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.

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Comments on “Batman, The City, Sues Over Batman, The Movie”

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Rod MacPherson says:

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.

John (profile) says:

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.

PaulT (profile) says:

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…

Robert Holtz (user link) says:

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. ^^

Craig says:


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]

Squirrel says:

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…

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