Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Superboy

Sunday!

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Sunday!

* Your attention please: Arlen Specter would like you to know he is not a loyal Democrat.

* ‘The Politics of Climate Hacking: What happens if one country decides to start geo-engineering on its own?’

“This is not at all hard to do,” Granger told the audience, declaring that “a single large nation”—especially a nuclear power, which might act with relative impunity—could easily exercise the option. A run of bad news from the climate scientists might convince a government that the breakup of the Greenland ice sheet was accelerating, and that Earth’s low-lying areas were facing an imminent rise of 3 feet or more in sea level. “If, say, a Huckabee administration suddenly woke up and started geoengineering the planet, what could anybody else do about it?” Morgan asked. (One could equally envision a left-leaning, low-lying European nation with the same inclination.) Geoengineering “turns the normal debate over climate change on its head,” he and some co-authors wrote recently in Foreign Affairs. Getting nations to agree to cut their greenhouse pollution has proved to be the ultimate free-rider problem, as the biggest nations must all cooperate or the planet will keep getting warmer. The Pinatubo option creates the opposite dilemma: As the discussions in Lisbon made clear, any of a dozen nations could change the global temperature all by itself.

It’s becoming increasingly clear, I think, that international political actors view geo-engineering as the option of first resort; there are still no serious coordinated efforts to reduce carbon emission, so radical a dereliction of duty as to amount to a suicide pact—unless they’ve convinced themselves they can jury-rig some ad hoc solution as the crisis escalates.

* See also: the world, 4 degrees warmer and An Introduction to Global Warming Impacts: Hell and High Water. All via MeFi.

* Alain Badiou on the communist hypothesis.

“But that reduces your communist adherence to nothing more than a faith! Rather than look at its practical impact upon the twentieth century, you just say, ‘Oh, well, that wasn’t pure, it wasn’t true to the idea, but I know the idea itself remains right.’ That’s a form of faith.”

“Maybe, but faith is a great thing sometimes.”

* Does DC own Superboy again? Via io9.

* Join Alex Greenberg on a trip to the retro-future.

Written by gerrycanavan

May 3, 2009 at 5:52 pm

Superman and the Courts

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io9 has a nice look at the history of comic-book intellectual-property law through the lens of Superman-related lawsuits. The most interesting, for me, remains the legal tussling over Superboy:

Superman creator Jerry Siegel submitted a proposal to DC Comics for a series of adventures about Clark Kent’s youth. DC rejected the proposal, but later printed Superboy while Siegel was serving in the US Army. When Siegel’s heirs attempted to terminate Superboy’s copyright, DC and Time Warner claimed that Superboy was merely Superman as a young man, and not a distinct character (and thus not copyrightable as distinct from Superman), giving DC the legal right to publish books featuring Superboy with or without Siegel’s permission.

Superboy’s Story: The original Superboy follows the adventures of the young Superman growing up in Smallville. He wears glasses as his alter ego Clark Kent and the iconic suit as Superman. Like his grownup self, he has superpowers and battles Lex Luthor, and he eventually travels to the 30th century to join the Legion of Super-Heroes.

Outcome: In 1948, a referee in a dispute between Siegel and DC found that Superboy was a distinct entity from Superman, and that DC had published the comic illegally. The findings were vacated in a settlement between DC and Siegel, but in 2006, the Ninth Circuit agreed with the referee, granting termination rights to Siegel’s heirs. However, the court later vacated that ruling, granting Warner and DC’s motion for reconsideration. Although Siegel’s family has recaptured some rights to Superman, the Superboy question remains undecided.

It must be the narrativist in me who just can’t understand how Superboy can be a distinct entity from Superman: the whole premise for Superboy is that he’s Superman as a boy.

Written by gerrycanavan

October 21, 2008 at 11:14 pm

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Superman Law

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Another big turnaround in the rights to Superman: on the heels of a 2004 decision that assigned Jermone Siegel’s heirs the rights to the Superboy character (upheld in 2006), a judge has now ruled that the Siegel heirs have also owned a share of the copyright on Superman himself since 1999. In terms of things it’s nice to discover you still own, the multi-multi-multimillion-dollar rights to Superman has got to be pretty high on the list. And even bigger news for the future of the Superman franchise:

If the ruling survives a Time Warner legal challenge, it may also open the door to a similar reversion of rights to the estate of Mr. Shuster in 2013. That would give heirs of the two creators control over use of their lucrative character until at least 2033 — and perhaps longer, if Congress once again extends copyright terms — according to Marc Toberoff, a lawyer who represents the Siegels and the Shuster estate.

“It would be very powerful,” said Mr. Toberoff, speaking by telephone on Friday. “After 2013, Time Warner couldn’t exploit any new Superman-derived works without a license from the Siegels and Shusters.”

Of course, my feeling is that a character created 75 years ago shouldn’t still be under copyright at all—but it’s certainly nice to see copyright law for once protecting creators rather than corporations (albeit belatedly), particularly creators exploited as badly as Siegel and Shuster were.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 29, 2008 at 1:30 pm

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