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When Superheroes Lose Their Powers: What Happens When Copyrights Expire on Superman and Batman

Superman soars through the skies, Batman prowls the streets at night — but for how long will DC Comics be able to tightly control these iconic heroes? 2034 and 2035 will be pivotal years, as that’s when the original copyrights expire on Superman and Batman’s earliest adventures.

Many fans have wondered — does this mean anyone will finally be able to write their own stories starring the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight? Not so fast. While the basic concepts of the characters will enter the public domain, DC still has some tricks up its sleeve to maintain dominance.

DC has the trademarks for the following terms and logos:

  1. Man of Steel

  2. Caped Crusader

  3. Superman’s “S”

  4. Batman’s logo

In other words, even if you’re free to write about a hero named Superman, you can’t directly call him the “Man of Steel” or use his famous “S” shield without DC’s permission. The same goes for references to Batman as the “Caped Crusader” or copying the iconic bat logo.

This means independent creators won’t have completely free rein over the characters we all know and love. DC can still crack down on works that come too close to mimicking their modern, trademark-protected versions of Superman and Batman.

So while the door will open for new interpretations, the company is finding ways to maintain its grip on the heroes’ most recognizable branding elements. It seems their most marketable traits will remain in the hands of DC even after their copyrights lapse.

Only time will tell how strictly these trademark loopholes are enforced. But one thing is clear — DC isn’t going to just hand over complete control of billions-grossing franchises without a fight! The future of Superman and Batman may be uncertain, but their most iconic traits aren’t slipping from DC’s grasp anytime soon.

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