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Ford Claims Ownership Of Your Pictures

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the like-a-child-shouting-MINE dept.

Patents 739

Mike Rogers writes "In a move that can only be described as 'Copyright Insanity', Ford Motor Company now claims that they hold the rights to any image of a Ford vehicle, even if it's a picture you took of your own car. The Black Mustang Club wanted to put together a calendar featuring member's cars and print it through CafePress, but an attorney from Ford nixed the project, stating that the calendar pics and 'anything with one of (member's) cars in it infringes on Ford's trademarks which include the use of images of their vehicles.' Does Ford have the right to prevent you from printing images of a car you own?"

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Form? (1, Offtopic)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037588)

Form Motor Company?

Re:Form? (4, Funny)

bonkeydcow (1186443) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037614)

Yeah, you know, maker of the dustang!

Re:Form? (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037970)

Don't forget the B-Tird!

Re:Form? (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037674)

Form Motor Company?

Yes...Form Motor Company. It was created by Slashdot and is a few hours old! Most of its manufacturing is in the USA.

Re:Form? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22037876)

Good thing I drive a Ford and not a Form......otherwise, I'd have to shred all of those pictures I took of it last week.

EULA (5, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037592)

Does Ford have the right to prevent you from printing images of a car you own?

Hold on a moment. Let me get the EULA out of the glove box.

Re:EULA (4, Informative)

Sandbags (964742) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037910)

Well, they DO have a right. The Ford emblem, vehicle design, and likenesses are registered trademarks of their company. Where they can't prevent you from printing pictures of your own vehicles for personal use, they CAN prevent an organization (in this case a car club) from printing, selling, (and thus profiting) from those images without their permission.

Even magazines doing reviews of vehicles need the permission of the maker in order to print the article (most have standing agreements). Newspapers can, for example, show a photo of a car wreck, but were they to runa review, they'd need permission to use the images, even if they were taken of vehicles owned by the paper.

This is not Ford saying "you can't take and print pictures of your car" It's just them saying "we're so concerned we're loosing money to the imports that we're going to sue you for trying to make even a few bucks from a fund raiser, unless you're interested in profit sharing that is..."

Form motor company....Hooray! (0, Troll)

strongmace (890237) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037594)

Form motor company, where the cars are stylish.

Re:Form motor company....Hooray! (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22038040)

I thought "at Ford, quality is job 1?" Maybe they should change their motto: "At ford, quality is an afterthought. Looks and stylishness are job 1! Oh and litigation is job 2!"

Ford is completely correct on this (1)

Asshat Canada (804093) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037612)

Just kidding - who gives a shit?

Free Marketing (4, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037616)

And they wonder why their stock is in the toilet. They're trying to stop free marketing of their products. How dumb is that?

Not an uncommon practice (1)

winkydink (650484) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037810)

BMW and Porsche have done the same thing in the past and I expect that other automakers have as well.

Re:Free Marketing (3, Insightful)

mosch (204) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037964)

The real problem here is the law. If Ford fails to go after this sort of violation, they lose the rights to go after other violations in the future.

As such, American law is written such that they must either attack people who mean no harm, or lose the right to defend themselves in the future against actual harms.

This isn't Fords fault, it's the broken-ass laws of the United States.

this isn't new .... (1)

Brigadier (12956) | more than 6 years ago | (#22038000)

This isn't new behavior by Ford. Ford has been on the war path with for years. keeping in mind this was one of the premier fan sites. I belonged to a club called when they whole new edge design was the in thing (1999). We were smart enough to contact Ford before hand. The only reason I think they let us do it was to use us as a part of their marketing.

Dangerous precedent (3, Insightful)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037622)

Wow, this is bad. Just the other day I was wondering about IP rights in taking pictures of products, and if arguments about IP in pictures of other stuff carried over.

Now, imagine what it's like if you have to get permission to put *any* product in *any* picture.

I have no idea what legal grounds Ford has, but this MUST be prevented from spreading to pictures of products in general.

(Of course, Ford could just be trolling for easy cash because of that whole not-funding-workers'-pensions thing...)

Re:Dangerous precedent (2, Interesting)

Araxen (561411) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037734)

There's are sculptures in Chicago in one of their parks that you can't take any pictures of as it's been deemed by the artist as infringing on his IP rights. /boggle

I don't know though if it's been tested in court yet though.

