Battle over model planes

from alt.binaries.pictures.aviation___...
Battle Over Model War Planes
RESTON, Va., Sept. 27, 2005
CBS News. What's happening down in this suburban Washington
basement could be a threat to the Military Industrial Complex.
CBS News correspondent Rich Schlesinger reports that the threat warning comes from defense companies that build the real planes and say thousands of model lovers, such as 14-year-old Matt Jackson, are freeloading off their hard work.
Matt's working on an EA-6B Prowler - a Navy jet. Schlesinger asks Matt if he thinks he's ripping off the Navy in his basement.
"That's what I'm trying to do, yeah," says Matt.
The defense giants do hold trademarks on planes like the F-15, F-16 and the B-17, and they say if a model company uses their planes to build replicas, it should pay royalties.
John Long, who owns a model company, says the defense contractors don't deserve a penny, because these airplanes were developed with tax dollars.
"It could be as high as 10 percent of the product cost," Long says. "Now why should I pass additional costs on to the taxpayer for this product when he's already paid the price?"
It's a nasty little battle that has reached Capitol Hill, where the model companies are pushing a law to defend themselves from the defense industry. And even though the money involved is pocket change in the deep-pocketed mega corporations - they still want it.
"Cash is king," Long says.
The aerospace companies are very camera shy when it comes to this issue. But in a written statement, they say this is not about money, it's about protecting trademark rights.
"No, I don't believe them," Matt says. "I think it's mostly to do with the money."
There are thousands of model enthusiasts who have a stake in this war over warplanes. As the battle lines have been drawn between two of this nation's favorite pastimes - making models - and making money.
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/09/27/eveningnews/main887340.shtml
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Seems that this has been threatened before and one kit maker took the Lightning off their box to satisfy the company that used to be Lockheed.
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Paul McIntosh
RC-Bearings.com
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I can understand the desire and even need for the Lockheed's and Boeings to protect their designs and such. But to charge the model companies?
And they may also want to consider just WHERE their engineers are going to come from in the next 15 plus years. They need to understand that all aspects of this hobby, static and flying, is what inspires our youth to seek those aviation related careers. And without it, the US is destined to fall even farther behind the rest of the world.
But don't jump to conclusions and blame just the companies. It's been known for years that the model companies manage to get some pretty important details on a lot of stuff. And it's known too that foreign governments have used models of our stuff to help their causes. Big Brother government could very well be behind this effort at least in part!

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Interesting little tid-bit came to mind when I read this thread.
Years ago, a young man wrote to the Beech Aircraft company for information on one of their aricraft for a modelling project. They shipped the package and got a very gracious letter back.
Years later, that letter got published because the young man had grown up, become an aircraft designed par-excellance and had come on board to design and build the prototype of their new design.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beechcraft_Starship
Yep! Burt Rutan....
You can always tell when a modeller is in charge of a company -- the information is out there, and they want to help the modellers.
Sounds like the bean-counters are running the comapnies for the stockholders. Only thing that counts is stock prices and dividends.
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It is also strange that I have never been refused when I asked for documentation for a scale project. Most aircraft companies have paid historians that cater to such requests. I got a pile of info From Fokker in Amsterdam for the Fokker D-23 when even the most authoritative books had precious little. Same with the Moskalyev SAM-13 from a Russian historian.
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Paul McIntosh
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Consider that a company like Lockheed has what, 80,000 plus employees? Consider too that your requests probably get channeled to the Public Relations department. What do they know of copy rights? They're focus is different.
Point is, in a company that big with that many people a policy of not cooperating with requests for info like yours would be difficult to justify and enforce. And in some departments it would simply go against the grain.
Better still is to ask for their help like you do now. Make sure your request clearly states it's for a scale model of type such and such. Then if they ever come back and demand compensation, point out how their cooperation was viewed as not only permission but encouragement for your project. Otherwise, why would they have helped? Work the beast against itself!

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To quote someone else in another context - "Not only does the right hand not know what the left hand is doing, it would actively oppose it if it found out."

--
"Is there such thing as too much of a bad thing?" - Tripping the Rift

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I really don't think that is generally the case. When I requested the information, I sent the requests to the corporate address as I did not know whom in the company would supply it. In the case of Fokker, both the US and Dutch offices responded to my query directed at the Dutch office.
I don't think that most companies are so sensitive that they are threatened by a modeler wanting to make replicas of their products.
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Paul McIntosh
RC-Bearings.com
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About 30 years ago one of our club members decided he wanted to build a twin Otter (a new aircraft at the time). He sent a letter to De Havilland in Canada requesting any info they could supply to help him with the project. Well... they sent him a plans package for a 72" R/C model twin otter that D.H. had designed, no charge. He built it and flew it with as a 3rd line C/L model

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I got just the opposite from Lockheed. I sent them a couple letters and made a couple calls to see if I could get some info on building a P3-Orion model. (Dad flew 'em in the Navy for 15+ years) After some time I got a very curt note in reply saying something to the effect of "we don't concern ourselves with toys."
Further communications went unanswered.
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I have had great success in acquiring scale documentation from various companies over the years. I generally send my request to the archives dept. or to the public relations dept. A bit of internet and/or telephone sleuthing usually comes up with the correct place. I recently received spectacular drawings for a Mercedes DF 100 "Flugmotor" from Daimler Chrysler in Germany. It even came with a press release from 1913 that Pilot K. Casper set an altitude record with it in a Gotha-Taube; the model that I was building. I have always found A/C companies to be very helpful in this regard. I tell them who I am and that I am modelling such and such a 'plane and ask if they have any scale documentation that would be of help to me. I ALWAYS offer to pay for it, although I have never been charged. I've not been turned down yet. Gord Schindler MAAC6694
"The OTHER Kevin in San Diego" <skiddz "AT" adelphia "DOT" net> wrote in message wrote:

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That pretty much mirror my experiences with them. I have not been turned down for any request. I even got copies of the original concept sketches of Tsunami!
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Paul McIntosh
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Publicly traded companies have very short horizons these days, because the money managers are interested in short-term profits & can't be bothered with long-term stability. This is why management that sells the seed grain for a short-term profit then leaves for the next victim will get big bonuses.
Chuck Jones wrote:

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Tim Wescott
Wescott Design Services
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Just a thought question...but why does this problem ONLY seem to effec
airplanes? Does Estes pay royalties to NASA? Why dont the warshi makers have issues with people making models of their ships fo personal use? I've NEVER heard of an arms maker suing because someon made a die-cast replica of a 80mm Howitzer. It just seems the focus i on airplanes (military and civilian)...perhaps because its the sam companies complaining? (i.e., Boeing, Lockheed, McDonell Douglas..bl bla bla)
Ze
-- zen401 ----------------------------------------------------------------------- zen4013's Profile: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/member.php?u124 View this thread: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?tB360
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zen4013 wrote:

Actually the model railroad manufactures are going through much the same problem. If they model a specific rail road (such as Union Pacific) they have been getting bills for it. The modelers themselves are pretty much exempt (same for our sport) unless they publish. In that case the corporate hacks get out their pencils and start adding up how much they can make. Bob
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Instead of ships or trains, think about automobiles instead. The auto industry gets paid licensing royalties for model cars of all kinds as well as licensing royalties for having their specific products represented in video games.
I'd hope that aircraft manufacturers would be appreciative of the small volume that most ARF and kit manufacturers work with. Still, with Thunder Tiger signing Rare Bear Racing to a licensing agreement, there are instances where the industry has brought these considerations upon themselves.

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