40 years of pain: The History of Siegel and Shuster by Steve Gerber

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steve gerber 40 years of pain: The History of Siegel and Shuster by Steve Gerber
Let’s start the year out with a return to comics’ original sin: Daniel Best reprints Truth, Justice, & The Corporate Conscience by Steve Gerber, an article from WAP, a creator’s rights newsletter published in the 80s by Gerber, Steven Grant and Frank Miller.
Gerber, for those who don’t know, was a very influential writer for Marvel in the 70s who eventually sued for ownership of a character he co-created, Howard the Duck. He lost the suit, but never the anger. He died in 2008.

Gerber explains in the intro, it’s a piece he originally wrote in 1975 or 1976 for Rolling Stone about the mistreatment of Siegel and Shuster — the original was killed, and this version has existed only in those very rare newsletters.

Until now.

For Jerome Siegel and Joseph Shuster, however, he represents something quite different. “I can’t stand to look at a Superman comic book,” Siegel says. “It makes me physically ill. I love Superman, and yet, in my mind, he’s been twisted around into some kind of alien thing.”

Jerry Siegel works in a mail room in Los Angeles. He earns $7000 a year. Joe Shuster is legally blind, unemployed, and, with his brother who supports him, inhabits a shabby apartment in Forest Hills, Queens, from which he ventures out only occasionally. Both Siegel and Shuster are sixty-one years old. Neither is the picture of health.
Gerber updates the piece with his own history with Howard the Duck. It’s essential reading to understand the heritage of creator rage and current calls for guilds and organizations. 70 years later, the battle is still raging.

Comments

  1. Scott says:

    How many times must DC pay the creators of Superman for their work? Every time one of these stories pops up, I reacquaint myself with the issue, hoping I’ll finally understand, but I just don’t get it. They created something, sold it, and over the years they and their estates have found their creation to be vastly more valuable than originally thought. They feel burned, like the guy who unknowingly sells an original Picasso at a rummage sale for $20. That’s human nature, but it’s no justification to repeatedly seek further compensation for a transaction that took place half a century ago.

    I honestly feel DC is held hostage here, and the precedent of legal uncertainty over ownership of original work ultimately hurts original independent creators in the long run. Because if I’m a company like DC, I can’t afford risking paying for original work not created in-house. And that hurts creators.

  2. Well, I agree that Siegel and Shuster made their own bed for the most part. Going largely by the Gerard Jones account, they weren’t exactly starving when they made the Superman deal. The Larry Tye book says they consulted a lawyer before they signed, but it musta been some punk kind of shyster! Surely by then any lawyer worth his salt would have known how much merchandising proceeding from cartoon characters like Popeye and Betty Boop.

    Now one might fairly loathe DC for later crimes, like swiping the Superboy concept and eventually muscling Siegel and Shuster out of the operation. But I don’t think you can blame the DC editors for trying to make the best deal they could for their company.

    I can’t agree that the “hostage situation” hurts original independent creators, though. If anything the loss of Superman warns artists not to sign away anything they believe in. If the company wants to own everything you create, don’t give them “John Byrne’s Next Men,” give them “John Byrne’s ‘Spinnerette!'”

    What I’ve seen companies doing for the last 20 years is not confining all work “in-house,” but attempting to spin off properties created during the Bad Old Days. The failures (thus far) of attempts to claim characters created during those days, like Howard, Blade and Ghost Rider, makes them a good bet for development. And of course the Big Two have published work that is strictly owned by the artist, but they haven’t succeeded in creating a lasting imprint dedicated to such work, so the policy remains marginal in effect.

    Small point in the Gerber piece: Jerry Siegel claimed he created hits for Ziff-Davis. What were these “hits?” LARS FROM MARS, maybe? Or LITTLE AL OF THE FBI??

  3. Scott says:

    @gene phillips
    I appreciate your reply. I suppose cases like this are a warning to both sides, but think of it like this: starving artists aside, creators are in the business of selling their work to those who can afford to market, develop, and publish it. When companies that can afford to pay for this work are wary to do so, the marketplace for creators is damaged.

