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Lockheed and Boeing Copyright

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Old 02-18-2005, 12:24 PM
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Default Lockheed and Boeing Copyright

Has the AMA become aware of the copyright implications that are cropping up lately. One model manufacturer has ceased production of a P-38 Kit because lockheed is now charging higher fees for the copyright royality. My fear is that if Boeing, Lockheed, Northrop Grumman, Piper, Cessna, Beechcraft all get into this game and make producing scale kits for radio control not profitable we may see a day where there are very few scale kits. Not sure what the solution is.

Read this recent newspaper article and we should all be concerned...


Hobby shop supplier fights Lockheed, Boeing over airplane-model royalties
Philadelphia Inquirer 02/17/05
author: Tony Gnoffo

Feb. 17--Michael Bass fought this battle before -- and lost.

In 1990, Bass, who imports and distributes products for hobby shops, took on the Big 3 U.S. automakers.

Now the South Jersey businessman is taking on a chunk of the military industrial complex -- including Lockheed Martin Corp. and the Boeing Co.

The issue is similar: Should companies that make models of military aircraft pay royalties to defense contractors for the use of their creations?

Or, should the model aircraft be exempt from such royalties because U.S. taxpayers funded the development of the real things?

Bass' 1990 effort to stop automakers from claiming such royalties fizzled, largely by default. Fearing lawsuits from the likes of General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co., the model-makers gave in, and started coughing up fees of 5 percent to 10 percent of their wholesale prices.

That opened a floodgate of successful royalty claims, according to Bass and other members of the International Model Manufacturers Association. Now, makers of almost all model trains, planes and automobiles pay royalties to the makers of the actual vehicles.

But the model-makers still didn't pay royalties on their replicas of U.S. military aircraft. Those models weren't specifically excluded; the aircraft manufacturers just didn't ask for the royalties.

Now, they are.

Bass' company, Stevens International in Magnolia, is not a manufacturer, so it would not pay the royalties directly. But manufacturers would likely pass their costs on to Bass, and he would pass them on to his retail customers. And the retailers would pass them on to consumers.

That's an ugly chain of events for an industry that has suffered from an abundance of competition for Americans' leisure-time activities.

"The industry is under a lot of pressure," said Ed Sexton, vice president of product development for model manufacturer Revell-Monogram of Northbrook, Ill. "We compete ... with video games, TV, the Internet -- however people can spend their leisure time."

With each new generation, he said, there seems to be less interest among young people in activities that require sustained attention. The average model builder these days is a 45-year-old male, said Bob Hayden executive director of the model manufacturers association.

"There are very few kids I know out there who ... can really do intricate detail work," Hayden said. "It doesn't come naturally; it takes practice and it takes time."

The royalty demands don't always come from defense manufacturers, he said. Often, the claims are pressed by third-party licensing agencies that take a cut of the fees they collect on the behalf of trademark owners.

Among the more aggressive of them, people in the model business said, is a San Diego firm called Equity Management Inc. Company executives declined to be interviewed.

Inside his jam-packed, 40,000-square-foot warehouse on the White Horse Pike last week, Bass said the model industry has been on the wrong end of a power shift.

"When my father started in this business 40 years ago, these companies were saying, 'Please, make a model of my airplane.' Now things are a little tougher for them, and they're going after these little companies."

A Boeing spokesman said the company is merely trying to protect its interests, and consumers.

"We want to ensure that accurate, high-quality representations are provided to the public so that Boeing's reputation for precision and quality are maintained," said spokesman David J. Phillips. "While we do charge a small royalty fee, it is only to offset the administrative costs of these licensing activities, not to make a profit."

No lawsuits have been filed, but the model-makers fear that if they don't pay, they will be crushed by the defense contractors' legal horsepower.

So instead of going to court, Bass, a member of the manufacturers association's board, has taken the case to the public and to his congressman, Rep. Robert E. Andrews (D., N.J.).

"We hope to get Congress to make a law or regulation, or that by letting the sunshine in ... the Department of Defense and the manufacturers would see the light," Hayden said.

A spokesman said Andrews promised to ask Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for a clarification on the question of who owns the rights to the images of the planes -- the manufacturers or the government.

But according to several legal scholars and Boeing, it won't be necessary to distract Rumsfeld from more pressing matters to answer that question.

Courts and statutes clearly establish that contractors can retain intellectual property rights to the ideas and products they develop for the government, said Doris Long, a professor of intellectual property and Internet law at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago.

Still, said Long and other legal scholars, the claims must adhere to trademark laws that apply to everyone else. And while anything can happen in a court of law, they said, the model manufacturers might have a stronger argument at their disposal than the one they're using.

