Matt Reeves’ ‘The Batman’ Did Not Plagiarize Wozniak’s Story, Judge Says

Matt Reeves' 'The Batman' Was not Plagiarised, Judge Says

Although it has been a while since Matt Reeves’ The Batman premiered in theaters, the movie is still a hot topic as the 2022 lawsuit filed by Christopher Wozniak, a screenwriter and former freelance artist for DC Comics, has finally been settled. And while this news won’t overshadow recent production information on the upcoming sequel to Reeves’ hit film, it will certainly make the whole series an even hotter topic than it already is. In short, a judge ruled that The Batman is not a plagiarized version of Wozniak’s earlier story and that, in fact, it was Wozniak who committed an act of copyright infringement by using DC Comics characters in his story without, as it seems, clear permission.

So, what’s the whole story here? Well, not long after The Batman came out, the aforementioned Christopher Wozniak commented how he was stunned Warner Bros., alongside writers Matt Reeves and Peter Craig, copied his story “The Ultimate Riddle, now known as “The Blind Man’s Hat.” He soon hired a lawyer, and a copyright infringement suit was filed, resulting in an affair known as “Batmangate”.

While there is no doubt that the story itself was written before the movie came out, it was not clear how anyone involved in the movie’s production would have had access to the story, as U.S. District Judge Paul Engelmayer stated that Wozniak’s claims as to how Warner Bros. could have gained access to the story were “wholly speculative.”

The original lawsuit was filed in October 2022, but Warner Bros. soon filed a suit against Wozniak, claiming that his story as a whole is actually copyright infringement, as he had no rights to use Batman and related characters in his story, which he undoubtedly did. And while Wozniak stuck to his side of the story, the judge decided in DC’s favor, saying that not only did Reeves and Craig not plagiarize Wozniak’s story, but that Wozniak himself committed an act of copyright infringement by using the aforementioned characters without DC’s permission.

Batman and all the related characters are protected by copyright laws, and any published material or work using these characters or drawing inspiration from them has to be greenlit by DC Comics. As it stands from the 45-page decision, Wozniak did not get approval from DC Comics, so his story is basically an act of copyright infringement. The judge also did not believe Wozniak’s claims as to how Warner Bros. managed to get their hands on the story.

And that settles it. While Wozniak said that he would not give up, the likelihood of this decision being overturned is very small, so fans of the movie can relax and wait for the sequel peacefully.

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