Copyright Insanity? 300 SL destroyed

What do you guys think of this? I personaly think it’s an INSANE position to take for a 60 year old car.

[quote]Unlawful replica of a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL destroyed

Daimler AG takes a firm line on vehicle replicas

Stuttgart – Mercedes-Benz Classic has destroyed the replica body of a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL. The courts have ruled that it is not legal to market the body, which was seized by German customs officials.

The body shape of the legendary gullwing model has been trademarked by Daimler AG. Anyone building, offering or selling replicas of the vehicle is in breach of the Company’s rights. This even applies if the replicas do not incorporate any logos or trademarks of the Company. Daimler AG has long taken a tough approach to vehicle replicas.

As a work of applied art, the body of the 300 SL has been under copyright protection for a number of decades. The employees who designed the famous gullwing model in the 1950s granted Daimler AG comprehensive exploitation rights. The body shape has also been trademarked by Daimler AG, as recently confirmed by the Stuttgart regional court (case no. 17 O 304/10, final and binding judgment dated 9 December 2010, following withdrawal of an appeal).

A case had arisen in which a company based in Germany had built an unlawful replica of a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL (W 198 series). The first step in destroying the replica was to separate the chassis from the body. The Mercedes-Benz used-parts centre, which is also responsible for scrapping all Mercedes-Benz prototypes from the development units, then destroyed the body on behalf of Daimler AG. The certified equipment used in the centre includes two presses, each applying over 30 tonnes of pressure. The replica sports car had a fibreglass body weighing precisely 148 kilograms, which the compressor smashed into small pieces. This dramatic end to the unlawful body was officially documented with a signed and stamped ‘confirmation of scrappage’.

The Mercedes-Benz 300 SL (W 198 series) is one of the best known cars in the world. It was launched on the market in 1954 as a coupé with distinctive gullwing doors. In 1999, an international panel of judges voted it ‘sports car of the century’. Today, the original gullwing model and its roadster variant, which was introduced in 1957, are two of the most coveted vehicles on the international classic car scene. All the major car collections worldwide feature the 300 SL – an icon of design and engineering expertise.[/quote]

I understand them. This car is NOT a real 300 SL, and it isn’t even old, so it doesn’t have any historical value (like an old replica would have). The Mercedes logo has been used all over the thing, the shape is owned by Mercedes and the builder of the replica must have known he was violating the law.

Although I think it’s a shame such good craftsmanship gets destroyed, I believe Mercedes has done the right thing. For the company itself and for the owners of real 300SL’s.

just seems to me a fake? I think a modified image from photoshop

I don’t understand them at all…it’s a replica, there are thousands of replicas of rare old cars…why should any of them or their bodies be destroyed? Or a better question why should replicas of cars that are not being built in more than half a century matter in terms of copyright?
Mercedes can never build another 100% accurate original 300 SL and sell it as such and neither can anyone else. I just can’t fathom this issue.

Honestly I think copyright and patent law need to be adapted to the present.

Dario, it’s not a fake, there are other pictures on autoblog showing it.

While copyright and patent law are in dire need of a rework for present day technology, this case is very well covered by it’s old mechanics.
From your OP I gather that you are missing THE point in the whole thing: it is not that they just made a single replica model for the love of it,
but want to sell them for profit (“The courts have ruled that it is not legal to market the body.”). And that my friend, does break the law.
Mercedes does hold the rights for the car shape, and it doesn’t matter how old it is, they pay lots of money every year to actually keep those
rights! So now someone comes along and wants to make a business with selling replicas of your stuff and your rights? Of course you would
call that bullshit too if you were Mercedes.

Even so I still think that there should have been a better solution for all parties involved than destroying that body.

Further more I think what should be illegal is the ability to buy rights to something and keep them indefinitely. Like they said in their statement the designers and engineers who made that car don’t hold any rights to it, Mercedes does. A corporation is not a person it doesn’t creat and doesn’t really die and its only purpose is making money.

If the “artists” of the work don’t get compansated than to me rights to something shouldn’t belong to anybody but to us all.

Sure, I agree with the general sentiment you present, but definitely not in this case.

Take this fictional example for instance:
Ferrärï builds a Limited Edition car in 1976. It is stunningly beautiful and over the years it gets a huge fan base.
Then in 1999 Kübböz Mottors decides “Hey, everyone loves it, so we just replicate it! Awesome business model!”.
So now the Limited Edition not limited anymore if the copy is perfect, and thus it loses value and causes confusion.
Every model not in production anymore basically is a limited series model!

