A bit busy today with visitors, so just a quick post.
Being a home caster and one time kit maker I've always been interested in copyright issues ie how much does one have to alter a master before it becomes another's property. New Zealand, being at the arse end of the world, has always had a 'do it yourself' streak, which has resulted in local home rip offs of overseas models (primarily in the overpriced wargaming figure area). I'm also aware that it's happened in the local model railway industry over the years, as the price of kits is perceived to be very high, to which I'd reply 'have a look at the British kit prices and then tell me we are expensive.'
I think its also because by-en-large, we tend to be tightwads when it comes to parting with money (and this is a charge that has been leveled at NZ120 on more than one occasion by major players in the NZ model scene. I guess its probably true.:v)
Anyway here are some interesting threads from England here and here.
I'd just like to finish up by saying that its not OK at any time to make direct copies of someone else's work. I'm also rather dubious that its OK to modify parts from a manufacturer and then on-sell them (I wouldn't feel right about it, and I also probably believe I could do a better job anyway). I always think that if I did something like that, and the kit maker gave up as a result, then the hobby would lose any new kits he may have produced.