Newswire: Judges rule that the Batmobile belongs to DC in beautifully nerdy opinion

While you may be able to sing “Happy Birthday” with impunity now that a judge has rendered the song’s copyright invalid, you still can’t hum the 25-note tune from behind the wheel of your custom-made, screen-accurate 1966 Batmobile. Variety reports that three judges on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals have ruled that the Batmobile is a “unique and highly recognizable” character in its own right, and is therefore subject to copyright.

The decision comes after Mark Towle—a mechanic who was sued by DC Comics in 2011 for selling replicas of the Batmobile, both from the 1966 TV series and 1989 movie, for $90,000 a pop—challenged the suit. That led to a nuanced and probably very dorky discussion of the history of characters in entertainment and of the Batmobile itself, which is discussed in the court’s opinion with a level of detail rarely seen …

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