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DC Comics Prevails In Batmobile Copyright Dispute

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the mechanical-royalties dept.

Transportation 115

think_nix writes "Wired reports of U.S. District Judge Ronald S. W. Lew siding with DC Comics in the federal copyright court case against Gotham Garage owner Mark Towle. DC accused Towle of selling 'unlicensed replica vehicle modification kits based on vehicle design copyrights from plaintiff's Batman property, including various iterations of the fictional automobile, the Batmobile.' Lew noted that 'DC Comics pleads sufficient facts to support its allegations. Although, generally copyright law does not apply to "useful articles" such as autos.'"

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On to other things (4, Funny)

jmkaza (173878) | about 2 years ago | (#38907705)

I guess I can no longer count on my plan to sell copies of Wonder Woman's invisible jet to make my billions.

Re:On to other things (5, Funny)

OzPeter (195038) | about 2 years ago | (#38907977)

I guess I can no longer count on my plan to sell copies of Wonder Woman's invisible jet to make my billions.

Thats why I am taking a leaf from Zynga and intend to sell copies of the Amazing Maiden's Optically Stealthy Turbofan Aerial Craft!!!

Re:On to other things (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | about 2 years ago | (#38908143)

Too late anyway, I'm already selling them [ebaumsworld.com] .

Re:On to other things (2)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 2 years ago | (#38908183)

It seems to work for the US Federal Reserve Bank...

Re:On to other things (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38908385)

Hey if you can make transparent aluminum you can right your own ticket.

Re:On to other things (2)

drainbramage (588291) | about 2 years ago | (#38908587)

By using two wrong tickets?

Re:On to other things (3, Funny)

geminidomino (614729) | about 2 years ago | (#38909527)

No, no, dummy. Everyone knows two wrongs don't make a right.

What he needs are actually three LEFT tickets. That'll sort him.

I stand corrected sir! (1)

drainbramage (588291) | about 2 years ago | (#38909869)

And thank you, you made me laugh.

Re:On to other things (1)

SpinningCone (1278698) | more than 2 years ago | (#38914183)

two wrongs don't make a right, but two Wrights will make an airplane.

Re:On to other things (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38912369)

How is transparent aluminium different from saphire glass?

Re:On to other things (1)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | about 2 years ago | (#38909403)

Actually, an invisible jet has utility beyond merely looking like Wonder Woman's. So that may be okay.

If I invent an invisible jet, I guess I'll have to talk to a lawyer.

Re:On to other things (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38909429)

Now I have to go shred the blueprints for the transporter and the prototype worked so well.

allogations.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38907719)

Wow... Someone read too many comic books and not enough of other reading material to develop proper spelling....

Re:allogations.... (4, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 2 years ago | (#38908203)

MY EYES!

I looked at that page - and It was like...

Wearing Ed Hardy, on LSD, IN HELL!

Re:allogations.... (4, Informative)

Culture20 (968837) | about 2 years ago | (#38908433)

Wow... Someone read too many comic books and not enough of other reading material to develop proper spelling....

Actually, comic books are chock full of big words, and they're nearly always used properly (when used improperly, it's for comedic effect). Super villain soliloquies and/or banter are especially verbose, and I remember having to reach for a dictionary as a child.

I'm actually ok with this (1)

the_Bionic_lemming (446569) | about 2 years ago | (#38907723)

I just Hollywood looks at Star Trek and the pads they were using , and knock on Apples door for a few billion dollars.

Re:I'm actually ok with this (4, Interesting)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | about 2 years ago | (#38907861)

There is a difference between 'a device inspired by, and with similar functionality to' a fictional device, and 'a device who's sole selling point is it's resemblance to a fictional device'. An iPad and a PADD may be conceptually related, but no more than Burger King and McDonalds are conceptually related. (Less, probably.)

Re:I'm actually ok with this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38907955)

whose*
its*

Re:I'm actually ok with this (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 2 years ago | (#38909317)

There was also never a PADD that actually looked like an iPad.