Re:Dangerous precedent (2, Interesting)

ThePromenader (878501) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037896)

A well-known and longstanding example of "copyright insanity" is the SNTE's claim over any picture taken of the Eiffel tower at night. When challenged, the "claim" didn't hold up in court... but as long as the claim is there, you have to legally challenge it to gain reason over it. Few can afford to do so, thus the "law" stands even today...

Re:Dangerous precedent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22037780)

Damn! Does this mean I can't distribute pictures of Playboy and Penthouse's "products" too?!?

Re:Dangerous precedent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22037782)

My wife used to do embroidery and you can get these licensed Winnie the Pooh patterns from Disney. They actually come with a rider that says it's a violation of the license if you make them into (e.g.) cushions and then sell the cushions.

Reminds me of that a bit.

Apparently the key point is whether or not the usage is "incidental". If you film in London and show Starbucks in the background, they can't do anything. If you film a Starbucks and publish it as a photo of a Starbucks, they can sue you. Oddly, this also applies the games, so if you build London with the Starbucks intact, that's OK, but if you put the Starbucks in the wrong place, or make it look wrong, it's no longer OK. (I got this from a certain Phil Harrison regarding making The Getaway so I'm pretty sure it's relatively correct.)

So if you take a photo of your wife with your neighbour's Mustang in the background, it's no problem, but if you take a photo of your neighbour's Mustang it might be.

Re:Dangerous precedent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22037798)

I just thought of what I could actually take pictures of, since just about everything is protected by copyright. So it was eventually, nature, and well people naked, as taking a picture of those clothes will be a copyright violation.

As nice as that sounds initially, I for one am not prepared to see everyone out there naked.


Re:Dangerous precedent (3, Interesting)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037840)

Fortunately this one has been easily solved years ago. Think about all of the movies that have, as background vehicles, a Ford, GM, Chrysler, etc., vehicle.

No, I'm not talking about the ones where the car is featured prominently (Transporter, Transformers, etc.) - in those the movie studio clearly got permission (or was paid prominently for their use). I'm talking about background vehicles. The studios do not and never have paid for their use when they were filmed on a public street. If Ford tries to press this, they'll have the movie studios pressing against them.

Re:Dangerous precedent (5, Funny)

nolife (233813) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037904)

Yes but let's use yet another car analogy here, what if Ford.... oh wait.

Re:Dangerous precedent (1)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037932)

Now, imagine what it's like if you have to get permission to put *any* product in *any* picture.
I know! Most graphic "artist" majors would actually have to come up with original work! I kid you not, a lot of these kids take something like the Nasonex Bee! [] throw it in photoshop and put a filter or two on it for a grade.

Isn't that what copy writes are for? To ensure artists to create their OWN works? Not copy each other and I'm sure it's not to let corps milk them till the cash cow is dead.

Re:Dangerous precedent (2, Funny)

Osurak (1013927) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037934)

Sorry, you can no longer take pictures of yourself because you're wearing clothes, and a representation of those clothes falls under the IP rights of the brand/store you bought them from.

no (3, Insightful)

Dance_Dance_Karnov (793804) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037628)

they own the design of the car. but the photographer owns their picture.

Re:no (2, Insightful)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037708)

It's not so simple. The calendar looks like it might be trading on Ford's trademarks. Put it this way, if the Mustang wasn't in a particular image, would anyone want to pay the same for the image?

Re:no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22037758)

No put it this way, it's not their car, it's not their camera, it's not their picture so they can piss off.

Re:no (2, Interesting)

MBCook (132727) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037820)

As much as I want to dislike Ford for doing this, I'm with you. Shortly after reading this and realizing that the headline is sensationalized... I realized that the calendar is just like one Ford might sell only made by a third party who isn't paying Ford anything. No one cares that it's the something-something-car-club, they would be buying it for the images of the Mustang's design.

If I drew my own copies of my favorite Dilbert strips, could I sell a book of them? Seems like basically the same thing.

Now if the calendar has different cars (say it was 12 sports cars and the Mustang was just one) then I could see Ford being in the wrong. But the whole calendar seems to be taking advantage of them.

Paying for the image (1)

DuctTape (101304) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037878)

Now, if instead it was a picture of a bunch of ticked-off Slashdot readers each giving the F*rd (I may be infringing copyright/trademark/servicemark if I spell out Ford--dang!) car the finger, would that mean that we bought the calendar because there was a F*rd in it, or because of the people giving it the finger?

