[UPDATED] A long-running federal fight over rights to the film and comic book hero Superman did not go well for an heir to one of Superman’s creators. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected attempts by Laura Siegel Larson to reclaim the rights and abide by a 2001 deal made with Time Warner Inc.
Larson sought to terminate the rights agreement made by her father, Jerome Siegel and Joseph Shuster, to get more than the $20 million promised in the Warner deal. The panel found that Larson’s lawyer had reached a binding settlement agreement during negotiations for rights to Superman in 2001 and 2002. The letter from her former lawyer was enough to constitute acceptance, according to the panel.
The appeals court, in an unpublished order on Friday, overturned a lower court decision by U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright II in Los Angeles. The case was sent back to him with orders to reconsider.
Wright’s decision was appealed by Warner Entertainment and DC Comics.
This is the second big victory for Warner on Superman rights. Three months ago, heirs for Shuster lost their bid to regain a share of Superman’s copyright. This gives Warner total control of the Superman franchise.
Still, if the contract is ultimately found valid, Larson would get a $20 million payment for her father’s portion of rights to early Superman works.
A new Superman movie is due out from Warner Brothers in June.
Case: Larson v. Warner Bros. Entertainment, No. 11-55863