The U.S. Supreme Court denied on Monday to hear an appeal by the heirs of Superman co-creator Joseph Schuster in their legal battle with DC Comics over ownership of the superhero character.
The court’s decision means that DC Comics, owned by Warner Bros. Entertainment, in Burbank, retains rights to the Man of Steel while receiving 50 percent of the revenue.
The ruling is significant for Warner Bros. in that the “Superman” movie franchise has grossed hundreds of millions of dollars for the studio. A new film featuring the character, “Superman vs. Batman: Dawn of Justice,” will come to theaters in the summer of 2016.
Jean Shuster Peavy and Frank Shuster, the siblings of Joseph Shuster, sought to terminate a 1992 deal with DC Comics based on an amendment to copyright laws granting heirs such rights. A U.S. District Court judge, however, rejected that argument and sided with the comic publisher in a 2012 decision. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision the following year.
DC Comics became part of Warner Bros. in 1969. In 2009, the division was folded into DC Entertainment.
Shuster, who died in 1992, co-created “Superman” with Jerry Siegel in 1938. The pair would later tangle with DC over ownership rights, which resulted in a settlement in 1948 that was amended in the years afterward.