Batman Sues Batman

A city in Turkey says it claimed the name ''Batman'' first!
As Yahoo's GINA SERPE put it, Batman has "entered Bizarro World."

The mayor of an oil-producing Turkish city is filing suit against The Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan and Warner Brothers for a "share" of the royalties from the mega-blockbuster film, reports Variety's ALI JAAFAR.

Why? Because the movie's producers used the name of the city--BATMAN--without permission.

"The royalty of the name ‘Batman’ belongs to us … There is only one Batman in the world," Mayor Huseyin Kalkan told to the Dogan news agency. "The American producers used the name of our city without informing us."

Also known as Êlih or Iluh in Kurdish, Batman (short for Bati Raman Mountains) is a centuries-old city but became significant only at the end of 1940s when oil was found in the region. It shares its name with the province and river.

Kalkan plans to lay a docket-full of charges Nolan and copyright holder Warner, including culpability for multiple unsolved murders and a high female suicide rate--the result, he said, of the psychological impact of the comic-based film's smashing success on the citizens of Batman.

The mayor claims to have evidence showing that the city grabbed the Batman name before artist Bob Kane gave it to his caped crusader for 1939's Detective Comics #27.

"Everyone knows that when young Bruce Wayne was casting about for an idea, something to haunt Gotham's criminals, he looked at his map of Turkey for a name," commented Cinematical's ELISABETH RAPPE snarkily. "It didn't actually have anything to do with, you know, dressing up like a man-bat."

Kalkan has not explained why the town never brought up this issue in the last 70 years, with innumerable comic books, two movie serials, two live-action TV shows, six feature films, multiple animated series and a warehouse-full of merchandising to remind them. However, a columnist did ask the mayor last year why he did not sue for royalties, since his city was struggling with economic problems.

"We found this criticism right and started to look for legal possibilities of a case like that," Kalkan said recently.

Although the mayor has rejected allegations about former residents facing difficulties in registering their businesses abroad, local newspaper Batman Çagdas this week reported the specific case of Safii Dag, formerly of Batman and now living in Wesel, Germany.

"I named my two restaurants Batman," Dag said. "But six months ago, a team of employees from the production company of the movie Batman made me change the title. Telling them that Batman was the name of my hometown did not change anything."

Occurences such as this one have led the municipality to think about royalty rights.

But the name of a local region cannot be registered as a brand name, said lawyer Vehbi Kahveci, head of the Intellectual and Industrial Property Rights Commission of the Istanbul Bar. As he bluntly put it, the Batman Municipality missed the period in which they could object to the registration of DC Comics' superhero, whose image is registered worldwide.

As they say, the early bat gets the worm.

[Thanks to Hürriyet Daily News and to Wikipedia.]
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