Copyrights for Kemtron, HP, Gandy Dancer models

Copyrights for Kemtron, HP, Gandy Dancer models

Postby Murad » Mon Jun 11, 2018 11:20 am

Who have the copyrights for production of old models and parts? I mean, the old models, like kemtron/HP steamers and diesels.
Or does anybody owns molds, blueprints, ect. for it?,
WTB any of the HP Products locomotive parts
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Re: Copyrights for Kemtron, HP, Gandy Dancer models

Postby Richard-B » Mon Jun 11, 2018 12:55 pm

Here is a summary of the US rules on Copyright.... https://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ15a.pdf.

It is NOT safe to assume that these older products are now 'Out of Copyright', assuming they could have been copyrighted in the 1950s or 1960s. It would take some legal research to determine the current status.

HP Products is still around http://www.hp4stamping.com/History but not in the trains business.

Kemtron is out of business... but many of their parts were put into production by Precision Scale Company http://www.precisionscaleco.com

A 'family tree' of TT-scale manufacturers put together by the late Larry Sayre implies that the TT-scale products of HP and Kemtron were sold off, possibly going (along with Starline Models) to 'Precise Scale Models', then to 'Caluse Atlantic Models', and then to Larrco (i.e. Larry Sayre). Given the production processes involved, stamping for HP and investment casting and etching for Kemtron, I suscpect what was passed along was rolling stock parts and white-metal molds, NOT engine parts.

A number of the parts (original and/or replica) for the whitemetal Kemtron Docksider (formerly Lindsay) were offered as kits by Allegheny Models (John Harmon).

{The following edited 11 Jun 2018 PM with Al Reibel's corrections}
Famously... a retiring machine shop owner from the Chicago area (Stan?) Lisowski, unexpectedly met the (extravagant!) asking price for the TT parts and molds Larry and John had collected... and took them back to Chicago. The machinist passed away before he (Tempe Models) could get {much} into production, and the son, who was angry that his potential inheritance had been spent on TT junk, vowed that the parts and molds would never be seen again. To this date... the promise has held.

You just can't make-up a story like this...

At this point... there is very little of value that could not be replicated in modern tooling or materials.
Last edited by Richard-B on Mon Jun 11, 2018 6:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Copyrights for Kemtron, HP, Gandy Dancer models

Postby areibel » Mon Jun 11, 2018 6:00 pm

That's pretty much the story I've heard, except it went from Larry to John Harmon and he sold to Mr. Lisowski.
He did produce kits under the "Tempe TT" line until his untimely passing, I think they were listed in the Rail Tech catalog?
John bought the "companies" from Larry and they passed to Stan, so producing anything under the original names wouldn't be cheap. He said the price for everything was $40k, and that was in the late 90's.
John Fisher reproduced HP boilers and cabs in a slightly different material but they weren't official, 3SMR supposedly has the molds for them along with his white metal truck frames and detail parts but they've only offered some of the detail parts so far..
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Re: Copyrights for Kemtron, HP, Gandy Dancer models

Postby Murad » Mon Jun 11, 2018 6:41 pm

And as i know Possum Valley prodused plastic kits of Kemtron FA and FB.
Let's see my question from another side. Right now I have an opportunity to produce some good quality resin copies of old models and parts for reasonable price. Is it ok or i should better do it only fir myself?
WTB any of the HP Products locomotive parts
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Re: Copyrights for Kemtron, HP, Gandy Dancer models

Postby areibel » Mon Jun 11, 2018 6:54 pm

For any "old" TT I doubt you would have a problem, the worst would be getting an angry letter from an attorney and I don't think even that would happen? There's a seller on Ebay that rips off almost every boxcar side made and sells color copies of them in several different scales including TT and he's been selling them for a while, no one has stopped him yet.
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Re: Copyrights for Kemtron, HP, Gandy Dancer models

Postby Tom Dempsey » Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:49 am

Careful Al, Attempts to stop him have been made and if you notice he no longer sells his wares in the more common scales. The NMRA has discussed him LEGALLY with PayPal several times for infringement and he has changed his moniker once or twice. Some folks will go further than "an angry letter" just on principle. Anything Kemtron is likely owned, at this point, by the good folks at PFS in Pasco Washington.
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Re: Copyrights for Kemtron, HP, Gandy Dancer models

Postby areibel » Tue Jun 12, 2018 1:54 pm

Thanks Tom!
I didn't know that some action had finally happened, I think the blatant rip offs ( this guy, Big Dawg and CMR products, etc) are a loss for everyone except the seller. I know Rapido and others have been a little more forceful in dealing with the scammers, I'm glad someone is chasing this guy.
For most of the old TT companies though I doubt anyone would have kept up the original copyright or would even care if someone reissued parts for HP steamers? John Fisher is gone so I don't know if he did any sort of investigating when he made his HP parts but it would be interesting to see if the transfer of ownership of HP, Gandy Dancer, etc in the 70's or 80's ever produced a request for the issuance or renewal of any sort of copyrights- would a change in ownership have renewed them automatically?
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Re: Copyrights for Kemtron, HP, Gandy Dancer models

Postby Richard-B » Tue Jun 12, 2018 2:38 pm

areibel wrote:<snip> it would be interesting to see if the transfer of ownership of HP, Gandy Dancer, etc in the 70's or 80's ever produced a request for the issuance or renewal of any sort of copyrights- would a change in ownership have renewed them automatically?
AFAIK... the transfer itself is not a copyright action.
Per the guidelines at http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ15a.pdf; for the timeframe we are concerned with:
  • Works originally copyrighted between January 1, 1950, and December 31, 1963 had a 28 year copyright, and IF RENEWED, an additional 67 years.
  • Works originally copyrighted between January 1, 1964, and December 31, 1977 had a 28 year copyright, and an automatic additional 67 years.
Without a legal review of the ownership and transfer documents... "We don't know 'nuthen'!"
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Re: Copyrights for Kemtron, HP, Gandy Dancer models

Postby Tom Dempsey » Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:20 pm

Or you could create a new master for the part you want, then it's your intellectual property.
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Re: Copyrights for Kemtron, HP, Gandy Dancer models

Postby Richard-B » Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:24 am

Tom Dempsey wrote:Or you could create a new master for the part you want, then it's your intellectual property.
It needs to be an ORIGINAL master... Tom's operative word is 'CREATE'
not a re-mastered 'copy-cast'.

There is a new principle still being shaped in 'Fair Use' copyright law, called 'Transformative Use'...

In the modeling context... the question will be 'How Much' transformation (e.g modification) is necessary to allow this instance of the Fair Use doctrine.

Book an hour or two of your favorite Intellectual Property Lawyer's time... and you might get some insights, which would still need to be tested in court! Shouldn't set anyone back more than a few $1000...

(NB. I've only had the no-cost version... discussion with a corporate tech IPR type over lunch...)
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