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> thomas the tank, copyright of name
kingjim
post 17 Aug 2009, 15:22
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I have just shown my layout for the kids in the Plymouth guild hall.There was a lot of interest in it.First time showing,i ran trains from the story's,but i was told i could not use the the word thomas or any names from the story's to name my layout.As i understand it i would be in breech of copyright.do any one know if this is correct.I think the copyright has been sold.
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Brian Considine
post 17 Aug 2009, 15:46
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Hi & welcome to MRF.

AFAIK the copyright now belongs to a commercial company.

It may very well be that you do need to be licensed to display Thomas in public - such is the nature of corporate greed.

Shame really, the kids will lose out & of course the company that own the copyright will also loose out in the long term.

Some of the preserved lines have fallen foul of copywrites in the past.
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sarah
post 17 Aug 2009, 17:58
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HIT Entertainment...

http://www.hitentertainment.com/corporate/thomas.html

Also "Gullane" has some involvement.

$$$$$ ! rolleyes.gif


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Brian Considine
post 17 Aug 2009, 18:14
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Thanks for the link Sarah - & there's a penguin in it LOL !
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FUNGUS
post 17 Aug 2009, 21:06
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Purley Oaks
post 17 Aug 2009, 21:57
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Ah, so you can buy Thomas the T*** Engine from Hornby, and are allowed to call it that in your own home, but not elsewhere. Have I got that right?
mal
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goedel
post 17 Aug 2009, 22:21
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Hello kingjim

You will need to be more precise about what you were doing if people can advise. For example, did you produce your own models of Thomas or do you own "official" i.e. licenced models as made by Hornby/Bachmann (or whoever it is that makes them?) Did you re-enact or perform a story from a Thomas book or film? Did you derive financial benefit from the showing?
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dwb
post 17 Aug 2009, 22:21
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The strict legal interpretation of the law probably runs along the lines that all commercial rights to "Thomas" and associated words/phrases etc. resides with the commercial rights holder who as far as I could ascertain is Gullane Thomas limited or something similar which was originally spun out of Britt Alcroft in the late '90s.

Any organisation or individual who is deemed to making money (commerce) out of "Thomas" et al. either directly or by association could be argued to be obliged to be in possession of a license from the commercial rights holder. Indeed it is even possible, or in these days where "Intellectual Property Rights" are a very hot property, highly probable that any exploitation of Thomas in public requires a license. This would be along the same lines that buying a DVD does not give you the right to show it to the public.

The issue is how much would a license cost? You will only find that out by asking.
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Brian Considine
post 17 Aug 2009, 22:40
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QUOTE (Purley Oaks @ 17 Aug 2009, 21:57) *
Ah, so you can buy Thomas the T*** Engine from Hornby, and are allowed to call it that in your own home, but not elsewhere. Have I got that right?
mal


Probably !


QUOTE (dwb @ 17 Aug 2009, 22:21) *
The strict legal interpretation of the law probably runs along the lines that all commercial rights to "Thomas" and associated words/phrases etc. resides with the commercial rights holder who as far as I could ascertain is Gullane Thomas limited or something similar which was originally spun out of Britt Alcroft in the late '90s.

Any organisation or individual who is deemed to making money (commerce) out of "Thomas" et al. either directly or by association could be argued to be obliged to be in possession of a license from the commercial rights holder. Indeed it is even possible, or in these days where "Intellectual Property Rights" are a very hot property, highly probable that any exploitation of Thomas in public requires a license. This would be along the same lines that buying a DVD does not give you the right to show it to the public.

The issue is how much would a license cost? You will only find that out by asking.
David


Oh, that's easy ;

Licence Fee 4.50
Legal Fees 850,000 (plus VAT !)
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goedel
post 17 Aug 2009, 22:46
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QUOTE (dwb @ 17 Aug 2009, 23:21) *
Any organisation or individual who is deemed to making money (commerce) out of "Thomas" et al. either directly or by association could be argued to be obliged to be in possession of a license from the commercial rights holder. Indeed it is even possible, or in these days where "Intellectual Property Rights" are a very hot property, highly probable that any exploitation of Thomas in public requires a license. This would be along the same lines that buying a DVD does not give you the right to show it to the public.