Claims of trademark protection on product design come under an area of law called "trade dress," Long explained.

To prove it had trade dress protection on the design of its aircraft, a manufacturer such as Boeing would have to show that there is some distinctive and non-functional element of the design that makes it clear it is Boeing's product.

"A good example of that is the grille of a Rolls Royce," said Roger Schechter, a law professor at George Washington University.

Because there is no Boeing grille on military aircraft, it would be hard for the company to establish trade dress rights, the professors said.

The model-makers generally don't put the aircraft manufacturer's name or logo on their products, or on the packaging, Bass said. That's largely because those names and logos aren't present or prominent on the real aircraft, he said.

Long said Boeing would be in an awkward position if it had to prove trade dress, because the aircraft are supposed to be purely functional. The company would have to "prove that the design has some nonfunctional element that says, 'This is my brand,'"

Even then, said Schechter, aircraft manufacturers might have their work cut out for them.

"Assuming I have trade dress protection," he said, "I'd have to prove ... that people who buy the models think that they are buying models made by Boeing or Lockheed.

"I don't think people are likely to think that a big company like that is branching out into the model-making business."


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Old 02-18-2005, 01:15 PM
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Default RE: Lockheed and Boeing Copyright

Excellent post, Fred. Great food for thought. At one time when I was a newsletter editor, I always had a statement on the newsletter that any reproduction was under the fair-use exemption portion of the copy-right law. Of course that does not apply to commercial operations.

Maybe we should just keep our WW II scale models to other countries that no longer have the companies that produced such. The little management companies couldn't very well crawl into non-existing units for their payment, thus may not try to bother.[:-]

HEY RCU what about the chatter in the War Birds forum? HA!

Who stopped the P-38 production? Great 'Pains' must be paying their dues. Now I wonder about the P-40, the P-47, and those here that don't have a company to get paid. To _ell with Boeing anyway. When they quit building airplanes with a cable control back-up system, I never wanted to fly any new thing they built. Guess that is same for all of them now days.[:'(]

Good Info, Mr. Fred, Thanks again.
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Old 02-18-2005, 01:49 PM
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Default RE: Lockheed and Boeing Copyright


ORIGINAL: Hossfly

Who stopped the P-38 production?

I think it was the Road Kill profile electric.
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Old 02-18-2005, 02:43 PM
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Default RE: Lockheed and Boeing Copyright

ORIGINAL: Hossfly

Who stopped the P-38 production?
It was DJ Aerotech, who makes the RoadKill P38 and Roadkill Electra. Read their statement [link=http://www.djaerotech.com/index1.html]here[/link].
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Old 02-18-2005, 04:54 PM
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Default RE: Lockheed and Boeing Copyright

Hi,
I sent all the info to Dave M. who was going get the AMA to contact the Congressman Robert Andrews, who's looking into it.
As I stated in several forums discussing this issue, as part of the license, they want liability insurance that holds the company harmless in case of an accident. Eg, if someone crashes a P-38 and injures someone, they model company has to have insurance that protects Lochkeed-Martin from being sued since it's "their" design. It's the cost of the insurance that's the REAL problem.
Here's a link with more info:

http://modelingmadness.com/tomseditorial.htm

Jon
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Old 02-18-2005, 05:01 PM
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Default RE: Lockheed and Boeing Copyright

I dont see how this could apply..a model of a P38 just LOOKS like the real P38...there is no other similarity in structural design, so how could anyone even consider suing Lockheed for a bad model airplane structure??..dumbfounding,lol
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Old 02-18-2005, 05:11 PM
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Default RE: Lockheed and Boeing Copyright

It is just another sleazy lawyers trick to make more people pay for his after work drinks. The original producers see a little money and the lawyer gets drunk. Works for him.



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Old 02-18-2005, 07:22 PM
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Default RE: Lockheed and Boeing Copyright

http://www.modelingmadness.com/tomseditorial.htm

And someone said this on a newsgroup:
"It was inevitable, I suppose. As a nation, we've largely moved away
from creating wealth by innovating and manufacturing. Instead, we find
someone else who has wealth, and either trick them out of it by
deceptive advertising, or sue it away from them. Since there are so few
actual products, intellectual property becomes all-important.

Imagine living in a country where the widow of a 9/11 victim can
sucessfully copyright a two word sentence: "Let's roll!" With the
current environment, there appears to be NO LIMIT to what can be
considered salable intellectual property.

Granted, the manufacturers of automobiles and such have a point. Their
products are sold at retail, and the design IS their property. At one
time, such things were considered in light of advertising value. But
business has become so short sighted they literally cannot think beyond
profits THIS QUARTER. You can't put advertising value into a
speadsheet.

