Stuff it Kirby!!

Discussion in 'Laser Class Politics' started by gouvernail, Oct 29, 2011.

?

Are you one of the 122 or the 1017?

Poll closed Jan 27, 2012.
  1. I voted NO

    71.4%
  2. I voted for the rule change

    28.6%
  1. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    A few months ago the ILCA asked its members whether you and your chosen successors should be cut out of the Laser financial picture and permanently removed from any position where you might possibly be exerting any official influence over the future of the design with repect to racing . The class has voted to no longer officially care whether builders have a contract with the designer or his asignees.

    There is more. After all those years when you supported the game and made certain builders contributed generously to the Class organization, the class officers campaigned vogorously for and successfully convinced the members it was pointless to return support to you. The results say 90% of those who voted think the Class has no reason to stand up and make certain you continue to receive royalties for creating the boat we all love to sail. There will be no future support from the ILCA.

    Oh yes...If that doen't make you feel bad enough??

    Please realize, the class will continue to demand that all builders own rights to use the laser Logo and name. That stuff is WAY more important to our officers and 1017 voters than the actual boat you designed..

    After all, without your design brilliance we could still have all the Laser races we please. Although the boats might have looked more like this.

    [​IMG]

    On behalf of all of us who appreciate Bruce Kirby's efforts and continued support for the last four decades , I would love to pass on my true feelings to the 1017 of you who voted for no further influence from our designer and most long term supporter of the great game of Laser sailing...

    but life is short and time wasted communicating with you could be spent enjoying the company of decent people.
     
  2. Tillerman

    Tillerman Member

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    A sad day for the class when we say we believe that it's OK for builders to make profits off a boat design without having a contract with the designer or paying him any royalties.
     
  3. torrid

    torrid Just sailing

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    The vote more a reflection on the builders than personally on Kirby.
     
  4. Wavedancer

    Wavedancer Upside down? Staff Member

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    I had expected a much closer vote. Goes to show that most 'regular' Laserites don't pay attention to the Laser Forum or to Sailing Anarchy where most of the serious (and not so serious) discussion has taken place.


    But the Fat Lady hasn't finished her song, I predict.
     
  5. LooserLu

    LooserLu LooserLu

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    If one estimates in the moment there are about 10.000 ILCA members to be permitted to vote on such votings, the voting turnout is really low: in total only 1139 (11,4%)! This gives some spacce to discuss scientifily about the reliability requirements of statistics. But, however, I say, as long as the ISAF didn't verified the change of the F.R., nothing changed. If the ISAF verified the Rule change, we have a new situation. Personally for me, a recreational Laserite that sometimes races at official ranking races, it is irellevant what the ICLA or ISAF changes. In future also I continue to sail that dinghy, actually called "Laser©/(TM)". There a many enough of those produced to sail for the rest of my lifetime :D

    Ciao
    LooserLu
    ...just one of the over 202.000

    (directly to:
    - Mr. Wesley W. Whitmyer, Jr. of St. Onge Steward Johnson & Reens, LLC: I 'm not afraid of YOU (and your here secretly viewing staff)... never!! Greetings of Europe, hahaha!!
    - "Gouvernail": thanks you accompany us. I encourage you to do this in future, especially for this issue.)
     
  6. redstar

    redstar New Member

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    Huh? How is this vote negating any legal requirement for builders to pay royalties to Kirby? Neither the old rule nor the proposed new rule mentions royalties or references any contract between the parties. And I'd be amazed if the contracts were dependent on the class rules.

    Remember Kirby sold his rights, to a company who has since failed to resolve a bitter and protracted dispute with the largest Laser builder in the world. The end result of the dispute is that there will soon be no new boats or equipment available to 70% of the world market. Do you not see the significance of this to the class? No. New. Boats. Frankly, emotive arguments about loyalty to the man who designed the boat over forty years ago are irrelevant. So are speculative arguments about the builder dispute. Yes, the rights have now reverted to Kirby, but the situation still remains. He is obviously still closely aligned with the GS side.

    The class has voted overwhelmingly to protect itself. In the six plus months that this has been going on, I'm yet to hear anyone suggest a viable alternative approach that the ILCA should have taken to deal with this. Plenty of criticism, some justified (communication) but no better ideas.
     
  7. Tillerman

    Tillerman Member

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    Actually the old rule did require that a builder must have an "agreement" with Bruce Kirby or Bruce Kirby Inc. The whole point of this vote was to delete that requirement. I think it's reasonable to assume that any such contract between a builder and BK or BKI would require that the builder pay some fees or royalties to BK or BKI in return for the right to build boats to the Laser design.

    And personally I would not be at all "amazed" if this class rule were the only thing requiring that builders continue to hold such agreements with BK and BKI. Why do you think Bruce Kirby and Global Sailing were so opposed to the rule change if it had no impact on BKI's ability to collect fees for using the Laser design and/or control who is allowed to build Lasers?

    But it's all water under the bridge now. The class has made its choice and we will all have to live with the consequences.
     
  8. redstar

    redstar New Member

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    You're right, I didn't word that first para very well. And sorry for the overall tone, I was overreacting to Gouv's attempt to crucify me and 1016 others, both here and on much more violently on SA, for not sharing his moral outrage. What I meant to say was the while the old rule mandates that a builder must have a contract with BKI, the removal of that clause does not cancel any existing contract or any legal rights (if any exist) that BKI may have to royalty payments. If Kirby/BKI still owns the 'design rights' (whatever that means) as he says he does (ref: direct quotes in the original Sail-world article), then he is still entitled to royalties based on those design rights, whatever the class rules say.

