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Legal issues and auto art

Old 5/14/05, 09:26 AM
  #1  
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Make of this what you will. I post it as a public service announcement to my fellow artists.

Is it ILLEGAL to sell automotive models and art?
It is in fact illegal to draw, paint or build any car that is already designed and manufactured and sell it for profit. You can squeeze by if you are selling "one-offs". That means that you cannot sell more than 200 copies. Right now the auto manufacturers are cracking down hard on the motorsports auto industry. T-shirt companies are really getting slammed. One of the largest companies selling auto shirts was hammered for several hundreds of thousands of dollars. They have to pay a licensing fee to sell art that has any vehicle that is already manufactured and designed. This includes even an image of the taillight.

They will hit TurboSquid and other sites soon. They are going after the big distributors right now. The manufacturers have the lawyers to tie up your funds and drop kick your ***. They start with a cease and decist letter. Then they repo your inventory and audit your records to see how many you have sold. If you refuse to allow the audit, they assume the largest estimate and that will stand in court.

It really sucks, but here is a site with a little more info. Basically, you can sell paintings and art on a "one-off" basis, up to 200 peices. After that you are in mass distribution and you will be liable or required to pay a licensing fee plus royalites.
The entire thread here.

Ok now my take on this.
First off I think that I personally am skirting this issue a bit in that when i get hired to do a design for someone I am usually doin a highly modified version of the car. I'm not selling the art I'm selling the idea in otherwords. The art is just a guide for the builder. (no clue if that will hold water in court though)

Now all you tooners might be in a bit more trouble if you actually use the Manufactureres name, emblem etc on the toon and sell it. I think anyway.

As for the general Chopper i think is in the clear because you guys as near as i can tell are just doin it because it's fun and not really trying to make a profit off it. Or are using it as a stepping stone to design like i did.

These are just my thoughts and have no real basis in reality as most everything i do.

Anyway this isn't really suprising..as I just read an artcle on how car manufactureers as well as plane and train companies are chareging model making companies royalty fees to produce thier kits. Ad we all can remeber when Ford went nuts and stareted shutting down any site with the words Mustang in the URL. I even remeber one case where the site in question was a horse ranch of some sort.

To me this is just another incident of a sue happy america at it's best. You can sue over a hangnail nowadays. But i wont get started on that rant.

But i will leave you with this joke.

WHat's the difference between a lawyer and a catfish?
One is a slime sucking bottom dweller and the other is a fish.

No offense to all you NICE lawyers out there



Oh well
make of it what you will and just be careful guys.


the following statements are the opinon of the poster and in no way reflect the feeling of the managemnet
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Old 5/14/05, 10:11 AM
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so does this mean i cant put the little blue oval on my toons etc? you'd think that art based on a real car would help sales of the car.. extended advertising dont ya think?

crazy :crazy:
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Old 5/14/05, 11:57 AM
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you would think that for sure. But this country has become so sue happy that you can almost get busted for breathing someone elses air
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Old 5/14/05, 12:12 PM
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thay cant sue me! im the next owner of FoMoCo!
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Old 5/14/05, 01:02 PM
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so as long as we sell under 200 pieces we're okay?
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Old 5/14/05, 01:04 PM
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i guess so. lol, not like im gonna sell anywhere near that anyways lol
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Old 5/14/05, 01:11 PM
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I'd be lucky to sell 5 or 6...lol
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Old 5/14/05, 02:01 PM
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I was wondering about this a couple of days ago when I was planning to sell my stuff.


This is an alert to all artists. Recently a number of major corporations have pressured various artists in an effort to require licensing for painting particular subjects. These corporations include major automotive manufacturers, railroad companies, soft drink companies, breweries, etc. Research done by two independent law firms has shown no legal precedent requiring fine artists to obtain a license to paint any trademark or copyrighted subject. In fact, a number of cases have been listed which support the artists right to create such subjects, partially because of *First Amendment rights *(U.S.A.).

In this widespread practice of intimidation, licensing representatives have appeared at shows, physically threatening artists, their art, their displays and their vehicles unless the artist sign a licensing agreement on the spot. Previous examples of licenses signed by artists have included a commitment fee of several thousand dollars, a relinquishing of their reproduction rights, and a minimum payment of $2,500 quarterly (8 to 10 % of gross sales) which increases with each new two year contract. An artist who doesn't meet the payment schedule is in danger of losing his entire inventory when his license is revoked. Other artists have recieved numerous threatening letters to cease and desist, all creation, sales, and distribution of their art, whether it be original paintings or limited edition prints.

It is important that artists with similar interests band together to protect our rights. If you're interested in supporting such a movement, please contact,
Gordon Drysdale at (705) 693-1317
or [email protected]
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Old 5/14/05, 02:18 PM
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I guess we're gonna have to go Ed Roth with our designs
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Old 5/15/05, 04:44 PM
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I've been tip-toeing around this by having a "by request" section for toons which may show emblems/logos.
One of the biggest Car-tooning companies, WICKED ART, has stopped selling their designs to US customers because of legal threats from automakers.
They are a UK based company, and will still sell to the rest of the world.

I also try not to let "general" designs stay too long on my cafepress store site.
And I sometimes distort or substitute something for a real logo/emblem.
There have been a few legal challenges to some of my designs on Cafepress
and I had to certify that I only display my own signed, original designs.
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Old 10/12/11, 09:54 PM
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This has really become a problem for me as a struggling artist.
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Old 10/12/11, 10:00 PM
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Now I know where the term "starving artist" came from.


Somebody called a lawyer and he took the food out of his mouth.
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