I'm not sure if the DVD analogy applies because the law distinguishes things like films and broadcasts from saucepans etc. For example if you buy a car you do have the right to show it to the public? You should only worry about trademark infringment if your activities relate to trade, i.e. if the showing of Thomas was itself or was part of a commercial show.

Also, it is for example the organiser of a disco who infringes copyright, rather than the DJ playing copyrighted songs at that disco. I imagine that a lot of amateur exhibition/show holders are easily frightened by a letter* from a company as the law on IP is very complicated.

*Interestingly, there are no threat provisions in UK law for copyright, so legal action can be threatened - but, if any other right such as a trade mark or patent is mentioned then the threat provisions can destroy any kind of case they may have otherwise had. Intimidators beware...
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poliss
post 18 Aug 2009, 00:07
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I don't think the issue is whether you charge or not. Does anyone remember the case of St Ormonds Street refusing permission for Peter Pan to be performed as a school play?
Would it be copyright infingement just using the name Thomas the Tank Engine? I found this. "You would not normally need to seek permission if you wish to use less than a substantial part of a copyright protected work."

If you want to work your way through all the various legal minefields about copyright, patents, designs etc. Take a look at the Intellectual Property Office website. It's all there. :-) http://www.ipo.gov.uk/ (No wonder lawyers get rich).


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goedel
post 18 Aug 2009, 00:29
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QUOTE (poliss @ 18 Aug 2009, 01:07) *
I don't think the issue is whether you charge or not.

That's right for copyright infringement.

QUOTE (poliss @ 18 Aug 2009, 01:07) *
Would it be copyright infingement just using the name Thomas the Tank Engine? I found this. "You would not normally need to seek permission if you wish to use less than a substantial part of a copyright protected work."

I am sure that it would not. The four word "Thomas the Tank Engine" does not constitute a work, rather a story about Thomas the Tank Engine is a work. Interestingly a court recently found that electronically extracting 10 word snippets from newspaper articles where a key word was matched did constitute copyright infringement.

I don't think reading the UKIPO stuff is enough to understand here though, as the definitions in the various acts are only actually nailed down by the cumulative effect of the case law - even more reading probably required!
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pedromorgan
post 18 Aug 2009, 09:11
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before simply jumping on the "oah dear its going to cost bucket loads" bandwagon, why not simply try asking them if you can name your layout "thomas" or whatever. perhaps also send them a picture or 2.

They might simply ask for a token sum to cover the cost of printing the letter out.

Dont forget that you are not making money out of it and its free publicity for their brand.

Worth a try.

Peter


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dwb
post 18 Aug 2009, 17:41
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QUOTE
I'm not sure if the DVD analogy applies because the law distinguishes things like films and broadcasts from saucepans etc. For example if you buy a car you do have the right to show it to the public? You should only worry about trademark infringment if your activities relate to trade, i.e. if the showing of Thomas was itself or was part of a commercial show.


I believe it does because if you look closely at your DVD, you are being sold a license to view the contents under certain restricted conditions. The ownership of the content - ie the film is not being transferred to you. In other words when you buy a DVD, you do not get total ownership of everything in the package. Software follows a similar concept. This is how Intellectual Property is exploited. It is the right to use under defined conditions that is being sold as distinct from the ownership of the IP itself.

David


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poliss
post 18 Aug 2009, 17:51
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If you're just exhibiting a Thomas layout and not actually recreating the storyline from the tv series would you be breaking any copyright rules? If on the other hand it's a trademarks issue would you also need a licence from, say for example, Eddie Stobart if you were to run a loco in Stobart livery?


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