The Siegel Superman decision
This is the big one. The judge has issued a ruling in the case regarding the Siegel family's rights in Superman. It doesn't resolve all the issues--for example, this does not address the Superboy issue, which is a separate case. However, it does award the heirs copyright in the Superman material in Action Comics number 1 (the judge uses the term "Vol. 1", but that's only a reference to the first issue.).
Here's the stirring conclusion:
After seventy years, Jerome Siegelâ€™s heirs regain what he granted so long ago â€“ the copyright in the Superman material that was published in Action Comics Vol. 1. What remains is an apportionment of profits, guided in some measure by the rulings contained in this Order, and a trial on whether to include the profits generated by DC Comicsâ€™ corporate siblingâ€™s exploitation of the Superman copyright.
If you read the opinion, you'll note a number of references to the treatise on copyright written by William Patry. Patry, now Google's legal counsel, offers a crisp write-up of the opinion on his blog, along with an homage to Jewish comic book creators of the golden age. The key takeaway from a legal perspective is the following:
The dramatic sounding nature of the final paragraph of the opinion has to be put in context though. The opinion doesnâ€™t cover Shusterâ€™s interests, which are not subject to Section 304(c) termination, but rather a future 304(d) termination. Nor does the opinion reach the work for hire question for anything after the (justly famous and important) Action Comics Vol. 1 published on April 18, 1938 â€“ the collateral estoppel applied on work for hire only covers Action Comics Vol. 1. Finally, there are very thorny issues of apportionment. All of these issues are likely to be the subject of subsequent motions and possibly trial.
Still, despite its limited scope and remaining unfinished details, this is a historic ruling rich with symbolic significance. And in a poignant coincidence, the judge issued his order on the same day that Grant Morrison's homage to Siegel and Shuster in All Star Superman #10 hit the stands.