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JLR Scandal – An Update, by Philip Porter

STOP PRESS (23/03/23): We are exceptionally pleased to say that the Magnussons have won their appeal against the lower Swedish court's decision in favour of JLR with regard to their C-type replica which JLR were insisting they must destroy. Not only have the Magnussons won the case but they have been awarded considerable costs. It is, though, not all good news. It seems that this court accepts JLR have copyright in the C-type design (which they incorrectly credited in its entirety to Malcolm Sayer) and so in theory no-one can now build C-type replicas commercially. The Magnussons won because private use of a copyrighted item is permitted. It seems that the Magnussons have bravely won their battle but the larger community may have lost the war. 

by Philip Porter

Perhaps the most important development since our last update regarding all the copyright issues, that JLR appears to think more important than their good name, is that bailiffs have been instructed to collect 508,000 Euros (£440,000) from the Magnussons who have had to pay over this enormous sum which is JLR’s costs in the court case they won in Sweden regarding the building of a C-type replica.

Karl Magnussons reports, ‘The payment has been possible due to the fantastic global support. It is also important to understand that further support is very important due to the appeal process cost.’ The Magnussons appeal is now formally approved and will be in court at the earliest next spring. ‘And again, thanks to global support and even JLR statements, more important facts have strengthened the case for us.’

It is interesting how many specialist lawyers have approached me – including people I have never met or heard of – to give advice. Lawyer friends have also asked other lawyers, who are specialists in copyright law, to assist free of charge. Why are they bothered? What motivates them? Because they, like so many of us, are utterly outraged by the behaviour of the JLR Legal Team.

We are now many months into this saga and still not one person in the world has uttered a syllable of support in favour of JLR’s actions. NOT ONE. 

It is worth noting that one specialist has suggested that all suppliers of parts and services to JLR Classic, without whom they could not build their own replicas, should cease supplying them. The argument goes that if the JLR Legal Team put all replica manufacturers out of business, the suppliers will have no more orders from such companies and may themselves go out of business, or be put out of business by legal threats. It is suggested that JLR Classic, without all these suppliers of parts and services, could not survive.

An article about this unfortunate saga appeared in the May 16 copy of The Sunday Times. It certainly did the cause no harm and showed JLR in a poor light but was not as damning as we might have hoped.

Jaguar Land Rover

You may recall that I reported a month ago that the JLR Legal Team will not allow me to sell photographs of 9600 HP, my own car, without first obtaining a licence and paying a royalty. I think this is scandalous and very newsworthy – no-one can sell a photograph of their own Jaguar or Land-Rover without permission and payment. 

No-one within the Legal Team or PR department has replied to my reaction – sent on March 30, in reply to their ruling of the same date. The attached letter, setting out the terms with which I had to comply, was marked PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL. Our lawyer friends advise me I can ignore this. I responded:

Thank you for your reply.

This is most interesting: JLR will charge me to sell photographs of my own car. 

I see this letter is marked PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL. Can you kindly justify this stipulation? And please do not make me wait another three-and-half weeks for your answer.

Why the need for secrecy? What do JLR have to fear from openness and honesty? I am very keen to share this with the media. 

Jaguar and Land-Rover enthusiasts worldwide need to be aware they cannot sell photographs of their own car. How can you object to me informing such people of your decision upon this?

Does this principle extend to photographers selling photographs of Jaguars and Land-Rovers to publications?

Kindly reply by return.

This was sent to Holly Lewsey (JLR Legal Team), Dan Pink (Director JLR Classic), Chris Thorp (I am informed the PR department reports to him) and Ken McConomy (long-term PR Manager with whom I have always got on very well). No-one has had the courtesy or professionalism to reply. This reminds me of a memo sent by Sir William Lyons, no less, to all senior people in Jaguar in July 1968.

Sir William Lyons memo

This whole subject that includes the JLR treatment of the replica industry, of artists and others is so complex I have decided it is worthy of an eBook. This will include the Magnusson court transcript in which, for example, Amanda Beaton, who heads up the Legal Team, states that Jaguar did not sell competition cars, only road cars. ‘Because we, as in Jaguar Cars, at that time sold vehicles to individuals for use on the road, not as race competition vehicles.’

