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  Royalties (licenses) for NASA spacecraft models

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Author Topic:   Royalties (licenses) for NASA spacecraft models
Tesla619
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Posts: 30
From: San Marcos, CA
Registered: May 2014

posted 06-04-2014 03:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tesla619   Click Here to Email Tesla619     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just curious, but who gets royalties for the Apollo mission kits that Dragon, Revell and many other kit companies make?

I did read that NASA gets paid for the Mars Curiosity kits.

cspg
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Posts: 4635
From: Geneva, Switzerland
Registered: May 2006

posted 06-04-2014 03:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA is receiving royalties? Have you seen the copyright logo anywhere, on models, patches, photos, you name it?

Since Curiosity came out of JPL, there may have been a special deal with Lego. But the money probably goes to JPL not NASA.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29738
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-04-2014 03:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There are no royalties paid for Apollo spacecraft models, or for any NASA vehicles, other than those replicating spacecraft managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Unlike the space agency's other field centers, JPL is a public-private partnership between NASA and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). As such, Caltech retains the licensing rights to the Mars rovers and planetary probes that JPL oversees.

Retro Rocket
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Posts: 290
From: Santa Paula, Ca,. USA
Registered: Dec 2007

posted 06-04-2014 04:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Retro Rocket   Click Here to Email Retro Rocket     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Licensing is one of the most argued about subjects for model makers and those who want to produce kits commercially. Boeing would want anyone building an Apollo to sign a license agreement which includes a yearly payment and a percentage on sales. I have copies of the contracts for Boeing, Lockheed (Equity Management) and Virgin Galactic (Vulcan).

The big gripe is that these projects were publicly funded. Aerospace didn't seem to really get into this until the '90's as far as I can tell. It's not just about the money, they require you to carry a $2 million liability insurance in case your model pokes someones eye out and in today's society, everyone is on the hook from the kit maker all the way up the food chain to the big aero.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29738
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-04-2014 05:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Retro Rocket:
Boeing would want anyone building an Apollo to sign a license agreement which includes a yearly payment and a percentage on sales.
It's true, Boeing has licensed its vehicles to model and toy makers, but it isn't required for Apollo. A majority of the Apollo models on the market are not licensed through Boeing (or any other entity). NASA has released the designs of the Apollo spacecraft into the public domain.

Retro Rocket
Member

Posts: 290
From: Santa Paula, Ca,. USA
Registered: Dec 2007

posted 06-04-2014 09:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Retro Rocket   Click Here to Email Retro Rocket     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That's good, I haven't been paying much attention to this issue lately. I wonder though, doesn't that basically open the door for other companies to do unlicensed models of things like a P-51? How would Boeing justify enforcing a license with some companies but not others or different vehicles?

I'm guessing at some point it cost more in lawyer time to go after a small company then say, Revell or Dragon.

One other thing, the companies requested a review of each model to make sure the quality, accuracy was good, which isn't a bad thing, but doesn't seem to ever be enforced...

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29738
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-04-2014 10:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Apollo spacecraft, space shuttle and other NASA vehicles were created under contract with the space agency. As such, contractors didn't sell individual spacecraft to NASA, they built NASA spacecraft.

I don't know enough about military aviation history to know if the P-51 (for example) was similarly contracted, but I don't recall the Mustang ever being referred to as the U.S. Air Force's P-51; rather it was North American Aviation's P-51.

Boeing (for example) retains the rights to its Delta IV rocket because the company owns the booster; it sells individual rockets to its customers as needed.

Retro Rocket
Member

Posts: 290
From: Santa Paula, Ca,. USA
Registered: Dec 2007

posted 06-05-2014 12:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Retro Rocket   Click Here to Email Retro Rocket     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ok, that makes sense. How about the X-Planes? If the X-15 wouldn't need a license that would be important to know. I only build a few a year so they aren't production models but I do work for a company that could produce a kit in quantity.

Tesla619
Member

Posts: 30
From: San Marcos, CA
Registered: May 2014

posted 06-06-2014 03:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tesla619   Click Here to Email Tesla619     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Curiosity with JPL makes sense, I just wasn't aware about Mercury, Gemini, Apollo or the space shuttle.

Now, let's use Dragon Models who made a 1:6 scale Neil and Buzz... do Neil and Buzz get paid? On that one I would want to say yes...

Now thinking about it let's say Buzz and Neil didn't get paid... will the company who made their spacesuits get paid? Haha, sorry too much coffee.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29738
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-06-2014 03:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dragon produced three figures: "Buck," "Buzz Aldrin" and "Apollo Astronaut."

Aldrin licensed his name and likeness for the second release.

While the third figure may somewhat resemble Armstrong, Dragon did not market it as such and so no license was required.

(And no, like the Apollo spacecraft, ILC Dover does not retain licensing rights to the Apollo A7L spacesuit design.)

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