The “E” Word: Car Builder Loses Mustang to Copyright

Imagine this: you come up with a badass Mustang build idea. You painstakingly plan out the details, begin acquiring parts, figure out a course of action, get the cameras rolling, and begin the process of seeing your build through to completion.

Now imagine, somewhere in the mix, your build is seized by someone who didn’t know you existed a month earlier, and all your hard work goes out the window

Unfortunately, this is what one YouTuber and car enthusiast is going through as we write. “B is for Build” has accumulated more than 1.3 million subscribers by building unique creations from an LS-swapped Huracan to a supercharged Raptor build.

The Mustang in question was slated to become a Mustang “Eleanor” clone based on the 1967 Shelby in the movie Gone in 60 Seconds. It was to be built on an S550 base — a 2015 Mustang specifically — and was fitted with the body of a 1967 Mustang fastback. Chris Steinbacher of B is for Build was chronicling the 2015 Mustang build on the YouTube channel, unaware that the “E word” in question was the name of a character legally owned by Denice Halicki, who licensed the rights to Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. Several videos had already been made before the issues began.

You can find the link to the Change.org petition below. Unfortunately, all photos and videos of the Mustang in question have been removed from the internet, but you can see it in this screenshot.

You see, Halicki is the widow of H.B. Halicki, the creator of the 1974 version of Gone in 60 Seconds. A legal battle ensued, because the law in the United States states that trademarks must be enforced and defended by the owner in order to stay current. Halicki, who owns Eleanor Licensing LLC, has not been quiet about her mission to keep the name’s use exclusive. You might remember that this is the same Halicki who took legal action against Mr. Carroll Shelby in the 2000s because Shelby attempted to sell updated Eleanor replicas, although they did not closely resemble the Mustang of the movie.

It appears that the team at “B is for Build” received a cease and desist letter from Eleanor Licensing LLC, forcing them to remove all of the videos on YouTube that featured the build. The letter followed with the car being turned over to Halicki in order to settle the lawsuit.

If you disagree with the seizure of Chris’ Mustang, feel free to sign the petition by clicking here. It can’t hurt! In the end, here’s to hoping a decision can be made that benefits all parties involved, but we’re sure Chris and team will continue to build cool stuff regardless.

About the author

Stephanie Davies-Bardekoff

Stephanie Davies-Bardekoff got her start in automotive media while attending Rutgers. She worked for Roush Performance for a while, before eventually landing here at Power Automedia. Her Coyote-swapped 1992 Fox-body drag car is her prized possession.
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