I guess my point is, at some point the product almost becomes property of the fans...
Yes, that is usually the point when it enters the public domain:
70 years after death of author, or if work of corporate authorship, 95 years from publication
Here's a joke for you that might illustrate the point:
Excuse me, Mr. Moore, but what's the difference between a hooker and DC Comics?
I don't see much, Mr. Blake. Pray tell.
A hooker will stop screwing you when you're dead.
Obviously, when I said it becomes a property of the fans, I wasn't speaking literally. What I was trying to get across is that when a movie, a comic book or anything becomes part of the zeitgeist it sort of grows into something bigger. Maybe my Star Wars analogy didn't illustrate that well enough. I'll try again:
Speilberg is making a new Indy film. I'd like to think he's making that film for the fans and that's likely why Harrison Ford agreed to be in it as well. Speilberg, and to a lesser extent Ford, don't need to maje that movie to pay any bills. They can do some other project and be as well paid. They understand that the fans have built that property to what it has become and that it was the fans that engrained Indy into pop culture. Now they want to make a new film and bring some of that magic back to the fans. To bring them some joy.
Watchmen is not Indy, nor is it Star Wars, but to a Watchmen fan, I'm sure it can feel as big as those franchises. So because of that, what I'm asking is, does Moore owe the fans anything? Does an obligation to the fans outweigh a grudge he has with DC. Maybe. Maybe not. Again, I don't know how bad DC screwed him.