I thought I’d end this fine weekend by sharing with you a bit of great news. Yes, rejoice, for a US court of law has ruled that, in the case of Superman, creators own their characters. At least a little bit.
From the article:
A federal judge here on Wednesday ruled that the heirs of Jerome Siegel — who 70 years ago sold the rights to the action hero he created with Joseph Shuster to Detective Comics for $130 — were entitled to claim a share of the United States copyright to the character. The ruling left intact Time Warner’s international rights to the character, which it has long owned through its DC Comics unit.
In other words, woot and huzzah. I can’t speak for the families of the creators in question, but to me, this ruling has nothing to do with money. As a someone who is taking their first baby steps into the world of writing and publishing, the idea of The Man owning my ideas and doing whatever the hell they feel like with them is worrisome. I’m all for growth and collaboration and change within the creative community. I love that. Ideas and stories are fluid, and they should be built on and changed as time allows. That’s what makes them great. But if you’re taking my world, telling people it’s my world, and then doing something I don’t like with it, then no. I’m not cool with that, and especially not if you’re making Scrooge McDuck-sized piles of money with it. However, that’s the reality of going corporate, and it sucks.
I have a feeling that this judge might have given writers and artists alike the hope for something different. But since I’m a level one super-noob when it comes to talking about ownership rights, here’s two well-known gents who thought this was good news as well. I found their reactions quite in character.
Warren Ellis: “fucking immense”
Neil Gaiman: “oh good”