London Tube Map 2 (Elec. Boogaloo)

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helios
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London Tube Map 2 (Elec. Boogaloo)

Post by helios » Mon May 29, 2017 10:51 pm

I read another informative thread (topic1919.htm) on your forum regarding use of the London Tube Map but couldn't work out whether bumping old threads was allowed under the forum rules.

I'm intending on creating an artwork based on the iconic London Tube map. I've checked TfL's website and it appears they might consider giving permission for such a use at a cost. I am wondering whether I can avoid the need for permission and the fee altogether. The work would be displayed online as an interactive map. I would also consider selling prints of it to pay for the time I've spent on it.

The work would, ideally, comprise an altered Tube map with a reduced number of stations and lines, and in which all remaining stations have been renamed. Each line and station would be given a new meaning (e.g. the lines would represent families, the station members of those families - the interactivity referred to above would involve that significance being explained on clicking a station or line). I would not use the roundel logo.

If that would be a violation of copyright (and one that does not fall within any exception), I would consider changing the shape of the lines, but the basic structure would be similar and I would keep similar colours, symbols and typeface. Would this make any difference?

Any personal opinions would be helpful. Thank you in advance.

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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ » Tue May 30, 2017 9:30 am

Hi helios,

As with the proposal which was the subject of the previous thread which you mentioned, I am reasonably sure that your idea would fall into the category of parody or pastiche, and therefore be covered by section 30A of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. The problem is that we have no caselaw involving this new exception and so it is unclear how the courts will treat any claims of infringement. This exception comes within the overall group of exceptions known as fair dealing, and it is an established principle that this means using no more of the original work than is absolutely necessary, in this case for the purpose of establishing the connection between the new and the previous work.

There have been earlier cases involving parody etc, notably Glyn v Weston Feature Film Company in 1916, Joy Music Ltd v Sunday Pictorial Newspapers Ltd in 1960, Schweppes Ltd v Wellingtons Ltd in 1984, Williamson Music v Pearson Partnership Ltd 1987 and very peripherally in Clark v Associated Newspapers Ltd in 1998.
In the two earlier cases the principle was established that if the parodist had put considerable intellectual and creative effort into creating the parody, then this would mitigate against a finding of infringement, but the later cases departed from this by concentrating on the amount of the original which was re-used and whether this amounted to a substantial part of that work. To a lesser extent, the commercial nature of the copies was also a factor. However all of those cases came some time before the new parody etc exception was introduced and thus the fair dealing principle to which I referred earlier did not apply to them. Fair dealing permits greater latitude with respect to the source work and effectively replaces the 'substantial part' test with the 'no more than is necessary' test. And of course the fact that Parliament has now recognised parody, caricature and pastiche as legitimate exceptions should mean that the courts will take a broader view than hitherto.

However the foregoing assumes that your map will have the necessary qualities to make it either a parody or a pastiche, neither of which the new law defines. Let's take parody first. Academics and to a certain extent, the Court of Justice of the European Union (see the Deckmyn case), have analysed this and concluded that there should be an element of humour or wittiness in the derivative work. And as parody can be used as a form of satire, there are two general types of parody: weapon parody and target parody. For weapon parody, the source work is merely the vehicle for an assault on a wider subject, for instance, using a version of a popular song to criticise or mock politicians, whereas target parody is directed against the original work itself, or possibly its author. Clearly in your case, if there is any parodic element it would seem to be more weapon than target in nature. Looking at pastiche, things are altogether much less clear. Many commentaries use the terms parody, caricature and pastiche as if they mean the same thing, but I think this is wrong. Pastiche, in its dictionary sense, means just imitation or evocation of an earlier work, and I think this sense exactly fits what you propose. This is possibly the area where we are most in need of guidance from the courts about where the boundaries of pastiche lie. Too broad and much real infringement might be excused; too narrow and the purpose of section 30A is nullified.

So having given that background, with particular emphasis on the 'no more than is necessary' principle, I think it would be advisable to vary the proportions of the underground lines rather than copying them precisely. Perhaps it would be best to create your map from memory rather than having the actual tube map in front of you. That would mean that the only other elements which are exactly copied would be the colours of the lines and the typeface, neither of which seem to me to be protectable in their own right, the colours because they lack originality and the typeface because the law allows this (see section 54).

I hope this goes some way to answering your question.
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helios
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Post by helios » Fri Jun 02, 2017 12:30 pm

Thanks very much for your opinion, AndyJ.

For the purposes of weapon parody, does the critique need to be directed at a specific person, company, political party etc.? Could it instead be targeted at a general social phenomenon, e.g. urban social alienation as epitomised by the lack of eye contact or conversation on the London underground?

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Post by AndyJ » Sat Jun 03, 2017 7:16 am

Hi helios,

I think weapon parody could be directed at social phenomena generally.
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Re: London Tube Map 2 (Elec. Boogaloo)

Post by CADman765 » Fri May 11, 2018 10:57 am

Hi everyone,

This is my first ever post but I this this blog is a wonderful I idea and is a real help to so many people. I am very interested in this particular topic as a relation of mine asked me to create a London Underground style map of his home City. Obviously there are differences, such as the lines are in a completely different configuration, different station names and colours too. I did used a similar font to the TfL's Johnston font but it is clearly different.

