Should Superhero Superpowers Be Considered Property?

from the the-debate-is-on dept

We've had many, many debates around here over the question of whether or not "intellectual property" is actually property. So it seems like many of you might enjoy this article, sent in by johnjac, where some attorneys with way too much free time on their hands discuss whether or not superpowers possessed by super heroes should be considered property or not. I will give you just this short snippet as a taste, which I assume will make you rush over to read the whole thing:
If Superman uses the power of a blue sun to bestow superpowers on another person, is that a taxable asset transfer?  Who would want to try to collect?

If two superheroes marry, share a power, then later divorce, could one be forced to give up the power during the division of assets?  Does it matter who had the power originally?  Even though the shared power may be a non-rival good, one of the two superheroes may still have a claim to exclusivity.  Perhaps the power is a trademark ability of one character, or maybe they signed a superhero pre-nuptial agreement that determined the disposition of any shared abilities.

If one superhero lends a power to another (or to a normal person), does that superhero have an implied right to its return?  In other words, is a bailment created?  I think the answer here is yes.
Enjoy.

Filed Under: copyright, intellectual property, law, property, superheroes, superpowers


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  1. icon
    Chris in Utah (profile), 11 Dec 2010 @ 9:51am

    Dear Incredibles, I regret to inform you your son will be striped of his powers for imitating the Flash. Your daughter may keep her shield as we find this a fair use ability, though her disappearing act has been made property of Wonder Woman. As for yourselves, Mrs. Incredible you are here by ordered by the court to stop stretching, It was a guy thing to begin with and you have now made it perverted. Mr Incredible you may keep your strength on the condition you keep a record of how many times you use it to subsequently pay Superman Royalties. As for baby, it may keep its transformation qualities because the wonder twins are long dead.

    I smell a sequel!

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