Stuff it Kirby!!

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

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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. Tillerman

    Tillerman Member

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    I thought about that. Actually the real problem is the Advisory Council that only has 4 members - 2 real class officers and 2 builder reps. Currently there is one builder rep from GS/PSA and one from LP. The recent change to the fundamental rule only got through the Advisory Council (3 votes to 1) because the LP rep voted for it. (What a surprise!)

    Now if the class wanted to approve Global Sailing as a supplier of "boats that walk like Lasers and quack like Lasers but are not called Lasers" to, say, European customers and to remove the trademark requirement so that these boats would be legal to play in our game, then my guess is that the GS rep on the Advisory Council would vote for it. And it would pass 3-1.
     
  2. redstar

    redstar New Member

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    That's the one I was thinking of - I was sure there was a four person panel with a 50% representation from the builders, but my memory failed me when it came to the name.

    You're spot on, would just have to make the deal worth the while of at least one builder. Preferably both, no point in upsetting one or both of the builders unless its absolutely necessary. Apart from the sweet revenge, obviously!
     
  3. Tillerman

    Tillerman Member

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    Letter from Bruce Kirby published in Scuttlebutt 3460, November 1, 2011

     
  4. Eric_R

    Eric_R D10 Secretary

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    Makes you wonder if Kirby decided to try to require the rights just because of the vote and did it just at the last minute the vote was going to happen. What prompted him to buy the rights back?
     
  5. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

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    Probably because he wants to see the class prosper into the future, it's his baby so to speak. He thought he was doing the right thing selling to GS if his family weren't interested in taking it on and now he sees the moves of LP and the ILCA being as being counter-productive and tried to get things back to where they were.
     
  6. redstar

    redstar New Member

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    Well that just confuses the whole issue even further. So Kirby says he does own design rights, that these are based on contracts between the designer and builders, and that valid contracts exist with all builders including LPE (which I assume is the same as the Performance Sailcraft Europe he mentions). Weren't we told that GS terminated BKI's contract with LPE? Now Kirby is saying a valid contract exists?

    He then says that BKI has rights to appoint builders, i.e. enter into contracts with new builders. But if his rights are based on existing contracts, then where do these rights to appoint new builders come from?

    When did the official name of the Laser become the 'Kirby Sailboat'? What does this make 'Laser'? Just a nickname? How does this relate to trademark rights?

    And finally, is the change went throught, exactly how would it be devastating for the class and the sailors?

    When are we going to receive an accurate, detailed, unbiased explanation of the whole situation?
     
  7. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    Because the agreements are based on contracts not copyright/patent. The ILCA and more importantly their legal advisors admitted that they do not know what those contracts are. So, suppose they were a contract saying that LPE would pay the "rights holder" a fee for every hull built and suppose that LPE unilaterally stopped paying, breaking the contract, then "right holder" could take out an injunction stopping all production by LPE whilst they took the case to court - so no hulls being built outside australia and region ! GS were being very tolerant whilst trying to sort things out but ILCA's action seems to have predictably "pissed-off" the current "rights holder" so they may be a lot less tolerant; and may act straight away!


    Even though the ILCA is an Association by the members, for the members, the current ILCA leadership seem totally unmotivated to provide any additional information. Even when such information was repeatedly sought before the vote - details to allow people to make an informed decision, nothing was forthcoming. So, given the way the ILCA seems to operate, I would not expect any explanation; ever. For me that is not how an organisation should work. Even public companies (with shareholders) have more accountability that the current ILCA leadership seems to consider appropriate. In every other association I have ever been a member of, the leadership is more accountable and would ahve been thrown out long ago for behaving like the ILCA seems to be doing. But maybe things are different in the US (although even News International are begining to discover the meaning of words like "accountability", ...). For example, the ILCA web site states "Discussions on the different web forums during the 6 months voting period showed that there were some misunderstandings on certain element of the proposed rule change. These were attempted to be clarified by the ILCA President with a statement of 19 September 2011". So they recognised there were questions and failed to provide any info until just a few days before voting finished (i.e. when many will have decided and far too late for most people to notice the statement and they refused to allow people to change their vote). If they recognised people needed more info they should have published that info in a more timely matter or extended the voting deadline allowing people to change their vote. The last minute info suggests stuff that one cannot suggest on a public forum.

