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Sketch artist Chris @ v8renderings.com slams BMWs

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by bcweir, Mar 15, 2009.

    • Member

    bcweir

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    This website supposedly does sketches of automobiles. Supposedly, you can order a sketch of your vehicle of choice and they mail it to you.

    Well I asked him to do one of a 750iL and ordered a drawing for $23, plus $5 for shipping and handling. After two weeks of receiving NOTHING, I sent an email asking for a status of my order. Instead I got a refund and the following three sentence commentary. The first two sentences were fine with me. The third I took issue with, and fired back with my own.

    Brian

    Sorry, I don't do BMWs. I have no need for them in my library. It would be unlikely anyone else would order that car.

    My response to that comment:

    Chris,

    I appreciate the refund, but I'm going to take issue with unprofessional commentary that came with it listed below. Nobody appreciates derogatory remarks made against themselves, their loved ones, or their vehicles. You should have stopped at that last two sentences and that would been perfectly OK. The third one was a completely arbitrary attack against my vehicle. Just knowing that your artistic abilities are apparently limited to a very small percentage of vehicles out there is reason enough for me to go elsewhere, but your apparent lack of professionalism towards your customers is an even more compelling one.

    Good luck.

    Sincerely,

    Brian
    • Member

    az3579

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    He's obviously only interested in "American" cars, judging by his site.

    Autohaus guest

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    I say we all blow up his email to do nothing but BMW's :)
    • Member

    bcweir

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    Yeah and we all know what's going on in the American car industry right now? GM and Chrysler are on the verge of becoming the next Nash, Desoto, and Studebaker.

    drummerfc guest

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    What a complete and utter idiot. In this economy someone ACTUALLY turns away business? <shakes head in disbelief> :confused:

    Go git 'em! :D
    • Member

    ChrisV

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    Ahh, he does outline sketches with blank wheels, so you can do whatever you want with them, like separate wheel and color choices? he doesn't actually do the color renderings, I take it?

    Hell, I could do that for the BMW community, so long as BMW didn't friggin' sue me for copyright infringement...
    • Member

    bcweir

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    I've been in the BMW fold for over 7 years now...

    ...and I am surprised at how supportive BMW AG is of its owners/drivers. Did you know that if you possessed only the VIN number of a BMW supported by Mobile Tradition/(now) BMW Classic (supported automobiles are those that have been out of production for more than 15 years, according to BMW), you could literally BUILD an entire "new" BMW from scratch? In fact I think BMW actually proved this by building a "new" 2002 in time for the 2002's recent celebration of the model in 2002.

    I've never considered BMW as a company that was ever "uptight" about their image. Ferrari, you bet (Ferrari has been aggressive for years at suing replica makers for producing Fiero-based replicas of some of their most notable models such as the 355). I think about the only way you could get sued by BMW would be if you were to publish proprietary information about their cars (ie. an unlicensed, open-source GT1 computer?), or published false, defamatory, or fraudulent information about their cars. They'd have to prove you intended to harm BMW or defraud buyers.

    Hurt feelings aside, I think this artist's ignorance of BMW cars as a whole is probably the saddest part of this whole episode. He must not get out much or have bothered to investigate BMW as a brand, or he might have discovered that BMW is probably one of the most successful and beloved automotive brands on the planet! In more than seven years of visiting BMW parts counters (dealer-based and independent retailers), I have NEVER EVER been derided for having an "older" model or been pressured to get a newer model.

    GM and Chrysler are about to "go back to the well again" to plead for more billions of our tax dollars, despite producing neither hide nor hair of a viable business plan for restructuring as required of the first "multi-billion $ giveaway" (oh I'm sorry, I meant "bailout"). If I were a betting man (I'm not), I'd be willing to hazard a guess that Congress is going to tell these two "no more money" til we see a restructuring plan. I hope GM and Chrysler packed for a brief trip.

    Yet Mr. Chris The Artist wants to convince me that old Big 3 automobiles are more "viable" than BMW. Yeah right.
    • Member

    ChrisV

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    BMW lawyers already contacted me about copyright infringement for using a sketch of a 7series for my club T shirt. in that regard, they have been just like Ford and VW, who have gone after owners clubs for using the company name in the club name (like say, Richmond VW owners Club) or in the name of the club website (or even in the keywords used to let search engines know about said websites). A photo of your own car on a t-shirt or poster could get you hit with a C&D letter.

