Can you sue for this?

Discussion in 'Motorized Vehicles' started by Tippey764, May 21, 2009.

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  1. LIVEFRMNYC

    LIVEFRMNYC Blah Blah Blah!!!

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    You can sue. But the only chance you might have of winning is if you can somehow get the new owner to admit the work as your brothers doing.
     
  2. KimoT

    KimoT Are we not men?

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    The new owner bought the car, and has the right to use it, including in car shows and magazines. It is unethical to claim it as his own, but it would be very hard to win a lawsuit. The only one's who'd win would be the lawyers: its a complex issue that would generate large fees, but there would be little return even if you prevailed. Copyright will not apply because the car is a collection of aftermarket parts, to which others own trademarks and copyrights. If it had a custom paintjob with a distinct image or pattern, copyright could be an issue, but from the pictures, that's not evident.

    Public shame is probably your best option. Write to the magazines, and give them copies of the paperwork to back it up (parts receipts and a bill of sale to the new owner would be pretty strong). Tell the world your brother made the car, especially in places where this guy is getting the glory. Avoid calling him a liar: just say "This is who really made the car" and let people draw your own conclusions. That way if the new owner tries to claim defamation, you can honestly say you never called him a liar, and you have proof of your story.

     
  3. nels1316

    nels1316 Notebook Guru

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    To be clear. You can sue for anything. Winning is a different matter.
     
  4. DetlevCM

    DetlevCM Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Are you sure copyright wouldn't apply? - I mean, even though you use parts you bought, I suppose you could call the arrangment your own.

    If I bought metal pieces (scres, nuts, bolts etc. ) and arranaged them as a statue - that would be copyrighted art.

    And just to add - selling copyrighted work doesn't give you the right to claim it as your own - I think even if I sold you the rights.

    In the US yes, and you're right - winning is the problem.

    In the end - I think Shyster1 will be your best advisor - he knows his law.
    Also, if yo have a friend studying law - let him look into it - it won't cost (or just something little as a sign of appreciation) and that would give you an idea as to whether you should see a lawyer.
     
  5. KimoT

    KimoT Are we not men?

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    Copyright requires a minimum level of originality which is subject to interpretation by the courts. Building a car would be different from arranging a series of parts into an aesthetic arraignment (a sculpture) that has no functional purpose. The collection of car parts, while it may be pleasing to the eye, is primarily functional, and anyone could buy the same parts and get the same results. The manufacturers of the parts may rely on copyright to protect some of the graphic elements of their parts, but mostly they use patents and trademarks to protect their products.

    If it does pass muster for copyright, then it is still possible for someone to pass it off as their own work legally, as long as they do not infringe one of the protected rights. If they display it at a car show, they are exercising the public display right, which is assumed to transfer with physical possession of a copyrighted work (but that may not be true if the show has an admission charge and the courts deem this use as a performance and not a display...its a gray area). If the new owner licenses someone else to make copies of the car, then they would be infringing the right to create derivative works, so you could clearly sue and probably win as this right is retained by the creator unless explicitly transferred. You will notice lots of Cobra replicas using either the AC body or Mustang bodies, but the name "Shelby" is not on them. That's because the assembly of car parts is not covered by copyright, but Carroll Shelby has trademark protection for his name.

    In Europe and a few US States (most notable California and New York), the law recognizes moral rights as part of copyright. In this case, and artist can sue to either have their authorship recognized, or to disown a work if it has been altered in a way that they disapprove of. In the US, this is not recognized in Federal copyright law, so rights vary from state to state. Getting this applied to a car would be an uphill battle. Again I would never say never, but it would require a lot of work by a good attorney to prevail.
     
  6. Tippey764

    Tippey764 Notebook Deity

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    Thanks for the advice. Knowing my brother I don't think he would want to sue but public shame is what he's looking for. When my brother sold the car all he wanted was credit for the work he did. How would I go about getting public shame for this because honestly It makes me pretty mad too. If anyone would Like to help me with that I would appriciate it alot.
     
  7. Tippey764

    Tippey764 Notebook Deity

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    Who thought this would go good in the automotive section? The title is can you sue for this this really isnt talking about cars what so ever. If you could move it back that would be great
     
  8. KimoT

    KimoT Are we not men?

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    I would have your brother write up a short description of the car, including the amount of work he did and any distinctive features that are not easily seen in the articles, and send that with copies of his receipts and the bill of sale (with addresses and other personal info blacked out) to every magazine and website that has featured this car, and noting the date that the car was featured under the other person's name. The same could be done for car shows and other events.
     
  9. Tippey764

    Tippey764 Notebook Deity

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    Well i kind of want to do it with out telling him then tell him after the fact. So maybe he will be happy and you know help me out or somthing lol. I do have all the pictures from the swap on that car and links to fourms that date back before he sold it when it was finished. It was also in a magazine when my brother still owned it.
     
  10. Ferrari

    Ferrari Notebook Evangelist

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    From the U.S. Copyright Office
    http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html


    § 102. Subject matter of copyright: In general28
    (a) Copyright protection subsists, in accordance with this title, in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. Works of authorship include the following categories:

    (1) literary works;

    (2) musical works, including any accompanying words;

    (3) dramatic works, including any accompanying music;

    (4) pantomimes and choreographic works;

    (5) pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works;

    (6) motion pictures and other audiovisual works;

    (7) sound recordings; and

    (8) architectural works.

    (b) In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work.


    § 103. Subject matter of copyright: Compilations and derivative works
    (a) The subject matter of copyright as specified by section 102 includes compilations and derivative works, but protection for a work employing preexisting material in which copyright subsists does not extend to any part of the work in which such material has been used unlawfully.

    (b) The copyright in a compilation or derivative work extends only to the material contributed by the author of such work, as distinguished from the preexisting material employed in the work, and does not imply any exclusive right in the preexisting material. The copyright in such work is independent of, and does not affect or enlarge the scope, duration, ownership, or subsistence of, any copyright protection in the preexisting material.


    For more info go to the website
    http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html
     
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