Military hardware is entirely different. It has NO retail value; I
cannot buy an F-16 no matter what I do. As the column stated, it was
created solely for and sold solely to, the US government. WE own it,
lock, stock, and copyright.

Oh, and absolutely no one with any power to affect the situation cares
one molecule about small business."
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Old 02-18-2005, 08:33 PM
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Default RE: Lockheed and Boeing Copyright

Hi,
As I've mentioned Lockheed is VERY aggresive with the P-38 and F-16 and, although I agree with all the above posts, someone with VERY deep pockets will have to take on L-M through years of litigation to finally resolve the issue.
Maybe we'll get some legislative releif, but I doubt it- L-M has a lot of clout in the congress.
It's only a matter of time before the rest of the aircraft manufacturers start doing the same thing. I don't think they can touch overseas manufacturers so I guess in the future we will be getting all our scale models from China.
And that SUXS!
BRG,
Jon
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Old 02-18-2005, 08:34 PM
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Default RE: Lockheed and Boeing Copyright

Thanks BrownKnows and P-51 B and F-106. Oh-my-God, did I use those copy-righted terms again? Good Bye Cruel World!!
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Old 02-19-2005, 01:27 PM
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Default RE: Lockheed and Boeing Copyright

"We want to ensure that accurate, high-quality representations are provided to the public so that Boeing's reputation for precision and quality are maintained," said spokesman David J. Phillips. "While we do charge a small royalty fee, it is only to offset the administrative costs of these licensing activities, not to make a profit."

1. In response to first in Red. Try and contact them about drawings and see how far that gets ya! [:@][:@][:@][:@]

2. This second part makes no friggin sense at all. If they weren't making money at it, they wouldn't be doing it. Believe me. They are in it to make money, that's what it is all about. [:@]

I contacted Northrup Gumman about the possibility of getting some drawings for an EA-6B. I was promptly answered by their law department about liabilities and such. I even told them I was using it for an RC model! [sm=punching.gif]

I agree that it should be fought out. I understand that the Car manufacturers could get away with it because it was all private development, but I along with all the others who live in this country have alread paid for it in regards to the a/c we love to model. Some of us with more than just money.

Sorry, this just strikes a nerve with me. LOL.

Soap box relinquished.
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Old 02-19-2005, 06:07 PM
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Default RE: Lockheed and Boeing Copyright

Interesting how other military airplane manufacturers behave differently.
Embraer, the Brazilian airplane manufacturer, which is the 4th largest in the world, even made a R/C plans for its "TUCANO" turbo-prop military training. And made it available to modelers, without any cost.
I built a model of it back in the early 80's and Embraer was very helpfull in providing all the material I need for documentation.

In Brazil, several models of their other planes are manufactured and sold, without problem.
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Old 02-24-2005, 04:43 PM
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Default RE: Lockheed and Boeing Copyright

ORIGINAL: ShaneUSMC

........but I along with all the others who live in this country have alread paid for it in regards to the a/c we love to model. Some of us with more than just money.
I think that part is what sickens me the most about LM. Our pilots died serving their country in these airplanes. What do they think they're doing? They know it's too much for the small model manufacturers to try to fight. They sold their soul for a couple bucks.

At least we won't run out of Corsairs! If you want to build one look under line drawings. http://www.vought.com/heritage/
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Old 02-24-2005, 10:36 PM
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Default RE: Lockheed and Boeing Copyright

I don't know about all military aircraft but, didn't taxpayers foot some/part/all of the bill when these aircraft were designed?
And if that is so, then why in the hell, as a taxpayer, do we have to pay extra for a ******* royalty fee? Kinda like gettin screwed twice.

Dave...
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Old 02-25-2005, 07:22 AM
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Default RE: Lockheed and Boeing Copyright

I have to admit that I'm not up on the copyright laws but
If I were to kit a P-38 and didn't use "Lockheed" in,or on
any of the provided documentation. I feel that I would be
under no obligation to pay anyone ,anything .

The designation "P-38" is actually owned by the Feds
Yes / no ?

Roby
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Old 02-25-2005, 08:35 AM
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Default RE: Lockheed and Boeing Copyright

No. For instance, the Corsair had different designations for different manufacturers. Now, do you think Chance-Vaught charged a license fee to Goodyear and Brewster? Or did the government just turn to other people when CV couldn't make enough.
The deviation has to be more than 5%(i think) in the outline. So make a bigger wing or something. Don't call it p-38 or Lightning and your ok. But what's the point? If they come after you with lawyers you've lost money on it whether you win or not.
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Old 02-25-2005, 09:20 AM
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Default RE: Lockheed and Boeing Copyright

