Did Superman’s red tights disappear because DC Entertainment was worried about losing the copyright to the character? Jeff Trexler considers the claim:
Is it possible that some lawyers might have tried to use the case to micro-manage Superman material? Sure, there are folks who go beyond the pale of what’s required in any number of organizations, and that’s not limited to lawyers. There was an argument to be made that stripping Superman of his shorts or changing the S-shield might have reduced the Siegels’ payout by a few dollars, but would the change have been worth it? At max the Siegels (before last week) would have had 50% of current Superman material, and most likely it would have been less. In that context it would have been much more business-savvy to make whatever choices maximized brand value as opposed to risking greater returns on minimal savings.
Normally, though, the fact that attorneys are trained to take this issue-and-argument-spotting approach to content does not mean that the lawyers are calling all the shots. Creatives change things; companies stay in business by keeping content fresh. This may have given DC’s lawyers some helpful arguments, but it doesn’t mean they were always pulling the strings.
There’s a lot more in the post, and as always with Trexler’s material, it’s well worth reading.