    Asymmetrical relationships like that between creator and publishers nearly always favor the party with the deeper pockets.

  4. Hm, am I missing the bit where Best indicates he has permission from the heirs to Gerber’s intellectual property to reprint the essay? Or where he even acknowledges that Gerber owns the copyright to the essay?

  5. >They feel burned, like the guy who unknowingly sells an original Picasso at a rummage sale for $20.

    Or like Picasso, the time he sold his body of work to a man who insisted, “your work isn’t worth the canvas it’s printed on, I’m doing you a favour by giving you $20.”

  6. Michael P says:

    “How many times must DC pay the creators of Superman for their work?”

    As many times as it takes to pay the full value of their work.

  7. Synsidar says:

    When someone focuses on creating a serial character, does he think of literature at all, or is he thinking about a meal ticket? A serial character and his stories can have literary virtues, but if the audience for his stories doesn’t demand them, then his stories probably won’t have them.

    If someone wants to write about a superman, nothing prevents him from creating his own “the world’s premier superhero” and doing whatever he wants to within the story, and then selling it, if he can find a publisher. Superman isn’t the only superman one can write about.

    SRS

  8. Thomas Wayne says:

    Michael P.
    You responded to the question of “How many times must DC pay the creators of Superman for their work?” with the answer of “As many times as it takes to pay the full value of their work.”
    Here lies the “rub”, so to speak, of defining the “value” of anything.

    How much of Superman – as the world knows him today – was actually created by Siegel and Shuster? And of what they actually created how much of it still defines the character today?

    The value in a character like Superman was created by dozens of creators, not just Siegel and Shuster.

    Swan? Ordway? Jurgens? Byrne? They all added and took away and increased and decreased and tossed and rolled the character into something a little different than what was originally created. Then take other media – film, animation, radio – they all added to what Superman is – added to his value. Kryptonite was created for a radio drama – and to the best of my knowledge Siegel wasn’t writing radio dramas as well as scripting comics. My first and fondest rememberance of Superman was the Alex Toth designed Superfriends era Superman from early 1970’s saturday morning cartoons. That version of Superman is about as far from what S&S created as you can get.

    Could DC have been better to Siegel and Shuster over the years -financially speaking – of course they could. Did they have to – No. No they didn’t have to.

    But to say that DC owes them the “full value of their work” is way off – So many more have made Superman “valuable” its impossible to determine just how much of that value goes to one or two individuals.

    I guess what I am saying is this – Siegel and Shuster created Superman but his value lies in his history of creators and how he has survived the test of time. Siegel and Shuster had little to do with that.

  9. Darren Hudak says:

    Kryptonite was created by Siegel and Shuster for an unpublished story, the radio producers had access to all of Siegel’s notes and scripts, when they needed a way to get around the actor playing Superman demanding a vacation they borrowed the idea from that unpublished script.

    The radio show also gets credit for Jimmy Olson and Perry White but the truth is a little more complex. In the early comics Clark’s boss was Mr Taylor but this was only mentioned a few times. The radio show gave him the name Mr White and the comics soon followed suit but visually and personality wise the character was the same, what’s more the change was done in the second part of a two part story. If you weren’t paying attention you might not have noticed. (And most comic readers back then probably didn’t). Comic fans and DC’s own earth 2 continuity always considered them 2 different characters, I disagree. They’re the same character, just with a name change. This happened a lot in the early days of comics. (Alfred Beagle became Alfred Pennyworth, Harvey Kent became Harvey Dent, even in Marvel’s early days Slim Summers became Scott Summers).

    In the case of Jimmy a copy boy had appeared in both the comics and the newspaper strip before the radio introduction. After Jimmy became character on the radio show that unnamed copy boy just became Jimmy, so an argument could be made that S&S and not the radio show created Jimmy too.

