Miniatures Talk

'Pirate' Copies

Posted by Guynemer on 01 Dec 2011, 10:29

Hi everyone,

I want to share a thought on kit manufacturers and would like to hear your own opinions. If you don't like what I say, fine, but this is a chat and not an argument so please don't attack me!

I find it extremely odd that there is so much uproar when a smaller company makes illegal copies of another manufacturer's sets. Of course, it is illegal to make money out of another sculptor's work, but look at it differently for a moment. Revell have discontinued so many beautiful sets despite high demand and it should be their loss alone, not ours.
Most Napoleonics, the Thirty Years' War and Seven Years' War ranges, WWII US Paratroopers, and I think the WWI sets too, are all discontinued. Now tell me there isn't a kit among those ranges that you don't want. For hobbyists my age it's especially unfair because these sets were becoming scarce when I was in primary school, and with the prices and availability today it's best if younger ones such as myself left them to the collectors (who are having a hard time themselves).
Instead they're reproducing some Italeri and old Matchbox sets, which at least in terms of the latter are not up to today's standards and not in great demand. If they don't want to make high profits from those wonderful kits anymore (because it would be false to think that the moulds are broken), why should that keep us from enjoying our hobby? A hobby which, at this scale is intended to be largely inexpensive. I and many others are not willing nor able to buy a second hand copy of Conquistadors for over three times the original price, when Mars have been considerate enough to make such popular figures affordable and widely available to us. If you buy a second hand original, that money doesn't go to Revell anyway, but with illegal copies at least the little you pay is a sufficient 'thank you' to the chaps who put distant dreams within arm's length. After all, Revell's motto is 'build your dream' so why can't they let us do that?
It's the same with Italeri and the cheap, inaccurate and oversized rubbish they're producing now, Revell was just a specific example. I won't condemn Strelets either because they are a much smaller manufacturer who can't run every one of their many great sets at the same time.

Would like to hear your thoughts on this matter!

Bani
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Posted by Paul on 01 Dec 2011, 16:40

If you..as I think you are, referring to mars..then I wouldn´t touch thier stuff with a barge pole...their copying of other peoples efforts is piracy pure and simple. To (I´m putting this in general terms, not against you ) say that everyone wants them and the sets aren´t made by the original makers is a bit like saying I´d like a copy of the Mona lisa and the fakes will do cos the original painter is no longer around. They are what they are..fakes, pirated pure and simple.
The re-releases of say Airfix sets is ok..it´s under licence but I don´t think mars even asked..(correct me if I´m wrong ) and even then..the repros are pretty bloody bad...I´ve seen the italeri Arab cavalry done by them and basically they are :sick:
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Posted by zzed on 01 Dec 2011, 18:48

for me it's O.K. to make a copy for yourself, if you can
but selling copies to other people doesn't sound fair
especially if these are bad copies, as they really are - it is not fair towards manufacturer, and it is not fair towards naive customers :-)

if the original has any worth, it will be re-released sooner or later, at ordinary price
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Posted by Francesco Giova on 01 Dec 2011, 19:04

This is one of those topics which return every now and then ;-)

I think that using the term "pirate copies" might be wrong ... after all, if the owner does not sue the supposed "pirate", and until a jury does not state that a copy is "pirate", no one else can say it is. After all, Revell could easily sue Mars, and if they had not done it until now, then we should not use the term "pirate copies".

That said, Mars "Revell-like" sets end up being more expensive than original Revell sets on Ebay. With some patience, you could find just any Revell set for no more than 6-7 euros :-D
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Posted by zzed on 01 Dec 2011, 19:15

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Posted by Paul on 01 Dec 2011, 19:31

The simple act of copying a product without the original copyright holders permission IS an act of piracy..wether the owner sues or not.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_infringement
as they write;
Piracy traditionally refers to acts intentionally committed for financial gain, which, without the specific allowance of the original owner/creater of the work is Piracy. As I said..it could be the case that Revell have given tacit allowance or haven´t bothered or don´t know.
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Posted by Francesco Giova on 01 Dec 2011, 19:40

And who told you that the copyright holder did not give an explicit permission ? ;-) Only Revell could tell us if those are pirate copies or not, because only Revell knows the whole thing. That's the only thing I'm saying.
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Posted by Paul on 01 Dec 2011, 20:20

Paul wrote:As I said..it could be the case that Revell have given tacit allowance or haven´t bothered or don´t know.
:evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: ;-)

Francesco Giova wrote:And who told you that the copyright holder did not give an explicit permission ?
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Posted by zzed on 01 Dec 2011, 20:35

more interesting to me is who are the people who would buy such a low-quality copies ;-)
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Posted by MABO on 01 Dec 2011, 20:35

