LITTLE ENGINES

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Steve Alley
Posts: 199
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2012 12:30 am

Re: LITTLE ENGINES

Post by Steve Alley » Tue Nov 21, 2017 6:25 pm

I have been holding back not to get to much into the mix of things here. But Mike is so correct. I back him 100%. As you know I bought Allen Models and have been told over the phone many times to send the files to the customer over the internet. Never going to happen. Now that being said. I have sent some one page files to people I believe I can trust.
This started by ask for the prices on Little Engines drawings on there web site. But witch Little Engine's, Mike sold off some of it and Jesse Banning has them. I contacted Jesse and gave him the FYY to see if it was pretending to him. Don't Know this answer.

So this question is for Plain Head Design. What was your need to know or ask about the drawings or plans? I believe this is a fair question to ask!!

I to have look into the fact to go legal with making Allen Models Plans copy written and patterned. But to all out there now and in the future. I wish to sell my drawing or plans in the attend for those customer to us the drawing once for one engine unless ask and given permission from me Steven Alley.
As for others that have already have Allen drawings, This also applies .
Now the question of some ask if they were to build engines for sale in future, Just come ask me. I am like Marty and Gene. Easy going. OK maybe not as much but I can be approach and will listen. I may ask time to think about it and get back to you. But just like Marty said ask first.
One important thing to understand, I do this for a living not a hobby. So if some one is out there, in there spare time making and producing same products, I believe this is morally incorrect. I will ask for this person to stop.
Just one more thing. I have had a customer that order $600.00 worth of product from me and I box it up right away. Then waited for his check. This man after many attempts though calls was giving me reason not to pay. I keep asking every two weeks. This went for 3 months. Then found he had a machine shop make these parts and was in no need for what he place a order for. I seen the add for this shop making and advertising to make Allen Models parts. There site is still up. When confronted and told he was going to have a hard time finishing this engine, do to I was not going to supply parts any longer to him. Now if he was to come to me in the first place and told me. I most likely would not like it, but most likely sold him castings. So there you go just ask.
Steve Alley
Allen Models of Nevada,LLC

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Marty_Knox
Posts: 1332
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2003 6:50 pm
Location: Michigan, USA

Re: LITTLE ENGINES

Post by Marty_Knox » Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:00 pm

Miserlou57 wrote:
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.
Gene DID sell boilers - made by Ed Perry. Ed had a fab shop in Goleta. At some point Ed decided to lay off his employees, close down the fab shop, and just build boilers. He started building other boilers and selling them direct, with Gene's blessing.
I don't know what other boilermakers do, but I have talked with most of the casting suppliers in the hobby, and they all are glad to have me build their boilers.

Steve Alley
Posts: 199
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2012 12:30 am

Re: LITTLE ENGINES

Post by Steve Alley » Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:11 pm

Marty You don't have to ask me. Hell I am just proud I know you. When I bought Allen Models Marty did say and ask that he would continue to make Allen Boilers. You for those out there, Marty Has OKie Dokey to make Allen Models boilers, there beside he makes very nice and strong one.
Steve

Berkman
Posts: 92
Joined: Wed Aug 16, 2017 7:55 pm

Re: LITTLE ENGINES

Post by Berkman » Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:44 pm

Why not work out some sort of licensing agreement ? Having CAD drawings for available from Allen or LE would be a great addition to their catalogs.

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Greg_Lewis
Posts: 1571
Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2003 2:44 pm
Location: Fresno, CA

Re: LITTLE ENGINES

Post by Greg_Lewis » Tue Nov 21, 2017 9:57 pm

Berkman wrote:Why not work out some sort of licensing agreement ? Having CAD drawings for available from Allen or LE would be a great addition to their catalogs.
As with anything in a digital format, once you put it out there it is impossible to control it. While there are some bad actors, there are many more who are innocently ignorant of intellectual property rights. All you need is for someone who just doesn't know any better to forward a file on to someone else. Before you know it, the file will be everywhere.
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.

Miserlou57
Posts: 137
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2010 9:06 pm

Re: LITTLE ENGINES

Post by Miserlou57 » Tue Nov 21, 2017 10:30 pm

Copying and distributing the drawings are clearly an infringement, and I'm not sure you guys place enough inherent value on the manufacturing information contained in your own official drawings (i.e. tolerances, fits). A CAD model doesn't contain anything of the sort. Someone might think they could buy the CAD model and get by, but eventually they'll probably realize that isn't enough. Does anyone know anyone who's actually built an engine solely from these CAD models alone?

Greg and Steamboat are also right on the money; that copyright will not extend to physical parts, even if you want it to.

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John_S
Posts: 699
Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2011 8:21 pm
Location: Cumming, GA

Re: LITTLE ENGINES

Post by John_S » Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:18 pm

Oddly enough (sarcasm), the original poster hasn't replied once in all this. Seems like a good time for a perm-a-ban from the forums.

