COPYRIGHT protection
‘Pow!’ Batmobile defendant loses case.

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

The Batmobile’s appearance and other distinct attributes make it a character that cannot be replicated without permission from DC Comics, the copyright holder, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit 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 were 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 late-1960s TV show featuring Adam West as Batman and the 1989 movie with Michael Keaton. The court said Towle sold the cars for about $90,000 each.

City workers walk through London. London has regained its crown as the world's leading financial centre, according to a survey of industry professionals. (Neil Hall/Reuters)

Larry Zerner, an attorney for Towle, said his client copied the car’s design, which cannot be copyrighted. Towle also argued the Batmobile at times appeared without its “bat-like” features. But the panel said that was akin to James Bond changing from swimming trunks to a tuxedo: It did not alter the car’s innate characteristics.

— Associated Press

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