LITTLE ENGINES

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Miserlou57
Posts: 142
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2010 9:06 pm

Re: LITTLE ENGINES

Post by Miserlou57 » Tue Nov 21, 2017 1:38 am

What does this imply for those who built and sold alternative compatible parts for locomotives when they didn't "own" the design? I can think of a handful of companies who sold such items: Locoparts (Allen lead truck), Solar (modified Allen Ten-Wheelers), and Rogers-Cooke (various Laser/Watercut frames, some CNC stuff?)

BClemens
Posts: 389
Joined: Sat Oct 08, 2016 10:04 pm

Re: LITTLE ENGINES

Post by BClemens » Tue Nov 21, 2017 4:57 am

Miserlou57 wrote:What does this imply for those who built and sold alternative compatible parts for locomotives when they didn't "own" the design? I can think of a handful of companies who sold such items: Locoparts (Allen lead truck), Solar (modified Allen Ten-Wheelers), and Rogers-Cooke (various Laser/Watercut frames, some CNC stuff?)
Looks like these would be considered modifications, each having their own set of 'aftermarket' drawings and these are toward a project locomotive under construction. You can't have a set of frames water jet cut without sending the 'wj company' either a copy of the print of the built up frame (bad) or a DXF of the frame outline of a CAD users interpretation of the frame (IFFY). Either way the 'proper' thing to do would be to explain, then ask permission of the drawing owner. If the owner already has wj frames available and you still wish to have frames wj cut, then the right thing to do is either ask permission to use the drawing or the ability to come up with your own DXF file for the wj outfit.

A drawing owner who hopes/intends to sell castings for the machine would probably see no harm in helping get the frame into existance. But providing or selling to another party a copy of original drawings - or drawings derived from original drawings should be punishable as a copyright infringement. The 'Baldwin 2-6-0' is quite obviously a direct copy of the Allen 'Fitchburg Northern' and the blatent theft of someone else's copyright - and talent. Then this clown comes here asking us to help him with his crime? :shock: Quite an enterprize....

BC

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Bruce_Mowbray
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Location: Pennsylvania

Re: LITTLE ENGINES

Post by Bruce_Mowbray » Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:28 am

I have a few questions to put on the table.

A designer makes a full and complete set of drawing of a particular locomotive but only offers the drawings, and/or, simple set of castings for the designed locomotive, i.e., wheels and cylinders. Can someone produce and offer the mating parts that would complete the locomotive for sale, and, make a profit doing so without infringing on the rights of the person who designed the locomotive and produced the drawings and minimal castings?

And what if the design of a locomotive kit on the market could be improved upon by altering the design, shape, function of some parts or making additional parts? Does the maker of these modified parts need to get permission, verbal or written, to alter and offer these parts for sale?

Could a person with a machine shop use another hobbyist's plans to build an engine for himself while building the same locomotive for his/her friend (for a profit) without a legal permission slip?

Retirement is on the horizon for me and a full machine shop is at my disposal. It would be nice to do something to benefit the hobby and I want to do everything on the up and up.
Bruce Mowbray
Springville & Southern RR
TMB Manufacturing & Locomotive Works

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Marty_Knox
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Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2003 6:50 pm
Location: Michigan, USA

Re: LITTLE ENGINES

Post by Marty_Knox » Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:57 am

I don't know about Solar, but both Don Orr(LocoParts) and Bob Holder (Rogers-Cooke) talked to Gene Allen before they offered the parts for the Allen locomotives. Gene was one of the easiest going people I ever knew - he didn't see the need for a formal 'permission slip'. I had his permission to sell boilers for the Allen locomotives, and Gene sold some for me.
We are a small, tight-knit community - I think a little common courtesy goes a long way. If you're thinking of offering something for an existing design, talk to the person who has that design.

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Greg_Lewis
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Location: Fresno, CA

Re: LITTLE ENGINES

Post by Greg_Lewis » Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:11 am

Marty_Knox wrote: We are a small, tight-knit community - I think a little common courtesy goes a long way. If you're thinking of offering something for an existing design, talk to the person who has that design.
The issue of copyright and ownership of designs comes up here from time to time. What Marty has written above is what it really comes down to. In my career in photography, during which I wrote four books on the subject and taught sessions on copyright at a university, I became quite familiar with the law, so I think I can add to this discussion with some experience. The details of copyright are too much to post here, but an excellent source is the US copyright office itself, which has an excellent website on the subject: https://www.copyright.gov

But what is more important is not the nuances of the law but the ethics of using something that belongs to someone else. Rather than trying to find some loophole to wiggle through, it's not that hard to contact the person who created the design and get permission. Ethically, anything beyond the personal use of the product should fall into that category. Our hobby, in particular, is a very sharing one and one of the best ways to build friendships and good will is to be up front and maintain a high ethical standard.
Greg Lewis, Prop.
Eyeball Engineering — Home of non-interchangeable parts.
Our motto: "That looks about right."
Celebrating 30 years of turning perfectly good metal into bits of useless scrap.

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DianneB
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Location: Manitoba, Canada

Re: LITTLE ENGINES

Post by DianneB » Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:16 am

I purchased my LE American 6 years ago third-hand. It was built in the early 1960s and did NOT come with drawings.

I contacted Little Engines (before Mike took it over) in the hopes of getting a set of drawings for maintenance purposes but they wouldn't sell them to me unless I bought the casting set. I thought that was PRETTY POOR!!! I already have the engine built from LE castings and don't want a second one but wanted a set of drawings. You would think they would "support existing products" but NO!

