Yosemite National Park, copyright issue has two sides Special

Posted Jan 20, 2016 by Gar Swaffar
Yosemite National Park copyrights — to who do they belong, and why do they belong to them? The answer may not be as simple as it seems at first glance,
El Capitan  Yosemite Valley
El Capitan, Yosemite Valley
PD Photos
Delaware North Company at Yosemite (DNCY) released a statement today. That statement details its side of the litigation which prompted the ongoing legal fracas they're having with the National Park Service (NPS) over the copyright issues for several of the iconic sites in Yosemite National Park in California. The original article at DJ can be found here with the link to a petition to stave off the need to change the names of the various lodges, hotels and ski areas at Yosemite.
The DNCY statement is, from one perspective, essentially an indictment of the NPS for dealing incompetently with the concessionaire running the park since 2003, and the NPS being disingenuous. DNCY claims seem to support the charge of a level of incompetency at the NPS hierarchy responsible for negotiating the contracts and establishing the parameters and specifications of the concessionaire contracts when read to the end.
Perhaps the most relevant portion of the statement by DNCY is their claim to have offered the NPS a free of charge license to use the names until the litigation works it's way through the court system. (second paragraph)
The sticking point being the price to pay for the copyrighted names, and the issue of whether or not the NPS required DNCY to purchase not just the assets of the previous concessionaire, but also the intellectual property and $40 million of liabilities of the previous concessionaire. As noted below, DNCY paid $115 million when prorated to today's dollar value.
In playing the Devil's Advocate for DNCY for a moment, if DNCY did indeed have two independent appraisals of the intellectual property involved, and those appraisals were offered as far in advance of the contract deadline as DNCY intimates, it is entirely possible for the NPS to have been engaged in bargaining in bad faith with DNCY.
If the NPS did flip flop on their position regarding the requirement for the new concessionaire to purchase the intellectual properties, first suggesting it was not required and then demanding later that it would be required and then sending a letter to DNCY stating NPS would not require the new concessionaire to purchase the intellectual property (all of the names of the various lodging and recreation venues in the park) it would seem a curious course for the NPS to deny the charge of incompetency. "I didn't, before I did, before I didn't."
The issue of whether or not DNCY applied for copyright status on the intellectual property or simply purchased the copyrights from the previous concessioner is now in play also, since DNCY has made that claim. That would seem an unusual claim to make if it wasn't backed up by some sort of legally binding agreement between the NPS and DNCY.
All in all, as always, there are always at least two sides to every argument and therein does reside the need to maintain at least a small cadre of attorneys on the planet, for the time being.
If the problem of the NPS deciding to rename nearly all of the iconic structures and areas in Yosemite national Park is of passing interest to the reader, the full statement below is not very long, and fills in the gaps. It would appear on the surface that perhaps there is a lack of candor on the part of the NPS's part, and obviously a vested interest on the part of DNCY to recoup their investment after losing the concessioner contract they held for 20 years.
PR Newswire
carried the statement in full.
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif., Jan. 14, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite Inc. (DNCY) is shocked and disappointed that the National Park Service would announce unnecessary changes to the beloved names of places in Yosemite National Park, trying to use them as a bargaining chip in a legal dispute involving basic contract rights......
........DNCY hopes NPS and the new concessionaire will not change the names of historic places or venues at Yosemite National Park. We purchased these trademarks when we commenced our work in 1993, as required by our contract with NPS, and our only interest is selling them on to the new concessionaire for fair value, a requirement NPS is obligated to enforce.
That is why we have offered to license these trademarks, free of any charge, to NPS to avoid any name changes or impact on the park visitor experience while the disagreement between DNCY and NPS heads toward resolution in the courts.
In summary, all we want in this is fair and just treatment from the National Park Service and for it to follow the letter of our contract. We fulfilled our obligations in 1993, .... and we have demonstrated our genuine desire to resolve this matter for the last 18 months.
The link above goes to the full content of the statement.
Somewhere between the positions of both sides there must be a fundamental set of facts which will bring resolution to the underlying problem. The real problem being the insistence of the NPS to rename so many historical and iconic venues in Yosemite National Park.Weighing in at the petition level may seem ineffective, it does however bring the problem to the forefront, regardless of which side is right.
Apparently the international community is of the same mind as most Americans, Petition signers are registering from Australia, the U.K., Nigeria (#6460) and nearly every continent now.
One issue to note is that travel to the area is completely unaffected by any of the uproar going on. Although the eastern entry route (Hwy 120) is closed for snow , the western routes into the park are open. The western routes are open except for snow removal. The alternate routes in are Highway 120 (western end) Highway 140 and Highway 41.
Snow is expected over the weekend of Jan 22nd through Jan 23rd.