Disgruntled former officer Robert E. Friedrichs of Las Vegas, Nevada is attempting to block funding of the Nevada Aerospace Hall of Fame. He is threatening legal action if NVAHOF sells the book, “The Legends of the Battle Born State” to generate income for the 501 (c)(3) corporation. Mr. Friedrichs' threats are so grievous that NVAHOF feels it must respond. (Past posting about release of the book: Release of Aviation Legends of the Battle Born State
Note that Mr. Friedrichs never published his so-called copyright material publically shared on the NVAHOF website. The only thing he can hold a copyright to is the attached threatening letter.
Friedrichs is acting in bad faith.
Mr Friedrichs' is making his threats following his receipt of an autographed courtesy copy of the NVAHOF book sent him by Executive Director TD Barnes. The book's credits credited Friedrichs for his contributions to the NVAHOF. Instead of supporting the effort of funding future NVAHOF enshrinement events, Friedrichs served NVAHOF Director Barnes with the certified letter below.
For the record, other than the foreword authored by TD Barnes, the book consists entirely of photos and bios of past enshrinees posted on the NVAHOF website with all copyrights reserved by NVAHOF. All proceeds from the book are intended to go to NVAHOF for fundraising in conjunction with an NVAHOF membership drive planned for December 2 at the Clark County Aviation Association open house at the North Las Vegas Airport.
This is not the first time for Mr. Friedrichs to take issue with NVAHOF being a success. He seems to have forgotten that he became disgruntled and resigned from NVAHOF in 2011 the first time, missing the 2012 enshrinement ceremony entirely. He rejoined NVAHOF as the director in April 2013 and left again in March 2016. Unfortunately, this was not soon enough.
Friedrichs' first act as director was to immediately discard the entire staff of volunteers who had served NVAHOF from day one. He, as he called it, rebooted the corporation, changing the website to remove past activities, started a new online store when the organization already had a functioning store, replacing the corporation's bylaws, business plans, etc. Friedrichs opened new social media accounts when the organization already had accounts, creating duplicates almost impossible to resolve to this day. He reduced the organization to near being an empty shell, creating a Herculean task of rebuilding for the original staff of volunteers who have resumed their duties held before.
Now, Mr. Friedrichs is threatening legal action if NVAHOF does not recycle all copies of the book and refrain from selling the book for fundraising. Mr. Friedrichs is claiming he wrote the material and holds the original copyright, and that he as the author, has the right to distribute, reproduce, license, display, and prepare secondary works based upon his original work. Mr. Friedrich, being the astute businessman and leader that he is not, seems to overlook a few details.
!. He had resigned and gone AWOL during the period the staff created many of the NVAHOF citations in the book.
2. He overlooks that the contents of the book came from the NVAHOF website, which clearly holds the copyright.
3. The NVAHOF bylaws created by him in September 2013, when the corporation already had bylaws, clearly states under para 12.01: ”Property Rights - No member will have any right, title, or interest in or to any property of this organization.”
Friedrichs makes an issue in his demand letter of Barnes being the author of the book. At least Barnes authored something. Friedrichs failed to even write news releases to the members while he was the director. Robert Friedrichs needs to know that corporations can't be "authors" for copyright. NVAHOF could be the owner of the copyright, but could not be the author. Thus the reason for identifying Director Barnes as the author. Barnes never claimed to be the owner. Quite the contrary. For the record, Barnes did assign to NVAHOF all copyrights to the book.
The Court of Appeals has drawn a distinction between authorship and ownership. It held that these were not synonymous in that authorship refers to the act of creation whereas ownership refers to the possession of proprietary rights. An author is not necessarily the owner, and the owner is not necessarily the author. The Court of Appeal said, definitively, that for the Copyright Act, authors had to be living persons. To hold otherwise would run counter to other sections of the Copyright Act, notably the duration of works. The Court held that companies could not claim a perpetual monopoly of copyright ownership based on an assertion of authorship.
This is not the first attempt by Robert Friedrichs to harm the Nevada Aerospace Hall of Fame or its staff of volunteers. The list is too long to itemize and responses should be left to all the other volunteer staff and members hurt by the actions of Robert Friedrichs who is now seeking to prevent the public knowing the legacy of those enshrined in NVAHOF.
Mr. Friedrichs gave Barnes, the director 15 days from receipt of the certified letter to respond to him. Barnes is sending him the link to this message as his response and the response of the Nevada Aerospace Hall of Fame. It took 15 minutes, not 15 days to respond. Get off your knee, Robert and do your whining somewhere else. NVAHOF will survive and continue to honor the deeds and sacrifices made by the aerospace and aviation veterans of this state in spite of you. So you know, at the December 2d open house, the book, “Aviation Legends of the Battle Born State” will be donated to anyone becoming a member of NVAHOF or donating $20.00 or more towards the 2018 enshrinement costs. If you want to make that a legal issue against Barnes, NVAHOF, and Nevada's veterans, bring it on.
TD BARNES, Executive Director