Every single aspect of the Original TfL map and Roundel logo are drawn to very specific ratios. All this information is readily available to download directly from TfL's own website in PDF form. I also looked at 38 different Underground, Subway and Metro networks around the world to research how many other use some of the basic design principles use on the iconic London Tube Map, such as each line being a different colour, lines only drawn horizontally, vertically or at 45 degrees etc...etc...etc... As you can image many of these aspects are in common use around the world. I made a conscious effort to ensure that the line to station ratios were different, interchange stations were also of different proportions, but I must admit that other aspects such as the tiny icons for Airport, National Rail and Riverboat services were simply copied over. I also used the Zone system behind the map to make the overall image more interesting and realistic.

My relations map has been printed in a variety of sizes from A4 to A2 and he also had a variety of other souvenirs produced (such as tea towels, drinks coasters, table mats, pencil cases and mugs etc). They are sold in a local art gallery and are the gallery's biggest seller by far. He also has a website which had a shop selling merchandise but with very limited success.

Such was the interest that a local Micro Brewery asked if they could name a beer after the network using the Logo I had knocked up. They obviously had to cover themselves legally so asked my relation to register "his" logo. As far as the Intellectual Property Office were concerned there was no issue. They clearly felt that the difference between our logo and the TfL Roundel was sufficiently different.

However, because the IPO is obviously monitored closely by TfL and/or their solicitors, shortly afterwards came the threatening letter demanding that he cancel the application for the trademark, cease trading and destroy all his stock...or else! Clearly anyone with any sense would not take on a massive company such as TfL. The legal fees would be astronomical and being a retired gentleman this clearly scared him senseless.

I saw the first discussion about this same issue where some was thinking of doing the same thing. Already there are many around the country which clearly have been under TfL's radar or they too would face the same wrath. This issue about art that is produced as a pastiche, thanks to this the "new exception (section 30A of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988)", could be his salvation. My I please ask that is such an article was quoted to TfL's solicitors, would this be enough for them to simply give up the chase or could they contest this?

To me the entire project and others like it pay homage to London Underground's map, and the fact they so pursue people for even the most ridiculous use of their logo and map style is totally ridiculous, and amounts to simple bullying. See link below about a man who used the Roundel for a sign for his Pie Shop on a railway station in Skipton Yorkshire.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... ouble.html

If you please voice your opinion on this matter I would be very grateful? I am obviously happy to give any additional information you may require and I'm sure resolving this matter would be beneficial to so many other people.

Regards,

John

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Re: London Tube Map 2 (Elec. Boogaloo)

Post by AndyJ » Fri May 11, 2018 5:25 pm

Hi John,

I am not clear about what was submitted for registration with the IPO - presumably this was a trade mark application. The IPO may have accepted the apllication but that does not mean that the registration has been agreed. There needs to be a process of examination, and part of the process is publication of the application in the Trade Marks Journal. The Journal is made available to any interested party, in order that they can quite properly oppose an application which they believe would, if registered, infringe their pre-existing registered mark. If the applicant still wishes to continue despite the opposition, the IPO will appoint a Hearing Officer to adjudicate the dispute. The examination process for trade mark registration does not consider whether there may be a copyright infringement issue.

I suspect therefore, having been allerted via the Trade Mark Journal, the TfL issued their cease and desist letter with regard to what they judge to be copyright infringement. You could certainly try to use the parody exception to counter this claim, but not having seen your work in comparison to the TfL mark it is hard to say whether you have a good case.
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Re: London Tube Map 2 (Elec. Boogaloo)

Post by CADman765 » Fri May 11, 2018 10:14 pm

Hi Andy,

Sincere thanks for taking the time to reply. Yes is was the logo created from a sketch my Brother in Law drew up that was presented to the IPO.

As I understand it TfL has two primary objections.

1) They say his logo is a copy of the TfL roundel.

In reply I would say that the TfL roundel comprises of two simple geometric shapes, the circle and the rectangle. These shapes, and the text are drawn to very specific proportions. In TfL's own literature they state:
  • "Its circle, which remains consistent from station to station, establishes the network identity while the name, which sits in the rectangle, changes."
They also state:
  • "The combination of two shapes leads to a simple but fundamental framework that underpins the Design Idiom."
  • "Network consistency - The circle should be used as a consistent network-wide aid for customers finding their way, defining customer information areas, ticketing, meeting points and lighting."
  • "Local identity and flexibility - The rectangle should be used for everything else, a locally responsive ‘frame’ for all other services from advertising to retail."
  • "The circle and the rectangle - The clear relationship between circle and rectangle creates harmony between the need to express the identity of the Underground network and for stations to be neighbourhood places."
I would argue that the following is true of ours:
  • The Circle is a different thickness
  • The Circle is a different CMYK colour (The one we used is the same as the red on the Welsh flag)
  • Our Circle contains the text, the original doesn't and never has.
  • Our Circle has bevels added to make it look like a Life Buoy. Mumbles has had a lifeboat for over 180 years and has a long history of boating and shipping.
  • Our "rectangles" do not dissect the Circle as one shape. They were only added as a space to display the Welsh Flags. After we thought of the concept of the Life Buoy the shape of our logo was actually based on the old British Railways logo which became obsolete many decades ago.
  • Our Font is very different
  • Our font has a black stroke and 3D bevel effects added
  • Our logo contains a image of a train, TfL's never has.
2) They are also claiming that the use of "Transport for Mumbles" is an infringement, and possibly "TFM - Mayor of Mumbles" too.