(Thankfully a member of this forum sent me a scanned electronic set. They are barely readable but better than nothing.)

BClemens
Posts: 389
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Re: LITTLE ENGINES

Post by BClemens » Tue Nov 21, 2017 12:26 pm

Write a book, write a song, make a set of plans/drawings for design of a mousetrap or steam locomotive and find that someone has copied them for sale (or even a gift) for someone else's use....would you think it OK that they did not have respect enough for you to ask permission to do so?

Just asking....
BC

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ChuckHackett-844
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Location: Tampa, Florida

Re: LITTLE ENGINES

Post by ChuckHackett-844 » Tue Nov 21, 2017 12:46 pm

DianneB wrote:I purchased my LE American 6 years ago third-hand. It was built in the early 1960s and did NOT come with drawings.

I contacted Little Engines (before Mike took it over) in the hopes of getting a set of drawings for maintenance purposes but they wouldn't sell them to me unless I bought the casting set. ....
Strange, I was able to buy a set of plans from LE for my Old Northern before Mike took over.

As a (very small) supplier I am conscious of the fact that "knock offs" are a potential problem in this hobby but I hope I provide more than the "thing" in terms of documentation, support, etc that is of value. I will freely discuss WHAT my signal controls do but I hesitate to describe HOW the firmware does it which is one of the things that differentiates my signal controls from others.

Chuck
Regards,

Chuck Hackett, UP Northern 844, Mich-Cal Shay #2
Owner MiniRail Solutions (http://www.MiniRailSolutions.com)
"By the work, One knows the workman"

Miserlou57
Posts: 142
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2010 9:06 pm

Re: LITTLE ENGINES

Post by Miserlou57 » Tue Nov 21, 2017 1:03 pm

Marty_Knox wrote: I had his permission to sell boilers for the Allen locomotives, and Gene sold some for me.
Did all the boilermakers have this? To my knowledge Gene Allen never really sold the boilers himself. Ed Perry sold a lot of them and he was frequently backlogged. I can understand if it’s something he directly offered (i.e. drawings) but if he didn’t it seems a lot less like infringement.

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Highiron
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Location: Lancaster, PA

Re: LITTLE ENGINES

Post by Highiron » Tue Nov 21, 2017 3:26 pm

Hello all

Quite interesting what everybody has to say here and it's quite interesting that everybody seems to be interested in protection for the Hobby and the vendor. My concern with this has been growing for quite some time and this was the straw that has broken the camel's back. As we speak all and I mean all of the Little Engines blueprints designs accessories Etc are being copyrighted.

My patience have been tested and have been provoked I have had conversations with Rich years ago about this and let him know on no uncertain terms that this would not fly with me. So I have been backed into a corner and I now have to protect myself. Design changes will not be allowed as there are certain things within the drawings that make it unique to being a little engines design. As far as being able to build a second locomotive from a set of plans I have been very liberal with that for years but will now once again issue the license that I use your made build one locomotive from my set of blueprints. Maybe everybody thinks I'm being harsh but I have a tremendous amount of money tied up in the restoration of the drawings the patterns of parts and the reputation of this company not to have them undermined by somebody who decides they want to sit and draw in CAD and sell my copy drawings for our designs. Enough is enough I sell drawings to any and all from complete sets to single pages but they will now all be copyrighted and I will use the full extent of the law to go after anyone who infringes upon my good nature and the drawings and designs of Little Engines even from a modification standpoint.

Those individuals wishing to do a group build I will be happy to work with and give a multi set discount for everyone involved in the build to obtain a set of drawings this will make the project legal and keep everybody happy

Only outside vendors who are under contract with me will be permitted to produce parts for the Little Engines designs and locomotives and said parts will be sold and marketed through Little Engines. With the copyright in place anyone selling or offering electronic drawings or to scan and give somebody a set of drawings or produced parts for are locomotives and Designs will be in violation of the copyright law and infringement. I'm sorry that it has to come to this but it has become necessary for me to protect myself and the well-being and future of Little Engines.

The only area this does not apply to our boylers as we provide an outline drawing for the boilers and the Builder is welcome to either build the boiler himself or go to a boilermaker to have it done

What does not apply here is the Builder absolutely will have the right to purchase the castings from me and then go to an outside source to have it machined for them

Anyone who has any questions about this may feel free to contact me

Mike Venezia

Little Engines of NJ LLC

BClemens
Posts: 389
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Re: LITTLE ENGINES

Post by BClemens » Tue Nov 21, 2017 4:43 pm

Mike,

It's good of you to be, but don't be sorry for protecting your property. I'm afraid of some other 'more serious' self protections that are being taken away....little by little and once gone, will not come back.

No one and I mean NO ONE can fault you for doing what you must do!

BC

steamboat_idris
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Re: LITTLE ENGINES

Post by steamboat_idris » Tue Nov 21, 2017 5:51 pm

Mike,

I appreciate where you are coming from and feel for you. I would however advise that you look into the law(s) more thoroughly. Copyright does not protect you from others manufacturing parts either from your prints (no matter how they were obtained) or by reverse engineering. Copyright only protects you from someone copying and distributing the blueprints. I believe a design patent is what you need to have in order to go after someone copying your parts. As I'm not a lawyer and have only a passing interest in design protection I would advise contacting an expert so you can be sure you are properly protecting yourself.

KV

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