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Ethics of buying pirated out of print figures

Discussion in 'Report Piracy' started by Bailey, Dec 5, 2011.

  1. Bailey A Fixture

    I was searching for figures from an out of print line of miniatures (company stopped making them and several years later the company went under). Needless to say they are not easy to find. However, I happened across a website selling them. This website sells obviously pirated figures. They even say they do. They say that most of their miniatures are not original and do not expect box art, manuals, etc.

    I think most of us on this site would agree that buying pirated figures from a company still in business is wrong. But what about this case? If the company no longer makes them and I can't find them elsewhere, is it wrong to order from a company that sells pirated copies? I'm curious to hear what others in the community feel about this situation.
  2. theBaron A Fixture

    Sounds simple, but still isn't. It depends on who holds the licenses/trademarks/copyrights to the original. Chances are that someone does.

    Take Phoenix Model Developments, for example. Phoenix is long gone, but the molds have been sold, several times. The current owners of much of the catalog is Forty-Third, Ltd, in the UK, and I would bet that they also now own title to any compensation from sales of those figures.
    renarts and Steve like this.
  3. Tecumsea PlanetFigure Supporter

    My attitude is if you want to paint it, then buy it. It is up to the manufacturers to control their products, but they seem to be fighting a losing battle-I found another pirate on Ebay this week and was talking to a legitimate trader not long ago who is buying up figures from an OOP range with a view to recasting them as he has no idea where the ownership lies. How are we as painters/collectors supposed to know if a product is legitimate or not?
    housecarl likes this.
  4. theBaron A Fixture

    That is a good point, and of course, we can't all know. I'm sure now that most of the resin anime kits in my stash are copies, and I'm starting to think that ones bought through commercial sources are, too. But that's where this kind of thread on the forums comes in--we inform each other.

    I always mention contacting the maker, because 99% of those who post about finding a pirate always end with, "Don't buy from this guy--that'll stop him", but it's insufficient. If you think a piece is fake, and you know who made the original, then, you should contact the original maker and let him know. If you don't, well, that's OK, too, we can only do so much, ourselves.

  5. Mike S. Well-Known Member

    As an illustrator who obviously makes a living through my artwork, I refuse to buy pirated sculpts out of principle.

    My doing so might not make a major impact on the illegal trading, but at least I know that I'm not taking money out of the wallets of my fellow artists.
  6. elgreco Well-Known Member

    Well no wonder then that recasters are becoming prolific! With this kind of attitude where it becomes legitimate to buy a recast, then obviously manufacturers are fighting a losing battle.

    For all concerned, copyright laws are there and whether a product is OOP or not, this does not give anybody the right to reproduce. Recasting will always be present in our hobby BUT if modellers keep on aiding and abetting the recasters by buying recast items, then they will be the ones putting the manufacturers out of business.

    Buying a recast OOP kit goes against every principle. It cannot be justified in any way. A recast is a recast, whether OOP or not. Somebody, somewhere owns the rights to that product and its production.

    Let's say that a legitimate manufacturer buys some OOP masters and no one knows about this. Then along comes a recaster and decides to cast these same kits which he had in his grey army just because they've been OOP for some time. Do you think this is right???

    As a sculptor, manufacturer and trader, I cannot emphasise enough that this is wrong. It's unethical and should not be tolerated and definitely not encouraged by modellers with a carefree attitude towards the legitimacy of the figures in question.

    Recasting hurts the hobby in a big way. SAY NO TO PIRACY!!!
  7. Tecumsea PlanetFigure Supporter

    Thank you Matt for your comment about my carefree attitude to the legitimacy of the figures I purchaseI have spent many thousands on painted figures and kits over the past 4 years and reserve the right to be as carefree as I like, most manufacturers have benefited from this, you included!!! So I suggest in future you think before making an attack on my integrity..........So I repeat...............how are we as collectors/painters supposed to know if a PRODUCT IS LEGITIMATE OR NOT?????????? Impossible I'm afraid.......it is up to the manufacturers to control their products and some "seem" to be making little or no effort to do so........Matt, I seem to remember tipping you off about your items being reproduced in Argentina...you managed to get it stopped then why can't others??? If they are unwilling to follow up with Ebay then the recasters will continue to profit.........but don't blame the collectors, in these cash strapped times it must be very tempting for some people to buy a 90MM Pegaso recast for £30-50 as opposed to the Historex price of £220 if that is all they can afford. Judging by the recasters sales looking at their websites, and I have about 10 logged at the moment, they are doing very well. I find it interesting that in spite of the numerous blogs on this subject I have seen over the past 2-3 years there has never been a response from one of the major manufacturers-presumably they are just factoring the recasters into their prices. Meanwhile I reserve the right to spend my money exactly where I like.
  8. skeeterbuck Active Member

    Supporting recasters is just biting off the hand that feeds us... theft pure and simple.

    First...more and more recasters appear to make a quick profit.

    Then...sculptors/compaines go out of busisness. No more figures being made.

