Superman, the iconic superhero created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, has been a beloved pop culture icon for over 80 years. But in 2034, the character will enter the public domain, which raises a significant question: what will happen to Superman then? Will he be free for anyone to use in any way they see fit, or will the character continue to be owned and controlled by DC Comics, the company that currently holds the rights to the character? The impending expiration of Superman’s copyright has sparked a great deal of speculation and debate in the entertainment industry and among fans alike. In this article, we will explore the implications of Superman’s entry into the public domain and what it could mean for the character’s future.
Superman is Becoming Public Domain Character in 2034
Superman is one of the most recognizable and beloved characters in all of popular culture. The Man of Steel has been captivating audiences for over eight decades with his incredible strength, unwavering morality, and unwavering sense of justice. But in 2034, the copyright on the character will expire, making him a public domain character. This raises a significant question: what will happen to Superman then?
To understand the implications of Superman’s entry into the public domain, we need to first understand what that means. When a work enters the public domain, it becomes free for anyone to use, without the need for permission or payment to the original creator or copyright holder. This means that anyone can make use of the character, whether that’s by writing stories, creating films, or making merchandise.
In the case of Superman, this could mean a huge shift in how the character is used and presented. Currently, DC Comics, the company that owns the character, has complete control over how he is depicted and utilized. They have the right to approve or reject any story or artwork featuring Superman, and they also profit from the character’s image and likeness through licensing and merchandise sales.
Once Superman enters the public domain, however, this control will be significantly reduced. Anyone will be able to use the character in any way they see fit, whether that’s by creating new stories, making films, or designing merchandise. This could lead to a flood of new Superman content, some of which could be highly creative and innovative, while others may be of poor quality.
James Gunn on Superman Going in the Public Domain
In a conversation with “ComicBook” James Gunn said that; Well, to put it simply, it’s a complex issue. It’s not straightforward, and there are technical considerations around which components will actually enter the public domain, which you may or may not be aware of. However, one of the reasons why we value Superman is because it provides a platform to introduce lesser-known characters, like the Authority, to a broader audience. It’s remarkable to think that just 11 years ago, a comic that was only known by 20,000 people has now inspired the two most popular rides in the world at Disneyland. This underscores the significance of leveraging established properties such as Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman to promote other lesser-known characters like Booster Gold, Green Lantern, Plastic Man, and so on.
Becoming Public Domain Character
Of course, this isn’t the first time that a character has entered the public domain. In fact, many of the most iconic characters in popular culture are public domain characters, including Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, and Sherlock Holmes. In many cases, these characters have been used in countless adaptations, with varying degrees of success. However, there are a few key differences between these characters and Superman. For one thing, these characters were created in a different era, when copyright laws were very different. In the case of Superman, his copyright has been fiercely protected by DC Comics for over 80 years. This has helped to establish a strong brand identity for the character, which could be difficult to maintain once he enters the public domain.
There is also the question of how DC Comics will react to the expiration of Superman’s copyright. Will they continue to publish stories featuring the character, or will they move on to new projects? Will they try to find ways to maintain control over the character, or will they simply let him go and move on to other properties?
One possibility is that DC Comics will try to find a way to extend Superman’s copyright, much as they did with Mickey Mouse in the 1990s. Disney, the company that owns Mickey Mouse, was facing a similar situation, with the character’s copyright set to expire in 2003. In order to maintain control over the character, they lobbied for and eventually obtained an extension to the copyright law, which pushed the expiration date back to 2023.
However, there are some significant differences between the situations faced by DC Comics and Disney. For one thing, the political climate around copyright law has shifted significantly since the 1990s. Many people are now critical of the way that copyright law is used to restrict access to creative works, and there is a growing movement to reform copyright laws in favor of greater access and freedom. There is also the question of whether DC Comics would be able to successfully lobby for an extension to Superman’s copyright. While they certainly have the resources to make such an effort, it’s not clear whether they would be able to overcome the significant opposition that would likely arise.
So What Will Happen
Nowadays, comic books have become a major industry, in large part because they inspire some of the biggest Hollywood blockbusters of all time. However, without the copyright extensions of 1976 and 1998, many iconic characters would have begun to enter the public domain. This raises the question of how Warner Bros. would handle a world in which anyone could create a Superman film. According to a lawyer from Warner Bros. interviewed by THR, trademark law – a separate form of intellectual property – may apply in this case. They also noted that dealing with serialized works like comic books can be complex and not always straightforward. For example, they pointed out that Superman’s power of flight was not introduced until years after the character’s initial appearance. With the copyright set to expire in 2033, it seems likely that the matter will end up in court.
So, What will happen to Superman’s Character once it goes into the Public Domain is a question that every comics fan wants to know but only time will tell what will happen with the iconic character’s storyline and depiction. As the Copyright and Trademark Laws have a lot of loopholes and legalities which can turn the fortunes of both Superman and DC Comics overnight.
Also Read: Mickey Mouse Will Enter The Public Domain in 2024 | Future of Mickey Mouse
Superman is Becoming Public Domain Character in 2034, What Will Happen Then?