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Question about payware developing


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I was wondering if payware developers have to pay licensing fees to aircraft manufacturers and airlines.


For example if I want to make and sell a payware Boeing and include an American Airlines livery do I need to pay licensing fees to Boeing and AA or obtain permission?


I noticed some payware do advertise they are an officially licensed product like the PDMG 737 but most do not.


If a product is not licensed could companies pursue legal action if they wanted to?


I'm curious how it works.

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Licensing arrangements vary from manufacturer to manufacturer; some are quite strict and allow no use without permission (though permission can be anything from a formal contract involving payment to a personal letter stating they have no issue with your use of their logo and wishing you well) while others consider such use to be free publicity.


In most cases regarding FS aircraft the amounts involved are not sufficient for a large corporation to bother with formal licensing agreements (the procedure itself would probably cost them more than they are likely to collect), but it is always good form to send them a letter describing your proposed project and asking if there are any issues.


I dealt with scale models for many years and can attest attitudes are so varied as to be unpredictable. I produced some highly detailed multi-media kits of auto engines; Ferrari was wary and wanted to see the finished product but eventually gave permission; Ford said they considered such endeavors free publicity for them and had no complaints as long as the use of their logos and trademarks "did not reflect negatively on their corporate image"; Chevrolet, Chrysler, and Jaguar basically acted as though the entire matter wasn't worth their time in responding, but if my project became "eminently profitable" they would want their share; Porsche never responded.


At the other extreme, an associate produced a kit to convert a model of a Chevy pick-up truck to its GMC counterpart; he had to pull this from the market after a couple of months because GMC's licensing demands were such that he would have had to sell a thousand kits a year just to pay them. (He found a loophole - he sold, for the same price as the kit, a set of complete instructions for converting the model, at the end of which was a coupon you could return for a free set of parts to assist in the conversion.)


Even manufacturers get caught in this area. Over thirty years ago a well known model company released a kit of a Porsche, fully licensed. A year later Porsche offered a high performance version of this same car, and the model company slightly retooled and offered a kit of that car. Porsche immediately hit them with a "cease and desist" order, stating their licensing agreement only covered the first model not the high performance model. The model company pulled all those kits from distribution ... and found a loophole via the "artistic use" laws. They destroyed the original packaging and reissued the kits in new boxes with new instruction sheets and decals, and no mention was made of "Porsche" in the new release ...it was merely "German Sports Car" (the original "Porsche" kits are quite collectible now, since they were only on the market a couple of months). "Artistic use" is what allows a photographer or artist to sell images containing copyrighted logos and trademarks without royalty payments being imposed.


Bottom line, your model of a Boeing may require their permission but not necessarily involve any fees, your American Airline livery would fall under "artistic use".

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Don't forget to play the "free publicity" card like jgf mentioned..:)

For example last year I saw an anonymous artwork pic floating around the net of a WW1 biplane over a field of poppies, so I posted it in the Mission4Today forum WW1 photothread where I'm the moderator 'PoorOldSpike'.

A few weeks later I got a mail from the professional artist who painted it saying "Can you take it down please, I never gave you or anybody else permission to post it"

So I said- "Yes mate no problem, I'll take it down if you want, but our photothreads have had 6 million views so far by aviation enthusiasts all over the world, so if you want me to leave it up and credit it to you, that'll be a lot of free publicity for you"

He wrote back saying "Er...yes, on second thoughts leave it up and credit it to me, thanks"..:)

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Too bad that big companies don't see it that way. Based on what I have read on forums and what I know working with the group I am currently working for I can tell you that Boeing, Grumman, and Textron will come after you for their share of the take.


Ever wonder why Carenado products have absolutely zero reference to the real manufacturer in their releases?

Robert Kerr

3D Modeler & Texture Artist

I7 4790K @ 4.4ghz, GTX-970 w/4GB, 8gb DDR 3 RAM, two SSDs, and Win 7 64 bit.

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