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Asking the real Airline


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Chris,

 

You might want to re-think this idea as it will likely not go as you expect.

 

Most likely you will have just alerted them to your VA and they will send you a cease and desist letter. I guess there is a very small chance they will want to work with you but its a big risk to take. Most airlines simply don't understand what we do and their lawyers will just want to protect their copyright and trademarks. Just my 2 cents.

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its one of those "you're damned if you do, and damned if you dont"

 

if you dont get that worked out before creating the VA, you run the risk of them shutting you down later after you've spent a heck of a lot of time and money on the VA, dont forget your pilots who also invest in the VA with their time.

 

if you do contact, then the worst they can say is no. no harm no foul. you can still base your VA on their operation, you just wont be able to use anything of theirs. for example, the old Midcon Virtual was initially America West Virtual, then the airline sent their cease and desist letter. so the VA simply rebranded with a fictional name, logo, etc.. but the VA was still based on America West. we simply had a different brand.

 

if you want to do it right and not run the risk of having to go through a lot of extra work. get it done now before its too late. otherwise you are basically rolling the dice.

 

as far as who to contact, start off with Human Resources. they should be able to direct it to the appropriate staff. be prepared to be detailed and professional with your request/presentation. dont send a single one line email saying "hi, im making a VA based on your airline, ok, thanks"

 

its not something impossible to do, some airlines are more then happy to get the free advertising. other airlines like American will not give you any type of permission to use their stuff (as much as some VA's will have you believe)

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One of the virtual airlines that I'm a part of had to do this. Our owners lawyer contacted their legal department and got it approved and based off of what I have read with our incident, it's best to have your lawyer/legal team contact theirs. It's looked upon a lot better if an actual bar certified lawyer does it because they are more likely to know what to say (such as making sure to tell them that it is a non-for-profit hobby organization) and having some random person contact the airline is less likely to gain the attention of the people/department that you need to speak with [they will just transfer you to a random 'customer service' person]. Often times an airlines legal team is contracted out though to a third party legal service for representation though so you would have to do a lot of homework to see exactly who to contact.

Davor Kusec

Air Traffic Director | Northeast Region VATUSA

Supervisor | VATSIM

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Source: http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html

 

Fair Use/Educational Use: "quotation of excerpts in a review or criticism for purposes of illustration or comment; quotation of short p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ages in a scholarly or technical work, for illustration or clarification of the author’s observations; use in a parody of some of the content of the work parodied; summary of an address or article, with brief quotations, in a news report; reproduction by a library of a portion of a work to replace part of a damaged copy; reproduction by a teacher or student of a small part of a work to illustrate a lesson; reproduction of a work in legislative or judicial proceedings or reports; incidental and fortuitous reproduction, in a newsreel or broadcast, of a work located in the scene of an event being reported.”

 

Your running of a virtual airline is not a news report or any study of the airline for illustration or comment it's for a hobby.

 

Artistic would apply if you were using their copyright in an illustration or literary work, say a drawing of an airliner or painting.

Say if it was United Airlines.

Example: "Susan grows in anticipation as she boards the United Airlines jet to see her long lost father"

 

My advice is to consult with an attorney that specializes in intellectual property/copyright before proceeding, all the armchair interpretation in the world won't matter if you get into a legal dispute with an airline that has a legal staff.

Brian Pryor - (810138)

Vice President Marketing & Communications (VATGOV10)

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Flying tigers group responded to a cease letter from Cathay Pacific, regarding CPA virtual.

 

No further action was taken by the airline and FTG CPA virtual still exists today.

 

Singapore airlines took similar action, however backed down in the same way.

 

Letter from Cathay Pacific

 

http://www.chillingeffects.org/trademark/notice.cgi?NoticeID=1336

 

Response

 

https://www.chillingeffects.org/responses/notice.cgi?NoticeID=2118&print=yes

Kirk Christie - VATPAC C3

VATPAC Undercover ATC Agent

Worldflight Perth 737-800 Crew Member

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  • 4 weeks later...
Flying tigers group responded to a cease letter from Cathay Pacific, regarding CPA virtual.

 

No further action was taken by the airline and FTG CPA virtual still exists today.

 

Singapore airlines took similar action, however backed down in the same way.

 

Letter from Cathay Pacific

 

http://www.chillingeffects.org/trademark/notice.cgi?NoticeID=1336

 

Response

 

https://www.chillingeffects.org/responses/notice.cgi?NoticeID=2118&print=yes

 

Gotta love the response. 'The vitual pilots are sophisticated and would know that they are not flying actual airplanes'. I bet the real Cathay Pacific lawyers felt a little stupid after that. At least I hope they did. Just some big dumb company not knowing what the CPA virtual was I bet.

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Brian, the big difference with those types is they tend not to use the real carriers copyrights all over their sites. youll see the company banners, maybe some screenshots of the painted aircraft from the sim, they pretty much display the same way any other website that has airline scheduling information, so theirs no way someone could confuse them with any of the real carrier. the issue isnt "flying" their flights, its using their trademarks and copyrights without permission, some VA's go as far as making their websites identical, thats where you run into problems

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This part of the response to the Cathay C&D letter is funny:

 

"Purchasers of Cathay Pacific airplane tickets would carefully research price, itinerary, etc. and could never be confused by a virtual airline with no real flights."

 

I've heard several stories about people getting confused when they can't find a way to buy real tickets on a VA site ...

 

I'm glad the response worked, though!

Developer: vPilot, VRC, vSTARS, vERAM, VAT-Spy

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

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I've heard several stories about people getting confused when they can't find a way to buy real tickets on a VA site ...
I've heard that the reason the ZLA website asks you to type "this is not the faa" is because at least one person contacted the staff in an attempt to schedule a tower or TRACON tour...
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I've heard several stories about people getting confused when they can't find a way to buy real tickets on a VA site ...
I've heard that the reason the ZLA website asks you to type "this is not the faa" is because at least one person contacted the staff in an attempt to schedule a tower or TRACON tour...

 

That's too funny ... they should have given a tour of the ATM's house.

Developer: vPilot, VRC, vSTARS, vERAM, VAT-Spy

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

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  • Board of Governors

Oh, it's real.... At least I spend real time on it! Ask my wife!

 

When I was an ATM, I got an average of 4-5 contacts per year, including requests for facility tours, resumes, employment inquiries, controller complaints (regarding RW controllers), noise complaints, etc. One contact I got was from a guy who retired from the FAA in 1979 who wanted to put together a list of retirees who were still alive and schedule a reunion for any of the survivors that could make it. And we did have a disclaimer on our page. Luckily, I had kept a good relationship with my RW counterparts over the years and just put all these folks in touch with the RW guys....

 

Ah, the fun!

Don Desfosse
Vice President, Membership

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  • 2 weeks later...
I've heard several stories about people getting confused when they can't find a way to buy real tickets on a VA site ...
I've heard that the reason the ZLA website asks you to type "this is not the faa" is because at least one person contacted the staff in an attempt to schedule a tower or TRACON tour...

 

I have gotten many. Just to name a few: military personal requesting information regarding a confidential operation that was to be carried out in ZLA airspace and a Boeing test pilot requesting information from a recent incident. Yikes.

Colin Schoen

VATSIM Senior Network Supervisor

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  • 4 years later...

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