Cease and Desist for conversion companies

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autralianknight
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Cease and Desist for conversion companies

Postby autralianknight » Sat Dec 11, 2004 4:50 am

G'day, knightman here, i lost my old password and reregisterd,
I just saw on the knightregistries board a topic that has me a worried
for people building kitt / karr replicas, id love to build an aussie version
one day but i may not get that chance,
on the knight registries board there talking about a Cease and Desist
order on some of the companies, would this be cause of all the revival
in old tv shows, ie knight rider on dvd now, also ateam ,dukes of hazzard
etc... will this effect futer dvd realeses? i dunno whats going on at
the moment, just hope it settles down, but not sure
ps i dont want to start any crossover board wars but not sure what all this
means to the average fan....

knightman

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Postby Michael Pajaro » Sat Dec 11, 2004 5:52 am

The issue involved people who were selling Knight Rider related products (in this case, car parts) without permission from Universal Studios. Future DVD releases, the movie, or any other products along those lines are officially endorsed by the studio and are not affected by this at all.
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Postby FuzzieDice » Sat Dec 11, 2004 10:06 am

It could also mean that they will go after fan sites as well. Don't take my word as true as I have no idea. But they are probably trying to "secure their IP rights" so to speak in preparation for the other DVD releases. Like I said, I don't know. I heard this is going on in other communities including Sci-Fi and Terminator ones.

It's also why I took down Fuzzie Dice 6000 and Knight Dreams sites. I may put my car site back up, and initially had plans to, but it's sketchy right now because of the "Knight" theme and the fact the car's name is "Kitt".

Things like this make me feel bad to be a fan. Afraid that you can't just go out and have a car like I do, that you might get a "cease and desist" letter. :( I tried contacting Universal one time to get permission to put pictures of KITT on my site. They refered me to "universalclips.com" where it said they don't license to anyone who isn't a business and their price is $500 per clip! This includes any ONE image? I'm not even sure. But it's really crazy. :(

I hope fan sites like this one will stay up and they won't go after them. But in the days where everyone wants control over every little thing, who knows what will happen.

I'm upset as it is, having the thought of renaming my car (the whole neighborhood knows my car as "Kitt the Knight Cruiser" and loves the car!) and removing the top banner. I was going to even bring it to cruise nights and shows, put on a spoiler and light bar, etc.

Speaking of which, I wonder if Universal will give JCWhittney a cease in desist order for their red and amber light bars? :( Or Ivrscar who makes the BEST programmable light bars out there? :(

This bites. :( It means it'll be harder to get parts.

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Postby knightendo » Sat Dec 11, 2004 10:57 am

no, it won't affect fan sites, just people who are using knight rider to bring in profits. you can't really blame universal for clamping down, there are businesses out there making a lot of money out of knight rider without the right licenses.

yes it's a pity it's all happening but really i think it's just because universal haven't noticed it all before until knight rider has become SO popular all over again.

but don't worry about fansites, they're unofficial and non-profit. images are ok, as long as you make reference that they are all copyright of universal. universal, like any such company, knows the importance of fan sites, such as this one, and appreciate people having their own communities and the like, all following the company's product. but moving images, movie clips, trailers, episodes etc are different, they infringe copyright law and permission must be given before these can be used.
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Postby knightshade » Sat Dec 11, 2004 12:00 pm

Actually all images (screen captures, etc) are copyright, but Universal has in the past anyway, not come down on people using them for websites. They don't like people putting episodes online for people to download, or sites claiming to be official, but other than that I think they've been pretty good about it.

I know that other fandoms have had bigger problems and I don't know what all is going on over at the conversion boards, but I wouldn't worry too much about fan sites right now. I think Universal understands that it will help them in the long run with DVD sales if there is a presence for the show online.

