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Would Lex Luthor Need a License to Import Kryptonite?

Spoiler Warning: there may be minor Batman v Superman plot elements revealed in the following article. Ye be warned. 

When comic book nerd, customs and trade lawyer, and author of the blog “Law and the Multiverse” James Daily watched Batman v Superman, he had some of the same reactions to the film as other fans have had. But aside from what he liked (Wonder Woman and Ben Affleck’s portrayal of Batman) or disliked (the mistreatment of “Superman as a character”), he also—again, as a customs and trade lawyer—had some burning legal questions about its plot: namely, “Would Lexcorp, or any other legally compliant importer, need any kind of license to import a chunk of Kryptonite?”

In one of his latest posts, which you can read in full here, Daily tackles this question in thorough detail. If you think the answer is anything close to a simple yes or no, hold onto your butts, ’cause this is the American legal system we’re delving into here.

Daily painstakingly goes through the process of figuring out if and how Luthor could import the chunk of Kryptonite found in the Indian Ocean, although it seems that the biggest issue with the element from Krypton and source of Superman’s only weakness boils down to one question: What the hell is it, exactly?

This is the most critical question to answer in order to answer the original question, because, as Daily implies, this is the only way to figure out what laws the material would/should be subject to. For example, should Kryptonite have to comply with the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) as a chemical, or does it fall under the category of “food, drugs, cosmetics, chemicals included in larger articles, and pesticides”? Daily decides that Kryptonite would be subject to the TSCA, which sparks yet another question: Is it a hazardous material? And even if it’s not, is it radioactive? Because then it would have to be okayed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. And on and on…

Daily also discusses the idea that the Kryptonite would have to be licensed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATFE), because Luthor plans on using it as a weapon.

Ultimately, despite the myriad import laws the Kryptonite would have to comply with, Daily says that “[he] might be willing to write Lexcorp an opinion letter stating that it does not need a license to import the Kryptonite, though it appears it will need to comply with TSCA.” In other words, Luthor would have had his way even if he had imported the Kryptonite completely by the real-life books.

Although maybe the laws of karma would still get Luthor; perhaps in the form of a Kryptonite ring with some seriously adverse health effects…

But you know what is good for your health? Commenting on Daily’s legal analysis in the comments below!

Note from our lawyers: we have no idea if commenting is actually good for your health. 

Featured Image: Flickr // Eric Kilby

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