California Court Rules Batmobile Entitled to Copyright Protection

October 5, 2015

Batman won’t have to worry about Batmobile knockoffs after a federal appeals court ruled the caped crusader’s vehicle is entitled to copyright protection.

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. Circuit Court of Appeals said.

“As Batman so sagely told Robin, ‘In our well-ordered society, protection of private property is essential,”‘ Judge Sandra Ikuta wrote for the three-judge panel.

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.

The ruling came in DC Comics’ lawsuit against Mark Towle, who 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.

The 9th Circuit said Towle sold the cars at his Southern California business for about $90,000 each.

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