Last year a federal court awarded the Siegel heirs half of the copyright in the Superman material in Action Comics #1. Remaining to be decided, however, was how much that copyright interest was worth.
Today the court released its ruling on the first issue related to this question: namely
“whether the license fees paid” by Warner Bros Entertainment Inc. (“Warner Bros”) to its corporate
sibling, DC Comics, for the audiovisual rights to the Superman copyright pursuant to various
licensing agreements entered into during the 1999 to 2002 period “represents the fair market value
therefor, or whether the license for the works between the related entities was a ‘sweetheart deal.’”
A more complete explanation of the details of the opinion will have to wait for another time–I have about two minutes to write this before another commitment. In a nutshell, the judge agreed with Warner Bros. that the license fees paid were not below fair market value.
Remaining to be decided at a future date: how to allocate the relevant profits between the Siegels and Time Warner.