EDIT:

I just took some time to read what's going on over at The Registries. I hope things can get worked out such that there's more than one licensee. And I guess it could have impacts on websites if they ever decided to back an 'Official' KR site. But I think since there isn't money changing hands in the fansite world, it's probably not coming soon.
Last edited by knightshade on Sat Dec 11, 2004 6:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby knightshade » Sat Dec 11, 2004 1:10 pm

Interestingly enough, I just ran into the following info, which, while specifically about fanfic, does offer insight into how different companies have reacted to copyright issues:

Different companies have different methods in dealing with FanFic. Some, like Paramount Pictures, see that FanFic could actually help boost their sales and so encourage the writing of FanFic. Other companies are presumably waiting for more business information and legal clarity before making a decision. For example Universal, which owns the rights to Xena: the Warrior Princess, have yet to go after the numerous copyright violations involving what fans dub the "Xenaverse." The Universal approach is in sharp contrast to Fox Television and Viacom, both of whom resort to harsh cease-and-desist letters against unauthorized Web site creations by fans of such shows as "The X-Files," "Millennium" and "Star Trek."



From the FAQs at the following website:

Chilling Effect

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Postby ivirscar » Sat Dec 11, 2004 5:26 pm

FuzzieDice wrote:...I wonder if Universal will give JCWhittney a cease in desist order for their red and amber light bars? :( Or Ivrscar who makes the BEST programmable light bars out there? :(

This bites. :( It means it'll be harder to get parts.


Fuzzy and Everyone else whom has purchased and or has shown interest in my Knight Rider Scanner Units...
Currently under all the confusion among several discussion boards, everybody seems to think that this is D-Day :shock: Folks, this IS NOT D-Day, this will be a new LEGAL beginning that WILL BENEFIT ALL of whom decides to purchase officially licensed products from Mr. Louisell or others like myself whom are PROTECTED under an AGREEMENT with Mr. Louisell to distribute Knight Rider Products, WILL CONTINUE to contribute to the community, the FINEST in Quality parts available, EVER! :P
All the formal information has yet to be released and will be released at the time when it becomes available. Rob has done THE RIGHT THING by contacting Universal Studios and aquiring the License to Manufacture and Distribute products that are protected under copyrights held by Universal. We have been dodging the bullet too long now and it's MUCH better to "go legal" than to get caught with your pants down without your wallet! :)
Rob has offered the other Companies at hand, a chance to work with him and distribute ALL the fine products we know now in the community, I for one, REALLY HOPE THIS WORKS OUT and they step up to the plate to bring everyone the parts they know and trust...

Thanks Everyone!
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Postby knightendo » Sat Dec 11, 2004 5:28 pm

yeh fan sites should be fine, as long as images are taken out of context, as in belonging to the site runner instead of universal.

that's unbelievable about the fanfiction though from fox etc. didn't think there was anything wrong with that?! iv never heard of any company in the entertainment industry that didn't like the presence of fan sites, as long as copyrights were honoured and no episodes/songs are available for download.
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Postby knightendo » Sat Dec 11, 2004 5:46 pm

[quote="ivirscar]Fuzzy and Everyone else whom has purchased and or has shown interest in my Knight Rider Scanner Units...
Currently under all the confusion among several discussion boards, everybody seems to think that this is D-Day :shock: Folks, this IS NOT D-Day, this will be a new LEGAL beginning that WILL BENEFIT ALL of whom decides to purchase officially licensed products from Mr. Louisell or others like myself whom are PROTECTED under an AGREEMENT with Mr. Louisell to distribute Knight Rider Products, WILL CONTINUE to contribute to the community, the FINEST in Quality parts available, EVER! :P
All the formal information has yet to be released and will be released at the time when it becomes available. Rob has done THE RIGHT THING by contacting Universal Studios and aquiring the License to Manufacture and Distribute products that are protected under copyrights held by Universal. We have been dodging the bullet too long now and it's MUCH better to "go legal" than to get caught with your pants down without your wallet! :)
Rob has offered the other Companies at hand, a chance to work with him and distribute ALL the fine products we know now in the community, I for one, REALLY HOPE THIS WORKS OUT and they step up to the plate to bring everyone the parts they know and trust...

