Intellectual Property

He's Fought the Penguin, Now He's Got to Take on Turkey


Riddle me this, caped crusaders: Why is a southeastern Turkish oil burg like a fictional orphaned vigilante with a flying rodent fetish?

In a disturbingly Boratesque move, the mayor of the Turkish city of Batman is, according to this Variety cover story, planning to sue filmmaker Christopher Nolan and Warner Bros. over, well, having a very lucrative film and publishing franchise based on a cowled crimefighter named, as you might recall, Batman. Mayor Huseyin Kalkan, in some indefinable way, thinks this infringes on his city's right to, as near as I can tell, get lots of free money from a very lucrative film and publishing franchise.

One wonders about this story, which seems to have come to Variety's reporter straight from the ranting politico Kalkan himself; Warner spokesperson claims they have not yet seen any actual legal papers on this suit. Foreign policy bonus: Kalkan is pro-Kurd! For some reason, I just see this whole silly mess as another argument for anarchism. But that might just be me.

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  1. As a card-carrying geek, I feel I should have some excellent snark for this, but I got nothin’.

    I dunno… how about, “Holy tort reform, Batman!”

    And shouldn’t Variety’s headline have the words “bam!” and “pow!” in it? In journalism school, I was taught to use those in the headlines for every story dealing with comic books.

    Will Turkey gobble up the Caped Crusader’s box-office profits? Tune in for the next exciting episode… same Bat Time, same Bat Channel.

  2. Somewhere, I believe there are legal papers executed by the creator of Batman and/or his legal assignees, declaring the character and related intellectual property as being original works, and indemnifying movie option holders against any copyright or trademark infringement.

    You writers and publishers out in the crowd — don’t you think such things must exist?

    Somewhere along the way to becoming big business, wouldn’t it have been proper due dilligence on the part of — say, Warner Communications, back in the day — to verify the claims of originality and indemnification before assuming them? If not Warner, then AOL/TimeWarner? Viacom? Somebody?

    Anyway, it seems to me that the maximum award that the town of Batman could fairly claim is from profits generated within Turkey or the region where the longer-established Batman is a household name. Anywhere it is news that there actually exists a town of Batman, the damages argument doesn’t seem to hold water, and of course I think the suit is frivolous even in the region that knew “Batman” before Bob Kane was in diapers. But that’s probably up to a Turkish-speaking judge, and certainly not me, to decide.

    What’s coming next? Will the town of Metropolis IL sue CW Television for misrepresenting it in “Smallville”?

    (Factoid I am happy to propagate: The town of Smallville is played in the TV series by the British Columbian town of Merritt. I’ve never been there, but I’m planning to go one of these days. I hear they put on a hell of a “CW” festival — as in “Country-Western” music, not young-demographic TV. 😉

  3. a city named batman, how awsome.
    what would the people there be called?
    batmanians? batmanordians? batmananites?

  4. what would the people there be called?
    batmanians? batmanordians? batmananites?


  5. great leap forward.

    Bush should raise this as a victory after 8 years of foreign policy blunders.

    “They’re either with us, or they’re against the lawyers! And by that, I mean, they’re not with us. Which I can’t abide by. But we’ve been successful in disuading them from using violence to resolve their violence. So they must be commended for that. Which, I think it’s fair to say, is a positive step forward. And I’d like to thank our armed forces for that.”

  6. I hope the judge throws this out on the fact that they aren’t even pronounced the same way, the “a” in Turkish is much lower and it’s a back vowel.

    For the real answer to Chris’ question, the people of the city are called “Batmanli” in the singular and “Batmanlilar” in the plural. The “i” is pronounced as a schwa.

    On a side note, the Turks are still pissed about the crap English name that their country got. I don’t really blame them.

  7. typical turkish manners…ignore everything in the world and take what you want by whatever means–no matter how ridiculous they seem

  8. On a not-really-related note:

    My friend who recently moved back to Turkey after college in the US was a huge Smallville fan. But he is from northwestern Turkey, and hates the Kurds. Go figure.

  9. to quibble, bats aren’t rodents

  10. na na na na na na na na na na na

    Free money!


  11. Next up: a boom town hier and a sore loser hier.

  12. anarch –

    and hier (although this moose wonders what kind of activity the note below the town’s sign is for. aw, heck, it’s all some sort of “verkehr”, anyways)

  13. Nice, VM! Is that lower appendage always up, or is it a, uh, wie man sagt, drop-down menu?

  14. Nicht so schnell, VM – fur der kinder!

    Also, just for the record, that was a different penguin referenced in the headline.

