JERUSALEM - Courtrooms make strange bedfellows, it’s often said, and this time the DC / Marvel crossover has to do with a law suit instead of a character story mashup on the news stands. A single attorney is representing both publishing giants against a Jerusalem vendor for selling Jewish skullcaps, or kippas, adorned with unauthorized images of crime-fighting superheroes Batman and Spiderman. This is actually the second law suit in a week against the same vendor. The law suits accuse Kippa Man of Ben Yehuda Street in downtown Jerusalem, owned by Avi Binyamin, for selling unlicensed Batman kipot, it was reported Thursday in the Israeli media, a week after a similar lawsuit was filed by Marvel Comics over Spider-Man kipot.
The Israeli law firm of Ivtsan, Netzer, Wolecki & Co. of Tel Aviv is handling both cases. Both of the lawsuits filed in the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court are asking for about $25,700 in damages.
Binyamin expresses puzzlement as to why he alone has apparently been singled out for these law suits. “They make them in China, I just bring them,” Binyamin told The Jerusalem Post after the Marvel Comics lawsuit, adding that “There are 20 stores on this street, they all sell the same thing.”
Unlicensed merchandise is a huge problem for the two comics publishing companies, who must tread a fine line between defending their right to license their own intellectual property and giving enough leeway to the fans and consumers who buy their product to keep from alienating them.
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