Naked Batman! 5 facts we'd have to live with if Batman where public domain...


This happened.

The maximum duration of a copyright used to be 56 years.  As we've discussed, this means that everything made before 58 should have reasonably lapsed into the public domain. In Batman's case this means most of his most well known characters and concepts would be available for all to use, free of charge and free of litigation.

I have brought this matter up to fans, and many of them are concerned. They can't even picture a world where you can  go ahead and make your own Batman. As much grief as fans can give companies like DC, many think Batman is rather safe in DC/Warner's hands.

Here's 5 realities of a world where Batman is public Domain.

5) DC still owns real Batman.

Let's face it, guys. We're not talking about a riot where we go into DC's office and rob them of Batman. As the day the first Batman comic goes public domain, this is what you'll have to work with.

He just threw a man by the neck! "Regular Exercise" my ass.
It's gonna take you a couple of years to get to "Batman as we know him" today, and by then the character will already be far, far from that. You get no Batmobile. You get no Batgirl, or Batmite or  Bane. Not for a while.

Nobody still like Jason Todd.

This is Batman and his nu 52 era buddies, some of them with Wikia pages longer than the Bible. By the 2030s all Batman related Wikia pages will have more words than the Bible. You don't get that, not initially. You get the starter Batman: an orphan richboy who wants to punches criminal while dressed vaguely like a bat.

Under previous, you'd already get to adapt this.


DC needn't fear your Batman. Unless...



4)Your Batman might be better than  their Batman.

He's Nicholas Cage. He's awesomer than most things by default.


A lot of people I saw were afraid of "any old fanboys" having their  terrible ideas on Batman.  Can you imagine what that would look like?

I don't have to. Fans all over the world are currently engaged in writting stories about Batman meeting Fluttershy or something. Fanfiction is already a thing, a thing widespead enough that WB hasn't put any major efforts to stopping it. Maybe some of this stories might be good, or great. Maybe all of them stink. At least some of them involve Robocop and Batman having sex. Frankly I opt not to read them.  I can safely ignore them and so can you.

But consider Sandy Corolla. A skilled filmaker who once made a couple of fanfilms starring DC characters, and sometimes Predator and Alien. Everybody loved those fan films. Most of us would have given Corolla our money to see the full films. But WB owns Batman, and he couldn't have secured any financing for a full film except from WB, which already had plans for Batman. Under previous law, Corolla could have taken his skills towards actually making such films. He could have asked another studio to finance them. He could have taken it to kickstarter.
Where's my "realistic" body armor?

Instead he didn't. Let's face it, guys, not all the people who could make great Batman stories work for WB and DC. Some of them might work at Marvel. Some of them might work at Image. Some of them might even work at Fox. The only difference between DCs writters and, fanboys, other writters is that  they are legally allowed to work on Batman. That's all.

However, they wouldn't all be anything close to "real" Batman because...

3) We would have a lot of weird takes on Batman

Well...he's more like a bat, isn't he?


In 1998 I saw The Mask of Zorro, a movie that followed a former bandit played by Antonio Banderas adopting the mantle of Zorro from perrenial pseudo-Hispanic Anthony Hopkins. It was a fun movie. But I kept wondering where it had left the original Zorro's mute butler. You know, from the TV series. Then there was the animated, future set series. I didn't see it much. Zorro's in the public domain, currently, so anyone can work on him and many do.

Naturally, once people get to working on Batman, they're not all going to want to have the same take. After all, that is the fun of public domain. Does Batman really have to be an only child? What if he had siblings? What if  Batman is  really Alfred? What if Batman is really a bat that, through training, became a human? Maybe we get Arronofsky's Batman where he's a bum helped by a big black mechanic named Big Al? Maybe one is just naked all the time.

This is especially true before some elements are public domain. After all, if WB still own the concept of Batman living in a cave, where will yours live? Your version should already be trying to distance itself from other Batmans, maybe yours sleeps in a casket, like Dracula. Maybe he goes back to the planet Bat or something.

It only  sounds stupid because they haven't done it yet. Eventually any and all this versions could find a place in people's hearts. We'll have many Batmans, and don't be surprised when not all of them are "Bruce Wayne, playboy billionaire orphan who becomes Batman at night

2) DC would not use Batman as much.
Jesus Christ!

DC likes Batman. He makes them a lot of money, and money's where it's at. Batman's in movies. Batman's on television. Batman's on cartoons. Batman's on videogames. Batman's on lunchboxes and sweaters and sweatshirts.

However, if someone else can make Batman, that's no fun anymore. WB, overwhelmed by greed, would probably begin promoting "their" characters a lot more, if Batman was usable by anyone. They'd probably promote some silver age character to Batman's spot of importance, if they could at all.

This would not be all bad. If Batman's as overexposed in the 2030s as he is now, a little winding down might not be as bad as it sounds. The character's never not been popular, but maybe it's best to not have 50 Batman products a month in your face.

1) You'd get Batman everywhere
SAFE!

If Batman was public domain today, do you think they'd put him in Street Fighter? In Final Fantasy? In Johnny Test? WWE? GTA?

Off course they would. More than a deluge of new Batman movies every year, it would result in 1000s of "appearances" in stuff. Think of it like this: imagine every cartoon version of Dracula you've seen. Imagine all his appearances in franchises that aren't adaptations of Bram Stoker's books. That's what we're looking at.

Even when the over-saturation reaches critical levels, you'll still see Batman show up every once in a while to help or hinder the characters in question. It wouldn't be rare. And maybe that's gonna be just fine.

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