Has someone patented "giving the finger" yet? I better not hit the Submit bu

Ford's trademarks... (2, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037892)

apply to automobiles, not calendars.

Re:no (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 6 years ago | (#22038010)

And trademarks are "defend them or lose them", so they pretty much have to quash projects like this, for certain evil corporate foot-shooting scum sucking values of "have to".

Re:no (1)

CrankyFool (680025) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037738)

Yup. Obviously, they also own copyrights around any pictures THEY took.

It's like celebrities -- you can't go around selling copies of Jessica Simpson's latest album, but if you see her on the street, you can take a picture and sell it to The Star, or OK, or any other tabloid.

Re:no - IP gridlock (1)

dmeranda (120061) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037816)

This is why the article's title is wrong. Ford doesn't own your pictures.
But then your pictures are not entirely your own either. Nobody, neither
you or Ford, has rights to the pictures (unless you both agree to some
sort of cross licensing lawyer-enriching scheme).

This is kind of like patents, where patents don't grant rights, they
just take them away. So it's posible to get into an IP (sic) gridlock
where nobody has any rights to something.

Huh (5, Funny)

pwnies (1034518) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037636)

I was going to use a car analogy to show how ridiculous this was...

Um...yeah. (1)

sgant (178166) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037638)

Good luck with that there Ford...

Meanwhile, I'll do what I fricken want with my car.

It's obvious! (4, Funny)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037640)

All your images are belong to us.

Ford claims ownership of niggers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22037644)

Welcome to them, as far as I'm concerned

heh heh (4, Funny)

427_ci_505 (1009677) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037646)

Bold moves indeed.

email your illegal pictures back the CEO (4, Interesting)

gelfling (6534) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037650)

I did. Wouldn't want to gain the benefit of my ill gotten gains. No - better to send them all back to the CEO where they'll be safe. You should too.

Re:email your illegal pictures back the CEO (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037752)

Email link? Unless it is on Ford's website...

Is it my car or their car? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22037656)

Now, if they want to help pay maintenance and such, I might share it, but if I bought it, wouldn't it be mine? I mean certainly fair use applies here.

Seems good news (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22037662)

Means Police can no longer take pictures of Ford cars for photo enforcement either. Hooray!

Re:Seems good news (0, Offtopic)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037822)

Mod parent up.

Police don't sell photos for profit (1)

imtheguru (625011) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037978)

Grandparent poster didn't read the article, and neither did you.

Re:Seems good news (1)

tiedyejeremy (559815) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037992)

This was my very first thought. The Traffic light cameras are being used for profit. Did the Ford Attorney get a ticket?

Wrong question. (3, Insightful)

goldspider (445116) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037664)

Does Ford have the right to prevent you from printing images of a car you own?

You mean "Does Ford have the right to prevent you from selling images of a car you own?

And the answer should still be know. Just thought I'd clarify.

Re:Wrong question. (2, Insightful)

Traxxas (20074) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037884)

If you are leasing that car from Ford or a Ford owned financing company then they do own 'your' car. You are mearly renting the car from them. If you got a loan and are buying the car then it is yours to do with as you please.

Fair Use (1)

pmbasehore (1198857) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037668)

IANAL, but this smells of Fair Use to me. It would surprise me if this keeps up for long.

Re:Fair Use (3, Informative)

Mesa MIke (1193721) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037952)

Fair Use applies to copyright. This is a trademark issue.

Ford's response (5, Informative)

microcars (708223) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037672)

here is a copy of the letter that was alledgedly sent to another automotive club when they tried to publish calenders themselves. (I ripped this posting from BoingBoing...)

"Although you and your members may own the Ford automobile, you do not own the rights to the trade dress. Taking pictures of any Ford automobiles, placing them on products (i.e. calendar, mugs, t-shirts, etc.) and making them available to the public for sale is an infringement of Ford's intellectual property rights."

"Because of the cachet of the world-famous Ford name, thousands of independent businesses and people make a living from or pursue a hobby related to Ford products and services. Unfortunately, many of these businesses improperly attempt to affiliate themselves with Ford by using Ford trademarks and trade dress (for instance, the depictions or photographs of Ford's distinctively shaped vehicles) in advertising their products and services."

"If a business not affiliated with Ford uses any Ford trademark, whether through the use of photographs, depictions or silhouettes, or any confusingly similar variation thereof, without Ford's express, written consent, then that business is violating Federal and state trademarks laws."