Re:I'm actually ok with this (3, Insightful)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about 2 years ago | (#38909715)

I dunno...this one [nocookie.net] looks kinda close.

Re:I'm actually ok with this (0)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 2 years ago | (#38909923)

No, it doesn't.

Re:I'm actually ok with this (0)

tycoex (1832784) | more than 2 years ago | (#38910017)

Yes, it does.

Re:I'm actually ok with this (0)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#38910163)

No, it doesn't, not even one detail.

Re:I'm actually ok with this (5, Funny)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#38910723)

If you two don't stop it I will pull this thread right over! :)

Re:I'm actually ok with this (2)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#38910797)

He started it!

Re:I'm actually ok with this (3, Interesting)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#38911001)

I wish the dude with the mod-points to burn had read the context of this conversation. But, since he didn't catch the original post about inspiration vs. duplication, I guess I have to expand my point even though that nice simple little picture very clearly shows a not-iPad.

- Wrong size.
- Wrong aspect ratio.
- Wrong color.
- Recessed screen.
- Buttons on the bezel.
- No rounded corners.
- Access panels in the back, presumably for upgrades or replacable battery.
- Bulge on the back of the device. (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yrSbfQFP2Q [youtube.com] )

So what's similar about it? Umm.. well... Sisko's using an app that does look strikingly like something from the iPad app store. And beyond that? Well... erm, no, it's really not similar at all, especially when this conversation only comes up when talking about Apple's lawsuit over the Galaxy Tab. And you know what? That detail alone really makes this discussion amusing. In an attempt to show how iPad like a Star Trek PADD is, a screengrab of a prop that would fail ALL of Apple's objections to the Tab is presented to us!

The silliness of this doesn't stop here. That app we see running on Sisko's PADD is what makes this reference come up. Most of the time we see a PADD on Star Trek, besides not physically looking at all like an iPad, the actors we see using it aren't tapping on the screen with their finger, they're tapping at buttons at the bottom of it or using a stylus! If 15 seconds of Star Trek canon were erased this discussion would be over before it began!!

*Sigh*. Shame on me for being an obsessed Star Trek fan who also owns an iPad. That makes me a loser. I accept that. However, type 'PADD' into Google Image Search and see for yourself.

Re:I'm actually ok with this (1)

fast turtle (1118037) | more than 2 years ago | (#38911319)

The funniest thing is, that the designers of the TNG Pads and Graphics now work for Apple.

Re:I'm actually ok with this (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#38911385)

Oh? Do you have some specific info on that? I know some of the illustrators from the various shows and they're all working on movies...

Re:I'm actually ok with this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38910869)

This one [laweekly.com] is virtually indistinguishable from an ipad.

Re:I'm actually ok with this (0)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#38907883)

except that hollywood copied the padd idea from the tablet concept that had been around a lot longer

Re:I'm actually ok with this (5, Insightful)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about 2 years ago | (#38907919)

if I had to choose between iOS and LCARS I'd take iOS.

Ever look at an LCARS interface? jesus, who designed this? Space aliens? Oh wait...

Re:I'm actually ok with this (2)

Megane (129182) | about 2 years ago | (#38908543)

Isn't LCARS where Microsoft got their Metro [google.com] design from?

Re:I'm actually ok with this (1)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38913751)

I wish.

Things which LCARS had which don't seem to be showing up in graphical interfaces:

  - customizable / auto-configuring button / command layouts
  - chording where one can press multiple on-screen buttons at once to activate complex commands quickly
  - easy / automatic sub-division of the screen to allow for multiple applications to be running while preserving state of those already in place and no sense of a need to switch from one to another (no click to focus --- tapping a button on an app on-screen should perform the function of the button --- this is one of the things which Mac OS X changed from NeXTstep which wastes a lot of my time at work)

William

Somebody please... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38907769)

Please put that awful website out of its misery. Slashdot it, take an axe to the servers, email how-to documents to its perpetrator ( rhondamazurek@gmail.com ), I don't care! Get it out of my eyes!

