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RCS Panels - Statement
Many untrue and libellous accusations have been made against me directly,
and the RCS Panels team by implication, on the web over recent weeks. To attempt
to put the record straight I am issuing this statement.
It is not intended to be a full repudiation of the so-called
We are not posting any photographic
evidence and/or detailed ‘point by point’ responses to MAAM's accusations on
the internet. This does not mean that we cannot defend ourselves. We have plenty
of photographic/textual ‘proof’. We have been asked to submit a detailed
‘defence’ directly to a number of independent parties to be examined.
This we have now done.
However, the crux of the accusations against me is that MAAM believe they
have some sort of agreement with me that any reference material gathered by me
at MAAM would not/could not be used in the production of RCS Panels Packages. I
can assure you that no such agreement was made. I
did receive a number of emails from MAAM demanding such an agreement; however, I
ignored them. I am in no way at
fault if they assumed that no argument constituted agreement, which is not the
case. I own the copyright of my own
photographs whether taken at MAAM or elsewhere and as such they can be used for
reference. What I did agree to (and have abided by) was that our new B25-J would
not replicate MAAM’s ‘Briefing Time’.
It does not!
Another accusation is that we have pirated Bill Rambow’s graphics.
Again, we have not. After Rambow left the RCS Panels team, all his graphics were
removed from the RCS database. Our new graphics expert, Steve Wayne did not use
Rambow’s graphics and chose the laborious, time-consuming but ultimately
rewarding method of hand-painting graphics, based on images provided by the team
from various reference sources. Details of his techniques and reference sources
have been supplied to the independent examiners.
Before the hounds begin to howl, it is entirely possible that the same
reference material was used by both MAAM and RCS for certain elements of the
product, but I can assure you we did not use any of Rambow’s bitmaps; we are
quite capable of making our own.
Perhaps we could pursue the issue of metadata stamping on the MAAM
graphics at some point in the future - what have they pirated from us I wonder?!
Certainly many of the things in MAAM’s current B-25 package are my ideas from
the initial Beta work!
Long before they could possibly have seen any of our new images, it was
widely leaked that Rambow / MAAM would make all efforts to get the RCS Panels
package, and myself in particular, disgraced or banned for copyright
infringement. Russ Strine, President
of MAAM, expressed concern that our success would impact on their sales. His
concern is understandable but can in no way justify his attempt to ‘sink’
the opposition by submitting an open letter full of false accusations to AVSIM,
and oddly, not to me!
Yet another accusation is that we have set out to deprive MAAM of income.
On the contrary, the whole RCS Panels team had the interests of MAAM at heart,
even after the break away by Rambow. I believe the following information will
1. Version 4 of the R4D (where I started from scratch) was the first
package that was intended to be released on CD. The team were all keen to raise
some money for MAAM. They thought up the idea and called it ‘Donationware’.
2. It is well documented, that I was disgusted that only one in three
hundred users who downloaded the programme from the net, ever bothered to
register and send any money to support the Museum. To overcome this problem, a
friend of mine and I, wrote the "Time Locking" software that forced
users to pay and register to use any future versions. I had to insist this
software was used for the release of Version 4.75 for FS2002 because at the time
Rambow was totally against its use. Jan Visser was so against it that he would
have nothing more to do with the team and quit, initially withdrawing his own
aircraft model. I stood alone on the principle of Time Locking but forced the
issue and we pressed ahead to the release. Two weeks after the release, when
Pete at MAAM announced that what I had done was fantastic and had massively
increased contributions to MAAM, Rambow, curiously, changed his mind and
publicly took ownership of the Time Locking concept.
3. As a direct result of the "Time Locking" software, donations to MAAM suddenly went from a few thousand dollars over a long period of time, to more than $95,000 USD relatively quickly.
4. After the "Bust Up", RCS Panels offered the completed RCS B-25J package to MAAM, in their colours if they wished, to raise funds. They refused.
5. I had previously put a package of ideas forward to enable them to raise even more money from the FS community members and the public in general. These stemmed from my previous commercial background, and none were taken up.
6. With my agreement and no strings attached, MAAM are still selling our
original CD of the R4D version 7 to raise money.
I feel justified in claiming that most of the innovations in the R4D
project were mine. The night lighting system, Overlay systems, Dual Panel on the
fly system are examples. So it would
have been easy for me to have stopped these sales 9 months ago - but I didn’t,
and again I believe these actions demonstrate that I held no malice towards MAAM
and am strongly in favour of keeping vintage aeroplanes where they belong, in
the air. My ongoing support for the MAAM cause has raised them a considerable
sum of money. Other than a life-time
membership of MAAM which I am now unlikely to benefit from, they have an unusual
way of showing their appreciation.
7. You will be interested to note that RCS Panels still offers full
Technical Support to ALL users of the R4D product even though we are no longer
connected with MAAM. This is a
time consuming activity but I am committed to providing
a worthwhile package of support to the FS community.
I offer the above as clear proof that I/we have no wish or intent to
blight MAAM and the raising of funds for them. I consider that I/we have acted
with honesty and honour throughout this unfortunate period.
All of this information can, if necessary, be backed up with documentary
evidence should anyone see fit to mount a legal challenge.
The numerous communications between Rambow, MAAM and ourselves also serve
to back up everything I say, and MAAM are welcome to make them all public if
I have tried to describe the true situation unemotionally and I contend
that MAAM have no right or reason to continue to block access to the RCS B-25
In response to MAAM’s ‘background’ to this sorry story, I would ask
only; ‘Why did Rambow leave the
I can see this only from my personal, subjective perspective. Jan Visser
had responsibility for the external model and I acknowledge his excellence in
this area. However, I found him difficult to work with - and I suspect he had
similar difficulties with me! We can’t always like everybody, I’m sorry, but
that’s life. Once he had left the group over the "Time Locking"
issue, I did not want to have to work with him again.
I was concerned that the Gmax version of the R4D being sold at the WWII
Weekend in June 2002 was full of bugs and would lower our reputation. When
Visser (who, although no longer part of the group was still working on the Gmax
version) trashed our sound engineer's work and files, I’m afraid that was the
final straw and I withdrew my gauges and effectively cancelled the project.
Rambow strongly disagreed with my decision and genuinely hoped, I believe,
that if he got Visser to apologise, I would have a change of heart. He did not
understand that that just could not happen.
In part it then became an issue whether Rambow wanted to continue to work
with the RCS team or with Visser. You know the outcome.
In spite of all of the above, the RCS team were still prepared to give Mr
Strine and MAAM the benefit of the doubt, believing that they did not really
know what had been going on. A
major problem with my/our relationship with MAAM had been poor
communication. When we were
team mates I trusted Rambow, why would I not?
He was the ‘man on the ground’ and able to visit MAAM frequently.
Only after Rambow had left the team did I discover that Mr Strine's
understanding of the situation did not reflect reality.
In simple terms Rambow had been treating me as a friend, gaining my
trust, taking the major credit and kudos for the project but feeding MAAM with a
very one-sided assessment of the previous RCS involvement.
So I wrote to Mr Strine at length explaining the situation as I saw it in
detail. I made an offer of the finished B-25 painted as "Briefing
Time" and continuing sales of the current CD and I also made a commitment
to strive to raise significant funds for MAAM even during our work with the
For now, I am only concerned that those of you who know me are not left in
any doubt that my integrity remains intact and that the RCS B-25 is now offered
openly to those flight-simmers who would wish to download it for their personal
I have so often attacked others for not respecting my copyrights, and for
so long leapt to the defence of others whose work has been pirated, that you
surely cannot believe that I would have ‘changed my spots’.
I assure you I have not.