Bizarre Lawsuit: Batman, Turkey vs. Batman, the Movie
After commenting on serious issues all year long, I would like to present a rather amusing topic this week, hoping to bring a good cheer to our readers’ hearts during this Christmas season.
Variety magazine and hundreds of media outlets worldwide reported last month that the mayor of Batman, a small city in southeastern Turkey, is planning to sue Christopher Nolan, the director of “The Dark Knight,” and Warner Brothers studios for royalties from the hugely profitable Batman movie.
Mayor Huseyin Kalkan accused the movie producers of using the city’s name without permission. He was quoted by Variety as saying: “There is only one Batman in the world. The American producers used the name of our city without informing us.”
Variety’s reporter Ali Jaafar wondered why it took the town of Batman “so many years to take legal action.” The reporter pointed out that “Batman first appeared as a comic book character in 1939 and the ‘Batman’ TV series started in 1966. Tim Burton’s first big screen rendition for Warner Brothers came out in 1989. Undoubtedly, the fact that ‘Dark Knight’ is about to pass the $1 billion mark … played a part in stirring the ire of the Turkish hamlet.”
Incredibly, Mayor Kalkan blamed the Batman movie “for a number of unresolved murders and a high female suicide rate” in his town. He attributed these problems to “the psychological impact that the film’s success has had on the city’s inhabitants.”
Natives of Batman have also encountered obstacles when attempting to register their businesses abroad, the mayor claimed. Batman’s local newspaper reported that former Batman resident Safii Dagh, currently living in the German city of Wesel, was prevented from using Batman as the name of his business. “I named my two restaurants Batman. But six months ago, a team of employees from the production company of the movie Batman made me change the title,” Dagh said.
Lawyer Vehbi Kahveci, head of the Intellectual and Industrial Property Rights Commission of the Istanbul Bar Association, stated that Batman and his image are registered trademarks all around the world. The Batman Municipality missed the deadline for objecting to the registration of Batman’s name as a superhero.
This bizarre lawsuit was also fodder for several derisive video postings on YouTube, google and Yahoo websites, generating hundreds of comments from viewers. Most comments were so offensive that YouTube had to delete them from its site.
The most hilarious video came from Comedy.com where a comedian named Rob Delaney, posing as a Public Relations spokesman for Warner Brothers, ridiculed the mayor of Batman and everything Turkish!
I have transcribed below Delaney’s comments, after removing the countless swear words. We would like to make fun of the silly lawsuit filed by the Mayor of Batman without insulting all Turks. Here is the cleansed version of the transcript:
“We will crush you, just like you did the Armenians one hundred years ago!
“Where were you in 1939 when Batman first appeared in comic books?
“Where were you in 1966 when Batman was a TV show?
“Oh, that’s right, you’re a backward third world country and you are just now finding out about Batman. How convenient! It just happens to be the same year our movie made more than your entire country did in the last decade.
“Don’t get me wrong. We think your name is hilarious! Batman, Turkey? Why don’t you sue turkeys while you’re at it? Why don’t you sue the ottoman in the living room of one of my several houses?
“You do not want to tangle with Warner Brothers, Turkey!
“Why don’t you stick to what you are good at, like oil wrestling, female weight lifting, and being a nation of gypsies?
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Warner Brothers will own you! I’m considering suing your town for making Batman slightly less awesome. Your land and women will be mine, Turkey! Consider yourself warned….”
Maybe the mayor of Batman is not that stupid after all! By announcing that he is planning to sue the producers of Batman, he has been able to generate free worldwide publicity for his obscure city. He is probably hoping that Batman fans will flock to his hometown, bringing with them enough cash to rejuvenate the local economy! A Batman city worker wisely observed: “We wouldn't have had better advertising for Batman, even if we had spent $1 million.”