    This incident has convinced me that it is not the organisation for me to be a member of any more so I will not be renewing.

    Ian
     
  8. Old Dude

    Old Dude Member

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    I too wish there could have been more information coming from ICLA. While I get they likely did not want to speculate and are not privy to what is in these builder contracts (and therefore could not share what they do not know), it does seem like there had to have been more they could do to give membership more information.

    That said I think a vote of yes in this case is pretty easy and I am surprised at the outrage above. Even BK's note in Scuttlebutt if anything convinces me further that a yes vote is the correct one.

    There has been a lot of snow thrown about but as best I can tell BK has sold the trademark (at least in select regions) to LPE. There are no patents and so the basis of the buolders contracts (and here we are all left to speculate) must be the class rule that essentially said you need BK's OK. What is not clear, at least to me is what that class rule was based on? Other than wanting to be nice to the designer of the boat - loyalty?? - what is the basis for that. Nobody, not BK or ICLA has eversaid so far as I can tell. It can't be IP because there is none. It can't be trademark because BK sold it (in select regions). So why the payday? Absent a good reason, I say ditch the rule.

    I would actually like to see the class try to acquire the trademark so we could have multiple builders competeing for the business of building Lasers and if BK and/or LPE or other current holders will not sell at a fair price, then lets call our boats (all of which would still have to meet the class spec) something other than Laser or Kirby Sailboats as BK makes claim to in the Scuttlebutt letter.

    Paint me with the Tillerman brush. Lets modify rules to create a situation where we can get more buolders competeing for the business which should lower prices and bring in more sailors. If the Intensity sail experience proves anything its that these producs can be made for far less money while still meeting the class spec but when they don't need the Laser badge on them. Seems like a mightly expensive badge and this vote seems like a step towards changing that for the better.

    So, no, its not "stuff it Kirby." Maybe its "get your hand out of my pocket."
     
  9. torrid

    torrid Just sailing

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    I don't think 100% transparency is practical, especially in an organization like the ILCA that has to deal with many parties in multiple countries. The leadership needs some ability to negotiate among the various parties in confidence. The problem is we have 0% transparency. This is where the class management has failed. They dropped a bomb on us with an incomplete explanation and very poor follow-up communication. A good leader knows just how much information to release and when.
     
  10. Tillerman

    Tillerman Member

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    When this whole debacle started, ILCA claimed that Global Sailing were threatening to form a new class association for a "Kirby Sailboat." Now Bruce Kirby has announced that the official name for the Laser is "Kirby Sailboat." What makes me think that there is another shoe to drop here?

    By the way, I just checked and the domain names kirbysailboat.org and kirbysailboat.com are still available if anybody should happen to need them.
     
  11. Tillerman

    Tillerman Member

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    Sail-World.com has just published another article on this topic. As well as rehashing a lot of stuff that has already been covered on this thread and other similar threads on this forum it says..

     
  12. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    Maybe so ..But Wednesday evening we will be loading lasers on the five boat trailer so we can go to the Wurstfest regatta. I suggest we all quit posting here for a while and go sailing.
     
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  13. jeffers

    jeffers Active Member

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    That has got to be one of the best posts on this subject in a long time....except I live in the UK so will have to settle for some club racing instead...
     
  14. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    If I could I would remove all my previous comments. ( except the boat loading one...the five boat trailer has four tied on it and is headed to the regatta this weekend)
    I have been given information by multiple sources who should each know EXACTLY what has transpired and why and EXACTLY what all of it means to the game and to the builders builders, legally, morally, historically, and etc.
    Suffice it to say, I have been told at least four entirely conflicting stories by individuals who have the above described "should be aware" knowledge and as I am not in a position to confidantly point fingers at any of the four and say "you are misleading us by telling less than the entire truth" I no longer feel obligated to support or oppose any of the "sides" in this mess.
    As I see it the factors include, pride, greed, entitlement, loyalty, ownership, misimpresions, leverage, and in our case ignorance and confusion.

