There are many gray areas in using 3D models online that may be free, creative commons with specific terms, or public domain. I notice many 3D models being sold by artists that are exact replicas of known vehicles (eg. BMW,Honda,etc.(with emblem)). I would think in this situation there will be some sort of infringement especially if someone bought that model and used it in their video game, no matter if it was marked as royalty free. I would appreciate if someone with experience could assist in clarifying some of the following areas. Please note, this is the information I have inferred based of personal research, may not be factual, please correct me if I am wrong.
Commercial Use: Of course never sell someone's 3D model, but what part of that is considered theirs; if they made a model of an RC car, are the wheels legal to use, the chassis, engine especially if the creative textures(or meshes) are removed and all that is the mere form of the object. (Eg. if I 3D model a nail/screw; that is not considered copyright protected because it is a 'common'/'useful' object)
Free Usage: If your product is free, my assumption is that game devs could use a 3D model as long as they change textures, colors, etc. But form of the object is all for grabs.
Commercial Use & Free Use: If the product/game you are using is free, but you have advertisements bringing you revenue that may be on the side of a website or phone app and pop up every now and again; does this make it acceptable?
Thank you ahead of time!