Thanks Everyone!
Brenon[/quote]

that's a good way of thinking of things.

if we all took a step back and think about it, it really is a good sign of just how popular knight rider has become again, and if universal is keen to go even into the conversion market(!) maybe it shows how interested they are in becoming more involved in the whole knight rider merchadise scene! which can only be a good thing!... ?
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Postby knightshade » Sat Dec 11, 2004 6:02 pm

knightendo wrote:yeh fan sites should be fine, as long as images are taken out of context, as in belonging to the site runner instead of universal.

that's unbelievable about the fanfiction though from fox etc. didn't think there was anything wrong with that?! iv never heard of any company in the entertainment industry that didn't like the presence of fan sites, as long as copyrights were honoured and no episodes/songs are available for download.


It's entirely up to the point of view of the company that holds the copy rights. Technically, images don't belong to the webmaster, they belong to the copyright holders. I think it's fair to say that fan sites promote a show and amount to free advertising, but not all companies see it that way. I think that probably it has to do with the fact that they don't have control of the content or how their images are used (which I think would probably be the issue they would have with fan fic too).

I know of one big name fan in the Buffy world who got a Cease and Desist letter that told her to take down all copyrighted material, including screen shots. Obviously something got worked out because her site is still up, with pictures, but she did get the letter. I've also heard rumors of similar things happening in X-Files. And Ann Rice has gone after fanfiction.net and other archives to keep fanfic stories based on her characters off them.

Images are only okay if the company decides not to make an issue of it. And right now, thankfully Universal is a leniant company in that regard (big cheers for Universal), I just hope that the conversions issue isn't an omen for more restrictive things to come (but again, it looks like that's an issue of royalties so probably doesn't apply here).

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Postby CB2001 » Sat Dec 11, 2004 7:49 pm

Actually, I'm surprised Universal has contacted any of the KR kar parts companies to hire them to help out with the "Knight Rider" movie.

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Postby Michael Pajaro » Sat Dec 11, 2004 8:28 pm

CB2001 wrote:Actually, I'm surprised Universal has contacted any of the KR kar parts companies to hire them to help out with the "Knight Rider" movie.


That is NOT what has happened here. This involves people selling Knight Rider replica parts to individuals and is completely isolated from anything that may have to do with a future movie.
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Postby CB2001 » Sat Dec 11, 2004 9:46 pm

But that'd be one hell of an attention getter, wouldn't it? If Universal asks those companies to supply parts for the cars, then the movie can be made, Universal could endorse the parts and those companies can sell those same parts "as seen on screen" and "official". Great marketing idea.

Of course, that's just me. I could be wrong.

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Postby FuzzieDice » Sat Dec 11, 2004 10:05 pm

I know that my hosting company won't allow any obviously copyright items on their server unless you can prove you have permission to have those items on display on your page.

I agree with this because then they know for SURE they can't get into trouble. Too many times hosting companies also get cease and desist letters about the sites they host (I can't say for sure if mine ever has though, but I've heard of others that did and had to shut people's sites down). My hosting company monitors sites as well from time to time and pulls down sites that are potential infringers. Like I said, keeps them safe.

However, I did try to contact Universal to get said permission to have images of KITT on my site. They pointed me to UniversalClips.com which said they don't license to individuals and each clip/image was like I think $500 apiece!

People who have small pockets won't be able to afford things like this. :(

So I have still yet to find out where/who to contact at Universal about this. Until then, my sites are staying down. Fuzzie Dice 6000 (was at geocities) is down (I rather use my hosting company than a free one anyway). Knight Dreams I'm undecided right now. Might be just a site about my car restoration, then again I don't know.

Right now, I'm busy trying to start my own web design business, and still working for a client doing web site programming, design and technical writing. So I don't really have time for a lot of stuff. My own domain is undergoing massive restructuring this weekend (dunno if I'll finish it all this weekend. Still quite a lot to go yet).

