Section I of this Note presents the history and purpose of copyright law by giving a brief background of its origin. It discusses how courts have since expanded copyright coverage to individual fictional characters, and chronicles the various challenges faced in applying the law. Section I also provides relevant facts and procedural history for the case.
Section II examines the Ninth Circuit’s discussion and holding. Section III discusses the inherent limitations of the three-part test used in the decision. It explains the importance of rejecting categorical protection and analyzing copyright for all fictional characters on a case-by-case basis. Section III also suggests three additional factors the court should consider when evaluating such issues.
Finally, Section IV concludes that although the Ninth Circuit reached the appropriate result with regards to the Batmobile, the presented factors would better guide future courts to consistent and fair decisions.
DC Comics v. Towle: To the Batmobile!: Which Fictional Characters Deserve Protection Under Copyright Law, 47 Golden Gate U. L. Rev. 5