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Brian Ferguson
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3,652 Posts
The model won't necessarily contain any indication that the product is licenced, even if it is. That may be a stipulation by the licensor, but not always. In some cases, the model maker may WANT to incorporate such notice, in order to lend greater credibility to their product.

As Brian alluded to, it isn't just the car shape or identity that needs research for licensing requirements. Beyond tires, as he mentioned, there can be issues over sponsor decals/tampos, race team paint schemes, etc. Many groups can have a piece of a given race car, and unless they relinquished their rights at the time, they too must be considered in any reproduction.

Something as simple as a spark plug manufacturer's decal could be a sticking point.

Any copyrighted, trademarked, or patented products, designs, logos, etc. must be investigated. Approvals must be obtained whenever someone holds the rights if those rights weren't waived when the original car was created. And no formal process is required in some cases for someone to actually have ownership of a trademark or copyright - prior use will often stand up in court!

Also, just because one slot manufacturer is producing specific cars does not mean that others can't. That would require an "exclusive" license which is usually VERY expensive to obtain. BMW M3's, for example, are being modelled by more than one company and the GT40 has likewise been done by two. And yes, BMW and Ford hold the rights. My Fly GT40 has a licensing sticker but my M3 doesn't.

The more I think about it, the more I wish I was a lawyer...


NOT!
 

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Brian Ferguson
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3,652 Posts
Loopy, Tropi? I probably would have used stronger language.


But, yeah, that's about it.

In part, I suppose the trademark holders want to maintain control over the use of their "property". Can't really blame them for that, I suppose. Many will actually authorize the use of their logos without a fee. But if they don't attempt to maintain control over the logo's use they can lose the rights to it.

The ones who charge for the use of their logo or name on a model are a different story. They are trying to extort money from a source of free advertising, IMO. It's their product that should earn them profit, not licencing fees to other parties. It's a case of attempting to get a slice of the model maker's profit, the rationale being that the model maker wouldn't be able to make money without them. In essence, they are trying to make money from the very same situation that they paid money for in the first place.


And it can get even more complex. When Villeneuve drove for Williams, the team's deal with sponsors included all rights to the use of the sponsor logos on models, clothing, etc. Williams became the rights holder in all of the specified areas. Villeneuve further confounded things because, under his contract, he retained the right to the use of his name and helmet pattern. You will find very few authorized models, clothing, or even art work of Villeneuve's days in the Williams F1, because the fees charged by the team and Villeneuve were exhorbitant. The original sponsors had no say in it, they had relinquished their rights to the team. As a Canadian, I was always a Villeneuve fan, but he lost some respect from me for his part in this nonsense.


Rant over...
 
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