Batman, The City, Sues Over Batman, The Movie

from the seriously dept

Another day, another ridiculous intellectual property fight. Remember Lebanon claiming ownership over hummus? This is worse. Apparently, there's a city in Turkey named Batman. Guess what they're now claiming? You got it. They believe that the Batman movies are violating the rights to the name, and are threatening to sue Chris Nolan, who directed the last two Batman movies. Apparently the town is facing some financial difficulties, and a reporter jokingly (I hope) asked the mayor why he didn't sue over the name, and the mayor took it seriously.

Of course, beyond the sheer ridiculousness of it all, it's not clear why they're suing Chris Nolan, rather than DC Comics or Warner Bros., but that's apparently the plan. You have to believe that any actual lawsuit will get laughed out of court pretty quickly, but it is rather telling that a mayor would even consider such a lawsuit. That's what happens when you get people believing that "ownership" of names makes sense.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2008 @ 11:24am

    all I got to say is ......


    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!

    Next they will sue over Thanksgiving !

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Albert Nonymous, Nov 11th, 2008 @ 11:26am

    None of the above

    Nolan, DC Comics or Warner Bros? Nah.

    Bob Kane is the one that should be sued.

    No, wait. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology should be the real target. Look - the evidence is right here:

    http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O27-batman.html

    The world is going insane. In a handbasket.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Twinrova, Nov 11th, 2008 @ 11:36am

    Blame it on the water?

    This takes the whole IP issue to a new low.

    I would laugh my ass off if Butterball turns and sues the country for misleading consumers over the word "Turkey".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Adam, Nov 11th, 2008 @ 11:44am

    Re: None of the above

    Why so serious?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2008 @ 11:57am

    Holy Lawsuits Batman

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Rod MacPherson, Nov 11th, 2008 @ 11:59am

    Can't do that.

    Batman the movie (and comics, and cartoons) is made by Americans under US laws. In the USA you cannot copywrite a title. You could trademark the name Batman, but since I'm quite sure the town didn't ...and unless they are in the comicbook business... even that wouldn't work well.

    I think more than anything this is an attempt to get the town's name into the news and hopefully drum up some tourism.

    Even if there are conflicting laws in Turkey the best they could do is force WB to change the title for release in Turkey.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    chronos, Nov 11th, 2008 @ 12:00pm

    HAHAHAHA a town named Batman... what next, Mr. Freeze City??

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Kennith Perry, Nov 11th, 2008 @ 12:00pm

    So stupid

    What's next, suing Marvel over using Captain America?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    icon
    Trails (profile), Nov 11th, 2008 @ 12:00pm

    They already sued DC

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H%C3%BCseyin_Kalkan

    And DC apparently settled. This is the problem with settlements like that, it only encourages the morons.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    John, Nov 11th, 2008 @ 12:02pm

    I can't get turkey in Turkey?

    I would laugh my ass off if Butterball turns and sues the country for misleading consumers over the word "Turkey".

    Wait, are you saying that I can't get a good turkey sandwich in Turkey? Then why did they name their country that way? Geez! Talk about misleading.

    And I definitely won't visit that city since it obviously wasn't named after the comic-book hero! I'll go to DarkKnightTown instead!

    All joking aside, why doesn't the mayor take the opposite approach and start promoting the town of Batman as the hero's hometown? I'm sure the tourist money would be a lot more than they would get over a lawsuit.
    Sure, Time Warner (the people who own DC Comics, who own the Batman character) might sue, but they should worry about that when it happens.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Nov 11th, 2008 @ 12:16pm

    2 great things on Wikipedia about this:

    "On November 7th, 2008, Batman Mayor Hüseyin Kalkan began looking into legal possibilities toward suing Chris Nolan, director of Batman Begins and the Dark Knight for naming infringement. Mr. Kalkan is quoted as receiving the idea from foreign columnists who asked why he did not sue for money while his town struggled with economic trouble.[4]"

    So... "I'm not making enough money by legit means, let's try some frivolous lawsuits". As silly as this is, nice to see WB and their ilk getting some payback after so many attempts to sue fans and customers. Also:

    "Batman (short for Batı Raman Mountains[citation needed]) is the provincial capital of Batman Province, Turkey,"

    In other words, the town's not really called Batman to begin with! Fantastic...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    mobiGeek, Nov 11th, 2008 @ 12:22pm

    Re:

    Actually, Mexico should sue Turkiye for trademark infringement. Turkeys are a North American bird.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    eleete, Nov 11th, 2008 @ 12:23pm

    RIAA

    Are there any cities in Turkey called RIAA or MPAA ? That would be quite nice.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2008 @ 12:54pm

    Re: They already sued DC

    Ah.. time to beef up the ol' terrorism fund again...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    paul, Nov 11th, 2008 @ 1:57pm

    Moron in a hurry?

