Detective Comics, Inc. v. Bruns Publications, Inc.

111 F.2d 432 (1940)

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Detective Comics, Inc. v. Bruns Publications, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
111 F.2d 432 (1940)

SH

Facts

Detective Comics, Inc. (plaintiff) owned the exclusive rights to a comic series known as Action Comics, which featured a character called Superman. Detective Comics brought an infringement suit against Bruns Publications, Inc. (defendant) after it published a magazine featuring a similar character called Wonderman. The district court compared both works and found that each publication showcased a man of miraculous strength and speed concealed beneath normal clothing, which once removed revealed a skin-tight acrobatic costume. Superman wore a blue uniform and Wonderman wore a red one. Each were described as being the strongest man in the world and as battling against evil and injustice. Each were shown running toward a full moon off into the night. Each were shown crushing a gun in his powerful hands and as being impervious to bullets and missiles. Superman was shown as leaping over tall buildings and Wonderman as leaping from building to building. Based off these similarities, the district court held that the magazine of Bruns infringed Action Comics. Bruns appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Hand, J.)

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