Re:Somebody please... (1)

twmcneil (942300) | about 2 years ago | (#38907859)

It's the old GeoCities look, very retro. To go with their nearly 50 year old automobile modification packages.

Re:Somebody please... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38907925)

+1

Re:Somebody please... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38908423)

View source and check out the keywords. They are amazing:

Batmobile Replicas,1966 batmobile replica,1989 batmobile replica, 89 batmobile, fiberglass freaks, batmobiles, batman cars, batcar, gotham garage, batmobile replica forum, batman automobiles, batmobile, chicks love the car, 66 Batmobile, 1966 Batmobile, 1989 batmobile, Magichouse, logansport, Indiana, Racop, Sandburg, Barris, batmobile, George, replica, Fiberglass, Freaks, batparts, batman, indiana, parts, bat, futura, lincoln, 1966, mark, builder, kits, butts, buybatparts, beacon, radir, fiberglassfreaks@yahoo.com, www.buybatparts.com

Re:Somebody please... (2)

game kid (805301) | about 2 years ago | (#38908461)

I was about to dismiss that with a "You make a better one then." or even a "As if Web 2.0 is an improvement!?".

Then I noticed the lack of alt text, but for a site meter image that's tagged with an alt of...Site Meter. Travesty confirmed.

Re:Somebody please... (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 2 years ago | (#38911189)

It is pretty bad but are all the sites that use CMSs and all look more or less like WordPress really any better?

Re:Somebody please... (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38910157)

Now come on, they are car mechanics not webdesigners.

Surviving dismissal motion != prevailing (5, Informative)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 2 years ago | (#38907827)

DC Comics has withstood the defendant's motion to dismiss. The judge has not sided with them on any merits of their claims; he has merely said they have enough of a legal basis to proceed with their lawsuit. DC has not won yet.

Re:Surviving dismissal motion != prevailing (0)

Dyinobal (1427207) | about 2 years ago | (#38907847)

Lets hope they don't. A case like this can have far reaching implications, if they side with DC in this.

Re:Surviving dismissal motion != prevailing (1)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#38907899)

take a look at the facebook page, DC will win

Re:Surviving dismissal motion != prevailing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38909891)

Thank you! As soon as I saw the phrase "pleads sufficient facts," I knew that all this was was getting past the "shall we laugh you out of court or not" opening phase of the case. People really need to stop treating 12(b)(6) motions like victory.

From DC Comics (1)

getto man d (619850) | about 2 years ago | (#38907839)

Memo to Mark Towle: Na na na na na na na na...

This is /. telling you (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 years ago | (#38907841)

About the pending Appeal to this case.

DC comics has better things to do than sue kit-car makers. Not as if DC is competing in this arena.

He was always going to loose (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38907881)

The "useful articles" clause isn't meant to be used as an end run on the law. It's why you'll get nailed trying to sell t-shirts of licensed characters. Hey but they are "useful articles" wink, wink, nudge, nudge. He made a business piggybacking off some one else's designs. I think he may have been fine if he designed his own take on a bat mobile but he was selling outright replicas.

Re:He was always going to loose (2)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 2 years ago | (#38908767)

The image on a T-shirt has no discernible affect on the function of a t-shirt. A batmobile will drive significantly differently than the car before the mods.

Also, copyright law is one of the most distorted laws we have, however it's distorted far, far more in the favor of rightsholders. Copyright is only supposed to cover expressions, so the batmobile should not be covered by copyright at all, just a particular drawing or verbal description of it.

Not fair (5, Insightful)

Droog57 (2516452) | about 2 years ago | (#38907895)

I can see this being a problem for a mass-produced replica or knock-off toys, but the kind of buyer for this product does not have any other choice than to get one custom made. If I remember correctly the original was a one off by George Barris, and the Gotham Garage website hails a Munster Mobile, with apparently no issues there. If someone wants to plunk down (presumably) big bucks to fulfill a childhood dream, they should be able to. This is copyright gone too far.