On one account I can agree with the Licensing thing but on another, small parts makers (I think like Kittmaster who came up with a bootable embedded voice board or something?) who come up with cool add-ons can NOT afford a license! These licenses typically cost hundreds of dollars and upstarts would have to have a major investor or lots of cash to get started. :(

Unless, of course, they make their items for any car and specify as such while they are advertising in the boards. Then Universal can't say anything. I think scanners (like Ivrscar's) would fall into this category - ANY car, not just "knight rider" cars can use these, and especially if he made other color lenses available. As long as these companys with "universal" (no pun intended ;) ) parts are specific about not being specifically Knight Rider oriented.

The only things that would need licensing would be things like the nose, dash, dash electronics (except the monitors, as you can buy monitors for cars now at AutoToys.com), and KITT's or KARR's particular voice and phrases.

I'm thinking this along the lines of my car. "Knight Cruiser" with a chesspiece Knight isn't specifically Knight Rider. And I named the car "Kitt 6K" (or Kitt) and not K.I.T.T. :) Meaning a car "kit" with fancy spelling, because it's a custom car in progress. I'll be fixing my CarDomain.com site to reflect this now, and also if I put my car site back up.

So it's got a 'Knight' theme. NOT 'Knight Rider' - and that should keep me out of trouble, hopefully. Especially if I word it right. ;)

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Postby FuzzieDice » Sat Dec 11, 2004 10:08 pm

I just thought of something: "Kitt 6K" is like an Iron Horse - and has what is known as an "Iron Duke" engine. Cool association there. ;)

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Postby Michael Pajaro » Sun Dec 12, 2004 3:52 am

FuzzieDice, I think you may be overly worrying about the copyright issues. The thing is, just because something is copyrighted doesn't mean you can't use it. There is a whole world of fair-use clauses that allow reviewers, critics, collectors, educators, and yes fans to share images to a limited extent. Ironically, the more you try to push the issue by getting "official" clearances from Univeral, the more you possibly jeopardize yourself and all of our sites because you can force their hand.

Obviously Universal can change their policy at any point. But we know that Universal is well-aware of many of our sites, and they have accepted us and welcomed us. This is a good thing, and it's a relationship I don't think we should try to change.
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Postby FuzzieDice » Sun Dec 12, 2004 4:25 am

Michael Pajaro wrote:FuzzieDice, I think you may be overly worrying about the copyright issues. The thing is, just because something is copyrighted doesn't mean you can't use it.


Yes it does... that's what lawyers tell us. And that's what I've been told by many others that got caught in that mess. I don't have money for a lawyer or to defend myself and don't want to put my car at risk either.

Michael Pajaro wrote:There is a whole world of fair-use clauses that allow reviewers, critics, collectors, educators, and yes fans to share images to a limited extent.


But "Intellectual Property" laws have pretty much voided "fair-use" right out. And even if not, lawyers can still come after someone, get a warrant from a judge that doesn't know much about the law, make you take down your site, lose your domain or even tow your vehicle. Then I'd be out of a car, no money to get it back, or even get another car. And by the time they realize it WAS illegal for the lawyers to do, the items taken are gone and not retrievable. I've seen this happen to many people before in different communities. Just because there's laws doesn't mean that things will be dealt with fairly. For those with little money or resources, it rarely to never is. :( I can't take that risk.

Michael Pajaro wrote:Ironically, the more you try to push the issue by getting "official" clearances from Univeral, the more you possibly jeopardize yourself and all of our sites because you can force their hand.


Seems like. If it weren't for the IP laws, then someone could easily turn these types in to the FTC for unfairly trying to hold a monopoly. There are many trying to fight against this type of thing but I've seen no progress as of yet.

Michael Pajaro wrote:Obviously Universal can change their policy at any point. But we know that Universal is well-aware of many of our sites, and they have accepted us and welcomed us. This is a good thing, and it's a relationship I don't think we should try to change.


