Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na … Lawsuit!
Quick, call your butler and tell him to stop production of your personal Batmobile. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit just ruled that Batman’s awesome ride is so distinct that it qualifies as a comic book character, which means that replicating it without DC Comic’s permission is a big no-no. Turns out the bat-like car not only protects itself with state of the art weaponry, but also with an official copyright.
L.A.-based car builder Mark Towle is finding out first hand just how powerful a copyright can be. Back in 2013, DC Comics filed a lawsuit against him for creating and selling replicas of the Batmobile as it appeared in the ‘60s with Adam West and the 1989 movie alongside Michael Keaton. Each auto was going for $90,000 a pop, and Towle’s business, Gotham Garage, was in the process of starting a reality TV show. In 2013, Towle lost his case. He appealed and the case went to federal court.
Towle argued that, yes, the cars had sleek, batwing-like fins, and yes, some of them even had the Batman logo on them, but they were more like tributes that copy-bats. The Court of Appeals didn’t agree. The Washington Post shared this awesome tid-bit from one of the case’s judges:
Boom. Justice is served.
Of course, this is really bad news for those of us whose butlers are currently toiling away in an underground lair trying to recreate the Batmobile for late-night joyrides. Don’t fret though! I found a perfect replacement …