January 13, 2006
I will not ever use Royal Air Force, Royal Flying Corps or Fleet Air Arm Roundels on my depictions of the previously mentioned services Aircraft.
Fortunately I feel quite comfortable using the below listed services roundels in my artwork as alternatives in lieu of risking upsetting the Crown by using the correct national markings on my depictions;
Australian Flying Corps
Royal Australian Air Force
Royal Canadian Air Force
Royal Indian Air Force
Royal New Zealand Air Force
South African Air Force
My depictions will therefore with respect to Royal Air Force and Fleet Air Arm Aviation not ever be entirely accurate however I feel they will still appear acceptable to the viewer at the very least.
Welcome back! Love that classified ad!!
So, being an artist with a law degree….hmmm…suppose one was to do an image of the Boeing B-17 Memphis Belle. Then one whould theoreticly have to have had the USAF, Boeing and the Memphis Belle Association (who owns the right to the Memphis Belle trademark??) give permission in order to do a piece of art of said aircraft!!! Perhaps if it is done as a satirical art piece (somehow…don’t ask me) then it would be protected as an expression of free speech?!? 🙄 🙄
I believe Shakespere had the right idea, but then again, I have known a few (only a few) that were/are decent human beings!
The law does vary from country to country. In Australia all artwork becomes copyrighted automatically. This bring up the issue of “conflict of law”. The painting may be copyrighted but it may still be in breach of the law.
It really is hard to get your head around the whole problem and there are no easy straight forward answers.
There are some very interesting articles on this site: http://www.artslaw.com.au/
However, legal application will change from country to country. They will probably have more relevance in Canada, NZ, maybe in the US and England. Can’t tell you if any of it at all applies to civil law countries like Germany, Japan etc., etc.
Of lawyers… well they’re not that popular but there are always good in any group of people. Schindler comes to mind. In lawyers you’ve got your human rights lawyers and even blokes like Geoffery Robertson – read “The Justice Game”. He’s very much into supporting art and free speech.
I have a “Potential” client interested in a piece of my work but are asking if I have “LEGEL CLEARANCE”. Just what the #@%#*(@*@&*#@(*@ clearances do I need to have to sell prints of Glacier Girl P-38?
Current Owner of Glacier Girl? Lockheed? USAF?
Help!! I am mired knee-deep!
I assume you painted this work that you sell as a print?
I think you would be fine to sell although you may be in breach of copyright. Right now I haven’t done copyright law so I can’t tell you much about this area which appears to be a main pivot point for artists.
If you like you can PM me more details and I’ll endeavour to make some sort of assessment of the buyers letter if you like.
Yes, selling prints, 12×36″ Profile, Digitally created. If this thing blows up, I guess it’s back to doing just landscapes with nothing identifiable in view that someone can claim as “theirs”!! Or perhaps selling out of my cars trunk in back alleys in the dead of night!
Just some thoughts – I’m no lawyer … 8)
GG is privately owned, and I’d bet my next print sale that they have indeed trademarked the “Glacier Girl” logo and name since they are most definitely a for-profit enterprise – they sell “Glacier Girl” merchandise to help support the plane.
Of course they cannot claim “ownership” of the P-38 Lightning’s likeness, you’re safe there, but I’d be careful about selling prints or other merchandise with the Glacier Girl logo and/or name used as a selling point. Like NASCAR most definitely would, the GG folks may drop in on you like a ton of bricks …
If you are selling an ORIGINAL piece of art, I personally wouldn’t give it a second thought since there’s only one, and you (?) have not advertised it publicly as “GG related” … prints or other things I’d be leery of, however, without first contacting them and explaining very nicely what your plans are – and that may involve a licensing fee.
Personally, I try to avoid such entanglements … as I told Russ Smith a while back, if the current copyright holders to the WWII and current designs start bean-counting in an ART way, Russ better move over because we’ll all be painting SPADs and N.28s! (I don’t think we’ll ever get to that point, but you never know in today’s world!) 😯
Let us know how things turn out.
Wade Meyers Studios
I have been trying to contact the NEW owner of GG. The old owner died and the Lost Squadron folks sold her.
