The estate of Joe Siegel, co-creator of Superman, has been suing to get the rights back. There has been some urgency, given the supposition that the character will enter the public domain in 2013 (DC still holds the trademark, so if you want to make your own Superman stuff, you'll still have a hoop to jump through. Mark Waid's ultimate dream job was writing Superman. I wonder if he's cooking anything up....). This is why a new Sup movie has been greenlit to be done before 2013.
Well, DC has just sacked their legal team handling the case. They have hired Daniel Petrocelli. Canadians know this guy. The estate of A.A. Milne sued Disney over Winnie The Pooh, claiming the creator got shafted. Pertocelli handled the defense, and got Disney off the hook.
And now, he's handling Superman. This doesn't look good.
Neil Gaiman starred in a sold-out talk in Naperville, IL, and among the gems of wisdom was this:
“Last year I got to kill Batman, which was kind of fun. Everybody should kill Batman once.”
Unfortunately, as much as I loved that line, I wanted to scream, "DON'T GIVE 'EM ANY IDEAS!"
It all started in 2008 when Stephanie Lenz saw her baby dancing around to a song by Prince. Like all moms, she thought this was the Most Pwecious Ting Evah, videoed it, and, to facilitate sharing it with her friends, uploaded it to YouTube. At least it was only 29 seconds, I've sat through worse home videos.
Universal Music Group sent YouTube a takedown notice, citing the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. YouTube took it down. Six weeks later, the video was back up. Lenz had filed a counternotice, and she was being repped by those fine upstanding citizens, the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Their stance was simple -- in jumping the gun to take down the clip, Universal did not consider if Lenz had a Fair Use right to use the music in the clip. The EFF is basically using Lenz's case to test the scope and damages that can be claimed for wrongfully hitting people with DMCA takedowns. The DMCA is bad as it is, but the wording just encourages it to be abused.
The judge ruled that the EFF had a point. They have to prove damages were incurred (the crux of Universal's defense), but this is significant in that the ruling establishes that the DMCA can be abused and if you do abuse it, you should pay somehow.
End of the month time! Where am I at?
Work will resume on Sound Waves, probably next week. I'll be scanning in issues7 and 8 to get them lettered, and I expect to have #9 penciled and inked by the end of the month.
The big news is Head Above Water. The series is penciled, inked, lettered, almost everything. Issues 1 and 2 are laid out and will be going off to the printer soon. 3 through 5 need the covers colored and the end pages done. The book is 22 pages of story, which leaves me with three blank pages. So, since I didn't try looking for ad swaps or anything, I figured I'd fill the pages with the test sketches and some info on how the series evolved. I'll have this done by the end of the week.
From there, I just need to figure out how to coordinate whatever comes next. I want to start on Germ Warfare so it can be done before the ChicagoCon a scant five months away (part of me is thinking, no problem, you did Cloudburst in under two months. To which I respond, AND YOU ENJOYED THAT RIDE ON THE STRESSMOBILE?!?). I also need to think, because a few more Sound Waves stories have occurred to me, meaning the series could stretch out past issue #15 if I actually run this stuff down. Still debating it.
But the most difficult project is done and in the can. What will my next non-chibi comic project be? We'll soon find out....