Resin casting parts - legal?

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Posted · Report post

I've wondered about this for a long while.

Is it legal to cast and then sell parts molded from kit parts, manufactured by companies still in existence?

I mean, its one thing to mold parts from some old kit where the company has been defunct for years, but another to mold parts from Revell, Monogram, AMT, MPC where they are the intellectual property of another company?

I'm seeing this very frequently here lately, and was just curious.

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Posted · Report post

I've wondered that too Rob. Looks like there would be a legal issue there. Especially when the cast parts are direct copies of kit parts. You see kit parts that have been cast in resin all over ebay. Maybe the difference is the material used and process to make them?

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Posted · Report post

I guess I always thought the first rule of fight club was you dont' talk about fight club?

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Copyright exists on kit parts, which is why the little C in a circle is molded into the chassis plates of many models, and it's intended to apply to ALL the parts in the kit. Specific applications of copyright law differ according to subject matter, but to simply copy existing parts and sell them IS a violation of the copyright holders rights. It's called COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT. In many cases the violation is never reported or prosecuted, but if a manufacturer wants to play hardball in civil court, you could be looking at legal fees to defend yourself and possibly monetary damages. There's also the possibility of criminal action and fines.

if you modify the parts significantly, or use them as a basis for your own tooling, it's difficult to say where the line is.

Article here: http://ezinearticles.com/?Copyright-Infringement&id=1582709

Excerpt :

The popular conception--or, more accurately, misconception--that copyright infringement involves piracy of only movies or music is false. Copyrights for various things can be violated. For example, the copyright of a book can be violated if someone photocopies an entire book and sells the photocopied book. Similarly, even toys' copyrights can be violated. How? If someone designs a toy so that it looks exactly like a toy made by some other company or individual and then markets or sells that toy as if it were made by that other individual or company, then that too is copyright infringement.

Edited by Ace-Garageguy

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Having spent many years in the advertising industry, where copyright questions arise every day (and incessantly on this forum), I recommend that you heed Bill Enger's advice to the letter.

An example I have used time after time regards one of our members who had a cottage industry making decals, notably logos and other ID decals for Kenworth truck kits. Kenworth's lawyers tracked him down, sent him a cease and desist letter, and (within their rights) told him to destroy all his existing inventory. He did. After that, and you fail to comply, get ready for some expensive litigation.

They got him on eBay, as many other corporations monitor; don't even think about trying to sell Ferrari merchandise that isn't officially licensed -- they have heat-seeking lawyers that can find anything.

As Bill pointed out, you cannot take another's intellectual and copyrighted property, and use it in any way to make a buck.

But if you make copies just for yourself, nobody's going to get you.

This question arises so often that Bill should keep a file of his answer that he can paste into a thread every time it arises. Or perhaps it should be pinned on the forum somewhere.

Edited by sjordan2

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Posted · Report post

Wonder why The Parts Box gets away with copies of the Revell 32 Ford axles and the L'il Coffin wheels and tires. Maybe because there in Oz?

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Posted · Report post

Wonder why The Parts Box gets away with copies of the Revell 32 Ford axles and the L'il Coffin wheels and tires. Maybe because there in Oz?

I also wonder how a number of resin companies get away with stuff -- I imagine it has to do with how closely certain copyright holders are watching. But however it works out, it's still counterfeiting.

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Posted · Report post

Wonder why The Parts Box gets away with copies of the Revell 32 Ford axles and the L'il Coffin wheels and tires. Maybe because there in Oz?

There are no 'copyright police' and if the copyright holder doesn't raise a fuss, usually nothing happens. Being in another country really makes little difference, because most civilized countries have reciprocal agreements honoring each others patent and copyright laws...which China has a reputation for routinely ignoring. But part of the reason may be the increased expense of prosecuting an infringement case on the other side of the world.

Another reason is that, so long as the entire kit isn't being duplicated and cutting directly into a kit manufacturer's primary profit line, a manufacturer may forgo prosecution for fear of being perceived as a heavy-handed corporate meanie, and building a negative perception of themselves in a small and cliquish market.

The full-scale kit-car and aftermarket-fiberglass parts markets are other examples of businesses where copyright enforcement is sporadic and seems to make no sense, but it's mostly up to the holder of the actual legal rights whether anybody gets sued or arrested.

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Posted · Report post

.