Re:Not fair (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38908015)

If someone wants to plunk down big bucks to fulfill a childhood dream, perhaps they should send a few of those bucks to the person who created their 'dream' in the first place. This is entitlement gone too far.

I would, but Bill Finger and Bob Kane are dead. (5, Interesting)

Lanboy (261506) | about 2 years ago | (#38908549)

Since the Batmobile debuted in 1941, using the copyright rules in effect of the times, the name would be public domain since 1991. Since our congressmen are apparently paid by Disney, this date was pushed to 2011 and now 2031. Let us try to guess how much in royalties the descendants of the creators of the name Batmobile will get. Lets see... Oh yes they will get ditkuss.

Bill Finger probably made a total of 50K off of batman his whole goddamn life. So I am not crying for DC here.

Re:I would, but Bill Finger and Bob Kane are dead. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38911285)

"Oh yes they will get ditkuss..."

I think you meant bupkiss. There's no "correct" spelling of Yiddish words in English, since it's transliterating from a completely different alphabet, but the word (meaning "zilch" as in nothing) doesn't sound anything like what you spelled.

Re:I would, but Bill Finger and Bob Kane are dead. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38912693)

Yiddish...Yaddish.... We all know what he meant, he's getting Jewed.

Re:Not fair (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38913433)

Again with the broken record, the entitlement ad hominem works both ways. You could say people who oppose copyright are just thieves who want stuff for free, but you could also say that people who support copyright are lazy pricks who want to get paid for doing nothing. See how pointless it is?

Re:Not fair (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about 2 years ago | (#38908023)

A good portion of the revenue of these companies comes from licensing merchandise. Of course they will try to enforce their copyrights. The question here is that if copyright is strong enough to be a basis of a claim on a car design, these stuff are usually protected by design patents.

Re:Not fair (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38908075)

"If I remember correctly the original was a one off by George Barris"

Four were built. Three fiberglass copies and one from the prototype Lincoln Futura.
http://www.1966batmobile.com/replica.htm [1966batmobile.com]

Re:Not fair (1)

Migraineman (632203) | about 2 years ago | (#38908187)

The Gotham Garage guys need to sell Ford Futura upgrade kits and accessories. Also, tailfins and noses for your mid-90's Corvette.

"Any resemblance to DC Comics vehicles is purely coincidental."

Re:Not fair (1, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | about 2 years ago | (#38908541)

If someone wants to plunk down (presumably) big bucks to fulfill a childhood dream, they should be able to.

Does their childhood dream actually involve having someone else rip off the artist who created the thing about which they've been dreaming? Do they think that the Batmobile they're lusting for was some sort of natural resource that just sprang into existence? Or does the particular design they have in mind perhaps have, you know, a designer who invested the time in making it dream-worthy in the first place?

I can see this being a problem for a mass-produced replica or knock-off toys, but the kind of buyer for this product does not have any other choice than to get one custom made.

So, basically, you've got non-scalable, situational ethics. That's got to be really hard to keep track of.

Re:Not fair (1)

lgw (121541) | about 2 years ago | (#38908959)

Does their childhood dream actually involve having someone else rip off the artist who created the thing about which they've been dreaming? Do they think that the Batmobile they're lusting for was some sort of natural resource that just sprang into existence? Or does the particular design they have in mind perhaps have, you know, a designer who invested the time in making it dream-worthy in the first place?

Do you believe a single penny of licensing fees would go to the designer? Because that's pretty much your whole rant.

Re:Not fair (1)

NormalVisual (565491) | about 2 years ago | (#38909903)

Does their childhood dream actually involve having someone else rip off the artist who created the thing about which they've been dreaming

George Barris has already been well paid for his original work in designing the original car for a specific purpose. Also, according to your logic, Barris should be continuing to pay Ford/Ghia licensing fees for the rights to continue making money from the Futura's design instead of "ripping off the artist" that created it. How much of the replica merchant's licensing fees should actually go to Ford/Ghia, and how much to Barris? After all, the original Futura design is clearly recognizable as the fundamental basis for the '66 Batmobile's shape, and IMO contributes more to the "Batmobile-ness" of the car than anything else.

