“Fox owns a copyright interest consisting of, at the very least, the right to distribute the ‘Watchmen’ motion picture,” the ruling said.
Warner Bros, in a fit of righteous indignation, has vowed to fight this “unfair” claim.
"We continue to believe that Fox's claims have no merit and that we will ultimately prevail, whether at trial or in the Court of Appeals. We have no plans to move the release date of the film."
WB has always been on the cutting edge of copyright abuse, as Groucho Marx could have told you way back in 1946, when they tried to get him to change the title of his film “A Night in Casablanca,” because it was too close to the title of WB’s film “Casablanca”:
Apparently there is more than one way of conquering a city and holding it as your own. For example, up to the time that we contemplated making this picture, I had no idea that the city of Casablanca belonged exclusively to Warner Brothers. However, it was only a few days after our announcement appeared that we received your long, ominous legal document warning us not to use the name Casablanca.
More recently, WB sought to protect the vulnerable "Harry Potter" franchise by going after some producers in India who were making a parody version called "Harri Puttar- A Comedy of Terrors".
"Warner Bros values and protects intellectual property rights. However, it is our policy not to discuss publicly the details of any ongoing litigation."
Stunningly, and in a real setback for intellectual property rights everywhere, the case was dismissed.
Time Warner is such a fan of intellectual property that they paid a producer $17 million before releasing their movie version of the old television show "The Dukes of Hazzard."
Movie studio bosses at Warner Brothers have settled with a Georgia producer after he claimed they'd infringed on the copyright to his 1974 movie, which was the basis for the DUKES OF HAZZARD TV series and new film.
Time Warner so values intellectual property that it's been doing everything it can to ensure the heirs of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster- creators of Superman- don't have any claim on the Superman character.
A federal judge here on Wednesday ruled that the heirs of Jerome Siegel — who 70 years ago sold the rights to the action hero he created with Joseph Shuster to Detective Comics for $130 — were entitled to claim a share of the United States copyright to the character. The ruling left intact Time Warner’s international rights to the character, which it has long owned through its DC Comics unit.
And it reserved for trial questions over how much the company may owe the Siegel heirs for use of the character since 1999, when their ownership is deemed to have been restored.
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.
And they're still fighting over "Superboy," too. Because intellectual property is that important to them.
It's one of the saddest tales in copyright history—two teenagers created one of the most popular characters of all time and sold the rights for $130. Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster spent the rest of their lives trying to get back the rights to Superman and share in the enormous profits of their creation.
Both went through periods of extreme poverty. Shuster died blind and alone. Siegel went to court twice, in 1947 and 1973, to try to get back his share of the copyright. The 1973 lawsuit ended in defeat, with the bizarre decision—corrected on appeal but with no repercussions—that Superman was created as work-for-hire, when all the evidence was to the contrary. But the 1947 decision, which also involved the character Superboy, established precedents that have led to Siegel's heirs at last regaining the copyright to Superboy.
And of course, once DC lost the Superboy decision, they did the mature, intellectual-property-is-important-to-us thing and turned Superboy into a deranged killer in "Infinite Crisis."
So of course the fans of comics must be seething over the injustices done to-- Warner Bros!
20th Century Fox is putting the Watchmen movie in jeopardy by suing Warner Bros. over copyright infringment. It's over some nit-picky legalistic crap over who held the rights when it was purchased by WB. Obviously, since the movie is getting good hype now, Fox is just trying to cash in. Show Fox what you think by joining this petition.
Scheduled to release next year, Fox is trying claim rights even after sitting back and allowing WB to pour time, money, and talent into. Now, after an abysmal summer for Fox, they are reaching out to try and stamp out another studio's success.
I propose a boycott of all 20th Century Fox productions in protest of their detestable actions.
Did you really think fans of the greatest graphic novel of all time were just going to take your cash grab move lying flat on our backs?
I have never been one to jump on the whole "Boycott" bandwagon, but not a CHANCE will I see Wolverine in theatres now. This studio is the worst movie studio in the history of film. And as much as I am dying to see Watchmen, if the final outcome of this is greatly in Fox's favor, I'll pass on it just to say "f**k you."
It's nice to see where the fanboys' priorities lie. They care not one bit for what happened to Siegel and Shuster, or Bill Finger, or how Steve Ditko was screwed over by Marvel. No, they just want to see their movies!
So until Warner Bros gets its act together and stops using copyright law as a bludgeon to hurt others when in its best interests, and whining about the unfairness of it all when it's not in its best interests, I say- boycott "Watchmen"!
Bonus: Some sanity regarding this story can be found here, via this blog. And some reasonable advice here.