    End of hobby as we know it.
    callum, Karlosfandango and Valloa like this.
  9. Tecumsea PlanetFigure Supporter

    Hi Charles, Can I just add that I do not support re-casters and I do not buy from them. About 4 years ago I bought a couple of pieces from Argentina (through curiosity) and it was quite evident that casting from a casting produces a very substandard product. I know many other modellers who have had the same experience so perhaps the future is not so gloomy as one might think!
    Perhaps another aspect to this is that most sales of a new product happen very quickly on release if it is a hit with modellers. With luck most of the sales volume is achieved before the recasters get their hands on them.
  10. HiroshiAirborne Active Member

    I'm going to weigh in on this, afterall I'm just nameless poster on the internet. If the company is still in business producing the bust/figure, support their business. End of discussion.

    If it's dead and gone, I don't really see a problem with it. At the very least, if you like the design and sculpting technique of the bust/figure, seek out the artist. He might be in business with another company. Your buying of a "pirate" copy has just made you a fan and a hopeful long time supporter of his current stuff. On the flip-side, if a lot of people are buying a pirate copy of something that no long exists in production.. maybe they'll think twice and re-issue it.

    My two cents, your mileage may vary
    Karlosfandango likes this.
  11. renarts Active Member

    The purchase of recasts, even those that are out of production, devalues the property of the originator. It might be safe to assume that even though the company is no longer active or currently active, what if the company is simply in suspension? Waiting for the right economic opportunity to once again become active. Or perhaps the owners are looking to be able to make the sale of masters and molds as a financial recovery or (and I say this tounge in cheek) to be able to pad their retirement. The pirated kits devalue that and pollute a viable market.
    Copyright and intellectual property are pretty clear. Though unfortunate for your desire to get that OOP figure, its still a law. Challenge that with a large corporation and you'll find yourself on the wrong side of the court docket. The laws apply equally for smaller companies and artists as much as the larger ones. Cash supply is the only difference, where the small guy is limited by his ability to enforce his own property rights.
    Karlosfandango, elgreco and theBaron like this.
  12. Dr Force Well-Known Member

    No, No and No

    I will not buy any pirated figure/recast it kills the legitimate business that bring us the stuff in the first place.

    It's not even an argument for me.

    Karlosfandango and theBaron like this.
  13. thrax Member

    I bought a few figures from England from a company called rose miniatures that have been long gone . i'll say a few hail maries and acts of contrition
    housecarl likes this.
  14. skeeterbuck Active Member

    Rose miniatures are still available here:

  15. theBaron A Fixture

    Some of the Rose catalog are available from John Eden, but not all. Since not all of them are on display on his website, if you're looking for specific figures, you can email John. He has the molds for Gammage's wonderful SYW Prussian hussars, for example, and can cast them to order.

    He also has some of the Phoenix 54mm Georgian figures in his catalog, some of them packaged in his Country Fair sets. I think he also has some Sanderson Romans in his catalog.

    Other Rose molds are now in Australia, I think. There was a discussion on the Treefrog Toy Soldier Forum that mentioned a current maker who had bought some of the molds, Egyptians, I think. I can't recall offhand, though, if that maker is now still in business.

  16. Waterman Active Member

    Some of the principles aired on this subject are to me a bit airey-fairy. If some think it is ok to copy someone else's work, ie make a copy mould and then produce it commercially and sell it for a profit, then that is basically dishonest, even if the original, artist or company is dead or defunct. Now if I made some plates and counterfeited some £20 notes, and you guys got them as payment for work done at some point, you guys would be shouting foul, and calling for me to be prosecuted, and rightly so. What is the difference, both have set out to deceive. ?
  17. Martin Rohmann A Fixture

    IMHO it is quite simple: And if it is just so pretty, and you want want it to be ever so happy: NEVER buy a pirated figure!

  18. callum Member

    Hi Guys,

    I'm with Matt on this one - just say no.

    Regards Callum.
  19. Gaudin A Fixture

    As usual = a multi pointed argument - I love this place.
    What I read so far - and something I will agree to - it is wrong to buy a pirated copies of a company that is trading.

    Keith's argument and Bailey's question was more subtle though - and as usual - missed by a righteous outrage.

    Yes - Elgreco's pont is valid - some one holds copyrights and masters, so if approached and properly rewarded - one should be able to aquire old masters and legitimately produce those " nearly lost" pieces.
    I doubt its possible though in majority of cases. So then the question is - is it acceptable to buy a coveted copy/ recast that is not going to be produced ever ever ever again - because all traces are lost? Are you robbing a bankrupt/ or retired company?

    What about companies that went out of business - but still retained rarest beautiful master copies that will never see release ( I am refering to SEIL owned masters of Yuriy Serebryakov and others that are sitting in owners display cabinet - that I feel are a huge loss). what if someone was to sculpt something very similar again - would that be considered piracy? What if some one commissioned the sculptor to make a copy?

    Just questions to throw in the discussion - I am not saing they are right or wrong

    I also may bring a case of Alexander miniatures that still pisses me off - where unscrupulous company went under water and defrauded alot of people. I already spent 70 £ to buy original figure I wanted, which is no longer produced ( or so it seemed at the time) - lost my money = of course I will buy a good recast for 30 £ - I think i am being owed that much.

    The analogy that appears to me is to documentaries on you tube and elsewhere on the netthat are (i) no longer available or (ii) never have been or will be available in your particular region. Its a similar issue in my mind. And I have to admit that if I want a doc on a military event or a bio, and its by BBC or a German producer, and its only Region 2, I download it wiht virtually no guilty feeling. Not to say that I wouldn't buy it if I could, but I have very few qualms when the owner doesn't make it possible for me to acquire a copy on the legit market.


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