Situational ethics, indeed.

Every publicly traded company is for sale (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38911089)

It's not like the company that owns copyright in the Batmobile's appearance is privately held. One can always in theory buy a controlling interest in the company, even if the price is $19 billion (half the market capitalization of Wayne En, um, TWX) and thus more than any individual is willing to pay.

Fan Props too? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38907945)

How will this ruling be applied to Fan made props. There are many how's on replicating Star Trek props (http://www.instructables.com/id/how-to-make-a-wooden-phaser/). Does this ruling now stop me from making them? Selling them at a convention? How much would replica need to differ to bypass this? This really seems ripe for abuse.
 

Re:Fan Props too? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | about 2 years ago | (#38908097)

Just think of the money the studios could make off everyone at ComicCon.

Re:Fan Props too? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38908387)

Won't be applied to Fans made stuff if they are made for them own use (i.e. not resale) that's the point of this lawsuit.

Re:Fan Props too? (1)

Mage66 (732291) | about 2 years ago | (#38908909)

Paramount served every maker of replica Star Trek Props with Cease and Desist orders in the mid 90's.

Even Richard Coyle who was negotiating in good faith for a license, and Paramount denied. Richard made many of the props used in the Star Trek movies.

Today, fans can make their own replicas. There are several companies with licenses to make replica props.

And there are still several garage kit companies selling kits of various qualities and accuracy that just fly under the radar.

Re:Fan Props too? (1)

PortHaven (242123) | about 2 years ago | (#38909321)

How ironic...

Paramount sued all the related Star Trek material.And then the franchise died.

This is what executive's don't understand.

Re:Fan Props too? (1)

Mage66 (732291) | about 2 years ago | (#38909665)

You're exaggerating. Paramount did "sue" ALL the producers of fan made merchandise

A "Cease and Desist" letter isn't a lawsuit.

And Star Trek is far from dead. The sequel to the 2009 movie is currently filming, and several fan based shows are in production.

Star Trek: Phase II is about to release "The Child." Based on a script written for the aborted second series in 1979. The script was adapted for a TNG episode, but this will be as originally conceived and directed by Jon Povil who wrote it.

Re:Fan Props too? (1)

Mage66 (732291) | about 2 years ago | (#38909717)

That should be "didn't sue".

Re:Fan Props too? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 2 years ago | (#38911229)

?????
Star Trek dead?
I bet the author of that post lives in the evil bearded universe.
Star Trek seems alive and well here.

Don't fuck with the Batman. (1, Funny)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about 2 years ago | (#38907949)

If all he got was a lawsuit, count himself lucky...

Re:Don't fuck with the Batman. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38911559)

Batman VS Chuck Norris.... Now taking bets on the victor!

Re:Don't fuck with the Batman. (1)

blindseer (891256) | more than 2 years ago | (#38912541)

No need to take bets, we already know who wins.

Mr. Rogers [newgrounds.com]

useful article (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38908089)

From the order, "Defendant's argument, however, 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."

If you really think this through, the fender of the car cannot be separated from the car as a stand-alone work -- the same for the hood, the driver's seat, the steering wheel, and so on. The only thing that could really be separated from the car as a stand-alone work is the bat emblem. Should this guy really pay DC Comics 150k because he drew the sihoulette of a bat on a car?

Obligatory XKCD (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38908205)

Sue Sue Sue (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38908293)

Doesn't this mean that all the automobile companies can now sue DC comics for drawing pictures of their cars?

Re:Sue Sue Sue (1)

PortHaven (242123) | about 2 years ago | (#38909359)

And B.C. comics can sue the auto-makers for use of the invention of the wheel.

IP leads to perpetual lawsuits.

Copyright protects the expression not the idea (3, Interesting)

kawabago (551139) | about 2 years ago | (#38908357)

You can't create a graphic novel with the same drawings of the same vehicle, that would be copyright infringement. Copyright does not extend to real world articles, that would mean copyrights have become patents, which protect ideas. Making a real world replica of a graphic novel image does not affect income from the graphic novel in any way except to increase it's visibility and thus it's value. Ideas were specifically not protected by copyright so people could use the ideas in exactly this way to create more art and more wealth for everyone.

