Holy copyrights infringement, Batman! The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld a copyright ruling against the selling of Batmobile replicas. Unlike Batman’s usual rivals, with the likes of the Joker and Poison Ivy, the legal battle pitted Mark Towle, owner of Gotham Garage against the owners of the Batman brand, DC Comics; in a court case has been on-going for years now. Gotham Garage has been selling the 1966 Batmobile replicas from the 1989 film and television series that starred Adam West for quite a while now. According to the Associated Press, which was reported on in the Detroit News, the replicas were sold at $90,000; with the original selling in a 2013 auction for $4.62 million.
MSN reports the ultimate ruling came from the idea that the unique look of the Batmobile placed it in a copyright division, classifying the car as a character in the Batman stories that could not be replicated unless DC Comics provided permission. While the lawyer for Towle based his legal argument on the fact that the Batmobile was simply a vehicle that could be exempt from copyright infringement; a U.S. District Court judge saw the Caped Crusader’s car as more than just an automobile. In fact, he saw the Batmobile as a solid character that was a part of the Batman stories; thus siding with DC Comics.
As a result, the U.S. Appeals Court new ruling therefore upholds the district court’s decision. While Gotham Garage may be out of a business, the city of Gotham and its residents are once again safe from any potential copyright infringement woes. Judge Sandra quoted the Dark Knight in her writings to the panel, saying that much like Batman once told his side-kick Robin, “In our well-ordered society, protection of private property is essential.”
Strike another win for Batman in his crusade for justice and keeping the public at peace.