"It is also not sufficient for a business to state that it is not affiliated with Ford but continue to use Ford trademarks without permission. The business is still misappropriating the goodwill and reputation developed by Ford, and attempting to capitalize on or profit from Ford's goodwill and reputation. Even with the best of intentions, unauthorized use of another company's trademark is against the law."

"At times Ford enthusiasts question why Ford is so adamant about policing it's trademarks and preventing unauthorized uses or infringements of them. It is quite common for someone who is using a trademark without permission to say, "I'm giving Ford free advertising, so why does Ford care?" Ford cares because it is important that Ford be able to exercise control over the quality of the product or service bearing Ford's trademarks."

"To protect the value of its trademarks, Ford is obligated to object to and pursue unauthorized uses of its trademarks and trade dress, even if the use of the trademark or trade dress does not appear offensive or objectionable."

Re:Ford's response (2, Insightful)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037890)

The business is still misappropriating the goodwill and reputation developed by Ford, and attempting to capitalize on or profit from Ford's goodwill and reputation.
There is obviously no goodwill here. And they're reputation at /. is now tanked, if it wasn't already.

Re:Ford's response (1)

mcsqueak (1043736) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037924)

(for instance, the depictions or photographs of Ford's distinctively shaped vehicles) in advertising their products and services."

Yeah, distinctly bland. The new Fusion looks okay (besides those side vent things that look like they were ripped straight off of a BMW M), but man... years and years of the Focus... ugh. Give me a break.

(and on a related note, what is with some of those Hyundai's trying to look like freakin' Mercedes-Benz with the round headlights and stuff... come up with your own ideas!)

Re:Ford's response (0)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 6 years ago | (#22038048)

(and on a related note, what is with some of those Hyundai's trying to look like freakin' Mercedes-Benz with the round headlights and stuff... come up with your own ideas!)

The Sonata and the Kia Amanti? Hey, I thought they looked cool. Unfortunately, for the Sonata, that was only for the '03-'05 models. I was looking at buying one recently, and it no longer has those lights.

At the Detroit Auto Show, Hyundai debuted another "let's take on Mercedes" car, the Hyundai Genesis. Looks nice too.

You know one idea Hyundai didn't copy from Ford? Underfunded worker pensions.

Mug shots (1)

phizix (1143711) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037690)

Presumably then I own the copyright to my own image. Would this imply I could sue police for taking mug shots?

Re:Mug shots (1)

John Napkintosh (140126) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037988)

Probably not, because the police are not profiting them, and there are restrictions/guidelines that cover what they are allowed to do with them. If your likeness was to be pictured on a product or in an advertisement, it would have to be license from you by having you sign waivers, etc.

I guess I see what Ford's argument is. Ford themselves can obviously print calendars with no issue, but if you wanted to sell a calendar of Fords - whether or not the images are of member cars or not - I would expect there to be some sort of licensing involved. Taking a camera full of images of Fords to a print shop and creating a calendar for your own use at home would probably be a different story.

Hopefully someone can clarify.

Re:Mug shots (1)

Gloy (1151691) | more than 6 years ago | (#22038028)

Presumably then I own the copyright to my own image. Would this imply I could sue police for taking mug shots?
If they tried to sell them, yes.

streisand called (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037692)

Ford's sales dropped below Toyota's in the US and now they make it even better by attacking their own customers. What could possibly go wrong?

Re:streisand called (1)

BUL2294 (1081735) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037946)

Sounds like Ford is taking a page from the RIAA playbook... Could the RIAA patent such a legal strategy to prevent others from using it???

Almost saw a ford drive down the street (1)

dyfet (154716) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037704)

Best poke out my own eyes before it passes by, lest I accidentally "capture" an image of it on my retina, and thereby use my neurons to infringe on their "intellectual property"...

I agree (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037792)

The sight of a Ford makes me want to poke my eyes out too.

Boycotting Ford.... (2, Insightful)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037706)

This definitely is the straw that breaks my back....I was looking at the Ford Fusion as our next car. Not anymore....

Ford you get to lose out on at least one sale.

To heck with suing. Just hurt em where it hurts....their profits.

Re:Boycotting Ford.... (4, Funny)

deft (253558) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037848)


We're talking about ford, right?

I think you mean hit them with more losses.

Reason number 312 not to buy a Ford....... (2, Insightful)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037712)

As if we needed another one.