  10. >> I guess what I am saying is this – Siegel and Shuster created Superman but his value lies in his history of creators and how he has survived the test of time. Siegel and Shuster had little to do with that.>>

    I’d say they had an enormous amount to do with that, myself.

  11. Jacob Goddard says:

    Was it really the “original sin”?
    Hearst was pretty famous for shady dealings. Anyone ever do any research into this?

  12. Ah the DC apologists I never tire of the folks who need to jump up and defend the corporation as if their stable of lawyers is somehow inadequate. Thank god we live in a country that understands how important corporations are. After all the corporation IS much more important than the individual contributor. Think of all the happy memories you would not have if it wasn’t for the DC corporation. We should ask ourselves do Siegel and Shuster really matter? I mean why should we care any more for them than the nameless Chinese that crank out our iPhones. The ends justify the means right? Do truth and justice matter? No colorful adolescent fights and a spiffy reboot by Morrison is fun. Read on DC fans, have a Coke, eat a BigMac, read your new DC comic on your new iPhone 5 everything is right as rain and consumption is all that matters, well that and your personal pleasure.

  13. Kurt Busiek for the win!

    I’m currently reading “Men Of Tomorrow”, and Gerard Jones’ account makes it clear that once Superman was published, it was an enormous hit. Right from the beginning. So give Siegel and Shuster credit for that.

    I’m not sure about the comment that Jerry and Joe “weren’t exactly hurting” when they signed the Superman deal. True that they were doing Slam Bradley and other work. But when you see how the riches of Superman’s success benefitted Harry Donenfield and Jack Liebowitz (among others) far in excess of what Mr. Siegel and Mr. Shuster received, fairness is not to be found. Add to that Joe Shuster’s failing eyesight that divorced him from his livelihood just when he’d hit the big time, and it’s a sad story indeed.

  14. Johnny Memeonic says:

    Spreading out who really deserves the money is an interesting question. While Siegel and Shuster created a large percentage of Superman as he exists today, a character like Wolverine is a bigger question.

    Wolverine was fairly generic and had no backstory when Len Wein created him. The Wolverine that became a hit was essentially created by Chris Claremont, John Byrne, and Frank Miller. So does only Len Wein deserve money for Wolverine? Do they all deserve the same amount?

    On a slightly unrelated note, I’ve always heard that Gerard Jones book was full of inaccuracies and some outright fabrications. Any comic historian types have any insight on that?

  15. MattComix says:

    On the one hand I understand that work for hire is work for hire.

    However, it really seems like some fans want above all else a guarantee there will be something with an \S/ coming out on Wednesday regardless of who gets absolutely screwed over in the process of getting it there. They’re not even really defending DC so much as defending the sanctity
    of their own pull-boxes.

  16. >> Wolverine was fairly generic and had no backstory when Len Wein created him. The Wolverine that became a hit was essentially created by Chris Claremont, John Byrne, and Frank Miller. So does only Len Wein deserve money for Wolverine? Do they all deserve the same amount?>>

    Questions like these are generally tantamount to an argument that it can get complicated, so it’s safest for the company to keep all the money. Which isn’t fair to any of the creators involved.

    The answer, it seems to me, is “figure something out.” Even if Len, John Romita and Herb Trimpe were the only creators to get a share of Wolverine money, that’s at least better than no one getting it. So right there it’s an improvement, and Chris, John, Dave and Frank would be making creator money for other material. Or you could do like DC has, and pay creators based on story material. If the movie has pieces of the Chris/Frank mini, they get a check. If it builds on Weapon X, Barry Windsor-Smith gets a check.

    But the Wolverine that became a hit wasn’t essentially created by Chris, John and Frank. Refined, perhaps, but not created. The idea that having other people decide that there’s this short Canadian mutant with animalistic powers and adamantium claws named Logan, code-named Wolverine, with a history in the Canadian military, a hair-trigger temper and really distinctive facial hair (courtesy of Dave Cockrum) who was recruited into the X-Men …and “creation” starts sometime _after_ all that’s been established? That doesn’t make much sense.