The full-scale kit-car and aftermarket-fiberglass parts markets are other examples of businesses where copyright enforcement is sporadic and seems to make no sense, but it's mostly up to the holder of the actual legal rights whether anybody gets sued or arrested.

Speaking of which, D.C. comics just won a major lawsuit against Mark Towle of Gotham Garage for his 1:1 turnkey 1966 and 1989 Batmobiles.

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Posted · Report post

...one of our members who had a cottage industry making decals... lawyers tracked him down, sent him a cease and desist letter, and (within their rights) told him to destroy all his existing inventory. He did. After that, if you fail to comply, get ready for some expensive litigation.

Our hobby level of copyright infringement, I believe, is not a viable threat to manufacturers. But it is an annoyance, a reputable quality concern as well as an infringement on the licensing they had to hammer out. I think an initial request to cease and desist is fair and reasonable. If you're defiant, you deserve legal action. That said, I would hope model manufacturers would be okay with a little hobbyist-to-hobbyist vending. I would hope they'd see the value in home-produced copying of "smalls" to supplement and maintain interest in the kits they're marketing.

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Posted · Report post

Wonder why The Parts Box gets away with copies of the Revell 32 Ford axles and the L'il Coffin wheels and tires. Maybe because there in Oz?

Maybe because it simply isn't worth the bother of taking any action?

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Posted · Report post

Maybe because it simply isn't worth the bother of taking any action?

That's probably the case. We're talking model manufacturers and resin casters here, not Apple vs Samsung. Nobody's pockets are deep enough to make it worth pursuing. A lot of the resin out there is straight repop from kit parts, but nobody's getting rich doing it, and nobody's trying to reproduce entire kits and sell them for less cost than the real thing. It's not worth the time and money to hunt down a guy who's copying some wheels from a kit that's not available anymore and probably won't ever be again. Resin casters for the most part don't do stuff in currently available kits, they do have a little respect for the hand that feeds them!

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Posted · Report post

Maybe because it simply isn't worth the bother of taking any action?

I'm pretty sure that's true as well. The resin community (and other aftermarket goodies) are a major part of this hobby. Model companies are staking a lot on the continuation of this hobby and are not likely to start pulling cards from the house of cards unless the need is great. As I've heard, resin casting is very labor intensive, so folks cranking out huge amounts of parts is difficult to do. Maybe when the 3D printing allows folks to do that, they might get nervous.

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Posted · Report post

The model companies know about the aftermarket. In fact a lot of the people actually know each other. I do remember that AMT once used a Modelhaus kit as box art.

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Posted · Report post

Wonder why The Parts Box gets away with copies of the Revell 32 Ford axles and the L'il Coffin wheels and tires.

Take a good look at alot of their inventory,and its easy to recognize most of their smaller parts are direct copies of kit manufactured parts.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

There are no 'copyright police' and if the copyright holder doesn't raise a fuss, usually nothing happens. Being in another country really makes little difference, because most civilized countries have reciprocal agreements honoring each others patent and copyright laws...which China has a reputation for routinely ignoring. But part of the reason may be the increased expense of prosecuting an infringement case on the other side of the world.

Another reason is that, so long as the entire kit isn't being duplicated and cutting directly into a kit manufacturer's primary profit line, a manufacturer may forgo prosecution for fear of being perceived as a heavy-handed corporate meanie, and building a negative perception of themselves in a small and cliquish market.

The full-scale kit-car and aftermarket-fiberglass parts markets are other examples of businesses where copyright enforcement is sporadic and seems to make no sense, but it's mostly up to the holder of the actual legal rights whether anybody gets sued or arrested.

Definitely sporadic, but there have been a few high-profile 1:1 replica cases. For example, Ferrari jumped all over manufacturers of fiberglass replicas such as the Miami Vice Daytona Spider and forced one well-known builder who made replica GTOs out of business. Last I checked, sellers of used Miami Vice cars are not allowed to use the word Ferrari on eBay. And just last year, Mercedes forced the destruction of replica 300 SL Gullwing bodies, which can be seen on YouTube.

Many of you know that there's an Asian reissue of the Ferrari 250 GT California Spider model kit (Testors Italeri originally?), with a box that says something like "Italian Sports Car" with no Ferrari ID.

