From Hollywood, Esq.:
The next time a bank robber uses a Batmobile as a getaway vehicle, the thief might not only be guilty of larceny but also copyright infringement. That’s because on Thursday, a federal judge in California ruled that the design of Batman’s famous car is copyrightable.
. . . .
Last year, DC Comics, a subsidiary of Warner Bros., sued Mark Towles, who operated a business called “Gotham Garage,” which sold imitation batmobiles. DC, represented by attorney Andy Coombs, accused Towles of violating its copyright and trademark and confusing the public into thinking that his cars were authorized products.
Trademark is one thing, but can an automobile design really be copyrighted?
According to U.S. District Judge Ronald Lew, it can if it’s really special.
Towles moved to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that the Copyright Act affords no protection to “useful articles.”
But Judge Lew begs to differ, ruling that Towles “ignores the exception to the ‘useful article’ rule, which grants copyright protection to nonfunctional, artistic elements of an automobile design that can be physically or conceptually separated from the automobile.”
Link to the rest at Hollywood, Esq.