Re:Reason number 312 not to buy a Ford....... (1)

sjwest (948274) | more than 6 years ago | (#22038046)

The next time i see a ford advert on tv, i shall be writing a strongly worded letter to the tv regulator, after all i'd certainly not wish to be in violation of Fords property.

Advertisng by them is like promoting theft.

Stupid (4, Funny)

Digital Vomit (891734) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037716)

I've heard a lot of stupid claims over intellectual "property" before, but this one really takes the cake*.

(*used with permission from Duncan Hines, a subsidiary of Pinnacle Foods Group, LLC.)

note to Ford's lawyers... (1)

whizzard (177251) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037740)

Here [] 's a good list of people to start sending C&D's to. There's almost 150,000 images there, so that ought to keep you busy for a while.

misleading question (1, Redundant)

merreborn (853723) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037742)

Does Ford have the right to prevent you from printing images of a car you own?

In all fairness, since we're talking about cafepress, the actual question is:
Does Ford have the right to prevent you from selling printed images of a car you own?

Ford should be happy people are BUYING their cars. (1, Offtopic)

THESuperShawn (764971) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037744)

From Motley Fool and other select websites...

"So far this year, Ford's North American business has lost more than $1.4 billion and the cash reserves dwindled to $19.6 billion from $21.8 billion in the third quarter, according to the company's financial report."

"The red ink in the third quarter included a $1.2 billion loss by the company's North American operations, the company reported. So far this year U.S. sales of Ford vehicles are down 1.3 percent, despite a massive discount program that helped clear inventory of unsold vehicles."


1. Make cars deemed as inferior to their import counterparts
2. Use unions that add about $1500.00 overhead to each car in pensions and health care
3. ??????
4. Profit!

I am guessing number 3 should be "piss off those who actually bought our cars by refusing to let them take pictures of them".

Then again, I majored in engineering, not business.

Re:Ford should be happy people are BUYING their ca (1)

slashname3 (739398) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037968)

I wonder if the loss revenue is directly related to the increases spending in the legal department where they apparently have to spend time tracking down all these trademark infringement cases.

They will have to change tactics and instead of stopping these people before they use such an image wait until after they have printed and distributed them. Then claim triple damages. What a cash cow that could be!

Reminds me of NFL (1)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037746)

This is interesting, it reminds me of the NFL with respect to radio and television broadcasts. When I worked for radio, we couldn't say "Super Bowl" nor any of the teams involved. We would have to say, "The Big Game" and "Green Bay" instead of the Packers.

In the end, I always thought it was strange taking pictures of your car like it was part of the family, but to each his own.

This is a Joke, Right? (1)

deweycheetham (1124655) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037748)

Would someone check the source on this to see if TFA is a ligit statemtent from Ford?

Re:This is a Joke, Right? (4, Informative)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037880)

the statement AND the claim are both legit and legal. This is a problem photographers have had to deal with for decades LONG before copyright claims went nutso. Basically since the Mustang is iconic, and since there is a lot of licensing involved with it, Ford is fully within their rights to tell someone they cant make their own calender to sell to people using their car, not without paying Ford a licensing fee.

This is no different than Architects who prevent people from publishing books with photos of their latest building designs. While it seems silly its completely legal and has been enforced for decades at this point.

Is this really a company that needs new customers? (1)

riseoftheindividual (1214958) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037750)

Didn't Ford just recently get bumped down to number 3 in the US for the first time in like 90 years or something. I would be more worried about my perception among young relatively affluent(read: tech savvy and more likely to get pissed about something like this)) individuals if I were in their position, a lot more than I'd be worried about a fan site producing a calendar of paying customers cars.

But hey, I'm not a big corporate executive genius, so maybe I'm not their target market.

Manufactures own their trademarks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22037756)

If they have been marketing the product under that trademark of course they have a right
to defend their trademark otherwise Hyundai or Isuzu could name their next car a Mustang.

Having said that

I am with Bjarne on this one.
Bjarne Stroustrup, creator of the C++ programming language, claims that C++ is experiencing a revival and
that there is a backlash against newer programming languages such as Java and C#. "C++ is bigger than ever.
There are more than three million C++ programmers. Everywhere I look there has been an uprising
- more and more projects are using C++. A lot of teaching was going to Java, but more are teaching C++ again.
There has been a backlash.", said Stroustrup.

