A judge has handed a part of the Superman copyright back to the descendents of its original creator.
The debate over who owns Superman has raged for some years now, with DC Comics and its parent company Time Warner trying desperately to hang on to the copyright, and the estate of writer Jerry Siegel trying to take control of the character that he created along with artist Joe Shuster.
A court decision last year awarded the Siegel estate with rights to some of the elements of the Superman canon, namely those that features in Action Comics #1, the comic that Superman first appeared in, with everything after that belonging to DC Comics. This week, a judge increased that ruling to include the first few weeks of Superman material, meaning that DC now no longer own any rights to the character's original story.
The copyright for Superman will revert to the Siegels in 2013, although some well-established elements of the character, like Kryptonite, Jimmy Olsen and perennial antagonist Lex Luthor still belong to DC. Might we see Superman joining the Avengers? Perhaps, but it won't be the same Superman that is loved by so many.