This is an interesting issue you bring up, but I do want to offer counter-point:
1) As an employee of Estes Industries, anything you created, was the property of Estes Industries and not your own personal items?
2) Estes as the owners could do anything they wanted with the intellectual properties that you and others created for them?
3)Once something is thrown 'away', when does it become fair game?
My understanding of the story goes something like this (please correct my mistakes!!!):
Hasbro or Toybiz (?) sold Estes to Barry and crew. For what ever reason, the old Estes home had to go. The Estes home was used for storage and R&D work within? Barry sold the house to some private third party on the condition that the house was picked up from its foundation and moved far away (many miles). In the process of moving the house, Barry didn't want the contents and the owner just decided to put most of it in the trash.
Am I on target so far?
Before the contents of the house went into the trash, a few daring Estes employees went in and salvaged what ever they could and/or had the chance to salvage. I believe Mike Hellmound (sp?) was involved in this and did get some of the old pictures and markets and actually had them on display at the NARAM 50-ORR meeting; I think I read and saw pictures of Mike in a magazine; Launch maybe.
The majority of files and paperwork is now in some Penrose CO landfill and the house was moved to non-Estes property.
So, can one say that any items that survived the 'Great Purge' are actually 'Pilfered' when Estes/Barry had released their rights to the intellectual property? I am NOT a lawyer nor do I play one on T.V., but somewhere between Trashcan and Landfill, Estes should lose its rights at some point.
Actually Mike and others here, I HAVE tried 'giving' some of the items in my collection back [sic] to Estes, but I was told by Marry Roberts in 2004, "Estes isn't interested in anyway in items from the original company".
I was OFFERING THEM FOR FREE, not Ebay prices! No longer free as my philanthropist ways have gone the way of our economy; I now have to make a living selling old Estes nose cones and Cinerocs!
But seriously, what happens if someone uses an old photo of you in a book without consulting you first? Do you get a lawyer and sue them? Do you even have the right to sue? Could Estes turn around and say that they want to put a halt to Semroc and others who clone kits? You mentioned the original instructions are no more, so who owns the rights to the instructions:
Vern Estes? Well he sold the company to Damon. Mike Dorfler? Well he was an employee for Estes who owned the rights to anything that Mike Dorfler, Gene Street, et. al., made for Estes. Damon? Well they sold the company to ... see where I am going with this.
Does Barry Tunic legally have a right to all Estes intellectual property past and present?
I would think that a book project that looks at the whole of model rocketry might be impossible given ALL the hands that have had a part in this hobby and all the hundreds of inventor, creators, and owners involved in the creation of the hobby.
Mike, don't take what I am saying as a personal attack, as there is only one rocketeer/racketeer I actually hate in the hobby and he is NOT you!
Personal copy right laws I believe are 57 years, so do we have to wait until 2026 before we can see your original Cineroc items published? That would suck as I am very old in the tooth and might not hold out that long
Just curious Bob