Will Marc Toberoff be the last superhero standing?

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Will Marc Toberoff be the last superhero standing?

Tue Sep 22, 2009 @ 11:38AM PST

By Eriq Gardner

Picture 4

These past couple of weeks have been a busy time for Marc Toberoff.

Besides sending out 45 notices of termination on behalf of the children of comic book artist Jack Kirby, the Hollywood studio nemesis has also been engaged in closed-door mediation sessions to settle the dispute between the estate of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel and DC Comics and Warner Bros. Last month, before retiring from the bench for lack of good pay, Judge Stephen Larson found that the Siegel family had successfully recaptured key rights to Superman and other elements from the first two weeks of the newspaper comic strip that laid out the Superman mythology. 

It now appears that the parties are trying to finally settle this messy situation. Michael Bergman, lead attorney for the defendants, filed a report to the court revealing a day-long mediation on September 11. The report says that the parties have exchanged written settlement proposals but were not able to settle the matter at the mediation.

Of course, even if there's a settlement, the trouble won't end there for Warners. 

Toberoff also represents the estate of Joe Shuster, the illustrator of those early Superman comics. In 2013, the Shuster estate will be able to effectively terminate its side of the copyright grant. An ongoing question has to be what happens afterwards. 

It's worth pointing out that in 2004, Toberoff started up a production company called Intellectual Properties Worldwide, dedicated to licensing branded IP. In July, Toberoff revealed to us that major financiers, including Goldman Sachs, had approached him about making some sort of major investment. "People smell money," he said back then.

Toberoff has big plans — dare we suggest a new Hollywood studio? — and one shouldn't overlook this when reading about how he's trying to reclaim copyrights to X-Men, The Hulk, The Fantastic Four, and other properties for the Kirby family. Toberoff has always stressed to us that he separates his legal work from his business ventures, but he's admitted that he'd be pleased if his clients — after reclaiming rights — came to him to explore their next steps.

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The Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to [email protected]

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