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Bootleg Plans

Posted By:
Timothy Casey
Homebuilder or Craftsman
2
Posts
0
#1 Posted: 1/24/2011 20:40:22

    There are and number of sets of plans floating around on the net that are still registered and I would like to know if there are any legal ramifications for building aircraft from these besides being a jerk for not paying some one for their labors in the design.

 



Timothy Lee Casey
Louis Bigelow
Homebuilder or Craftsman
8
Posts
1
#2 Posted: 1/24/2011 21:21:52 Modified: 1/24/2011 21:25:32

public domain is one thing, copyrite is another.

look here....

 http://www.citmedialaw.org/legal-guide/copyright-infringement

down the page a bit is...

If the defendant is found liable for copyright infringement, the copyright holder will be entitled to recover his or her actual damages (e.g., lost profits) or, if certain conditions are met, statutory damages between $750 to $30,000 per infringement.  If the plaintiff can prove the infringement was willful, the statutory damages may be as high as $150,000 per infringement. 

Now the D.A.R. refusing to sign it off for "paperwork" is another issue, anyone on that?

Louis

 



Ron Wanttaja
246
Posts
98
#3 Posted: 1/24/2011 21:38:45
Timothy Casey wrote:

 

    There are and number of sets of plans floating around on the net that are still registered and I would like to know if there are any legal ramifications for building aircraft from these besides being a jerk for not paying some one for their labors in the design.

Usually, if a plane has not been *built* from the plans you buy, there's nothing wrong with it.  It's only copyright infringement if you make a copy of the plans themselves.

 

There have been some buyer's agreements in the past that demand that the plans only be sold back to the person holding the rights.  They'd be a bit hard to enforce against a third party...after all, YOU didn't sign any such agreement.  The most they could do is claim that the plans were stolen somehow.  If they have money (which doesn't generally apply to people who market homebuilt airplane plans...) they could, conceivably, sue you over your possession of the plans, but they're not likely to win.  And they're not likely to get a local prosecutor into going after you, either.

 

The worst that might happen is that the plans designer might refuse to answer your questions, which I think is reasonable.  You bought a used set of plans, not a promise of free tech support....

Shouldn't be any problem with the DAR... *you* are the manufacturer of the aircraft, and that's all they should be concerned with.

 



Ron Wanttaja
Timothy Casey
Homebuilder or Craftsman
2
Posts
0
#4 Posted: 1/25/2011 21:30:52

Thanks



Timothy Lee Casey
Nathan Marcucci
1
Post
0
#5 Posted: 1/27/2011 10:23:20
Ron Wanttaja wrote:

 

Timothy Casey wrote:

 

    There are and number of sets of plans floating around on the net that are still registered and I would like to know if there are any legal ramifications for building aircraft from these besides being a jerk for not paying some one for their labors in the design.

Usually, if a plane has not been *built* from the plans you buy, there's nothing wrong with it.  It's only copyright infringement if you make a copy of the plans themselves.

 

 

 

There have been some buyer's agreements in the past that demand that the plans only be sold back to the person holding the rights.  They'd be a bit hard to enforce against a third party...after all, YOU didn't sign any such agreement.  The most they could do is claim that the plans were stolen somehow.  If they have money (which doesn't generally apply to people who market homebuilt airplane plans...) they could, conceivably, sue you over your possession of the plans, but they're not likely to win.  And they're not likely to get a local prosecutor into going after you, either.

 

 

The worst that might happen is that the plans designer might refuse to answer your questions, which I think is reasonable.  You bought a used set of plans, not a promise of free tech support....

Shouldn't be any problem with the DAR... *you* are the manufacturer of the aircraft, and that's all they should be concerned with.

 

What if they are plans like the cri cri where the designer won't support a certain country?  Using the cri cri as an example, I hear there is good reason for colomban to not sell plans in the U.S. but there seems to be a fair amount of interest in them.  How does copyright apply in this situation?



Ron Wanttaja
246
Posts
98
#6 Posted: 1/27/2011 23:11:29
Nathan Marcucci wrote:

What if they are plans like the cri cri where the designer won't support a certain country?  Using the cri cri as an example, I hear there is good reason for colomban to not sell plans in the U.S. but there seems to be a fair amount of interest in them.  How does copyright apply in this situation?

It doesn't.  A copyright is basically protects the author's right to control copying, distributing, or profiting from the work.  A copyright holder has few rights outside that fairly narrow regime.  Buying a copy of the New York times doesn't give you the rights to reprint the articles, but neither does it give them the rights to tell you what you can do with the copy you own.  They can't sue you if you use it in the parakeet's cage.

Mr. Colomban refuses to sell Cri-Cri plans in the US in order to avoid liability issues.  I don't know law worth a dern, but suspect his refusal to sell plans to the US or US citizens grants him considerable leverage if he *does* get sued.

But if I obtain a legitimate copy of the plans, I don't think there's anything he can do to stop me from building.  Even if (unbeknownst to me) the copy I buy is an illegal copy, that only stops me from *selling* them again.  Nothing legally prevents me from building a plane according to the plans...though it would be poor ethics.

Copyright is different from a patent.  The patent allows the inventor/designer exclusive rights to PRODUCE the item.  It's just as illegal for a guy in his home shop to build someone else's patented aircraft for his own use as it is for a company to manufacture them for profit.

I suspect Colomban hasn't patented the design, for a couple of reasons.  First, it costs some pretty good money to patent something (Copyright is free, and doesn't even have to involve the government).  Second, patents expire.   If he'd patented the design back when it first came out, the patent would have expired almost twenty years ago and the Patent Office would provide detailed drawings to anyone who would pay for the copying expenses.  Copyrights last a lot longer.

 



Ron Wanttaja
Frank Giger
Homebuilder or Craftsman
117
Posts
33
#7 Posted: 1/28/2011 08:27:06

Isn't the serial number for the plane drawn from what's printed on the plans?

I'd hate to have an N number request turned down because the serial number for the aircraft has already been used.



Ron Wanttaja
246
Posts
98
#8 Posted: 1/28/2011 09:51:35
Frank Giger wrote:

 

Isn't the serial number for the plane drawn from what's printed on the plans?

I'd hate to have an N number request turned down because the serial number for the aircraft has already been used.

Shouldn't happen.  Serial numbers have to be unique to the manufacturer & aircraft type, not the aircraft type alone.  So you can have a "Jones RV-6 S/N 1" and a "Smith RV-6 S/N 1".  I did a quick check and found about 2800 homebuilts that were serial number 1.  This includes RVs, Europas, Breezies, Long-EZs, Skybolts...and that's just on the first page!

In any case, you don't have to use the serial number assigned by the plans seller.  You're the manufacturer, you can assign any serial number you wish. 



Ron Wanttaja
Nick Jones
4
Posts
0
#9 Posted: 1/28/2011 10:30:45

Copyright protects the actual printed page and, in the case of books, the sequence of words, but does not apply to the concepts or subject of the drawings. For example if I were to make a completely new set of drawings by measuring a cricri, I would hold the copyright to those plans. You can't copyright an airplane - just the documents that explain how to make one. Patents protect the "invention" but only certain design elements can be patented, not the whole airplane. 



Louis Bigelow
Homebuilder or Craftsman
8
Posts
1
#10 Posted: 1/28/2011 21:50:48

So begs to be asked, what about the plan sets that grant license to build "one" aircraft from the set of plans?

is this something that could be enforced? (any laywers?)

 I'm building a BD-4 and there is no assigned s/n for the drawings, nor any text saying such.

(several builders have built more than one.)

Bigelow BD-4 S/n 001

Lou