Yeah, but now I think they are changing it. :(

Just to be on the safe side, since I have no money to fight, I'm keeping my sites down. I've adjusted my CarDomain.com pages, and will be doing hopefully some thinking and stuff on the theme of my car (and renaming it).

While my car is deserving of the name "Kitt", I don't think he's really got that benevolent of a personality. :twisted: And been thinking maybe I should have thought something else up or named him KARR. :lol: I won't name him KARR though.

I'm going to change the theme of it too. I'm still going to do all I can to restore the car. I haven't given up on that by a long shot. But I've been thinking the bright white racing stripes (vinyl tape) should be replaced with a duller grey paint and I should design and order from this one site (forgot where it is but I have it bookmarked somewhere) a new windshield banner. That will also be in a duller grey. I don't exactly want my car to stick out in the crowd but I like it to look cool. :) I've already been thinking of these things before all this happened anyway.

I'm going for a techno/industrial type theme. Rugged, like the car's personality.

I'm just glad I didn't get personalized license plates just yet. :lol: I might pass on that anyway. I mean, this car I'd like to be a bit 'stealth'.

But as for copyright and such, I'm not going to risk it. I'm not in any position. I'm a self-employed web designer/graphics artist and so I have to deal with copyrights anyway, and have tried to keep up with the laws and issues. It's got so out of hand though.

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Postby knightendo » Sun Dec 12, 2004 9:06 am

fuzziedice u are making a mountain out of a molehill, u really are, they are not "after you" for naming your car KITT!!! and this whole thing about a "monopoly" of fan sites?! come on!

entertainment companies welcome fan sites as long as they dont take profits away from the company ie. downloadable episodes, downloadable songs from artists etc etc. shows build up fan communities and the internet has made this all the more possible. calm down, and you'll see that what Michael said is very true.

the only way they'd come after u is if you claimed your car was an official knight rider car FROM the series and you charged people to ride around in it! i'm putting together a new kr site, and i'm not worrying about anything mentioned here because nothing i have planned breaks any of the copyright laws, i'm here (like everyone is) to support knight rider and universal.
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Postby ivirscar » Sun Dec 12, 2004 9:11 am

knightendo wrote:fuzziedice u are making a mountain out of a molehill, u really are, they are not "after you" for naming your car KITT!!! and this whole thing about a "monopoly" of fan sites?! come on!

entertainment companies welcome fan sites as long as they dont take profits away from the company ie. downloadable episodes, downloadable songs from artists etc etc. shows build up fan communities and the internet has made this all the more possible. calm down, and you'll see that what Michael said is very true.

the only way they'd come after u is if you claimed your car was an official knight rider car FROM the series and you charged people to ride around in it! i'm putting together a new kr site, and i'm not worrying about anything mentioned here because nothing i have planned breaks any of the copyright laws, i'm here (like everyone is) to support knight rider and universal.



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Postby FuzzieDice » Sun Dec 12, 2004 12:55 pm

::yawn:: Did I say all that? Well, I did at around (checks time on post) 4:25 am which is an hour I can't form my words or thoughts right anymore. :) Let me see if I can reword it in a way that at least I won't be as easily misunderstood... If not on this try then oh well... I tried.


Web Sites

I've been in one (not a Knight Rider) community and was co-webbie of a site that got a cease and desist letter. It's not pretty. If you don't have money to fight it, you simply take the site down. There were some of our sister sites and affiliates that also got the same letters and also had to take their sites down as well. Things like this DO happen. Once a company goes after their "rights" they are on a blood hunt and we found nothing is safe.

Fuzzie Dice 6000 Site was taken down because on GeoCities the bandwidth is rather low and it could get so that the site would be shut down for too much traffic (the free sites have that problem, unless you pay for an upgrade).

