writes "The US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit has affirmed a ruling that a plain, unadorned wireframe model of a Toyota vehicle is not a creative expression protected under US copyright law. The court analogized the wire-frame models to photographs: the owner of an object does not have a copyright in all images of the object, but a photographer may have a limited copyright over a particular image based on artistic choices such as costumery, lighting, posing, etc. Thus, the modelers could only copyright any "incremental contribution" they made to Toyota's vehicles; in the case of plain models, there was nothing new to protect. This could be a two-edged sword — companies that produce goods may not be able to stop modelers from imaging those products, but modelers may not be able to prevent others from copying their work.
News article; IP360 article (subscription required); the Tenth Circuit's ruling is here"