Wow! - Did I stir up a tempest in a teapot, or what?
However, I have scanned and blown up 3 views from many sources with never a
thought or worry about copyright infraction. Also, have seen many blown up
models of Kadets, etc.
I don't believe there is any infraction with a modeler building a single
copy with no commercial use or sale in mind.
If you didn't have permission from the originator of the plans, then yes
, a violation took place. However, having said that, there is the letter
of the law and the spirit or intent as well. In this case, I believe
that no copyright police will come raid your home in the middle of the
night. The intent of the copyright is to prevent the "theft" of
intellectual property. As the concern that published the plan is either
out of business or otherwise unreachable, how are you supposed to get
permission? Also, copyrights are not forever and must be renewed. I'm
not sure what the limitation is for model plans but if no renewal has
taken place before the deadline, the plans revert to the public domain
and are available for anyone to copy. At least that is how it was
explained in the copyright law class I took in college many years ago.
Its a very grey area.
At one end copying for sale is definitely illegal, to the extent that
the owner of the copyright can sue you for material damages. It is not
IIRC (may be wrong here) a criminal offence though, so its not a police
At the oher end, it is widely accepted that copyng or personal use is
OK, certainly with software.
You won't get in court for lifting a quotation out of a book either...or
lending it to someone to read...
I don't believe you are limited to making a single model from a set of
plans either, although there is some argument about that. Depends if the
sale o the plans implies licence to build as well.
The reality is that no one makes a living out of selling plans - most
people just about cover the cost of printing and mailing them to you,
and not much more.
The cost of bringing a prosecution completely outweighs the value of any
Most copyright runs for 50 years or so. Maybe less. Its changed
recently, and it was less if you did not re-apply for it.
You are right. A copyright is not forever, and the time varies with the type
of material copyrighted.
Also, USUALLY, one copy is allowed to be made for personal or instructional use
Copies may be made if the original is not available.
If time constraints prohibit obtaining an original, copies may be made.
However, this type of copy must be destroyed immediately after being used once.
i.e., a church choir decides to perform a piece of music which is copyrighted.
They decide this on Saturday before a Sunday performance. All music stores
are already closed and there is only one original work available. The choir
may make as many copies as needed for the performance, but the copies must be
destroyed immediately afterwards.
The "money changing hands" is not germain, copying of copyrighted work is
illegal whether or not gain was made from it.
Also, if a work is made public, either performed, written, vocalized, or
otherwise, without being copyrighted, it is then considered public domain.
Copyright is never "understood" or "automatic". It is an exactiing legal
process that requires filling out documents, paying fees, and submitting the
work to the US Copyright Office. The copyright symbol, or words to that
effect, MUST be on the document.
"There's a Hun in the sun!"
Actually this is not correct, see below.
Nope. That mey have been true once but not since the Berne Convention.
There is a list of copyright myths at
if anyone is interested,
that one is first on the list :-)
The government and I respectfully disagree with your interpretation
of the law:
"Copyright protection subsists from the time the work is created in
fixed form. The copyright in the work of authorship immediately
becomes the property of the author who created the work. Only the
author or those deriving their rights through the author can
rightfully claim copyright. ...
"The way in which copyright protection is secured is frequently
misunderstood. No publication or registration or other action in the
Copyright Office is required to secure copyright. (See following
Note.) There are, however, certain definite advantages to
registration. See "Copyright Registration."
Copyright is secured automatically when the work is created, and a
work is "created" when it is fixed in a copy or phonorecord for the
You are absolutely correct. However, without the proper forms, it's damned
hard to prove, as many authors, musicians, and playwrights have discovered in
"There's a Hun in the sun!"
If I have well understood this thread and the earlier one about
copyrights, all copies are illegal unless expressely permitted. And
what about a scratch built scaled model airplane? Do we need the
written pemission of the manufacturer to make a "copy" of his WWII
bomber or hunter? Because finaly an airplane is an airplane regardless
of the size! If so I think most of us are in illegality.
Yep. Expect a call from the RIAA. :)
I modeled a 3d plane from Midwest Super Hots plans. I used it in a few
personal movies and stills. I didn't give it a second thought. But
I suppose that is indeed copyright violation too.
I had a lot of access to these wide format scanners and printers when
I worked at an engineering/drafting company. We were basically human
copying machines. The army would send us tank blueprints from the 40's,
Our task was to scan the image, use it as a background in AutoCAD,
and trace over it. It was a preservation project. But it still required
DOD background checks.
I kid you not. This company was shipping the electronic scans to
India. Like I said, it was dull work as a copying machine and we
all know how cheap labor is in India.
The company folded. But they never got prosecuted on this problem.
But anyway, per your original post, the scanners are indeed awesome.
A pristine archive copy of the blueprints is no big deal IMHO.