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Re: (Fwd) Well, Maybe One More!

Hi, Tim,

You've asked some very good questions.  I'll try answer them as best I can.

At 05:56 PM 05-04-99 -0400, Tim wrote:
>AMSAT and the AMSAT logo are registered trademarks of the Radio Amateur
>Corporation. Which makes me wonder, is AMSAT a non-profit organization? 

Yes, the name "AMSAT" and the familiar logo are registered trademarks of
the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation.  These trademarks represent our
organization and its good name.   Registering our trademarks gives AMSAT
the right to control how our name and logo are used in certain areas.

How is this important?  Here's an example.  Some years ago, there was a
company called American Satellite Corporation.  They wanted to do business
as "AMSAT."  Because we had registered our trademarks and controlled their
use, we were able to go to Federal court and obtain a judgement against
American Satellite Corporation to keep them from using our name.  And, yes,
there have been other cases.

At the same time, AMSAT is a public charity under Section 501(c)(3) of the
Internal Revenue Code.

Our not-for-profit status isn't related to our ability to control and
maintain the use of our good name.  Both ideas are compatible.

>is a publishing company, they are not non-profit, and yet at the beginning of
>each bulletin you hear "From ARRL Headquarters" this is not an
advertisment for
>the ARRL?

ARRL is also a not-for-profit corporation.  And, the money they make from
publishing must go back into paying for programs for which ARRL was
created.  It's the same for any non-profit, including AMSAT.

You'll note that ARRL is sending messages to members using a recognized
signal: QST.  That makes their bulletin transmissions directed and not
broadcasting.  Mentioning the name of the club, ARRL, is good PR, I'll
grant you.  But, I think you'll find them careful never to mention any of
their publications.  They provide only an information service on air.

> Why is it so different for the Swatch Company? 

Amateur radio is a very unique hobby.  The amateur service is established
by international treaty and has been given a set of extraordinarily
valuable frequency allocations.  (Just look at the money bid for licenses
lately and the fortune paid to attorneys in allocation proceedings to get
an idea of the value in purely monetary terms.)

But, what makes us so unusual and special is that the amateur service and
amateur-satellite service may be used only by INDIVIDUALS, that is,
ordinary and private peope who are interested in radio and radio technique
and who have demonstrated their qualifications.  There is no room in
amateur radio for organizations of any kind.  No corporations.  No
universities.  No businesses.  Just individual people who are reasonably
free to communicate and experiment.

Yes, we get together in clubs and have club stations.  AMSAT holds a club
station licence for W3ZM, for example.  But, behind every club station is
an individual trustee who is ultimately responsible for that station's

The very nature of our amateur service comes from the fact that it is
reserved for individuals.  We communicate and explore radio purely for the
love of it and no other reason.  We aren't paid and cannot be compensated
for the use of our stations.

This isn't to say that individual amateurs can't get together to work on
projects.  We can and do.  P3D is only one example.  And, this doesn't
preclude corporate and university support of amateur projects.

What is important here is that, to maintain our service and frequency
allocations for use by private individuals, we must take care to make
certain that we never allow our stations to be used by non-amateurs.  

If we allow our amateur stations to become carriers for corporations or
universities or any other kinds of organizations, then we change,
fundamentally, the nature of the amateur service.  These organizations
could easily make a case at a WRC that amateurs no longer needed their
frequency allocations.  In the long run, we would probably loose both our
frequency allocations and our service.

Can we use corporate and university support for amateur projects?  Yes!
Can we allow use of our stations in exchange for their support?  Absolutely
not.  And, that's where SWATCH may be crossing the line, albeit,
unknowingly.  We're not all privy to the contracts and other arrangements.

>From what I've seen, IARU, AMSAT-R, AMSAT-F, and other amateur radio
organizations seem to be making a good faith effort to get all the facts
straightened out and get the right people educated about amateur radio.  If
all goes well, SWATCH will come out as a friend and only good things will
come from this exercise.

Still, we must alway be careful to guard all uses of our stations and our
frequency allocations or we run a serious risk of loosing them to the
monied interests.

Hope this helps.  Of course, these ramblings are my own and should not be
construed as representing AMSAT or anyone else.

73, art.....

PS  You'll find more information on this topic in a paper at this URL:


73, art.....
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