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If courtroom precedent is any indication, the studio behind “The Dark Knight Rises” likely won’t be held liable for last week’s tragic Colorado theater shootings.

The alleged shooter, James Holmes, was at least partially inspired by one of the franchise’s signature villains, New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told reporters. “He had his hair painted red, he said he was The Joker, obviously the enemy of Batman,” Kelly said, according to Reuters.

In the past, supposed links between media violence and real-life crime sprees have led to litigation. Following the 1999 Columbine High School shootings, for instance, the victims’ families sued 25 entertainment companies, claiming that violent video games and films had contributed to the massacre. And the 1994 film “Natural Born Killers” spawned several lawsuits, including one from Patsy Ann Byers, who alleged that the movie had inspired two teenagers to embark on a shooting spree that left her paralyzed.

Courts ultimately dismissed both lawsuits, however, ruling that the makers of violent games and movies could not have anticipated that their products would lead to actual violence. Also at issue are First Amendment rights: In 2011, the Supreme Court struck down a California ban on selling violent video games to minors, finding that it violated game manufacturers’ protected free speech.

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