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Warner Bros. scores a win in ongoing Superman lawsuit

Warner Bros. scores a win in ongoing Superman lawsuit (photo)

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For almost as long as DC Comics has been raking in money with the world’s most iconic superhero, the creators of Superman, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, and their heirs have been fighting for the proper credit and compensation. While Warner Bros., the parent company of DC, is still set to lose some of the copyrights of the character and concept in 2013, a recent judicial ruling allows the company’s lawyers to move ahead with a lawsuit against Marc Toberoff, the lawyer representing Siegel and Shuster’s heirs.

Deadline broke the news, explaining that while the ruling doesn’t actually settle anything in regards to who owns what aspects of the character and the Superman mythos, it could make proceedings decidedly more difficult for Toberoff and his clients. Toberoff is a well-known intellectual property lawyer, and has previously worked with the estate of Jack Kirby in similar lawsuits against Marvel Entertainment. He has an impressive record of standing up to gigantic media companies, so Warner Bros. has been searching for any way to get him out of the picture.

The root of Warner Bros. lawsuit lies in the fact that Toberoff allegedly went into business for himself, setting up arrangements between his company, Pacific Pictures, and Siegel and Shuster’s heirs. Part of the arrangements even included the Shusters signing Pacific Pictures agreements, “which purport to assign Toberoff the same rights the Shusters had already assured DC.”

So what does this mean about the future of your favorite Superman comic books and the new “Man of Steel” movie? Honestly, not a whole lot right this second. What we’re seeing here are preliminary legal maneuverings, with both sides jockeying for leverage over the other. Even if some of the Superman rights reverted back to the character’s original creators in 2013, it would still be highly, highly unlikely that Superman would cease to exist or fly away to another publisher.

The reason behind this is that neither Warner Bros. nor the Siegels and Shusters would have complete, usable rights to the character, just small individual pieces and shared rights to other parts of the concept. While it would mean negotiating a hefty new licensing deal with Siegel and Shuster’s heirs, it would be completely possible for DC to stay the course with their flagship character, especially since the Siegels and Shusters wouldn’t have the ability to really go anywhere else with Superman.

What do you think about this increasingly complex issue of copyrights, trademarks and intellectual property? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at IFC.com

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

Uncle-Buck

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…