JLR's latest copyright laws are particularly harsh.
New Jaguars like the F-Type and F-Pace are some of the prettiest cars on the road, but the company's history is rich with alluring cars like the stunning E-Type. That's why Jaguar Land Rover Classic Works opened a new facility back in 2017 with the goal of restoring and selling some of the company's classic models. An example of this is Jaguar Classic's plan to build eight examples of the C-Type as part of a continuation program.
But outside of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) itself, many smaller businesses have thrived for decades by building replicas or restomods of their own classic Jaguar and Land Rover models. Sadly, it looks like JLR will be putting a stop to this and has threatened court action against individuals or businesses that don't comply.
One business in Suffolk, England, has had to close its doors because of JLR's latest demands. The company, Suffolk Sportcars, had built hundreds of Jaguar replicas over a period of almost 30 years. Even an artist that uses Land Rover models on gift cards was accused of copyright infringement.
"I had been making replicas since 1991 and the company was well aware of what I was doing," said 78-year-old Roger Williams, the owner of Suffolk Sportcars. He went out of business last year following JLR's threat to take him to court. It's a slap in the face for Williams, who was asked to supply three of his cars for the company's 75th anniversary in 1997.
Elsewhere, JLR won a case in January against a couple from Sweden who also created C-Type replicas. The couple was instructed to demolish the cars and are facing an exorbitant legal bill of £450,000.
For many Jaguar fans and hobbyists, the company's aggressive approach has been disheartening. "It is a shame that after many years of Jaguar somewhat ignoring its rich heritage, it seems to me that they have taken a rather heavy-handed approach to reassert their position in the classic car and heritage world instead of engaging in a constructive dialogue with the classic car movement," said Michael Quinn. He is the grandson of Jaguar founder Sir William Lyons.
JLR's copyright laws changed in 2017 and although the company says it appreciates the passion for its vehicles and brands, the laws also state: "We take very seriously the protection of our Intellectual Property (IP) and reserve the right to protect our IP and take action in respect of infringement."
While JLR may have these rights, it would be discouraging to see passionate businesses, especially small ones, suffer because of it. But with everyone from illustrators to established replica builders affected, it seems JLR's position on the matter is unwavering.