    I did these for a T-shirt, and got a C&D letter, even though BMW is nowhere on there:

    [IMG]

    [IMG]

    I'm using this now, we'll see how long it lasts:

    [IMG]
    • Member

    bcweir

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    How sad! Were you trying to sell them? That MIGHT fall into a legal grey area under such circumstances. However I can think of ways around that.

    Your T-shirt logos look like they would certainly pass legal muster. The artwork themselves, while lending a resemblance to BMW products, are just different enough to not be mistaken for a BMW-licensed work. Both names would obviously not incur a problem for BMW. The name BMW CCA probably grants the club a special exemption from BMW since the club is dedicated solely to supporting BMW owners, and clearly advises all members of their independence from BMW proper.

    Legally, about the only thing they could sue you for would be if consumers could potentially mistake your product or service as licensed or sponsored by BMW. They can't sue you for variations on the name, nicknames, or model names (ie. Bimmer7's, Sharknose.com (popular nickname for E24 6-series) ought to be fine. BMW also cannot (under US law) trademark numbers, letters, or commonly used abbreviations (Intel tried that already 15 years ago, ). Also, about 30 years ago, Xerox Corp. was unable to trademark the use of 'xerox' to prohibit its use as a synonym for copying, since by then, xerox had already entered the public lexicon -- that would have gotten Xerox. Corp into some very sticky 1st amendment issues).
    • Member

    ChrisV

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    The problem came in that keywords that allowed you to search for them included BMW. Of course, if you don't use that, no one looking for it would find it. Same for club websites. My club website has a picture of my car, and has BMW 740i in the keywords so that owners of similar cars can find it. It's a grey area that has already bitten VW a few times, but they keep after it. The problem is that these companies have enough money that they can afford to hire lawyers that will repeatedly go after people regardless of whether they legally CAN or not.

    The way they treat marque enthusiasts is appalling. In this day and age of poor economy and shrinking sales, you'd think they'd treat enthusiast owners and the free advertising they get from that with more respect. But ALL the companies want to completely crap on their enthusiast owner base.

    VW got burned a few years back when they went after a VW repair shop that used VW in their name (like Fred the VW Specialist or something) for copyright and trademark infringment. the courts ruled that describing what the shop specialized in in the name and using the logo to reinforce that was in fact completely legal EVEN IF the owner was a for profit business not affiliated with VW itself.
    • Member

    bcweir

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    Like I said, just get creative and use your head!

    I would think that BMW suing someone for including keyword BMW is starting to get into some pretty murky legal waters. An entity can only take copyright and trademark protection so far. I could probably create a logo using two smaller and one larger solid black circles, but it would likely not incur a challenge from Disney unless I were trying to suggest it was a Disney licensed product or was hijacking a Disney property without a license for personal or commercial gain. Just saying my logo "looks like" Mickey Mouse, would likely not go very far unless I were to try and make it look more like Disney's property.

    Copyright law does allow for some sanity here. BMW cannot sue you for using BMW in casual conversation or written communications, PROVIDED there is no attempt to deceive users or consumers that it came from BMW (again, free speech trumps copyright and trademark protection). I could talk or write about Disney products in casual communications without having a C & D letter in my mailbox.

    You could remove the BMW from BMW 740i club and most BMW fans would still get the connection even without the BMW initials. I probably wouldn't use 740 in the name, since BMW did make other models besides the 740i, and users like me (I own an E32 750iL) and might assume other models of the same car were not welcome. You could probably use E38Club, 3rdGen7's, or even something a little more inclusive, such as Sport7's (this would be a little more inclusive, since it would suggest ALL 7-series models were welcome, not just the E38's.

    Incidentally, with the economy such as it is, I would think that most companies would be exercising a little more discretion in choosing its battles. There are law firms and even websites that allow ordinary individuals to file lawsuits on a contingency basis. That is, the legal eagles review the facts of your case, and will likely forgo their hefty fees in exchange for a cut of any awards or damages if they think your case is strong enough. Lawyersandsettlements.com is one such site.
    • Member

    CRKrieger

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    I gather from your modified logo that what they objected to was "X Series", which is a term they still use to describe them.

    The simple answer in a lot of the most questionable cases is to push back. Say "No, you're wrong, and here's why." Then explain how your use does not infringe on their claims.

    Choose your arguments carefully and try to find something that you can give them as you ask for something in return. I have assisted one company in dealings with another manufacturer who essentially asked for the moon and the stars - that would have put said company nearly out of business. We kept the moon, offered a couple of uninhabited planets, and everybody went home not completely happy. It's horse tradin' pure & simple. They'll ask for your wife and your firstborn, but that doesn't mean you have to hand 'em over.

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