DC Comics demands removal of "Gay Batman" paintings. Do they have this right?

Per the link below can DC Comics legally prevent a painter from interpreting Batman as he wishes and displaying these paintings in a gallery?

Gallery told to drop ‘gay’ Batman

Here’s the art

Batman, Robin and their likenesses are registered trademarks of DC Comics. So yes, they do have that right.

I am definitely not a lawyer. But I do know that there’s a fine line, somewhere. For instance, when a person becomes a celebrity, it is permissible to satirize them without being hit for slander or libel. So, homoerotic paintings of (say) George Bush and Bill Clinton together would be permitted under free speech etc.

I’m not sure how it works with trademarks.

IANAL, so I won’t comment on that aspect, though I suspect JThunder nailed it. Just wanted to say Damn that is some stupid art.

“It’s Batman and Robin! And guess what? They’re gay!! I’m a genius!!!”

Yeah, too bad he’s not a better artist.

There was a similar kerfuffle over a painting depicting Bert and Ernie in a homoerotic context, back in 1991 or '92. The courts ruled for the CTW, if I recall correctly.

And yeah, those are some pretty poor watercolours.

Nobody can prevent you from creating really lame homoerotic paintings of Batman and Robin, or owning them. But public exhibition in a gallery violates DC’s publishing rights.

That some rights-holders (e.g. Star Trek’s) choose to not waste time with most small-time, fan-created unauthorized publications is just them choosing their battles. But once in a while you still want to “defend the trademark”. Doing a travelling exhibit in galleries is a bit more presumptive and attention-getting than uploading a drawing onto alt.binaries.cartoons.adult :stuck_out_tongue:

And as for the request to turn over unpublished paintings, the existence of a gallery exhibition is strongly suggestive of creation with the intent of publication.

As to the “parody” defense, you still have to show it indeed is satirical in intent and not just exploitation of someone else’s popularity to your own benefit (as the article quotes in relation to pictures of Kylie Minogue’s ass).

Meh… I’ve seen better yaoi in little girls’ fanart pictures…

I think one would be extremely difficult to demonstrate that these paintings constitute “satire” or even “parody.” And even if one could, seriously doubt that this would circumvent the trademark restrictions – especially since there is no clear indication that these paintings were not produced by DC Comics itself, or with DC’s imprimatur.

This is quite different from Mad Magazine producing a humorous ad for, say, “Fjord Motors.” In the latter case, it would quite clearly be a parody. Additionally, there is no reasonable possibility that a customer would be confused and mistake it for a genuine Ford Motors ad.

Oh, and I have to agree… that is some mighty ugly artwork. Ugh.

And the Batman/Robin kiss has the passion of two dead fish…

The art of a closeted 5-year-old. Yeah, it’s quite bad. :smiley:

Batman’s swingin’ pipe!

And I’ll agree that this is mediocre art by a mediocre artist who has discovered that the way to transcend limited talent is to attract publicity.

He certainly looks prepared…

How can you say that with not even one tube of K-Y in sight?

Pfft. Please. “Bat-Lube”.

There was also a film about Bert and Ernie made by a gay filmmaker called Ernest and Bertram, about the duo being actors playing characters similar to themselves on Sesame Street, and also gay lovers. Sesame Workshop kindly asked the director to pull the film as it infringed on their trademarks. He agreed.

Mattell is notorious for suing the pants off anyone who “misuses” Barbie–witness the disappearance of the cult film Superstar, the Karen Carpenter story as told by Barbies.

Actually, it was the Karen Carpenter estate that caused that one to disappear, since the director didn’t obtain the rights to the songs. Although you are right on Mattel’s overprotectiveness. They’ve complained about everything from art featuring Barbies in it to the unusually popular at one time novelty song Barbie Girl. (They lost that one, though- the court believed the song was a parody of the Barbie lifestyle.)

Are you sure that was Mattell? I thought it was pulled from legal distribution because of “licensing issues” with the Carpenters’ music.
(coughRichardCarpenterwaspissedoffabouttheimplicationinthefilmthathe’sgaycough)