    That which I thougth was going on, that which I currently believe is going on, and that which is actually going on are almost certainly three different scenarios.
     
  15. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    Truer words never spoken about any event.
     
  16. torrid

    torrid Just sailing

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    We are all mushroom sailors...
     
  17. Tillerman

    Tillerman Member

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    That's the most frustrating thing about this whole mess. We never did get enough information to make a good decision on how to vote on the rule change, so those of us who did vote just had to make a guess based on partial knowledge. Some people regretted their vote before voting closed, but it was too late - they couldn't change their votes. Some of you seem to be regretting your vote now based on various random opinions and facts that are trickling out.

    Of all the people involved in this, LPE and Global Sailing, as far as I know, never told us anything about their dispute. Why should they? We are only their customers and prospective customers. The people pushing the rule change, Heini and Jeff, fed us a few morsels but by no means enough, and some of what they did tell us seems to have been wrong. Tracy Usher did his best to explain the situation in a number of posts here but even he seemed to be partly in the dark. And Bruce Kirby has gone public a couple of times, but he obviously has an axe to grind and, while I'm predisposed to support his efforts to protect his design rights, I have no real idea whether he is at least partly responsible for causing this mess in the first place.

    We were told we had to vote immediately. (Really we didn't.) We were told that patents had expired. (There never were any patents.) The wording of the rule change was altered part way through the voting. The ILCA website only ever carried arguments for one side of the issue. What a way to run an election!

    I still have some hope that sharing and discussing what little we do know on forums like this does help a bit in making sense of the situation. But, for now, this mushroom is going sailing.
     
  18. Old Dude

    Old Dude Member

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    Well, I would only say that I for one had enough information. That time came when BK's lawyers apparently threatened a poster with legal action for simply stating what seemed like the guy's (who seemingly had no dog in the fight) opinion on the other thread. Then a class official (speaking only as a private individual and not as a class official) commented words to the effect of it seemed like a pretty accurate summary. Add on top of that, that the summary seemed to jive with what little information was out there about this specifically even from Kirby as well as what is in the public forum with re design patents, trademarks, and copyright, and in my opinion Kirby went from nice old white hair gentleman who designed a cool boat many decades ago to perhaps a guy with his hand in my pocket driving up the cost of our game without any real basis to do so. Personally, I wish Kirby had released more facts (and less apparent snow job) about what rights he actually was claiming and what the basis for them is (IP, trademark or copyright and if other than that that, be clear what the other is) instead of apparently threatening to sue a guy for expressing a what seemed like a well-founded opinion that Kirby - what - did not like?? I could only speculate and actually had new-found respect for class leadership for doing what they could to extract sailors from the middle of a mess that the sailors did not create. What a no win situation for leadership.

    If there is any one thing I learned from all this its never ever get involved in any official capacity as a class official. We as sailors have the option of just going and sailing our boats with our friends. Leadership appears to have been in the wonderful position of the guy with a dime pocket-knife stuck in the middle of a gun fight between some well armed dudes that leadership wanted nothing to do with and apparently asked to put away the guns (without success). I mean, come on, unless I am mis-recalling there was lots of noise that the builder fight was going to get ugly and seemed headed towards splitting the class (was it GS that sent out feelers looking for EU distributers of a Kirby class sailboat... same or similar language Kirby now uses with re Laser). So if leadership does nothing there is a risk and if they do... Then class members throw leadership under the bus for not providing enough information all while the post referencing Kirby's lawyers aggressive action against a poster sure suggests leadership would have dragged into personal litigation if they went too far in releasing information.

    What a mess, and glad to just go sailing, but to me a yes vote was very easy and no I would not want to change it.
     
  19. Wavedancer

    Wavedancer Upside down? Staff Member

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    :) Well, if you do a 360, all is forgiven....:)

    Seriously, we should all go out, sail our Kirby sailboats and forget about the mess.

    I decided a while ago not to post anymore on the subject, because my simple mind just couldn't comprehend what was going on. It appears, I am not the only one with that problem.
     
  20. 203

    203 Very Senior Member

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    And thus, the new class name was coined......
     

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