Is Ford connected to... (-1, Troll)

BUL2294 (1081735) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037768)

Apple??? Sounds like something Apple would do, instead of a company that could use all the free publicity it can get...

Be More Specific (4, Informative)

hardburn (141468) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037770)

The blanket term "Intellectual Property" covers a wide range of laws that often cover the same basic concept (creating a system of ownership for ideas), but are implemented in very different ways. When discussing these laws, it's very important to be specific about what kind of IP is being discussed.

The summary makes it sound like Ford is claiming copyright on the pictures (which they almost certainly don't have the rights to). However, it seems that Ford is actually claiming trademark status on the car's design, and an image of that car would therefore infringe on that trademark.

Not only that, but the tags (the most abused feature on Slashdot) cite "patent", another set of IP laws which have nothing to do with anything here.

Public View (4, Informative)

airos4 (82561) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037778)

Well, IANAL, but I was a videojournalist for ABC News for a while. The law as we were taught it was that anything visible in the public forum does not need permission to be used. This, btw, includes exteriors of houses, anything visible from the street, and people walking down the street. So by my thought, since these cars were visible in public, they are fair game for anyone to take pictures of.. and once the picture is taken, the rights generally belong to the photographer or his/her agency (unless the club put in the contract that they will own the rights to those images).

Trademark, not copyright (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22037784)

Ford didn't claim to own the picture, or to have any sort of copyright-related rights, they simply claimed rights to the their trademarks. Rights which they have, as granted by the USPTO. Such rights aren't even in dispute, as they are with many patents and some copyrights; most trademarks are entirely uncontroversial, and Ford's are no exception.

Should Ford be messing with their fan club over a trademark issue -- probably not. Do they have the right to prevent publication of a calendar containing their trademarks -- possibly, depending on how the trademarks are displayed and how the calendar is used. Is /. posting another intentionally misleading headline designed to make people rant about copyright/patent abuses, despite being totally unrelated to such issues -- definitely.

Re:Trademark, not copyright (1)

SuperRenaissanceMan (1027668) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037872)

Did Donald Rumsfeld post that last one? Perhaps...

Following the trend (1)

ericferris (1087061) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037788)

If there is a lawsuit, Ford doesn't stand a chance. Fair use rules support the calendar publishers. Then again, in court, he with the deepest pockets often wins.

This is but the continuation of a sad trend. Now, when a model maker wants to sell a plastic scale model kit of a US military aircraft, the manufacturer (Boeing or MDD) requires royalties because the model uses the image of the aircraft.

Never mind that the US taxpayer has paid for the development and production of the aircraft (and how!). For example, you'd think that for the $80 or so that the average American adult paid for the V-22 development, they'd have the right to get a break on the 1:72 scale model.

The only consolation is that the model makers are generally foreign and that the royalties are levied on the worldwide market.

!copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22037796)

Well there was almost no information in the article, but sounds like this move could be described as "trademark insanity", which has absolutely nothing to do with copyright. (Except that either branch of law sometimes comes into conflict with the First Amendment.)

But either way the proper response to a letter like that is to send a copy to the press, and call up the reporter to make sure the article includes info about where readers can purchase the calendar.

Yup. They all do that. (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037808)

I had Audi tell Cafe Press to take down a t-shirt with a likeness of two Audi cars on it -- which wasn't even a photograph, it was a drawing based on a photograph I owned.

Note, they don't have any legal foundation for doing it, but they all do it. Caroll Shelby learned that lesson ten years ago when he tried to block replica Cobras from being manufactured. He got to keep his name, but not the look (nevermind the look wasn't his anyway).

Just GIVE THE PERMISSION !!! (2, Insightful)

ChromaticDragon (1034458) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037828)

It simply seems to me that the simplest and most appropriate thing for Ford to do here would have been to provide all the necessary permission for them to proceed with their artistic work, or license it with a smallish fee if necessary.

That would have seemed like a win-win sort of thing. Free marketing, retention of their rights, etc.

It does seem that with trademarks you are indeed obligated to protect them or you may lose them. But I don't quite see why Fordwould have had to be so foolish about it.

Who would be foolish enough to buy a Ford anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22037832)

Seriously folks, I think the real question here is why are people still buying these worthless pieces of colon refuse? Ford Engineering is an oxymoron. Buy a Toyota or a Honda, for Pete's sake--they are million-mile cars if you take good care of them.

Simple solution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22037834)

Replace any part of the POS with a superior aftermarket part from the bargain bin at Kragen and replace all the Ford badges with Chevy ones. Fuck your trade dress.

Sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22037842)

Any one dumb enough to own a Ford, or an American car for that matter should be made to paid a special Darwin tax.

And they're not the only ones... (0)

VValdo (10446) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037854)

If you want to sell your photo of the (trademarked) "Hollywood Sign" or include it in a movie, you'll have to write a check [] to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce...

Same goes for a ton of famous landmarks.


Fuck 'em: they should market a parody calender (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22037862)

With lots of "Found On Road Dead" and "Mustang - the car the runs like a broken-down horse" photos showing crappy Ford products.

Then sue Ford for a declaratory judgment that said parody calender does not infringe on their precious IP rights.

And make sure to publicize the hell out of it.

Ridiculous (1)

basic0 (182925) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037902)

IANAL, but this seems like a slippery slope. Suppose you've extensively modified your Ford vehicle, so it looks much different than a stock model. Does Ford still claim to own the images of a design they aren't fully responsible for? If so, what about NASCAR? Do FOX and ESPN have to start paying a royalty to Ford because their broadcasts of NASCAR races show images of *heavily* modified Ford designs?

So much for buying ford then... (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037918)

Like a couple others this pretty much kills any desire, low as it is, to buy a ford car. Now the only reason I'd buy one is because the prices are quite nice for them and I don't drive much. Granted the chances of mew having actually bought a ford were low before this but that is still better than zero (for ford that is).

All traffic cameras must cease and desist! (1)

tiedyejeremy (559815) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037926)

If they contain images of Fords or any person who has not signed a release, right?

copyrighted designs in commercial media (3, Informative)

jone_stone (124040) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037942)

I used to work as a game programmer and one of the issues that came up is that in order to use any recognizable building design (for instance, if you based your game in Seattle and wanted to use the Space Needle as part of the landscape) you have to pay a licensing fee. The design is still copyrighted, and to use it in a commercial product amounts to infringement.

It seems like that's the issue here -- it's a calendar they were going to sell, right? At the very least, Cafe Press was going to make money from the sale. Seems like the legality is pretty clear there.

Now, whether Ford should exercise its rights in this instance is another issue, involving public relations and stuff like that. Seems like a bad move to me, but it's their choice.

Running a red light (2, Interesting)

Sunshinerat (1114191) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037976)

Does that mean it will be illegal to take a picture of me and my car when I run a red light or when I am speeding? Interesting marketing tactic. That would increase interest in Ford automobiles.

Re:Running a red light (2, Interesting)

careysb (566113) | more than 6 years ago | (#22038058)

Or, can the insurance adjuster take a photo of your car after a wreck?

Thank you, Ford (3, Interesting)

Deadstick (535032) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037986)

With enough publicity in the right places, this could expose IP trolling for the absurdity it is. Stewart, Colbert, Leno, Letterman, listen up...


Actually, they do. (1)

SigILL (6475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037990)

At least, I know they do under Dutch law.

There was a rather infamous case a while back here in The Netherlands about photographs of a prominent bridge [] . The bridge's designer claimed his rights were violated by photographers using "his" bridge for commercial ends. I don't remember the exact details but I think a judge eventually sided with the designer.

Since this is clearly a commercial use of a certain design, namely the sale of a calendar featuring Ford's automobiles, Ford is probably within its rights to protest.

(Oh yeah, please note that IANAL)

Obviously... (1)

afc_wimbledon (1052878) | more than 6 years ago | (#22037998)

In Soviet Russia You own... Hang on a minute!

Barbie, too (4, Interesting)

BenEnglishAtHome (449670) | more than 6 years ago | (#22038004)

I've been down this road before. My sister was a dealer in collectible Barbie dolls. She wanted to do a calendar showing dolls in various settings. Mattel threw a fit. Ultimately, Mattel agreed that she could use pictures of things she owned (the dolls) but that she couldn't use the text "Mattel" or "Barbie" except in a small disclaimer. So the calendar got published as a "11.25-inch Fashion Doll" calendar. In the Barbie world, "11.25-inch Fashion Doll" is code for "Barbie."

I'd guess in the instant case the publication could happen if they eschewed the use of "Ford" or any model designation. Kinda defeats the purpose if you have to leave the word "Mustang" off a calendar of Mustangs, but there you go.

Too bad Warhol is dead... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22038016)

Campbell's Soup could have made a killing by suing him.
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