Winklevii Case Vs. Facebook Helps Warner Bros. Secure Superman Copyright

By Justin Lafferty 

When Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss dropped their lawsuit against Facebook in 2011, it was evident that the landmark case had far-reaching implications. Who knew that it would be felt all the way on planet Krypton? Using the Winkelvoss twins’ case vs. Facebook, Warner Bros. successfully retained the copyright for comic book superhero Superman.

After a district judge in 2008 granted Superman’s likeness in favor of the heirs of Clark Kent’s co-creator, Jerry Siegel, Warner Bros. appealed, feeling that this ruling was reached in error. In 2001, the Siegel heirs and Warner Bros. allegedly came to an agreement, but Siegel’s party claimed that this deal was not finalized and therefore not enforceable.

Sound familiar?

In 2011, the Winklevoss twins conceded their legal fight and their claim that Facebook Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg stole the idea for the website. Like the Siegel trust, the Winklevoss twins claimed that an agreement between themselves and Zuckerberg was not set in stone.

On Thursday, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Warner Bros., using the Facebook case as a precedent.

Siegel attorney Marc Toberoff discussed the ruling with The Beat:

As I discussed at greater length in this post, DC relied on the Facebook/Winklevoss twins case to argue that the term sheet in the Siegel-DC negotiations was binding. The court agreed — the crux of the judges’ Siegel ruling today is a discussion of the Facebook ruling and how it applies to the Siegel term sheet.

Readers: Who do you feel should own the rights to Superman?