In your world that would be okay for Kübböz Mottors to do? I would see it as unfair.
You are viewing it like a “music industry” case where the artists get ripped off and never see a dime. Here the lead
designers have probably been paid a fair bit more than required to make a living off it! Also Ferrärï has invested
tons of money in order to create that original, while Kübböz Mottors doesn’t have those costs. To draw a line in
time for when it’s okay and when not is always arbitrary.

Sure, there would have been a solution, licensing it! Which is the legal way to do it. But they could probably not
afford that because Mercedes doesn’t want to have replicas on the market, for good reasons.

I think it should be allowed even in the example you mentioned with 3 conditions:
-the number of replicas produced every year is tiny, 10 or so.
-the replica is not a 100% perfect copy. (Similar but different engine, chassis)
-the car replicated is more than 30 years old.
For more a license would be needed. I doubt that low a number of them would do any damage, it would just wet our appetite.

In my opinion the full rights to anything should not last more than a certain period 30-40 years at most, after that another 15-20 years limited rights and then no rights at all, public domain.

That is what seems fair to me.

This is only to do with the body though so point 2 is moot. They could stick a rotary or a V12 in there, wouldnt make a difference.
Doesnt really concern car age unless copyright has run out/not renewed?

And still, ten cars at say a hundred thousand each is still a million a year less costs, which you’re earning from a design that ISNT yours. As Killrob pointed out, if your car company produced a car in the 60’s and it was an international phenomenon, would you want someone to come along present day and start making money off a design you own? Not only that but Mercedes have a somewhat reputation to keep up, so if these knock off Gullwings start having problems i.e brakes suddenly failing or engines suddenly combusting into fireballs, it wont look good on them since the design screams “Mercedes” to anyone who doesnt look at the details…

The point is that I don’t think it should be allowed to renew copyright after exceeding the 30 year limit.

And there point is that if another company produces a inferior copy of your old supper high quality car and the copy breaks down even though it is 30+ years old it will still look bad for your company.

Its more a image thing for Mercedes not a profit thing. They do not want a inferior copy to negatively influence someone’s opinion of there company and the cars the produce.

You guys just can’t seem to understand where I’m coming from with this. Screw the interests of a company that doesn’t make that product for 60 years and still holds copyright. As I stated before it shouldn’t be allowed to hold the rights to something, in this case the body of a car, for more than 30 years.

It may seem fair to you but not to me.

I’m really fed up of the way copyrights and patents are used these days. The intended use of the these laws was to protect the inventor(a human), for a rather short period of time around 10 years, from someone else copying his creations and profiting instead, not all these shenanigans that go on today with buying, selling, sueing. Corporations in the long run can’t be trusted with the responsabability of holding copyrights.

What do guys think of this case?

For a better understanding of copyright and patents laws work take a look at this series of videos by Kirby Ferguson, Everything is a remix.






I understand where your coming from and I understand copyright laws, what you are failing to understand is other people are entitled to there own opinion even if it is not the same as yours and you will not change that opinion.

As I started before for Mercedes this is not about that particular car body or profits this is more about the company image… If you create a replica of any of they cars the have produced over the years you will find they will probably do the same thing. They do not want inferior cars with the Mercedes badge on the street because they feel it will negatively impact their company image…

I highly doubt that replicas cast anything negative on a company’s image since it is not a something made by that company at all. I have never see a piece of news saying that hundreds of thousands or millions of replica cars have been recalled to fix such and such or that X company was sued because a replica of one of their cars was faulty or something. The big companys can do worse things to their image all by themselves.

Replicas don’t show up on any radar outside of the enthusiast who wants to own something like that.

I dont know why I am still banging my head against this wall any more…
A broken down replica on the side of the road looks like the car it is replicating not like a broken down replica, that will damage the original manufactures image not the replicas image…
The original manufacturer of any product wants to keep their image as good as it can be and having cheap knock off’s (broken down replica on the side of the road) is something they have no control over and I can understand their desire to remove them…

I don’t know why I’m doing that either.

I got your point but it’s still not valid in the real world. I contend that if you would pit an original 300 SL against a replica one made with modern internals and electrics the replica will be more reliable. Plus it’s known that older super cars have a lot of problems and impracticalities attached to them.

Lets take the Lamborghini Miura as an example or the Countach. They weren’t the picture of reliability in their day. The Miura could even catch fire.
If those faults in the originals didn’t harm the company I fail to see how a replica of that car which is not a 100% the same and most likely uses modern electrics, brakes and so on would do harm if it breaks down.

