Since I’m not aware of anybody else involved in a law suit regarding Copyright Infringement – and this post seems to be directed at me - I figured I might as well reply so everyone can hear my side of the story.
There seems to be quite a bit of opinion on this law suit. This surprises me. I say that, because as of this date no one on this site, or in the Petrol hobby – and I mean no one – has bothered to contact me to inquire about the law suit I am pursuing against my former business partners.
Since I have not been talking to anyone about the suit, I will have to assume that the information that is out in the Petrolania community is being disseminated by the Defendant(s) in the suit. I feel that everyone should have the opportunity to hear both sides of the argument before making an informed opinion
While I can’t give you all the information while the suit is in litigation, I can tell you the images in question and give a brief rundown on Copyrighting an image along with my reasons for doing so.
The suit is for Copyright Infringement on 9 separate images:
Washington Chief Gasoline
Montana Chief Gasoline
Idaho Chief Gasoline
Oregon Chief Gasoline
Red Indian Gasoline
& PDQ Petrol
All of these images are copyrighted to me personally. All the Registration Numbers are posted on our web site under the image itself. You can go to the Library of Congress, Copyright Search Page and look up the Copyright information on any of these images by plugging in the Registration Number ( www.copyright.gov/records/cohm.html
Out of the nine images listed above, only three of them are direct reproductions of old original lens artwork. This includes the Michigan Maid, PDQ Petrol and the Fyre-Drop images. All are of images, that in original versions, no more than 10 or so examples exist in collections today.
The copyrights issued only cover the image listed and variations of those images that take from the original registered art. I.E. the Fyre-Drop copyright is for the black background version only. The copyright does not cover any of the other versions of lens art the company used.
The other six images are ‘fantasy’ images created by myself using period-correct reference from the various companies. These are ‘brand new original art’ and have nothing to do with any original lens designs.
Let’s review the Copyright process.
Copyrights are used to protect visual arts and images. These are defined by Copyright Law as: “ . . . pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional works of fine, graphic, and applied art.”
While it is true that an artist’s work is covered by Copyright as soon as it is ‘published’, it is always a good idea to physically copyright an image for legal protection.
In order to receive a Copyright on an image(s) the artist needs to submit an application and a fee, along with two color representations of the image.
I want to stress that this is an APPLICATION for Copyright protection. You can not copyright an image if it is already copyrighted by another person or corporation. You can register a copyright for images that have expired.
Once the form is received at the Copyright Office, the request is investigated by a researcher. IF the image is not currently covered by an existing Copyright, the applicant is issued the ‘rights’ to the image and a Registration Number. If the image is currently under a Copyright by another individual or corporation, the application is denied and a letter is sent stating that to the applicant.
If you have any further concerns on Copyright issues, feel free to review the Copyright information on the United States Copyright Office web page ( http://www.copyright.gov/
Now let me explain why I wanted Copyright protection on these images.
I produce, thru T-way’s Graphic F/X, Inc., limited edition globe lenses for you, the collector and petroleum enthusiast. I also supply decals and ad glass for those of you who desire to ‘restore’ a pump in a ‘brand’ not currently available thru other vendors.
I spend time tracking down reference, original items, actual lenses and other forms of reference to create or recreate the artwork required to produce these lenses/decals/etc. There can be substantial time involved in the research phase. Once the information is collected, I then spend hours creating the artwork necessary for production.
After the art is completed, the copyright process itself can take up to 5 months to complete.
There are also costs involved in the actual production of the lenses, decal and ad glass, plus shipping and storage costs. Not to mention the costs associated with the creation and maintenance of the web site.
We also guarantee that the images we produce will be limited to no more than 30 sets of lenses.
Without the protection of a copyright on the image, there is nothing to stop anyone from ‘borrowing’ the artwork and producing their own versions of our products. Thereby reducing the value of our product(s) – and the value of our customer’s purchases.
Therefore, we register our images to protect our investment. We only officially register those images that we have plans on producing as limited edition runs of lenses.
Everyone deals with copyrights daily. Whether or not they actually notice it.
If you have purchased a Pontiac CAPCO globe from any of the vendors – you paid a licensing fee indirectly to General Motors. If you purchased ANY Harley Davidson item, you paid a licensing fee. All the restaurants you eat at, the hotels you stay at, and the cars you drive have registered copyrights on their respective logos.
Even the reproduction neon GM signs discussed in another post on this site are licensed by GM. Fees were paid to General Motors for the rights to produce those signs.
It’s a fact of life - and a fact of law. You are not allowed to infringe on another’s intellectual property. Not for photographs, DVD’s, CD’s, software, etc. It’s all protected by copyright.
No one seems to have a problem with the gentleman in Canada that holds the copyright to one of the Red Indian images. He has had to pursue legal remedies against infringement of his rights numerous times. And no one had a problem with the Gilmore lenses that were produced by Mike Slama under an agreement with the original copyright holders. The copyright holders reserved the rights of approval on the artwork in that instance.
If you have stayed with me to this point, I thank you for letting me express my reasons for the actions I have been forced to take. If my former business partners had just respected my copyrights in the first place, none of this would have been necessary.
Feel free to post your views on this issue. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. I promise you I will not be offended. Or, drop me an e-mail if you would like to discuss this with me directly.
[This message has been edited by T-way (edited 01-11-2006).]