Monday, January 14, 2008

The Ford Pirates

Apparently Ford's lawyers are leaning on the 9000 member 'Black Mustang Club', which will not now (scroll about 3/4 of the way down the page) be producing a calendar including pictures of club members' black Mustang Ford cars, since Ford claim to own the pictures and much else besides.

"I got some more info from the folks at cafepress and according to them, a law firm representing Ford contacted them saying that our calendar pics (and our club's event logos - anything with one of our cars in it) infringes on Ford's trademarks which include the use of images of THEIR vehicles. Also, Ford claims that all the images, logos and designs OUR graphics team made for the BMC events using Danni are theirs as well. Funny, I thought Danni's title had my name on it ... and I thought you guys owned your cars ... and, well ... I'm not even going to get into how wrong and unfair I feel this whole thing is as I'd be typing for hours, but I wholeheartedly echo everything you guys have been saying all afternoon. I'm not letting this go un-addressed and I'll keep you guys posted as I get to work on this.

I'm sorry, but at this point we will not be producing the 2008 BMC Calendar, featuring our 2007 Members of the Month, solely due to Ford Motor Company's claim that THEY own all rights to the photos YOU take of YOUR car. I hope to resolve this soon, and be able to provide the calendar and other BMC merchandise that you guys want and deserve!"

The thing is that although it is pretty stupid commercial practice to annoy a dedicated group of customers likely to put continuing long term repeat business your way, Ford have a fairly strong case under US IP law as it currently stands - calendar sales, which they have not authorised, featuring pictures of Ford vehicles. Yet another example of ordinary people not liking what they see when IP is brought to their attention in a rather in-your-face unfortunate kind of way. Witness some of the contributors to the BMC forum:

"Wow I cannot believe what I am reading. I thought we were making the payments and that when I take a picture of MY mustang I own the rights to the picture not them and if I want to publish a picture of my car it is mine. This is just crazy."

"*utterly speechless*

Just simply amazing. I would think they'd be flattered that we were so happy to be showing off our cars and getting them some publicity in the process."

"This is quite possibly the most absurd thing I've ever heard. the NOTION that after paying THOUSANDS of dollars, I'm not authorized to create artwork using pictures of what's rightfully mine just blows my mind!
Ford has another think coming if they think they're just going to go around squashing all the 'little men', who do nothing but SUPPORT them...

I don't know about you guys, but when I bought the Bullitt, I didn't see anything in the contract that said Ford would maintain "intellectual rights" to any pictures I might eventually take of the vehicle. BUMP that!"

This latter contributor may well own his car but I'm afraid the law says he is "not authorized to create artwork using pictures" which include Ford's trademarks.

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