DC Comics Is Entitled to Copyright on Batmobile, Appeals Court Rules | News Entertainment

DC Comics Is Entitled to Copyright on Batmobile, Appeals Court Rules

24 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Appeals Court Finds Batmobile Is Entitled To Copyright Protection.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Batman won’t have to worry about Batmobile knockoffs after a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday the caped crusader’s vehicle is entitled to copyright protection. The Batmobile is a car that has almost everything: weapons, ahead-of-its time computers, wing-shaped tail fins and an assortment of gadgets perfectly suited to Batman’s diverse crime-fighting needs. (The Bat-ray of the 1960s version, for instance, opened enemy car doors, while the version driven by Michael Keaton fired a grappling hook that allowed him round corners at improbable speeds.) To determine whether characters in comic books, television shows or movies are entitled to such protection, courts conduct a three-part test.The Batmobile, the indispensable crime-fighting vehicle driven by comic book hero Batman, has enough distinct character traits to qualify for copyright protection, a US appeals court has ruled. “As Batman so sagely told Robin, ‘In our well-ordered society, protection of private property is essential,’” Judge Sandra Ikuta wrote for a unanimous three-judge panel. The Batmobile’s bat-like appearance and other distinct attributes, including its high-tech weaponry, make it a character that can’t be replicated without permission from DC Comics, the copyright holder, the 9th U.S. First, the character must have “physical as well as conceptual qualities.” It also has to be “sufficiently delineated” so people recognize it as the same character across time.

Among the Batmobile’s traits she cited in her ruling was its sleekness and power, which allow Batman to maneuver quickly while he goes after bad guys. Towle produced replicas of the Batmobile as it appeared in the 1966 television show featuring Adam West as Batman, and the 1989 movie with Michael Keaton in the lead role. In the real world, it’s just a car.” In its ruling, the 9th Circuit said Towle advertised each replica as the “Batmobile,” and used the domain name batmobilereplicas.com to market his business. The Batmobile has changed with the times and imaginations of its creators, but its core characteristics are immutable: “bat-like external features, ready to leap into action to assist Batman in his fight against Gotham’s most dangerous villains, and equipped with futuristic weaponry and technology,” as Judge Ikuta put it. Additionally, there is no dispute that DC created the Batman character, and various licenses it has entered into over the years did not transfer its underlying property rights, Ikuta wrote.

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