Re:Copyright protects the expression not the idea (1)

sabt-pestnu (967671) | about 2 years ago | (#38908811)

If I had moderator points, I'd mod you up. This is definitely a transformative use [wikipedia.org] of the copyrighted material, and thus under Fair Use.

Re:Copyright protects the expression not the idea (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#38910221)

Copyright does not extend to real world articles, that would mean copyrights have become patents, which protect ideas.

Before you rant - you really should read up on patents - try this link [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Copyright protects the expression not the idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38912477)

that's all fine and good, but as far as i know, the maximum term for a patent is 20 years, non-renewable. meaning any design patents, which have to be filed for (aren't automatic like copyrights) should have expired by now.

It would be too annoying going thru the checklist (1)

Lanboy (261506) | about 2 years ago | (#38908595)

Every time I wanted to go to the 7-11 it would be 5 minutes of...

Atomic batteries to power.
- Check
Turbines to speed.
- Check

Re:It would be too annoying going thru the checkli (1)

Grygus (1143095) | about 2 years ago | (#38910001)

If you can't take the Rolls or send your manservant then you're not really committed to the idea.

If... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38908697)

If DC Comics isn't selling replicas of the Batmobile, and if DC Comis isn't selling licenses to produce the Batmobile, then...

Why shouldn't someone be able to create their own? If someone abandons their intellectual property, then why shouldn't businesses be able to rip that idea off after a sufficient number of years has passed?

Seriously, if the rights owner doesn't wish to persue selling it or licensing the right to produce it, then why shouldn't businesses be able to jump right in (after a sufficient number of years has passed) and start making whatever it is? Because if it ends up abandoned, then it's of no use to anyone!

Re:If... (1)

aamcf (651492) | more than 2 years ago | (#38912683)

"Seriously, if the rights owner doesn't wish to persue selling it or licensing the right to produce it, then why shouldn't businesses be able to jump right in (after a sufficient number of years has passed) and start making whatever it is? Because if it ends up abandoned, then it's of no use to anyone!"

Because there can be many reasons for not wanting something reproduced, and just because someone doesn't want to sell or license something they have created doesn't mean they have abandoned it.

I've written short stories that I wouldn't want anyone to reproduce, even if I was well paid, largely because reproduction in the wrong context (or, worse, any form of merchandising) would change the meaning of the story.

Re:If... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38914223)

Let me clarify. This should probably be limited to useful articles as defined in http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl103.html [copyright.gov] . That is, if the rights holder has no intention on producing or selling licenses to make such and such item, then perhaps after a sufficient number of years (I say 7 years) it should become fair use to produce those items most personal uses.

Re:If... (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#38913565)

Who says DC Comics have abandoned their intellectual property? It seems to me this case proves quite the contrary. Anyway, if they don't want to build Batmobiles themselves (being a comic company and everything) that doesn't give anyone else the right to do so using their designs and making money out of them. This is not the same situation as someone downloading a film at home for their own use.

Cars? (2)

Bucky24 (1943328) | about 2 years ago | (#38908715)

"Although, generally copyright law does not apply to "useful articles" such as autos."

So we can download a car, if we really want to.

Re:Cars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38908793)

If we assume the metal-carving 3d printer that was linked a while ago can do steel, just get one of those, 1 ton of steel cubes, 1 ton of aluminum cubes, 1 ton of opaque plastic cubes, and some properly shaped automotive glass. Over 2/3 of each material will be (potentially reclaimable) dust under the carving chamber, and it will take weeks to carve and a few more weeks to assemble, but you just successfully downloaded a car!