  17. Thomas said:

    “I guess what I am saying is this – Siegel and Shuster created Superman but his value lies in his history of creators and how he has survived the test of time. Siegel and Shuster had little to do with that.”

    I would credit S&S with creating many of the basic concepts of the Superman mythos, which were important to the feature’s original success. Sometimes other creators developed S&S ideas in very different ways, as with both kryptonite and Superboy. Sometimes other creators introduced ideas not much like anything S&S did, as with the character of Brainiac. The other creators’ works deserve to be evaluated on their own terms, whether they were (as Synsidar put it) “thinking of literature” or not. However, the other creators still owe a little something to the guys who blazed the trail.

  18. An architect designs a building. He gets paid for his designs. The building is constructed and tenants move in. The building is sold for hundreds of millions of dollars. Does the architect then sue for his cut?

    I’m all for creators’ rights. I also am as anti-corporation as you can be, but sadly, Siegel and Shuster and Kirby and Alan Moore all signed these deals and were paid for their work. Now creators make smarter choices because they see the worth of these characters, but we can’t change the past.

  19. “They’re not even really defending DC so much as defending the sanctity
    of their own pull-boxes.”

    There may well be some fans who are thinking about that bottom line in their heart of hearts, though I don’t know how one would prove that unless those fans come right out and confess to it Perry Mason-style.

    All too often, though, this assertion is raised to skirt the question: were Siegel and Shuster responsible for making a bad deal, or were they not?

  20. Mark says:

    “An architect designs a building. He gets paid for his designs. The building is constructed and tenants move in. The building is sold for hundreds of millions of dollars. Does the architect then sue for his cut?”

    Suppose that design then gets copied, and then copied again. More building are erected, using the architect’s design. The design is so popular that t-shirts and toys and cups and playthings are created, using that design.

    Okay, I’m exaggerating to make a point. But that is a better analogy than just making the design for one building.

    And I might be a bit more sympathetic to the “they signed a contract, they should live by it” argument IF corporations didn’t use their might to change the legal landscape in regards to trademark and copyright laws.

  21. Johnny Memeonic says:

    But the Wolverine that became a hit wasn’t essentially created by Chris, John and Frank. Refined, perhaps, but not created.

    I don’t see how you can honestly say this when the backstory, adamantium skeleton/claws, redemptive samurai angle, and general personality were established and created by Chris Claremont and all those artists (yes including Dave Cockrum, BWS, Paul Smith and all the others…just listed the two most important collaborators in my first post).

    Len Wein’s original conception of Wolverine had him as a teenager with the claws just being part of his gloves. That is in no way what became popular.

  22. Brian says:

    I miss Steve. I frequented his blog and even checked in for Mark Evanier’s updates after he passed. Seeing his words again reminds me of what a great legacy he leaves behind.

  23. The story that Jones’ book is full of inaccuracies goes around and around, but, it’s all documented, sourced and footnoted. There are occasional mistakes like in any book and additional information has come to light since then- but those that disparage it have the burden of proof on their side. The story of Siegel and Shuster is way more complicated than the naysayers are willing to believe. Siegel and Shuster had a contract with Detective Comics and were paid way more than the pittance that’s always mentioned. They also received most of the money for the comic strip, until Liebowitz got tired of them and manipulated them into quitting/ being fired. Later Liebowitz promised to settle out of court if Siegel dropped his appeal- then reneged on the deal. The current brouhaha is based on a change in the law put forth by Congress. None of the earlier dealings, deal, misdeals, etc. apply to this new case. If all of this is too complicated for you to follow, well then, stop following it and keep your ignorance to yourself.

  24. Jeff Trexler says:

    Re the Jones book, the rumors might have something to do with the changes that Jones himself made in the updated paperback edition, especially re Wheeler-Nicholson, whose family wasn’t happy with his depiction in the first edition. Alter Ego, IIRC, had an excellent feature on the Major’s family providing even more detail.