Look at Jay Lenos site, he has tens and if not hundreds of car mostly original ones. Ther are plenty of them that had design faults from the factory or were limited in the technology used. Why don’t the companys close his site because he’s soiling their good reliable reputation?
That is ridiculous of course because no one expects modern reliabity from an old car and the only way you can keep or improve your image is to build good cars now. Do you see how this relates to your argument?

What guarantee is there that there will be reliable modern internals? Just because this particular example seems to be done well, What’s to stop someone from making cheap knockoffs? “Motorist dies in 300 SL fire” Do you really think a reporter is going to really dig deep to find out if the car was original or a replica?

Yes, older cars have their old and deteriorating systems. But anyone would can afford to buy a 300 SL probably doesn’t drive it and if they do probably knows every mechanical issue with their particular car. But then consider this from a collectors point of view. Let’s say I want an original 300 SL for sentimental reasons. Now I would have to wade through all of these replicas. And if it’s difficult to tell between an original and a replica then yes that does degrade the value. Not just the price tag but the value of the nameplate.

[quote=“Punkal”]I dont know why I am still banging my head against this wall any more…
A broken down replica on the side of the road looks like the car it is replicating not like a broken down replica, that will damage the original manufactures image not the replicas image…
The original manufacturer of any product wants to keep their image as good as it can be and having cheap knock off’s (broken down replica on the side of the road) is something they have no control over and I can understand their desire to remove them…[/quote]

Huh? There are THOUSANDS of replicas of classic Ferraris (most of them based on MR2s - euck) around and nobody crushes them. And even if those are based on kits and assembled by individuals, somebody’s still building the kits/has the moulds. It’s ridiculous for a company to be so heavy handed with a design they don’t even produce any more; if they’re worried the SL will suddenly be popular again because some coachmaker decides to build replicas then surely they should be building them?! :unamused: Personally, I don’t think they SHOULD have any right to the design any more. I’m totally in favour of non-renewable copyrights; they stifle progress and competition for the benefit of a few greedy gits. But then, this is all about corporate greed… Why do we let corporations, who obviously only exist for selfish reasons have so much control over us? It’s ridiculous that we value the corporation above the individual these days. (and yes, I realise I live in a country with a Conservative, status-quo maintaining government. Not much I can do about that - the vast majority of the population, myself included, didn’t vote for them, but the system is f**ed.)

Ok there are no guarantees, but do you think that people didn’t die in the original 300 SLs? The worst of the damage has been done already.
What I’m trying to say with that is that the older the car the lesser the impression of responsability is on the company that made it. There are no classic cars being recalled to fix some of their design faults period.
With modern cars you have a period of warranty between 3 and 5 years in which the company is responsible for mechanical and electrical failures after that no one gives a damn unless it is a serious design fault, and that only happens to 10-15 year old cars tops.
This argument of image protection doesn’t really stand up. That doesn’t mean that Mercedes doesn’t think how you do, but it’s bullshit reasoning anyway.

  You would have to wade through replicas only if they were made in very high numbers, rarely the case, and the owners were dihonest and didn't put REPLICA in the title of the add or whatever. Otherwise I don't see a problem here. Look for a 1950s car, phone the guy ask the guy all the important questions and go see the car yourself, have an expert see it etc. You don't buy expensive cars without checking them through.

  I would agree with you if replicas were 100% accurate to the original, but when only the body looks the same and it isn't made out of metal then I can't. Plus what is this about value, if you want to buy the original car for sentimental reasons and have a lot of money then the cost doesn't matter. If you want to buy the original car for sentimental reasons and don't have a lot of money then a cheaper replica would be enough.

  Lets look at the Shelby Cobra market:

-replicas are worth $50 000 and above
-originals are worth around $2 000 000

 The cobra is one the most successful replica car being sold yet the originals are still worth a lot of money. The same goes with the Lotus 7 and Porsche 356. Mercedes is being stupid for not allowing replicas of its old cars. They could allow licensing and make some money from it or sell parts for the replicas.

marian I think you are either too young and/or too naive to understand the copyright & patent laws in play here. Obviously it was considered by the courts as “fair” as Mercedes were allowed to go ahead and destroy the cars. serothis makes many good points that you seem to dismiss with a “who cares about the company” attitude.

If companies weren’t guaranteed many of these rights in the first place many of the beautiful cars you see today wouldn’t even exist.