Paul wrote:If you..as I think you are, referring to mars..then I wouldn´t touch thier stuff with a barge pole...their copying of other peoples efforts is piracy pure and simple. To (I´m putting this in general terms, not against you ) say that everyone wants them and the sets aren´t made by the original makers is a bit like saying I´d like a copy of the Mona lisa and the fakes will do cos the original painter is no longer around. They are what they are..fakes, pirated pure and simple.
The re-releases of say Airfix sets is ok..it´s under licence but I don´t think mars even asked..(correct me if I´m wrong ) and even then..the repros are pretty bloody bad...I´ve seen the italeri Arab cavalry done by them and basically they are :sick:


That is exactly what I think! :evil: :evil: :evil:
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Posted by Guynemer on 02 Dec 2011, 13:31

But putting the laws on copyright infringement aside, can we all agree that at some point we have all scanned pages of a book/duplicated a few accessories/downloaded a film for a friend or two? Thing is, those things don't cost much to do, but casting copies of rare figures is expensive. And when you get dozens of friends wanting them it is going to cost quite a lot so although lawfully it's wrong, morally you can't decline making copies for friends as well as yourself. Naturally you have to charge whatever it takes because money doesn't grow on trees. Be honest now, are you going to do what is ordered on plain paper or sell a few 'illegal' figures to fellow hobbyists. If I had the demand and equipment to copy some of the scarce figures I have, then by God I would make some for all my hobby friends for the cost it takes to cast them, good quality or bad. Sometimes things aren't so black and white.

Of course the Mars copies will be badly done, but given that they are basing them on cast figures and not the original masters, we can't blame them. And they put pictures on the box of how they can look, so they're there if you want them.
It can be easy to find original sets, but if you're looking to buy a few boxes then it isn't practical... And one day they are going to run out. It's not like Revell will go bust because of it. If they saw any potential in the sets then they wouldn't dicontinue them in the first place, so it's no loss for them. If they did bring them back into production, then we would all switch to buying the originals off them and no harm done!
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Posted by Victorious Secret on 17 Dec 2011, 03:14

Hi Guynemer,

My point of view on this topic:

Reason one: Not re-issue an items simply could mean supply and demand. Yes many collectors here might buy mulltiple copies of rare kits if get re-issue. It would be great news for everyone who wants atleast one. However, collectors alone will not be enough to make a profit for the company. After all, it is all about business. This volume simply does not justify to start a re-issue. To restart mold and make at least few copies just for collectors? I truly don't think so.

Reason two: Some kits are just simply not re-issue yet. Planning new kits, sculpting, manufacturing, promoting all takes time. Company makes more money on new kits than re-issuing old ones. They might have the heart to do it, but sometime there are other priorities.

One might argue it is the coporate greed and lose focus on what is the most important of what the customer want. The truth is we all want different things. It is just difficult to satisfy everyone.

As for my thoughts on pirate copies? I totally against piracy no matter how rare or desirable the kit is. If some company really wants to do it for the benefit of collectors, ask for a licensing.

This is how I see it... put yourself in the shoes of the artists, would you like to see your work and talent not be compensated? If you are the artist and see your work get's passed around without getting your permission while it is making profit, I'm sure you will be upset and frustrated. 8)

That is my humble two cents.

VS
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Posted by Andreas on 17 Dec 2011, 21:27

Victorious Secret wrote:Hi Guynemer,

As for my thoughts on pirate copies? I totally against piracy no matter how rare or desirable the kit is. If some company really wants to do it for the benefit of collectors, ask for a licensing.

This is how I see it... put yourself in the shoes of the artists, would you like to see your work and talent not be compensated? If you are the artist and see your work get's passed around without getting your permission while it is making profit, I'm sure you will be upset and frustrated. 8)

That is my humble two cents.

VS

i agree
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Posted by hodude on 19 Dec 2011, 20:30

Well, I have to say, I would buy piracies of figures if I can't get them from the original source. Especially under the following circumstances:

The set is cancelled and the manufacturer won't rerun it or is out of business (like Giant Plastics) and the figures are deemed rare, and I am forced to compete with the rest of the world on Ebay for that one set and it always goes for stupidly insane prices. I am not wanting to "invest" in this "Mona Lisa". I just want the darn figures. So a copy of the figure is fine for me.

If the manufacturer doesn't make the scale. I love the poses and detail of the 1/32 Airfix Cowboys and Indians. Airfix does not make these poses in 1/72. Airfix said they will not do that in the future. Someone in Hong Kong did make them in 1/72. I will buy them in that case.

