Making your own Batmobile violates copyright, according to new court ruling

best hollywood high tech vehicles 10 geekiest cars in movies television batmobileCustom cars based on movie or television props have generally resided in murky legal waters, with vehicles often covered by a different set of guidelines than other works due to their ability to serve a wide variety of necessary purposes. It looks like that could be changing, however, as a court recently ruled that copyright rules extend to car design — especially when that car is a replica of the Batmobile.

U.S. District Judge Ronald Lew ruled on Thursday that a car design can indeed be subject to copyright protection, and found the owner of Gotham Garage, Mark Towles, in violation of that copyright due to his business of selling replica Batmobiles. DC Comics sued Towles last year over the cars, and the case was finally decided this week.

Towles had originally attempted to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming that the Copyright Act doesn’t protect “useful articles” like a car and its design, but Lew kicked his argument to the curb. According to the judge, the “useful articles” exception doesn’t apply when there are so many elements of the car that serve no practical, well… use.

In his ruling, Lew said Towles “ignores the exception to the ‘useful article’ rule, which grants copyright protection to nonfunctional, artistic elements of an automobile design that can be physically or conceptually separated from the automobile.”

As The Hollywood Reporter points out, this ruling means that there’s likely to be a flood of similar copyright battles being fought in the near future over such things as superhero costumes and other replica-type items.

Cosplayers, consider yourself warned.

News

UPS partners with TuSimple to test self-driving semi-trucks

UPS has been carrying truckloads of goods in self-driving semi-trucks since May. The vehicles are being tested in Arizona routes between Phoenix and Tucson for better service and efficiency for UPS delivery.
Cars

Vintage Electric readies the Roadster Speed Merchant, a souped-up ebike

Vintage Electric introduced the latest in its line of retro-styled premium performance ebikes for fall 2019. The Vintage Roadster gets styling cues from board track racing motorcycles and its power from a 1,123-watt battery.
Cars

Bored with stock? The best tuner cars are begging to be modified

Modification has been around almost as long as the automobile itself. Here are some of the best tuner cars you can find, ranging from American muscle standouts to Japanese drift cars.
Cars

Infiniti’s Formula One-inspired Project Black S may enter production

The Infiniti Project Black S is a Q60 luxury coupe enhanced with a Formula One-inspired hybrid powertrain. The 563-horsepower car can sprint from zero to 62 mph in under four seconds, according to Infiniti.
Cars

Toyota raises the curtain on 2020 Corolla Nightshade Editions

The 2020 Toyota Corolla SE sedan and hatchback with a CVT (continuously variable transmission) will be available in Nightshade Editions, joining the Toyota 4Runner, Camry, Highlander, and Sienna with the blacked-out trim style option.
Cars

Here’s why your Uber or Lyft car always seems to be a Toyota Camry

The Toyota Camry is one of the most popular cars sold in the United States, and not just with retail buyers. Uber and Lyft drivers love the Camry for its reliability, according to a new report.
Cars

The electric Volkswagen ID Buggy makes even Ferrari drivers stop and stare

Volkswagen traveled to the 2019 Geneva Auto Show to introduce an electric dune buggy named ID Buggy, and Digital Trends drove it in California. It's a modern-day tribute to the 1960s Meyers Manx.
Cars

Infiniti will take on BMW and Mercedes-Benz with its own crossover coupe

Launching in 2020, the Infiniti QX55 will be a crossover coupe similar to models that have proven successful for BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Infiniti said the QX55 will have styling influenced by its early 2000s FX.
Cars

Limited-edition Subaru BRZ tS returns for 2020, WRX and STI get minor tweaks

Subaru performance cars remain mostly unchanged for the 2020 model year. The big news is the return of the limited-edition Subaru BRZ tS sports car, with production capped at 300 units.
Cars

The Bugatti Centodieci is only possible because of the latest design tech

Bugatti is celebrating its 110th birthday by releasing a limited-edition hypercar named Centodieci. It's based on the Chiron, but its engine makes 1,600 horsepower, and it's a tribute to the EB110 released during the 1990s.
Cars

Discover the engineering Easter eggs in the new 2020 Ford Explorer

The 2020 Ford Explorer received a ground-up overhaul, with major changes that include a new hybrid powertrain option. But even the engineering details of the new Explorer are worth checking out.
Cars

Type S concept marks the return of sportier Acura models

Not seen since 2008, the Acura Type S once signified the sportiest Acura models sold in North America. Acura will revive Type S with a concept car debuting at Monterey Car Week, followed by two new production models.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Racing drones and robotic ping pong trainers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Cars

Beach to Baja: Dune buggies in the news, from VW ID concept to McQueen’s Manx

It was a big week for dune buggies. VW revealed an electric concept vehicle, the ID. BUGGY. Steve McQueen's Thomas Crown Affair buggy is headed to auction. Glickenhaus revealed the Baja Boot, a street-legal Baja-racing-capable dune buggy.