    It goes with the territory whenever you have to do a history where most of the sources are incomplete records + subjective memories. Even with folks who were at the center of key events, such as Jerry Siegel, can give evolving accounts as time passes, grievances mount & legends grow.

    Early in the thread Sam raised the issue of Gerber’s IP rights in the reprinted material. It’s an excellent point.

    Way back when I started writing about the Siegel case, I believe I wrote a post addressing the general issue. For material submitted as evidence, posting text or exhibit PDFs on the web is consistent with rulings as to the public nature of material filed in court. This is why you can get free copies on Justia, not to mention the fact that the government itself sells case record PDFs online without paying royalties. It’s also why savvy attorneys place certain exhibits under seal, as we saw with the filing of Superman movie DVDs.

    As for other material, that’s where it gets sticky. It would be great to see WAP online, if not in print, with proceeds going to various individuals, estates or, if they so choose, the Hero Initiative.

  25. R. Haining says:

    “How many times must DC Comics pay the creators of Superman for their work?” My question is how long should a corporation retain a copyright to a work? I’m wondering in five or ten years will there be an another attempt to extend copyrights yet again as the earliest Disney and other works will be about to enter the public domain.
    The United States Constitution established Congress’ right, “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Art, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries,”
    I would submit that these extensions of the copyright laws do the opposite of promoting the arts, that companies do not develop new creators and ideas and that characters that have entered the public consciousness never become the property of the public.
    Stan Lee has been fond of referring to his co-creations as modern day mythology. Imagine what a poorer world it would be if only one of the great greek writers could write about the myths surrounding Trojan War because the first person who wrote about it copyrighted the material.
    The degree to which Siegel and Shuster’s problems and those of their heirs were their fault or the fault of DC Comics can be debated endlessly. I recall the foot dragging that DC engaged in in the late seventies in providing a pension to Superman’s creators. I remember thinking at the time how stupid DC was. With the first Superman movie about to come out, they were giving themselves so much bad publicity over a relative pittance. I wonder to what degree this made comic writers and artists think twice (or even thrice) about signing a contract afterwards.
    Looking back on it, Siegel and Shuster’s greatest legacy might in providing a cautionary tale to other creators in protecting their rights.

  26. Jeff, I guess there is a certain irony in an essay from a creator rights themed newsletter being ripped off without permission. I honestly don’t expect any better from Best, but was a bit disappointed to see a supposed creator rights advocate like MacDonald link to it. It would be great to see WAP widely available, but the way to do that is to get permission, not lift it wholesale.

  27. Jeff Trexler says:

    @Sam re permission, I should have been clearer – by “various individuals, estates” I meant “the various authors or their estates.”

    I agree re the irony. That was actually my immediate response when I saw the linked post.

    Re linking – as someone who has linked to a number of things with which I have not agreed or have agreed only with the part being discussed, I’m a strong believer in not equating a link with an endorsement of everything done or said on the page.

  28. Etcgl says:

    Siegel and Shuster have been paid less than the DC/Warner lawyers have made off this case. If DC/Warner had paid back in the 70’s even 5 million to each of them and gave them a pension also this would have been over with. All DC/Warner have doon was to show they didnot care about the creators and to this day have spent $35 million keeping Superman and any profits in thier pockets.
    If you were a true fan of comics you would believe that any character is something more than a piece of property owned by a company. Writers and artist and many more have worked hard to come up with heroes and stories with only a few companies to bring out those idea’s and publish them. In doing that they lost a lot of rights to thier own work. People like Neal Adams fought to keep those rights and help others in the industry inn time of need. Do you see the big two going out of thier way to help?
    There is a lot more to this than just having your hero of choice story. It’s about being paid proper for your creation and being able to retain rights. Why should creators die broke or have to have funds raised for them by others in time of need when thier creations make millions?
    Marlon Brando made for his 15 minutes of screen time $16 million for playing Jor-el. Brando was given a percent of the profits and it took Siegel and Shuster a long time to get anything and DC/Warner did so because they did not want the bad press for the release of Superman.
    Why is it so hard to give the creator’s of Superman what is right?

