The original Batman series which starred Adam West offered a Batmobile which was not only unique in its look and design but actually was a prototype vehicle that had been resurrected from mothballs by one of the show’s creators who happened to own the vehicle. This car was thrust into comic book lore and history when it was cast as the character that it is, the Batmobile which was driven by Batman and took the caped crusader and his trusty sidekick on many crime fighting missions around Gotham City where the evildoers always seemed to meet with a Whap!, Bam!, Boom! or other great catch word for getting beaten by the heroes.
DC Comics, which owns the rights to the Batman name and other copyright licenses, has been in a legal battle with Mark Towle for several years. Towle sells replicas of the 1966 Batmobile that he and his team create in their aptly named Gotham Garage. These replicas sell for close to $90,000 each where the original was sold in 2013 for $4.62 million (after the actual owner had only paid $1 for the car).
The argument in court is that because the Batmobile is “just a car” it cannot be protected by copyright. This has already been argued and ruled upon by another court which stated the car is actually a character from the show and therefore could not be replicated. So much of the Batman TV series revolved around the Batmobile and the heroes working to get out of sticky situations that you can easily see how the car can be considered a character.
Recently a new ruling, because Towle and his team appealed of course, upheld the original findings of the other court. In this court the judge uses a quote from the TV series to make the point; “As Batman sagely told Robin, In our well-ordered society, protection of private property is essential,”.
So here is the opinion part, do you agree with the court rulings? Should Towle be allowed to continue to create replica Batmobiles for all of us to buy for around $90,000 or should his business be shut down? Of course, a more fun and important opinion piece, how cool do you think it is that the judge actually used a Batman quote to make her point? My opinion is to shut Towle down and tell Judge Sandra Ikuta to “Rock On” that is one of the best quotes ever from a judge in a court of law; I bet she had a lot of fun finding and using that one.