  15. anarch – not to steal Moose’s thunder, but the lower sign (if it’s the same one I’ve seen) has a drawing of two children on it. “Not so fast – for the children.” I’d like to think they’re talking about driving…

    The town of Fucking, Austria has had problems with theft of it’s signs. Can you imagine?

  16. Silly Penguin, of course it’s for the children. That’s why it’s called the reproductive system.

  17. True story: I once saw in some NASA-related archives a late 1960s letter from an “Apollo Cleaners” of Karachi Pakistan accusing the space program of stealing their name.

  18. He’s Fought the Penguin

    See, when I saw this, I didn’t think Batman, I thought “Scott of the Antarctic”.

    “Listen, I gotta fight the li-on! That’s what that guy Scott’s all about! I know. I’ve studied him already!”

    “But why couldn’t you fight a penguin?”

    “It needn’t be a little penguin. It can be the biggest penguin you’ve ever seen. An electric penguin, twenty feet high, with long green tentacles that sting people, and you can stab it in the wings and the blood can go spurting psssssshhhh in slow motion.”

  19. Batman, Turkey only adopted the name because all the other towns in Turkey are a cowardly and superstitious lot.

  20. What does the name Batman, mean, anyway? If it means “psychologically scarred vigilante”, then maybe their claim has merit.

  21. Windtell, you’re gonna have to explain to us ignorant of linguistics what a “back vowel” is.

  22. VM, he asked Windtell, he didn’t ask you.

  23. Or James Joyce.

  24. Only a few onomatopoeias for farting contain back vowels.

  25. So when is the Town of Chevy Chase, Maryland, going to sue the actor for a share of his royalties?

  26. Incidentally, batman is a word that predates the Caped Crusader. It means “a [usu. British] soldier assigned to an officer as a servant.”

    More to the point, there’s a Turkish usage as well (besides the town):

    Bat”man\, n. [Turk. batman.] A weight used in the East, varying according to the locality; in Turkey, the greater batman is about 157 pounds, the lesser only a fourth of this; at Aleppo and Smyrna, the batman is 17 pounds. –Simmonds.

  27. SugarFree, the technical term for that is elision, or vowel-movement.

  28. they can avoid this problem by changing the town’s name to battyboy instead.

  29. anarch,

    I’ll be back in a minute. I have to go take a syncope.

  30. Sugar, I suspect your excuse is a feint.

  31. Jeebus, anarch! I’ll be out in an minute!

    Stupid cheese.

  32. Is Green Lantern available? That means “red stick” in Turkish.

  33. PL,

    When you become a Red Lantern, you vomit out all your blood so that it can be replaced with hate.

  34. SugarFree,

    That’s in English. In Turkish, it means “Our Mother”.

  35. I’m pretty sure my mom threw up all of her blood so it could be replaced with throwing things I did as a little kid in my face.

  36. “As some might recall…”
    No, I don’t remember any movie named after a Turkish city.

  37. Ankara is Turkish for “rat’s mouth”.

  38. Hogan,
    “to quibble, bats aren’t rodents”

    Right you are. Closer to flying foxes than anything else.

  39. Pro,
    “Bat”man, n. [Turk. batman.] A weight used in the East, varying according to the locality; in Turkey, the greater batman is about 157 pounds, the lesser only a fourth of this; at Aleppo and Smyrna, the batman is 17 pounds. –Simmonds.”

    157 pounds? My Batman can beat up your Batman any day.

  40. Having seen a Turkish movie (3 Mighty Men, or Captain America vs Spiderman (Santos is in this, as well)), and heard about others, I am surprised they have even heard of copyright infringement.

    Or maybe they are just trying to encourage others to make even more Batman movies?

  41. they can avoid this problem by changing the town’s name to battyboy instead.

    Until Buju shows up and starts bucking fools.

  42. If I lived there I would be known as Batmanuel!
    Although, there are a lot of Turks in Germany so maybe I’ll just stick to Der Fledermaus.

  43. Until Buju shows up and starts bucking fools.

    somehow i don’t see turkey as a popular destination point for jamaicans. who knows?

  44. “Ankara is Turkish for “rat’s mouth”.”

    That explains why it’s sister city is Boca Raton, FL.

  45. Did you know there’s a town in Poland called Adam West…

    Perhaps you’re heard their National Anthem

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