They say this but various places and cities around the world use the phrase. This includes Transport for Edinburgh, Transport for Greater Manchester, Transport for Wales. Transport for the North, Transport for Scotland, Transport for Buckinghamshire, Transport for New South Wales, Transport for Victoria to name but a few.

Also our fonts, colours and spacing are different.

I believe they also say that attributes like each line being a different colour, lines drawn only horizontally, vertically or at 45 degrees are also their intellectual property. That said most are used by networks all around the world.

I could post a low res copy of the map so you can see it, or I could email it to you. Either is fine. The bottom line is that this is a tiny map of an insignificant place, located 200 miles from London. The map serves a very small area and is very basic.

I really would value your opinion on this and am more than happy to give you any additional information you require.

Kind regards,

John

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Re: London Tube Map 2 (Elec. Boogaloo)

Post by AndyJ » Sat May 12, 2018 10:08 am

Hi John,

Let's split this into two areas: trade mark and copyright law.

Infringement of a registered trade mark, like the TfL roundel, can occur merely if the 'new' mark is similar to the registered mark. From your description, it sounds as if this might be the case with your friend's logo. The argument that TfL and TfM are similar is less clear cut and Transport for London would have to produce fairly compelling evidence before a court to win on this. The problem for you is that trade mark law does not accept the motivation of parody as a defence. That is why the case of the pie shop owner, which you quoted previously, failed. As far as I am aware, the colours of the lines on the diagram etc are not registered as trade marks, and therefore if there is any protection for them, it is to be found under copyright law.

The whole TfL diagram is undoubtedly subject to copyright as a graphic work. Here we come up against the so-called idea/expression dichotomy: ideas alone are not protected by copyright, only the expression of the idea. So for instance, the individual elements recorded in it (such as the names of the stations or that a particular station lies on a particular underground line) are facts and are not protected per se. The concept by which the diagram shows the connectivity through the use of horizontal, vertical and oblique lines of different colours is also not protectable per se because it is an idea and, as you mention, many other cities have adopted a similar approach. The exact layout of the TfL diagram, incorporating all the facts in the way it does, is subject to copyright even though it incorporates both ideas and facts, because it is the specific expression which is protected. Exactly where the division between idea and expression occurs will vary from case to case. For example many copyright experts felt that the decision in what came to be known as the Red Bus case, erred too much in favour of the idea, but there were grounds for the court believing that the defendant had deliberately set out to copy the claimant's work, and as this occurred before the parody exception existed, this weakened the defence case.

However in your case, I think the parody exception would be of great assistance.

There is no need to send me your version of this map, as my opinion holds no more weight than yours. You need to marshal your argument and decide whether to comply with the cease and desist demand or refute it. That's not something which advice on a forum can do for you. If you feel you have a strong defence then you should consult a solicitor who can properly advise you. If you do go down this route, make sure you use a solicitor who specialises in intellectual property law. You can find someone local to you via the Law Society website.

For readers who are less concerned with John's actual problem but are interested in the idea/expression dichotomy as it relates to maps and diagrams, this TED talk by Maxwell Roberts may be worth a watch.
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Re: London Tube Map 2 (Elec. Boogaloo)

Post by Nick Cooper » Mon May 14, 2018 10:45 pm

A few observations as per the map and logo in June 2017 press coverage:

The train in the logo is unmistakably modern London Underground stock. The map itself is pretty much an exact copy of the style of the TfL diagram, from the line colours to the fare zone shading, the cable car, the Piccadilly coloured line having an airport loop as per Heathrow, pictograms for ferries, and so on.

As you say, many metro maps around the work follow similar principles to the current evolution of the Harry Beck design, but none look as exactly like TfL's actual version as yours does. Given all these elements, and the fact that the design is being monetised, TfL could not possibly have given it a pass.

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Re: London Tube Map 2 (Elec. Boogaloo)

Post by CADman765 » Mon Jul 02, 2018 5:09 pm

Hi Andy and Nick,

Please forgive my delay in responding to your comments, unfortunately I have been extremely ill. I value both your's and AndyJ's opinion very much and have certainly taken on board all your comments.

To try to reach an amicable agreement with TfL as soon as I am able I intend to create sheets that break down every element of the map and logo into clear individual elements for them examine and hopefully indicate which is their IP and which is not. Along side all existing elements I have also submitted totally original designs which they may hopefully approve or still claim that the concept IP belongs to them.

Time will tell whether this is a realistic proposition and for all members who may have comparable issues, or are thinking of embarking on projects that maybe impacted the same way I will post an update.

Regards,

John

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