Similar Cobra lawsuit, but FactoryFive won (3, Interesting)

PhinMak (630548) | about 2 years ago | (#38908817)

Factory Five [factoryfive.com] makes Shelby Cobra replicas. Carroll Shelby sued to get them to stop in 2000. He lost. He tried again recently for the coupe version. Lost again, with predjudice. Only major change I'm aware of as a consumer is that FactoryFive can't use the term "Cobra" to describe their product. Here's their celebratory press release. [factoryfive.com]

Seems like Gothem Garage should review this case and maybe change their advertising.

Towle doesn't have a license... (1)

Mage66 (732291) | about 2 years ago | (#38908839)

DC Comics licensed one guy named Mark Racop to build these cars.

Mark Towle however, made the prototype for the licensed Speed Racer Mach V that was sold some time back (based on a Corvette chassis.)

Mark Towle does great work, his cars are really top notch!

But, unfortunately DC Comics believes there's only room for one licensee for Batmobiles in the market.

Making replica Futuras would be a great idea. But, that would be a very tiny market, even compared with Batmobiles.

Towle does good work, many famous people own his cars.

I really hope DC plans to release a Batmobile (1)

UltimaBuddy (2566017) | about 2 years ago | (#38908995)

You know, I don't see DC Comics offering a life-size Batmobile replica.... yet. If they had plans to, this would be a wise exercise of their copyright.
Hope springs eternal.
However, this lawsuit seems to be the result of "intellectual property holders" being goons.

From their forum (1)

David89 (2022710) | about 2 years ago | (#38909535)

Batrodz llc. now has confirmation that we are US Patent pending on our hand sculpted '66 Gotham Roadster design. The hardest part is getting the application accepted. We have crossed that bridge, and our patent is pending approval. Thanks to good friends with powerful lawyers, They got my application, declaration, design illustrations, and filing fees accepted by the us patent & trademark office. We were also able to get a unique design trademark classification code 12 (vehicles) that certificate has been issued to Batrodz llc. Some people need to realize, don't mess with the bull, or you'll get the horns.

So I can buy these from DC comics then? (4, Insightful)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 2 years ago | (#38909825)

This is where the whole idea of copyright goes to shit. I'd be totally behind the content owner if they were in direct competition with the garage, i.e. DC Comics also sold car modification kits.

I can see how piracy could lead to lost sales.
I can see how creating duplicate products can lead to lost sales.

What I can also see is the net end result here won't bring in any money for DC Comics, doesn't affect sales, and removes a product people were buying without any alternatives.

Re:So I can buy these from DC comics then? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#38913525)

I can see how piracy could lead to lost sales.

I can see how creating duplicate products can lead to lost sales.

You're not allowed to say things like that here, everyone will call you a shill for the MAFIA or something.

Load of Crap (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 2 years ago | (#38910655)

What a load of crap. It's not as though the sales of this Batmobile are cutting into the profits of DC Comics Batmobile sales. If anything, it helps spur interest in the franchise to see one of these tooling down the street. This just makes me hate DC.

Re:Load of Crap (1)

Mage66 (732291) | more than 2 years ago | (#38912025)

Since there IS a licensed Batmobile maker, your post is wrong.

http://www.fiberglassfreaks.com/ [fiberglassfreaks.com]

There is a limited market for Batmobile replicas. And every car Towle sells means one less sale by the licensee.

So yes, DC is being damaged. They lose the per-car licensing fee from each car sold by a non-licensee.

Re:Load of Crap (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#38913513)

Yeah, but copyright violation's not like stealing a car.

Re:Load of Crap (1)

Mage66 (732291) | more than 2 years ago | (#38913581)

To DC, it's stealing money. From them.

If you've never authored a work and had it pirated (I have and bought a copy of my work on eBay, expecting it to be a genuine copy and received a Xeroxed manual and a copied disk.), you don't know what it's like.

DC is within it's rights to enforce their copyright on the car. They have to, because after decades of wrangling, they got all the ownership issues sorted out and have been releasing toy cars and models.

In order to have a license to sell to toy and model companies, they have to defend it in all arenas.

Are they going to sure Justin Beiber (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | more than 2 years ago | (#38911019)

Over his "Batmobile" Cadillac?
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