I have found a copyright on a “Glacier Girl” nose art piece by Owen Hughes, but it appears that it is NOT what was painted on the aircraft.
I’m no Lawyer but……..but I can’t afford to be dragged to court or pay fines for my “Hobby”!!! 🙄
July 10, 2008
New to eHangar.com… My name is Mark.
Just wondering if anyone has any recent information about this issue.. I paint mostly as a hobby but was hoping at some point, when I get good enough and retire from my current job to pursue this full time…
I’m in the final stages of painting one of my old squadron aircraft that I was hoping to make available for sale to my squadron mates… Last thing I need is a bunch of Lockheed Martin legal types showing up at my doorstep…
July 13, 2006
I’ve got nothing new, but since I bumped into this thread I have to add my personal opinion….
This is by far the stupidest use of the copyright law I have ever seen.
Please raise your hand if the first time you learned to identify an F-16 was from the USAF parking one on your front lawn….anybody ? You can bet you rear-end that it was through a photo, painting or God forbid – a plastic model. To say this somehow infringes on any manufacturers copyright to the product is ludicrous.
To me, it’s free, positive, advertising. Though it may not be our primary intention, we who produce these images in any form are promoting the product.
I agree with one earlier poster who said if his company spent any time pursuing this piece of business, he would conclude the department were overstaffed.
Well, no worries. As long as the Wright brothers are dead and Curtiss Wright is out of business, we can all spend out time painting 17 December 1903 scenes. Forget about anything later than that – they probably all have legal departments with nothing better to do than harrass the people who are helping to build public awareness of their product and equally importantly of the people and events that have shaped their companies success.
Wonder if Keith Ferris’ mural of the History of jet Aviation (think about the sheer number of companies involved there – 25′ high, 75′ long….) has come under scrutiny by these guys. My bet would be NO. Why ? Because NASM is the most visited museum on the planet and the products displayed in the painting are seen by millions each year.
Free, positive, advertising…..
Vice President, ASAA
And now the disclaimer –
This opinion in no way reflects the opinion or stance of the American Society of Aviation Artists and can in no way be construed as an endorsement of the opinion of Mr. O’Neal by the ASAA, it’s affiliates or assigns.
The way I understand it, if it is a depiction of a military aircraft in the markings of the US military it is ok. These aircraft are technically owned by “the people” and as such are in the public domain.
As long as you do not use the name of the manufacturer in you title or description you should be fine. The aircraft designation such as “F-16 Fighting Falcon” is ok as it is chosen by the military.
I have now dealt with this on three separate issues: with Lucasfilms years ago; Mars candy co.; and GSUSA (Girl Scouts)/BSA.
First instance (Lucasfilms): I created a series of small hand-built figurines of Star Wars images (way back when the first 3 came out, I’ve been around a little while 😎 ). They featured them in their fan newsletter, and then sent me a note: ‘Please don’t sell this without us knowing’… At that time, people were buying up sculptures to make casts of for commercial ceramics and I could have been included in any lawsuit. As I made them for my own pleasure, it was no problem.
Second (Mars): I created a large watercolor montage of images of things to eat with ice cream. I notified all the businesses who’s images or logos were involved. Some ignored it, some sent free coupons, and Mars sent me a letter from a NY attourneys’ firm with a letterhead that filled up 2/3 of the first page. A ‘cease and desist”. After I stop shaking, I called and spoke the the young lady who was quite nice. She had been passed the word to send me that letter by the PTB. I explained artists have the right to make an image of anything they want and a limited number of prints…think Andy Warhol, guys and Campbell Soup. She looked it up, got back to me, and agreed, and the PTB backed down and merely requested I notify them if I ever made prints of that painting.
Lastly: (GSUSA) I am the artist of an official, national Girl Scout poster. All their uniforms, insignia, etc. are trademarked. BUT, I CAN make ONE of anything I want BY law, and made a first watercolor montage. Again, I notified them. They liked it so much, they suggested it become a poster and worked through all the licensing with me.