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Greg_Lewis
Posts: 1571
Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2003 2:44 pm
Location: Fresno, CA

Re: LITTLE ENGINES

Post by Greg_Lewis » Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:31 pm

Miserlou57 wrote:...

that copyright will not extend to physical parts, even if you want it to.
I'd check with a lawyer about that. Here is Section 1308 of the copyright law:

Exclusive rights
The owner of a design protected under this chapter has the exclusive right to—
(1) make, have made, or import, for sale or for use in trade, any useful article embodying that design; and
(2) sell or distribute for sale or for use in trade any useful article embodying that design.
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.

James Powell
Posts: 318
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2011 10:42 pm

Re: LITTLE ENGINES

Post by James Powell » Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:57 pm

I think there are lots of seperate issues underlying this- and it is going to cause some friction. If the drawing was created by someone who died prior to 50 years ago this year, it is NO LONGER in copyright, and may be freely reproduced by any means. (for example, LBSC- all his designs are no longer copyright protected...including just posting photos of the Model Engineer page layout of the drawings...). There would exist a nominal copyright on reproducing a photo of a magazine (it's a "new" copyright), but you'd have to show how someone lost money on it- which would be very hard to prove, because the original content is't protected. So, picking here, a part drawn by Martin Lewis for Little Engines HAS NO COPYRIGHT, because said drawing creator has been dead more than 50 years. If Mike makes a revision to the drawing, then the revised drawing may have copyright, but the original drawing and the ideas expressed in it are no longer protected.

I would hazard a guess that a CAD version of a drawing will have its own copyright, but that changes such as converting from fractional to decimal would NOT grant a new set of copyright. I would also suspect that re-drawing a drawing would not protect the information contained in such a drawing from entering the public domain- it would protect the version of the drawing from direct reproduction, but not from being used as an example to copy. (someone would run afoul if they sold photocopies of a CAD drawing, but not if they used the information on a redrawn CAD version of a handdraulic drawing to create their own drawings...which would also only have typesetting protection not full protections) Because the drawings have likely been sold into the EU, one other thing is that the page layout (which is a seperate copyright) only has 25 years from date of first publication- so if someone made a CAD drawing prior to 1992, of a part that was created by Martin Lewis, that .DXF has now entered the public domain.

I would also assume that a design which is in the public domain, that any restrictions on the use of the original design ideas as per on the original drawings would have expired.

I don't like the approach that XXX Design have undertaken, but a more productive approach might be to market your own CAD files, so that you are supplying both accurate drawings and castings for the designs. By failing to supply toolable CAD drawings, I think that you are incentivising the reproduction of out of copyright material by individuals who want current style drawings, or drawings to run CAM with. I haven't made much over the last 20 years, but the changes in home CAM which have happened mean that there is a lot of things where CAD/CAM is the way which I would approach something rather than manual machining. (that is, assuming I did anything other than build lego, toy trains, look after kids & wear out models my dad makes...). If you refuse to move with that, you risk getting left behind. As far ago as 1991, when I got "my" 10V, it was quite apparent what _bad_ drawings were, because mine came with the old style Stuart Turner drawings- which, frankly, sucked. They didn't add up, they didn't have tolerances, they offered little help where they should have. If you are in the market to sell drawings, I would have fairly high expectations of what I would receive- and reproductions of 1960's/70's blueprints wouldn't be what I was expecting at $300-500 for a set.

I understand, the cost of electronic reproduction of electronic drawings is 0. And that the companies view them as "valuable IP". The companies need to market more than just the IP of the design though, in order to be sucessful. Perhaps giving away a GA drawing, and the frame drawings, and then selling the casting & drawing for said casting combined? I think any business model which ascribes huge value to the drawings which are steadily drawing to the end of any creative license is doomed to fail.

I understand why individuals who have purchased companies would be concerned about the IP which they have purchased. However, a fairly simple conversation with an IP lawyer would have proven what you are, and are not, allowed to claim. I'm small potatoes, but small sellers reputations are what you are selling on. While suppliers certainly do have some right to decide who they will (and won't) do business with, so too do customers. Trying to tell me that I could not, for example, use the LE 1/2" drawings from 1938 to make 4479 copies of, isn't going to earn you any good opinions. How many sets of drawings have been used to make more than one engine? I'd be a bit shocked if you can come up with more than 10 people who have built 2x of the same engine to completion...let alone where they haven't approached the company, and run off multi copies of an engine from a single set of drawings...

I'd note, that Allen Models copyright on drawings done by Gene will expire in 2066...so it might be more prudent just to fork over the $6/sheet and order them from Allen Models. I'd also ascribe any business model that is "rip off someone & sell the results" as even less likely to attract my business !