Meanwhile, here are some additional comments and fascinating photographs, provided by Jaguar enthusiast and XK 140, Mk VIII owner Mats Rexon, of sports cars that predated the C-type and had headlights behind translucent covers.

‘It can also be noted,’ states Mats, ‘that the original Saab prototype of 1946 featured faired-in headlamps almost identical to the C-type. From very early on, Saab gave its cars an aerodynamic shape perhaps something an aerodynamicist such as Malcolm Sayer was aware of? The C-type was probably also inspired by similar front and lamps as in the 1948 Fiat by Roselli and the 1938 Fiat 500A barchetta by Colli. When it comes to the C-type side and faired-in headlamps, there was an almost identical forerunner in the 1950 Talbot Lago T26 Grand Sport Barchetta by Motto. Any statements about the C-type being unique and a trendsetter are simply not true.’

1946 Saab

Above: original Saab prototype of 1946

1948 Fiat by Roselli

Above: 1948 Fiat by Roselli 1100 Sport

1950 Talbot Lago T26 Grand Sport Barchetta by Motto

Above: 1950 Talbot Lago T26 Grand Sport Barchetta by Motto

1938 Fiat 500A Barchetta by Colli

Above: 1938 Fiat 500A Barchetta

Jaguar Cars letter

Above: This letter, written by our old friend the late-Bob Berry, makes interesting reading. How fascinating to learn manufacturers had to produce a catalogue to prove the competition models were on sale.  


Other articles by Philip Porter

Click here for all C-type Replica articles

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Chris Wallace - June 12, 2024

It seems Jaguar thuggery is visible in Australia too. Put my classic in for a check on possible slipped timing chain. They told me there was nothing wrong. I went on to wreck the engine and they walked away. It wasn’t like this in the old days.

Karen Unthank - March 14, 2023

JLR are now going after Moto-Lita, for supplying small decals free of charge. These have been readily available on the internet for years, so they are also clamping down on these!

Paul Scott - January 30, 2023

The lawyers and beancounters virtually destroyed the british car industry in the 60’s and 70’s now it appears they are trying to finish the job

John Dennehy - June 10, 2022

I’m curious as to how this may be viewed by AML, currently turning out, with considerable financial success, replica and ‘contunuation’ DB4GTs, DB4 Zagatos and ‘Bond’ DB5s. There are quite a few DB4 Zagato copies out there, albeit built on DB4 chassis and I wonder how Zagato in Milan views the copying of their design by a number of specialist UK coach builders?

Colin MacDonald - June 7, 2021

Is there any move to boycott current JLR vehicles, maybe a coordinated picket of dealerships might have some impact?

Jan Sandell - June 7, 2021

The only Jaguar racing car that’s been offered as a consumer or commercial car was the XKSS in 1957 which is a road version of the D-type.
This is a well known fact that can be found in dozens of Jaguar biographs, some written by Philip Porter.
When it comes to Malcolm Sayer, who all of a sudden was an artist against his will and who made a “world unique and trendsetting” body, isn’t it remarkable that he is not included in the newly updated gallery of twenty one important “Jaguar People” on the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust webpage?
It is obvious and a real shame that the Jaguar brand heritage and history is clearly not to be found at Tata Jaguar Land Rover.
Jan Sandell

Terence O'Connor - June 7, 2021

Outrageous behaviour by JLR. I have owned Jaguars all my Life and am disgusted by their behaviour towards true enthusiasts who wish to promote the brand with magnificent replicas.

Robert grant - June 7, 2021

I am dismayed by the attitude of JLR towards the Magnussons and their willingness to offend JLR enthusiasts all over the world. By perusing this bullish approach, JLR might win a few euros but they will lose far more than they can imagine.

Gareth Knapman - June 7, 2021

One of the key points appears to be the ‘expert’ witness statement by Jaguar‘s legal team focusing on aerodynamic shape and the faired in headlamps. As the photos illustrate above, other car manufactures were already using that design. But added to that, Malcolm Sayer would have been influenced in the headlamp design of the C type by his work on the De Haviland mosquito? Ie landing lights are also faired-in. Consequently using JLR’s logic to what extent did Sayer take (steal) concepts from his previous employer and therefore the design rights belong with British Aerospace?

Arno wahl - June 7, 2021

Thank you for giving us those details of Jaguar history. Please keep your good work up.

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