BSA Footnote to this: I also did an unofficial Boy Scout one, for my son. Boy Scouts of America do NOT trademark their items, so I went ahead and made posters to match the GSUSA ones. I got a nasty ‘cease and desist’, and faced them down armed with the knowledge of their lack of trademarking. Last I heard, that lawyer ‘left their employ’ within the year…
There are lawyers who specialize in art law, some who answer questions for free online (Artists Magazine often will post and answer questions such as this). There is also an Artist’s book of contracts and laws as they pertain to us. Look online for the latest edition.
I suggest you try and ask someone there at public relations…and don’t forget the Andy Warhol example…I dislike much of his work, but he sure makes a recognizable case for artists using logos and limited prints!
I would be curious to know if anyone has actually gone to the effort of contacting a Lockheed or Boeing before publishing to ask for permission rather than publishing first and counting on obscurity to avoid the confrontation. My interest is primarily in modern aircraft (as it would happen, Lockheed and Boeing/McDonnel Douglas) so I am obviously interested.
Since ‘The Law’ does not always disassociate itself from ‘Stupidity’ it’s important to avoid the inevitable emotional traps. Calling the actions of the Big Boys vulgar may be emotionally satisfying and maybe even true it doesn’t help clarify the issue. The Law is still the Law.
If I can get my hobbyist behind in gear I’d like to publish a couple of works and will go through the self-highlighting exercise of actually asking for permission. I have no expectations either way and my financial security doesn’t depend on it so it would at least be a learning experience. If you have gone through the process please share your story. Sorry, I have no cheese for the whine!
Bill 'Torch' Ramsay
Aviation in Pen and Ink
Interesting. I think this addition might make this one of the longest running threads of all time.
I still haven’t finished my law degree but with one unit to go, it ain’t far off. I saved the best till last “Intellectual Property”. I don’t know if much has changed because I haven’t thought much about it. However, I do know that in Australia the breach of copyright in art often goes on a sliding scale or should I say, scales. There’s the direct breach but also a proportional breach in my basic understanding so far.
Once I know more, I’ll try and keep updating.
In regards to Lockheed, I had some convesations with them last year in regards to my artwork. I can shed a little light on the subject.
Lockheed does not claim copyright on the aircraft. They fully acknowledge the right of an artist to make depictions of US military aircraft. What they have done is trademarked all the names of the aircraft such as “F-16”, “P-38”, “F-22”, etc. If a company trademarks something, they must defend that trademerk or risk losing it hence Lockheed has contracted an agency to keep watch over their trademerks. Whenever they find a perceived infraction they will send a notice. (It is my opinion the agent probably gets a bonus/commission for every new license he signs up so they are constantly looking to generate new licenses.)
A search of the US registered trademark data base indicates Lockheed Martin does indeed hold some trademarks (???F-16???, ???SR-71???,etc.) however these are only in relation to consumer products such as jewelry, computer software, toys etc. Lockheed Martin does not however hold the trademark for those terms when they are used as a designation for military equipment.
The prefix (???B???, ???F???, ???A???,etc) and the number designations for aircraft are sequentially chosen in strict accordance with Department of Defense guidelines as outlined in DoD Directive 4120.15 and implemented in the joint services publication entitled, ???DESIGNATING AND NAMING DEFENSE MILITARY AEROSPACE VEHICLES???. When used in this manner the designations ???F-16???, ???SR-71???, etc are not subject to trademark. In regards to the aircraft name, manufacturers may make suggestions as to the naming of the aircraft however the ultimate choice is strictly made by the department of defense. Again,these names are not trademarked when used as descriptors for military aircraft which are considered to be in the public domain.
As long as you are only selling artwork. You should have no problems. Note, for descriptive purposes, you should be fine calling the aircraft by it’s DOD designation. How else would you identify it to the viewer? You should not however, use the Lockheed Martin name in the title or description of the artwork/print.
My impression is Lockheed are pretty amicable. I have the highest respect for the Lockheed Martin Corporation, their outstanding products and for their trademark rights. They are not particularly interested in bringing the hammer down on the little guy.
January 26, 2010
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