  29. Jeff, okay, sorry I misunderstood you there.

    Linking to an opinion you disagree with is one thing, but I’m still a bit uneasy about linking what you have every reason to believe is a copyright violation, with the message “go read this and violate the copyright some more”. I actually have no problem if it’s a corporate owned copyright, but it really feels off for a creator owned piece. Doubly so when it’s someone like Gerber. Doubly so again when the source is a newsletter championing creator rights, and again when the topic is creators getting ripped off. So three doublys, that makes it 8x wrong if my math is right.

  30. Etcgl, “Why is it so hard to give the creators of Superman what is right?”

    Because corporations don’t give up money easily, and because there’s no consequence to them for their actions. No significant number of people will refuse to consume Superman product due to their behaviour (and I’ll confess that I’m not a part of that small group that will). No significant number of creators, even those who most vocally champion the cause, will refuse to sign work-for-hire contracts to create that product (even Steve Gerber wrote Superman comics). The creators won’t win except by legal judgment, and that’s will always be a stacked deck in favour of the side with the most money.

  31. Chris Hero says:

    @Mark

    As an employeed electrical engineer, I’m not an architect, but I’m kinda close to that territory. There is so much wrong with your architect analogy, I’m not even sure where to begin. The architect didn’t build the building by himself nor did he ever have claim to the land the building was built on. That’s just scratching the surface on the problems with your analogy.

  32. Chris Hero says:

    @Bob Hughes

    You have all the arrogance and condescension necessary to work in the legal field, but lack the requisite understanding of contract law. Step your game up if you’re going to insult people or risk being Don Murphy, another failed lawyer who insults everyone he comes in contact with.

  33. george says:

    I’ve wondered why DC still can’t credit Bill Finger as Batman’s co-creator. Is Bob Kane’s contract from 1939 still in effect? It must be, because everyone in the industry (and certainly everyone at DC) knows Finger had as much, if not more, to do with creating Batman as Kane.

  34. >> I don’t see how you can honestly say this when the backstory, adamantium skeleton/claws, redemptive samurai angle, and general personality were established and created by Chris Claremont and all those artists >>

    Because of the list of things I noted that predate Chris. They’re pretty important to the character, and are the foundation Chris and other built on. Try to imagine Wolverine without them, and figure out how Chris and the artists could have made up the same character out of whole cloth.

  35. >> Is Bob Kane’s contract from 1939 still in effect? >>

    Yes, as are the revisions made when Kane’s dad lied about Kane’s age to force DC to renegotiate a better deal, if that story’s true.

    If these contracts simply expired after a while, the landscape of comics would be very, very different.

  36. >> I wonder to what degree this made comic writers and artists think twice (or even thrice) about signing a contract afterwards.>>

    A pretty strong degree, for many. As did the Gerber case, the Kirby artwork returns debacle, and more.

  37. johnbeddings says:

    Re. Chris hero
    Actually the architect is a good analogy. The architect may not have built the building but he came up with the original idea just like s & S. S & S didn’t print the book, didn’t market it, didn’t get it distributed.

    I,m all for creators right but why do people only care about the entertainment world. as an engineer every company I have ever worked for has made me sign a contract giving them ownership over any ideas I have.

  38. johnbeddings,

    May I assume that those companies you worked for had at least some of the following; health benefits, paid vacations, 401Ks (perhaps with matching contributions by the company), pensions, sick days, bonuses, etc? And also, a work environment that is provided.

    The ideas that you give the company presumably help fund those benefits that you, well, benefit from. Comic creators have to provide those extras for themselves. All the more reason to have a contract that rewards freelance creatives if their properties take off.

