Superman Defended by Statistician


When the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) unveiled "The Greatest American Hero" TV series in March, 1981, the copyright owners of "Superman" concluded that the show's main character, Ralph Hinkley, bore more than a coincidental resemblance to Superman. Time Warner Communications, a copyright owner, initiated suit for infringement. The case came to trial in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Central to their factual case, plaintiffs had commissioned a large New York firm to do a nationwide telephone survey designed to determine the degree of perceived similarity between Ralph Hinkley and Superman.


Analysis & Inference advised the attorneys for Time Warner Communications on the strengths and weaknesses of the survey commissioned by the Defendants.


In the end, the trial judge disallowed the survey on legal grounds. Counsel for Time were nonetheless grateful for the necessary preparation. To the best of our knowledge, Analysis & Inference is the only statistics firm to have defended Superman.