Batmobile granted copyright protection by US Circuit Court of Appeals.
The Batmobile is a car that is equipped with everything such as weapons and gadgets. These gadgets perfectly suit Batman’s crime fighting needs. Yesterday the Batmobile received yet another upgrade that is copyright protection.
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To determine whether characters in comic books or movies are entitled to such protection courts conduct a three part test. In the first part the character must have physical as well as conceptual qualities.
The characters should also be recognizable by people as the same character across time. Finally the last part is that the character has to be especially distinctive. According to the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals the Batmobile has passed the test.
DC comics had first introduced the Batmobile in 1941. This was just a few years after the Caped Crusader’s first comic book appearance. The Batmobile has changed over time but its fundamental characteristics are the same.
Mark Towle the owner of Gotham Garage makes replicas of the Batmobile. DC had sued him in 2011 alleging copyright infringement and trademark infringement. In defense Mr. Towle stated that the Batmobile has changed shapes over time.
In one rendition the Batmobile had appeared as an armored tank. According to WSJ, Mr. Towle had also requested that a jury should decide the case. Jude Ikuta who was hearing the case stated that the Batmobile doesn’t need to have a consistent appearance. As a copyrightable character it can change shapes. But the character needs to have distinctive character traits.