By Josh Rottenberg
Updated March 25, 2011 at 12:00 PM EDT
Everett Collection

After years of legal wrangling, a U.S. district court judge has resolved the feud between Warren Beatty and the Tribune Co. over ownership rights to the 1930s comic-strip character Dick Tracy, ruling in Beatty’s favor. Beatty bought the film and television rights to the square-jawed, yellow-fedora-wearing private detective from the Tribune Co. in 1985 and played him in a 1990 film, which he also directed. In the years since, the rights to the character had become ensnared in a legal fight between Beatty and the Tribune Co., with a potential sequel and TV series getting scuttled in the fray. The Tribune Co., which filed for bankruptcy protection in 2008, said in bankruptcy filings that the rights to Dick Tracy were potentially worth millions of dollars to the company. But Friday’s summary judgment ruled that, by making a half-hour television special about the character that aired in 2009 on Turner Classic Movies, Beatty retained the rights to the character “on an exclusive basis.”

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