Batman Enters Public Domain in 2035, What Does It Mean For DC Superhero’s Legacy?


Batman is one of the biggest fan-favorite superheroes, who will continue to live in fans’ hearts for a long, long time; just like now. However, its copyrights don’t work the same way and will soon be expiring, paving the path for the character to enter the public domain.

While DC held its lease for a long time now, creating some good and some tongue-in-cheek projects, it will soon have to seemingly let the superhero go.

Batman

This is because some parts of “Batman,” specifically, will go into the public domain after a little over a decade in 2025. However, just like every other story, this story of DC losing control over the superhero does not end without a twist as well.

And while the twist just might allow DC to regain some control, fans are having the most wonderful time discussing how badly the character would be screwed after entering the public domain.

Also Read: James Gunn’s Batman Can Undo 1 Egregious Zack Snyder Mistake That Even His Hardcore Fans Find Hard to Defend

Batman will enter the public domain in 2035 (But not all of it!)

The Batman from the Detective Comics
The Batman from the Detective Comics

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Just like how copyrights expire for every other character, Batmanp isn’t an exception either, and will soon be entering the public domain after DC Comics loses the copyrights of it, a little after over a decade, by the year 2035.

But wait, that’s not the entire story, for DC can still exercise control over the superhero. Well, to some extent, at least.

As it turns out, not all of Bruce Wayne’s hero would be entering the public domain. Instead, the only thing DC will lose control over would be the ‘Detective Comics’ version of the superhero from 1939, i.e. Detective Comics #27, where the Caped Crusader made his first appearance.

Yet, at the same time, DC will not be losing control over the character altogether. In fact, if anything, they had been preparing just for this for years by updating the character and his storylines and maintaining an incredibly high level of quality control.

This could be done using the help of trademarks: In the years preceding, as fans are already aware, DC has already carefully tied the superhero to its base by trademarking the term “Caped Crusader” and even the bat symbol, i.e. his logo.

As DC’s deputy general counsel, Jay Logan explained how all this works by keeping the characters “fresh and up-to-date” (via Variety):

“By gradually changing the literary and visual characteristics of a character over time, a character owner can keep whatever the then-current image of the character is as the de facto standard in the public consciousness.” 

Thus, even after losing control over a certain version of the superhero, DC would still have more than enough control to exercise over the character, thanks to the trademarks it has secured.

The same goes for all the other characters who are nearing the expiration date of their copyrights and will be soon entering the public domain, like Superman and Lois Lane in 2034, followed by the Joker in 2036, and Wonder Woman in 2037.

Also Read: Not Batman, Superman’s Plan To Defeat Wonder Woman May Be The Most Effective Method Yet

Fans react to Batman entering the public domain

Batman
Batman

While DC could still exercise considerable control over its characters thanks to the trademarks, the public can still get creative with the superheroes when they enter the public domain. As Jonathan Steinsapir, an IP attorney at KHIKS, explained (via Variety):

“You could still create a Superman horror movie or Batman horror movie. You just need to be careful about how you advertise it and how you use images of Superman in a branding sense.”

Then there’s Chris Sims, comic book author cum Batman expert, whose statement further adds to the viability of this point, as he said (via Variety): “There’s going to be 100 of them. They’re going to have them ready to go.”

Because of this, fans have been getting really sarcastic while discussing how disastrously the public is going to treat the creative freedom they get over their favorite superhero, which would also, notably, tarnish the DC superhero’s legacy.

For instance, on X, here’s what they’re saying:

Considering all these reports and fan reactions, the year 2035 will seemingly be a beyond-exciting year for Batman lovers!

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