.
so how could anyone even consider suing Lockheed for a bad model airplane structure??..dumbfounding,lol
You can sue anyone for anything. Whether or not the judge/jury will actually award the claim is another matter. If your case is particularly hopeless, you can aim for an out-of-court settlement by threatening small-time victims with huge legal bills, or large corporations with tons of bad press

I know about a case where some guy driving his car hit a cow crossing the road. His passenger was injured, and sued the driver. Driver had no money, so he sued the farmer. Farmer had no money so he sued... the corporation that owns the land and leases it out to the farmer. This was brought before court and a jury, who awarded the claimant with a sizable amount of money. or should I say [].
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Old 02-25-2005, 01:37 PM
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Default RE: Lockheed and Boeing Copyright

In many cases, an obviously bogus suit can be tossed by the judge long before it gets in front of a jury. And in some states, they can be nailed for a bogus suit. However, in the case of a suit that has merit, but one of the defendants really shouldn't be listed, it's a bit harder to get off the suit. Still possible. But you are talking about lawyer time for the defendant.

It's all totally bogus. And the way to fix it is from within the legal system.

I also wonder if there has ever actully been a suit along these lines, or are the corporate suites reacting to a non-problem.

I'm surprised companies like Lockheed and Boeing wouldn't be happy with a disclaimer, just something that said in the kit that the model was the design of X company, not Y. That any simularity was superficial and that Y company has no responsbility for anything related to the kit.
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Old 02-25-2005, 03:32 PM
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Default RE: Lockheed and Boeing Copyright

One of the key ways that Boeing or Lockmart can demonstrate they have brand equity in court, is to show a pattern of defending it. It is sort of a chicken and the egg problem....if they never defend it, it could be impossible to ever claim it exists. So for now it is safer for them to defend it.

This could all be a determination from someone that they need to protect their brand as part of some major corporate branding initiative. This model thing could be on page 193 of the document next to logos on coffee cups or something, not some big scheme to collect an extra 15K a year on model licensing.

I believe them when they say they are probably not collecting enough to pay to protect their brand. That being said, legislation is the answer, this is what we have representatives for. A good grass roots group could package this issue to the right congressman and he/she gets airtime out of it....gold!
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Old 02-28-2005, 01:26 AM
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Default RE: Lockheed and Boeing Copyright

As usual 99% of the lawyers give the rest a bad name.
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Old 02-28-2005, 09:13 AM
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Default RE: Lockheed and Boeing Copyright

Mr. Matt,
As I mentioned above, Congressman Robert Andrews, from here in NJ, is looking into this. I wanted to talk to Dave M. this weekend at the WRAM show and see what the status is as far as the AMA's response to this issue, but never linked up with him. Write Congressman Andrews and you own Representative and Senator and let them know of your concern.
Again, the big issue is not the fee but the demand that the manufacturer carry liability insurance to protect L-M, et al, from having to pay out in the event of a lawsuit. This type of insurance, if available at all, is very expensive and will drive more modeling companies out of business or overseas.
With all due respect to L-M and the rest, it's ALWAYS about the money! They wouldn't be spending mega bucks going after people if there wasn't a payoff at the end.
BRG,
Jon
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Old 02-28-2005, 02:35 PM
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Default RE: Lockheed and Boeing Copyright

Jon,


Last year I got stuck with a large deposit for ordered goods when the store went bankrupt. The courts seem to be telling the public to stuff it, while the lawyers involved made something over $150,000 on the deal. Replacing that deposit sure has gotten in the way of me buying a turbine.

The point is that you are absolutely correct, it IS about the money. However, I very strongly suspect that it is the group of lawyers and not the manufacturers who are pushing this.
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Old 02-28-2005, 04:13 PM
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Default RE: Lockheed and Boeing Copyright

Hi Jim,
Something like this happened in the Flight Sim community several years ago. One of the companies that produced add ons for MSFS went to American Airlines and wanted to know if they could have the exclusive rights to AA's logo, markings, etc for a licensing fee. AA never thought of getting into something like that but agreed. Once this guy got his agreement from AA, he had his lawyers contact all the web FS sites and freeware designers and threatened them with court action unless they paid him a royalty or removed the AA aircraft. Remember, this is a COMPUTER simulation, nothing exists in the real world. Well, the websites took of all the AA airplanes as they couldn't afford to go to court. To make a long story short, AA received so much mail about this, especially from business travelers, that they backed down.
I'm just worried that some model manufacturer will agree and set a precedent for all the others. I'm sure BVM could take them on in court if they gave him a hard time, but not many other companies have those kinds of resources. In fact, I'm kind of surprised they haven't gone after him as BVM is very well known and has relatively deep pockets, as modeling companies go.
I e-mailed Dave M. to see if there's an update on this matter.
Brg,
Jon
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