by Dave Tavres
The Society6 website says that I am not allowed to use the name of the classic car that I own – DeLorean – when selling MY photos of MY car. That’s right… when trying to use the name “DeLorean” in the title (or tag, or description) of a product I want to sell on their site, they return this message:
“We were not able to accept your title/tag/description submission, as it appeared to contain distinctive words that may belong to another rights holder. If you believe you have received this message in error, please contact Member Support.”
Like many other DeLorean owners, I love taking cool photos of MY DeLorean. And also like other owners, I’m always looking for cool places to get amazing photos of MY DeLorean, with the hope of one turning out totally awesome, so I can sell it, or have it used somewhere as I – the content creator / artist – sees fit. But, Society6 doesn’t seem to agree that an artist has the right to sell their own photos of their property.
Now, as of the writing of this article, you can NOT use names like “Mercedes” or “Ford”, but I can see that making sense, as those companies still exist, and are currently making new products. However, the DeLorean Motor Company went out of business in 1983. The DeLorean car that they invented and built, will never be built again. We, the owners of these cars, are the protectors and keepers of the approximately 4,500 left in the world, out of the 9,080 that were built.
As it happens, a company in Texas named “DeLorean Motor Company Texas”, did buy the remaining parts left over from the original factory in 1997 – for less than $1 million dollars. Since then, they have proceeded to bully and attempt to scare people into submission, by pretending to be the original DeLorean Motor Company (despite their own admission on their website under the question “Are you ‘THE’ DeLorean Motor Company?” – they answer “We have no connection to John DeLorean, the DeLorean estate or the original DeLorean Motor Company. DeLorean Motor Company Texas is a privately held corporation based in Humble, Texas.”) And to top it all off, they have repeatedly shown their disdain for the actual owners of the remaining DeLoreans out there.
So, using the name of MY car, that I own – and the name of a product that is no longer made by an existing company – should be allowed… just as you can use the name “Bricklin” and others on Society6. (Bricklin is another defunct car company.) It’s most likely that intimidation by the fake DMC (DeLorean Motor Company Texas) has caused Society6 to block us owners from profiting from our own property.
We’ll see how Society6 responds to the message I sent them disputing their choice to block me from using the name “DeLorean”.
Update from Society6:
This was the last email they sent me:
From: Tristan (Society6)
Date: Jun 21, 2021, 18:19 PDT
We recommend that you research the relevant copyright laws and other laws pertaining to intellectual property and their application to your work on the Internet, or consult legal counsel if you are unsure about them.
We also suggest that you review Society6’s Terms of Service http://society6.com/terms with respect to our Content, Copyright & Intellectual Property Rights Policies to ensure that you are in compliance at all times.
The word “DeLorean” will not be unblocked at this time.
Artist Community Success Associate