My hosting company has a policy and a method in place to monitor sites and take down any that are violating copyright laws. It's so they can protect themselves from lawyers sending threatening letters to them over someone's domain that might have copyright violating material on it. I don't blame them because if I was running a hosting company (actually, I can resell hosting but I'm not into that business) I'd do the same exact thing for protecting the business. So if I don't own copyright or have permission to use an image or file that is on my site, I can't put it online. I like this hosting service though because the people who run it are great folks and help their customers out a lot. And they are affordable. I've been with them for some time and love their service. So that's why I stick with them. That means that out of consideration of their business, I'm glad to help protect them by not putting risky material on my site.

My Car's Name

I been wanting to rename my car anyway for two reasons. One, if I make stories about my car, I don't want no confusion. It's hard to keep folks from thinking "Kitt" is not "K.I.T.T." in a story, especially if the car talks (and stories of talking cars are nothing new and nothing any one corporation can claim ownership to). Furthermore, while "Kitt" is a nice name for a car, it doesn't quite fit my car's personality. I think he's got his own personality or character that is unique. So after thinking about it, I really think I'd like a different name. I'll want to think of an original name for him myself though.

FWIW, if anyone has kept up with the Linux community and heard about how Lindows got sued by M$ and the courts ruled they can't call their distribution of Linux "Lindows" Because it "sounds too much like Windows"... that's a good example of getting sued for similar-sounding names, etc. Now the company is calling their distro "LinSpire". Also look at the case of SCO vs. Linux Users at Groklaw as an example of a company going after end users over licensing out of nowhere.

My Car's Theme

Even before all this, I been thinking about a different windshield banner and racing stripes. I'm finding that the bright white contrasts too much with the flat black of the car. It just stands out a bit TOO much. So I want to use a duller grey. I also want to have a different theme. The knight chesspiece is cool, but I love the biohazard design on my gas cap, and saw a ricer (one of my neighbor's friends) with these way cool rad biohazard and barbed wires seat covers (I WANT!! :) ) I also have a barbed wire design steering wheel cover. None of these match a "Knight" theme. I think I'll go more with the industrial-type theme of biohzard and barbed wire. :) It'll be like a stealth car - black and racing stripes and banner will be a duller grey. I want my car to look cool but not call TOO much attention.

In Summary

I hope that those that might not agree with my take on things would at least please realize I have my reasons. As Ivrscar says "Let's NOT whack the Beehive" and I agree. Like Michael Pajaro said, sometimes asking permission would only get myself and possibly others in trouble.

But I don't plan to stop work on the car. As for my sites, I rather err on the side of caution after the experiences I've had with other fan sites I've worked with getting shut down. I'll still participate a little in the Knight Rider community as time allows.

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Postby FuzzieDice » Sun Dec 12, 2004 1:01 pm

Here's an example of what I was talking about as well...

from another board (forgive me here)
http://knightregistries.com/ipw-web/bulletin/bb/viewtopic.php?t=1720&start=40

Karrhacker wrote:As for the lawyers coming after individual people well that depends on the laws of your location. I was the proud owner of a Ferrari 328 replica for many years (sold it for personal reasons) and I did receive a CEASE and DESIST letter telling me to destroy my car. So I looked into it and found that they had no legal rights to order me to do that in Canada as the law here states that an individual can own ONE reproduction of anything as long as they do not try and sell copies of it for profit.


My apologies to Karrhacker at the other board, as I hope he doesn't mind me quoting him. But it does fit in with what is being discussed here so I thought I'd share.

Now my car means the world to me, especially after all the painful hard work and money I put into it already (I have fibromyalgia which causes very bad muscle pain and tiredness, and as a result my income is rather low, despite self-employment). I can't afford the risk of someone trying to take my car away or whatever. Like I said, these things DO happen. And I have had problems before with people coming down on me and others about things they think they own. So I have to take precautions to protect myself. I can't afford (nor do I want) another car right now. It's all I have for transportation.

I think I'll just end here with this discussion. But I just hope folks see my point here as to why I'm taking the precautions I'm taking and why I personally can't take the risks.


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