James Powell
Posts: 318
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2011 10:42 pm

Re: LITTLE ENGINES

Post by James Powell » Wed Nov 22, 2017 12:07 am

Greg_Lewis wrote:
Miserlou57 wrote:...

that copyright will not extend to physical parts, even if you want it to.
I'd check with a lawyer about that. Here is Section 1308 of the copyright law:

Exclusive rights
The owner of a design protected under this chapter has the exclusive right to—
(1) make, have made, or import, for sale or for use in trade, any useful article embodying that design; and
(2) sell or distribute for sale or for use in trade any useful article embodying that design.
But one is allowed to reverse engineer a compatible part (see Printer Ink cartridges...) and for the most part, the _original_ design rights would probably have been with individuals who are more than 50 years dead (and hence out of copyright). So, I think that it would be a very tough sell to go after someone for copyright infringement for a physical item that is based on infringing on someone else's design...I mean, at the end of the day, I don't think there is enough $$$ to make it worth it. Mind, in the tin mice side, we have https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacobsen_v._Katzer as a shining example of stupid...

Again, this gets really ugly really fast, because basically, you have all western laws to decide which one any individual wants to persue under- France, UK, USA, Australia, Japan, Germany- all are good candidates and probably have (at least in the case of Little Engines) some sort of value to offer to the conversation. You also have the wonders of the dating of the original IP, because any which predates for example, 1956 in the UK, falls under different rules...and different rules for corporate vs private, and if someone was actually creating for a corporation that they were employed by...

Miserlou57
Posts: 137
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2010 9:06 pm

Re: LITTLE ENGINES

Post by Miserlou57 » Wed Nov 22, 2017 1:21 am

Greg_Lewis wrote:
Miserlou57 wrote:...

that copyright will not extend to physical parts, even if you want it to.
I'd check with a lawyer about that. Here is Section 1308 of the copyright law:

Exclusive rights
The owner of a design protected under this chapter has the exclusive right to—
(1) make, have made, or import, for sale or for use in trade, any useful article embodying that design; and
(2) sell or distribute for sale or for use in trade any useful article embodying that design.
Greg that's true to some degree. I think the confusing key word is "embody." I'm going to quote directly from the Copyright.gov because it explains it better than I can:
"A “useful article” is an object having an intrinsic utilitarian function that is not merely to portray the appearance of the article or to convey information. Examples are clothing, furniture, machinery, dinnerware, and lighting fixtures. An article that is normally part of a useful article may itself be a useful article, for example, an ornamental wheel cover on a vehicle.

Copyright does not protect the mechanical or utilitarian aspects of such works of craftsmanship. It may, however, protect any pictorial, graphic, or sculptural authorship that can be identified separately from the utilitarian aspects of an object. Thus, a useful article may have both copyrightable and uncopyrightable features. For example, a carving on the back of a chair or a floral relief design on silver flatware could be protected by copyright, but the design of the chair or flatware itself could not.

...

Copyright in a work that portrays a useful article extends only to the artistic expression of the author of the pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work. It does not extend to the design of the article that is portrayed. For example, a drawing or photograph of an automobile or a dress design may be copyrighted, but that does not give the artist or photographer the exclusive right to make automobiles or dresses of the same design."
Here is the link so that you may read the full context.
https://www.copyright.gov/register/va-useful.html

DMetzger
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:27 am

Re: LITTLE ENGINES

Post by DMetzger » Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:53 am

I totally agree with the need to protect your design work and prevent copyright infringement. What about using a non disclosure agreement (NDA) for anyone that wants drawings? Or also castings. It can be a page or two of what can or cannot be done with the drawings and information. You can specify that shop copies can or cannot be made, and if the drawing can be shared with a third party vendor, like boilermakers, machinists, or fabricators. It can become a legal contract that is easier to enforce than just a copyright. My industry uses these all of the time, and any drawings that are sent are stamped with a reference to the NDA. You could easily add a serial number to the NDA and the matching set of drawings. You could even go as far as requiring the locomotive have a stamped number or builders plate with the serial number.

I also have a question for the locomotive suppliers. Do you support a second hand buyer of a locomotive of your design? Or a partially completed locomotive, or a previously purchased set of castings? DianneB mentioned that she was not allowed to buy a set of drawings for a locomotive that she purchased. I could be in a similar situation with both Little Engines and Allen Models.

For Mike Venezia: I purchased a partially completed Little Engines Pacific about 20 years ago. I got it from a friend's estate, and I think he had it in the same condition for many years, he may have had it for 10 to 30 years. I think he also had purchased it from someone's estate. I have no idea about the original owner, or when they got the castings. It has been on the back burner too long, and I hope to start working on it in a year or two. I have the completed lead truck, completed frame, and assembled drivers. I don't have the trail truck, cylinders, or anything else. And I did not receive any drawings at all. Would you sell a drawing set, and some castings, but not all castings? I only need enough to finish this locomotive.

For Steve Alley: I have some parts for an Allen American. My father bought some castings and some drawings from Gene Allen, and did some machining on those castings. My father passed away a few years ago, so that project is now mine. I have all of the wheels, smoke box and stack, cylinders, and some drawings for those parts. There might be a couple of other castings, and a frame drawing, but I haven't looked at it in a while. Would you sell just the remaining drawings and castings to finish it? Also, I would like to shorten the locomotive from the original design. Do you have any info from people who have done that? Or is there an alternate set of drawings for a shorter version?

Dan Metzger

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