So it may be piracy, but I just want the figures. If it isn't from the source then a copy is fine for me. I'm just being honest about it.

And the "artist" or sculptor doesn't care. He already got paid for his work. He doesn't get royalties. It is the manufacturer that cares. But again, why would they allow something to become rare if there is obviously a demand for it? Why give pirates an opportunity to "fill a gap"? Obviously, if the manufacturer is long out of business, that is one thing, but Revell needs to know the Pirates are fulfilling a demand. Revell could just as easliy do that.

Where do the conversions of certain Italeri and ESCI sets fall? Still piracy right? But they are new poses and the pirates are the only source. I'm sorry, cos I know you disagree, but I would also buy them.

Yes, I am part of the problem until the manufacturers become part of the solution....
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Posted by Cuchulainn on 19 Dec 2011, 21:13

For myself, the Thirty Years war figures (Revell copies) were in question. When I returned to the hobby, I found the Revell figures were not available except a few original issue boxes, that were high priced on Ebay. However Revell re-issued the sets shortly after, and there seemed to be an increased demand for them. So was not an issue for me, I was able to buy either way, older original or new re-issue Revell (one of the perks of being older and having a little extra money for the hobby).

However, isn't that the crux of the whole issue? Revell brought them back. I can buy the Revell re-issues in the US better priced than the Mars copies, so I have not purchased any copies.

Mars continues to issue original sets for the period (ok not as good as Revell), but I still enjoy them and spend the time converting them. :-) I appreciate Mars interest in continuing to cover this period. This is the period of my interest and I will use what is available while I can still enjoy the hobby. I can't ask anyone to do anything else, especially younger modelers who have to buy what they can find and afford.
So for me, I don't buy Mars copies but I do buy their originals.

Also, does anyone know of any response to the copies by the companies of the originals?

I work in a global industry where piracy is a serious issue. The issue is critical (at least in my world) to the loss of jobs and its misery due to piracy, not the engineer of design (artist) because he, as was pointed out, has been paid. The people who can stop the piracy issue are the ones who actually sell the models. Have any of them refused to carry Mars out of loyalty to Revell? If Revell had an issue they could refuse to wholesale their figures to the stores, if the store also carried Mars, could they not?

Anyway my thoughts.. I do not claim they are complete and my mind could be changed, but I think I would have to hear from Revell or someone like that to make me feel different. I thank Guynemer for actually bringing this out in a non-confrontational way. It was good of him to make us think this out. :-)
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Posted by Roryb on 03 Jan 2012, 19:32

I feel its fine to make copies for yourself or to sell copies IF the manufacter has given you permission. Selling copies illegally its piracy. And as we all know from that over used advert piracy, its a crime
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Posted by David O'Brien on 03 Jan 2012, 23:16

I am not sure what is being pirated.
The idea?
The figure?
The tool ( correct term for the mould)?
The pattern?
Is it in the same material?
And so on

If an injection moulded figure is being used as the master for an injection moulded figure then there is bound to be a significant loss of detail. Casting an injection moulded figure in resin on an amateur basis is perfectly acceptable, in my eyes, providing it is for the hobbyists own use. The results are not usually perfect but OK for some work and conversions.
The big companies have had lots of take overs and mergers and sometimes the patterns have been sold to other companies to raise cash or the ownership of the pattern has been contested. I am not sure whether or not the tools, not the patterns, are owned by, say, a Chinese manufacturing company rather than the names we bandy around as manufacturers (Italeri, Airfix etc). The price of making the tool may be included in the over all price but may remain the property of the manufacturer.
Things may be pirated or copied but not in the sense of illegal piracy as the owner of the tool may have given permission and even produced the figures but with no reference to the originators of the pattern (who have "moved on").
Most figure boxes have a copyright mark though whether this refers to the box design or the contents is not clear. Globalisation (mentioned in a previous post) of production has meant that defining copying is not as easy as it was when Airfix produced plastic figures from idea to finished box all under one roof.
Mars (BUM and German, to a lesser extent, also use figures from a variety of sources) may have used the Revell pattern to make their tool but then they may have made the tool from the finished 1/72nd figures with a dramatic loss of quality. Either way both involve a lot of work and expense and investment and are not at all like the relatively cheap and straightforward process of photocopying a book. I don't see evidence that this is happening to any large extent even if it is piracy or legal copying or "nobody knows". The fact they are sold in a box that does not attempt to dupe the customer into thinking they are getting the genuine article and also they are not an astounding bargain (except when compared with e bay profiteers' prices) would make it a strange kind of piracy.

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