  39. >> Actually the architect is a good analogy. >>

    It really isn’t. An architect getting paid all over again when someone sells a building he designed is analogous to creators being paid royalties on back-issue sales. Neither of those things happens, and arguing that wanting profit participation on publications is the same thing as wanting a piece of resale money on a finished object just falls apart for that reason.

    On the other hand, some architects build plans for buildings and sell them to whoever wants to make a building from those plans. When they do that, they get paid every time a new building is made from their plans, which is actually quite similar to the idea of getting paid something on each _new_ copy of a comic or novel printed and sold.

    >>I,m all for creators right but why do people only care about the entertainment world.>>

    They don’t. Patents and trademarks are ways that this kind of income can happen outside the entertainment world. Heck, so are rents.

    As Mark Evanier has explained here and there, the issue isn’t that creators get paid more, it’s that publishers can’t really afford to pay full value for a creative work up front, in part because they don’t know what it is, in part because even if they knew how many millions of dollars CARRIE would make, it’s not an amount they can easily pay all at once. So they pay _part_ of what they think it’s worth, with a deal that says “We’ll pay you the rest as money comes in and we actually find out that this thing is worth.”

    >> as an engineer every company I have ever worked for has made me sign a contract giving them ownership over any ideas I have.>>

    If you were to work as a freelancer, as comics creators and novelists and such do, you wouldn’t be paid a salary, like those companies pay you. And as Peter notes, you wouldn’t get those other employee benefits. So life would be risky. As it is, you get paid the weeks you don’t generate anything new and profitable for the company, too, which is something you’re presumably willing to trade ownership of the stuff you do on the good weeks for.

    If you worked as a freelancer, though, you wouldn’t have that kind of safety net — but on the flip side, if you came up with something terrific that some company wanted to make and sell, you could cut a deal with them that gave you a chunk of the profits. You wouldn’t have the security of a 9-to-5 job, but you’d have a shot at striking it rich.

    That’s what freelancing is like, up to and including the fact that most of us don’t strike it rich. But we don’t get vacation pay, health insurance, the company doesn’t pay for the furniture we work on or pay for sick days and all that other stuff, either. To say that freelancers shouldn’t get a piece of profits because you don’t, when you’re compensated a whole different way, doesn’t match up. If you only got paid when you finished an assignment and didn’t get any employee benefits, then a piece of the profits from what you do might feel more fair to you.

  40. elmeaux says:

    The problem with building analogies is that the building was supposed to become a public space after the residents held it for 56 years. Sounds more like a lease than a sale to me.

  41. No, the plan for the building was supposed to become publicly-owned. No copies of ACTION #1 were ever going to become owned by all.

    The problem with building analogies is that buildings are objects, and copyrights are about the right to make objects, not about the objects themselves.

  42. Unbelievable! Such responses! Is this is the world and reality we live in today!?!! What kind of people are you? (If some of you are at all Joe Q. Public and not some “anonymous” poster acting in behalf of the a WB’s PR firm!) Maybe because I’m not an American that’s why I don’t hide behind lawyering and litigation bullshit! After all, TRUTH, JUSTICE and THE AMERICAN WAY huh?
    Granted Messers Siegel and Shuster signed away their rights to Superman but this is a multi-million/billion dollar franchise raking in money for the corporate big wigs every single year for decades!
    Messers Siegel and Shuster lived and died in POVERTY WITH VIRTUALLY NOTHING you fucking idiots! At the very least, at some BASIC LEVEL OF HUMAN DECENCY, WB should have offered something to give them a MODICUM OF HUMAN DIGNITY with an amount “worth-living” thru some sort of compensation/support/hand-out or whatever the fuck you want to call it!
    Do your really think they want BILLIONS for themselves as well!? Do you think they could ever come close to acquiring such an amount for themselves.
    Goddamit! I really wish all those who responded with such “pooh pooh” attitude to these two gentlemen GET AN EXACT TASTE OF THIS TREATMENT SOMEDAY, preferably when they’re OLD, SICK AND FEEBLE as well. I really hope to God they do!

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