Re: reverse engineering or copying?

Tony Thompson

Dave Nelson wrote:

There is no legal protection whatsoever for the shape of a model made with high fidelity to a real world object.  Period.  Skill, effort, time, investment… it doesn’t matter, it is not protected.  Add artwork and the artwork – and only the artwork – might be protected by copyright… but only if it is creative.  Whether there is or is not a moral issue is, IMO, a somewhat different conversation and one I’ll skip for now.

      But most railroad models are NOT exact scale replicas. Decisions on how big the rivets should be (and how many), wheel clearances, coupler boxes, and many, many details (I bet Dennis Storzek can provide a REALLY long list) have to be made for both production and appearance reasons. These kinds of decisions ARE creative and do NOT represent high fidelity to a full-size object. Of course, Dave, anyone can go ahead and see if they can prevail in court on such an issue.
       Ethically, I doubt there can be much debate. Or I hope not.

Tony Thompson             Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, tony@...
Publishers of books on railroad history

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