    GS were opposed to the rule change because they have been working for a long time towards taking over LPE's market. They have capacity through PSA to to build a lot more boats than they currently do and understandably want to use this capacity to generate large piles of cash. That's why they purchased the rights in the first place. Whether or not this would be a good thing would depend on your view of the current builder in your neck of the woods but I'm sure many in Europe would welcome it. Problem is there would be huge trauma for the class in getting from here to there, and the class might not survive.

    A yes vote was not an anti-Kirby vote in any way. It was a vote to protect the class and the sailors.I don't think it's all water under the bridge though - there are a lot more plays before this game is over.
     
  9. torrid

    torrid Just sailing

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  10. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

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    I'd love to see the evidence you have that GS / PSA have been working towards taking over the LPE market.
     
  11. Eric_R

    Eric_R D10 Secretary

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  12. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    The newsletter says they have plenty of capacity to build boats and would like to be in certain markets, but it does not say, "We would love to shove others out of the Laser sailboat building business."

    Could it be read to say, "If those deadbeats continue to hold your game hostage ...HERE WE ARE!!!"??? Yes. Certainly.
    and good for them.
     
  13. Tillerman

    Tillerman Member

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    One piece of evidence that Global Sailing have been working towards distributing the Laser (or a boat very like a Laser that might be called something else) in Europe is the ad they place on the Scuttlebutt Europe newsletter in August of 2010. See fourth item in Scuttlebutt Europe #2158.

    The ad reads...
    The ad is very careful not to use the word "Laser" (for trademark reasons I assume) but it's clear what they are talking about.
     
  14. redstar

    redstar New Member

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    What Eric and Tillerman said. And the containers of (slightly used) boats the PSA have been known to ship to Europe for sale.

    Not saying it's all GS's fault. Just saying it's at least shared. GS definitely aren't angels in all of this.
     
  15. Tillerman

    Tillerman Member

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    As far as I can see, nothing in this rule change will stop Global Sailing from making boats to the specifications of the Laser class rules and the Laser construction manual and then distributing them in Europe (or anywhere else in the world) if they want to. I guess they couldn't call them Lasers if they don't have rights to use the Laser trademark in those regions, but if it walks like a Laser and quacks like a Laser....

    So we might see two manufacturers selling boats that are exactly like real Lasers in some regions of the world. The boats would be essentially identical so they would have to compete on price, quality or offering different options (rigging, toestraps, tillers etc.) that still fit within the Laser class rules. Would that be so terrible? I don't think so.

    The only thing stopping us from racing all these boats under the rules of our association would be the class rule that requires the builder to have trademark rights (assuming that is interpreted to mean "have trademark rights to the Laser trademark in the regions in which they are selling their boats.") But we can fix that by changing the Fundamental Rule to take out the trademark requirement.

    Let's do it!
     
  16. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    Which then broadens the already abysmal 3rd party "knock-off" market. So not only sails, boards, masts, etc. but then hulls as well. Wonder if they will be sold as <whatever> and marked as "training hulls". As I suspected (and so many people have said), ILCA has quite probably not only failed to address the problems (given that the ILCA rules are probably irrelevant when it comes to existing contracts between "right holder" and builder), but likely made the situation worse. If I was Kirby I would be feeling pretty hacked-off with ILCA and who knows what right he has over the hull and building process. Maybe his contracts could mean he can stop the non-Aus builders immediately (injunctions take only a few days to get sorted).

    Ian
     
  17. Tillerman

    Tillerman Member

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    I think it's unfair to equate Global Sailing/ Performance Sailcraft Australia with the "already abysmal 3rd party "knock-off" market." PSA is a reputable builder of perfectly good legal Lasers. If they decide to start selling some of those boats in other regions (albeit called something other than Lasers) then we as a class have to choose whether to ignore them or approve them. If we approve those boats as legal boats to be sailed in our game then we have simultaneously increased the supply of boats, created an alternative viable source of supply, and enhanced competition. Sounds like a win-win to me.
     
  18. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

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    What was written in Scuttlebut and also the PSA website were all written whilst this dispute between GS and LP occurred, so it can hardly be claimed they have been working on this for a "long time".

    As for container loads slightly 2nd hand boats, in the most part these boats were purchased in Australia, sailed in Australia by the person who'll take possession of them overseas. PSA is just organising the shipping aspect for the international who come out to Australia to train/race during our summer and want to take their boat home with them. PSA will also organise to get your boat to all the major Australian & NZ regattas, organise a coach boat etc. PSA, like the LP etc have experience in shipping new boats to their respective markets, so this isn't much different to what they currently do. International sailors have been bringing their boats home from other regions for decades except the individuals have had to organise their own shipping. It's only become an issue because currently the Australian boats are supposidely "better", but it was never an issue when the European or American boats were "better"
     
  19. redstar

    redstar New Member

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    This is exactly where the class should be heading. The rule change removing the Kirby approval of builders is now hopefully gone, next step is to remove the trademark clause. Of course this is a much more difficult change. We would need to come up with a new class name and logo, which shouldn't be difficult but of course would lead to endless arguments. Then the class, the sailors, would be free to nominate builders and suppliers according to our requirements and could introduce true competition to the marketplace. Independence and autonomy, doesn't that sound wonderful?

    Of course this is how the Opti class works, and people still complain about the cost there. Other problem is that the builders might not like it, and they do have a couple of votes on the World Council. They would also fight hard to protect their trademark value in the market.

    It could also easily be done while still respecting any 'design rights' that may apply...
     
  20. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

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    Redstar, the strength of the class has been because it's one design with almost all the equipment coming out of a handful of suppliers. It appears you want to open up the class to who ever wants to build something, like hundreds of other classes who not surprisingly, aren't as popular as the laser class. Rather than changing our class to meet your requirements, I think maybe you should be changing classes to meet your requirements.
     

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