    Could a moron in a hurry tell the difference between a superhero and a city?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Yakko Warner, Nov 11th, 2008 @ 2:06pm

    Re: I can't get turkey in Turkey?

    We won't talk about my failed lunch excursion to Hamburg...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Yakko Warner, Nov 11th, 2008 @ 2:07pm

    Re: So stupid

    *facepalm*

    Suddenly, the funding for the mortgage bailout becomes obvious!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Blah, Nov 11th, 2008 @ 2:28pm

    Re: They already sued DC

    Holy crap Lawsuits support terrorism!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Matt, Nov 11th, 2008 @ 3:09pm

    Get preemptive

    How about suing the town first?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Robert Holtz, Nov 11th, 2008 @ 3:32pm

    Bunch of Turkeys

    As of when does a foreign city name have rights over an multi-decade old internationally registered trademark? The case will be thrown out for the simple reason that Nolan makes no claims on the mark; he isn't even legally the user of the mark. But most importantly, the Turks are acting with profound stupidity. Ownership of names DOES make sense. This case only proves it. Assuming PaulT's remarks are correct, the town needs to revert back to "Batı Raman" or devise a new name that will not be confused with the world-renowned registered trademark. To Adam, I gotta say your one-line comment made me fall out of my chair laughing. Most apropos. Thank you for that. ^^

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Rick, Nov 11th, 2008 @ 4:30pm

    Should Cadillac, Michigan (an actual city) sue Ford for making Cadillac cars?
    The city was there long before Ford...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 11th, 2008 @ 7:40pm

    Re:

    Cadillac is made by Ford ?

    That's news to me

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    RD, Nov 11th, 2008 @ 8:10pm

    Idiots

    IS it any wonder no one takes people from that part of the world seriously? I mean, really, sue Chris Nolan? He was hired to make the movie, he doesnt OWN Batman. Not to mention they have no jurisdiction on something like this anyway. Fricking douchebags, go back to the caves and leave intelligent people alone.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Turkey Jerky, Nov 11th, 2008 @ 8:27pm

    To the Batcave Robin

    Are there any caves near by ?
    Oh, and how far is it from Batman to Robin ?
    I heard these two cities are so good at crime fighting that they are called the dynamic duo.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Craig, Nov 11th, 2008 @ 9:57pm

    On

    Seems to me I recall seeing Billy Joel's name on a CD some years back as Billy Joel or something like that. This was long before the interweb was invented by the US V-P, Al Gore...[cough]

    Anyone else see that? I was always curious why he did that. Did he think someone else would have a music career and decide to call themselves that?

    I dunno. Maybe I just imagined the whole thing...the 80s were REALLY good to me...[grin]

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Craig, Nov 11th, 2008 @ 9:59pm

    On owning a name...

    For whatever reason my previous comment lost part of the title, probably because I used quotation marks...also, the Billy Joel? in the preview was Billy Joel(TM)...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Michelle McCormack, Nov 12th, 2008 @ 2:59am

    Batman

    They're on the map now thanks to the publicity, so maybe this was a shrewd promotional strategy by the crafty mayor.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    icon
    Crabby (profile), Nov 12th, 2008 @ 11:53am

    Re: Blame it on the water?

    Ha ha! Wouldn't that be great? "Baste" them in their own judicial juices!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    JeffnDallas, Nov 13th, 2008 @ 8:36am

    Holy Tourism, Batman!

    I have GOT to believe this town has also been the "beneficiary" of a nice bit of tourism, due to their name. So, unless they can prove damages vs. profit, this case should be laughed out of any court where it might see the light of day.

    For a town named "Batman," their mayor seems quite a JOKER!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Squirrel, Nov 13th, 2008 @ 3:09pm

    Bad idea

    So.... Here's a question:
    Why is Batman city suing?
    Why hasn't Batcave, North Carolina (an actual city) sued?
    What about Batcave, New Mexico?
    The batcave nightculb in london?
    Batcave National Park?
    The batman highway in Australia?

    Real places, folks. Were I the mayor of a city that seems lousy (high unsolved crime and suicide rate), I would use the movies, comics, etc. to try to promote the city in a way that would not eventually bankrupt me and not force me to eventually change the name of the city and keep my job.
    Bob Kane owns Batman. He died in 1998. If I remember correctly, he still owns it until 50 years of being dead. If I also remember correctly, you can't sue a dead person... Nolan would easily win the lawsuit. I'm no lawyer, but I have the strangest feeling that the fact Nolan made a movie has nothing to do with a high crime and suicide rate.
    So.... this city, I think, is really going to suffer...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This