Edited by sjordan2

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Posted · Report post

I actually have the asian copy and testors copy of the ferrari. The asian kit is identical to the testors right down to the colors of the plastic sprues. And there are no references anywhere decal wise or in print to ferrari. The plastic sprues if memory serves me correctly says academy on them. I think the guage decals are actually better in this kit than testors.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

It's interesting that some 1:1 car builders like Ferrari actively go after infringement violators, when to the best of my knowledge, Porsche has looked the other way as far as the 356 and 550 Spyders go, and I've heard, supposedly from 'inside' the company, that Porsche actually rather liked the idea of having all the free advertising that accompanies replicas of no-longer-in-production vehicles that vividly recall the marque's heritage. I think they also realize their customer base is smart enough to be able to distinguish between a $40,000 550 replica and a $3.6 million original.

Sure wish I'd bought that blown-engine 550 for $5000 back in 1975, but man, that was a lot of money.

Edited by Ace-Garageguy

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Posted · Report post

interesting topic as recently someone posted asking if anyone has produced resin copies of the wheels in the newly released Rat Roaster kit! I have yet to resin cast items but if/when I do, i plan on doing so only for myself as I have no interest in starting up a company or being responsible for making parts for others. I wanted several extra snow plows that came in the Revell GMC kit and found it cheaper to buy the kits than to try and re-create them in resin. I will sell off the truck kits (minus the plows) and I will not have to worry about any "infringement". Ironically, the snow plow represented in that kit appears to be a Western brand but no where do I see Revell mentioning "that", nor did MPC mention years ago that the plow in their Jeep kits was a Meyers brand, but yet if you knew the design and colors those plows used, it was easy to figure out.

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Posted · Report post

If the casters were selling thousands of the parts per year, that might be problem to the manufacturer .

Most of us buy new kits to go along with the resin parts that we have purchased . The guys from Revell and AMT know this .

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Posted · Report post

I don't think the kit manufacturers care, as said above the parts etc that are made are either from out of print kits or modified to be something else. With the small headcounts they have, the resin casters aren't costing them money, so they're not worth chasing. In fact, overall I think the cottage industry probably helps the kit makers by providing additional body versions of their kits resulting in more kit sales to build them.

The auto industry is uneven in their trademark protection, even within the same corporations. For instance GMC seems to be more strict than say Chevrolet. You'd think GM would have one licensing department for all their divisions. But most of the aftermarket is too small for them to bother chasing. Think most resin parts are sold in less than 100 pieces lifetime sales. It's not a big market.

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Posted · Report post

I don't think the kit manufacturers care, as said above the parts etc that are made are either from out of print kits or modified to be something else. With the small headcounts they have, the resin casters aren't costing them money, so they're not worth chasing. In fact, overall I think the cottage industry probably helps the kit makers by providing additional body versions of their kits resulting in more kit sales to build them.

The auto industry is uneven in their trademark protection, even within the same corporations. For instance GMC seems to be more strict than say Chevrolet. You'd think GM would have one licensing department for all their divisions. But most of the aftermarket is too small for them to bother chasing. Think most resin parts are sold in less than 100 pieces lifetime sales. It's not a big market.

What Tom said.

The auto industry does seem, at times, to be uneven in their protection of such things as design, trademarks, trade dress and the like, but not as lax as some might believe. GM, for example, can be extremely anal in regard to certain makes of cars--some they consider more "iconic" than others, and they have been known to be extremely restrictive in regard to those. Others not so much. But of course, such depends on how "visible" the scale model or toy product might be. Some automakers follow the model car scene with internal staff, others use "licensing agencies" who work on commission.

In the US, however, copyright and trademark owners do work under a principle of "protect it or lose it" in that in order to protect their copyrighted designs, their trademarks, they are at least "under the gun" so-to-speak in this: If say, Automaker A is to successfully protect the styling of a car from copiers, then that also means protecting those designs from aftermarket parts suppliers from all over, as well as toy and hobby companies wanting to produce miniature toys or model kits of those cars. This was strongly reaffirmed by the Supreme Court of the United States almost 30 years ago, in regard to replacement parts, from the likes of piston rings & other engine parts, AND crash parts being made in countries such as Taiwan, they being labled and packaged in cartons clearly marked with pirated names and even Company A's own trademark logo's. The Court ruled in favor of Automaker A, with a big stipulation: They were obligated to also protect those same items which were at issue even if the parts in question were done in miniature as either toys, hobby products, even the likes of logo's on caps, tee-shirts and the like.

I work at a major, leading US University, albeit not in the academic side of things, but rather as part of the service staff. However, each year, near the start of the fall semester, I (along with every other University employee) receive a pamphlet outlining our rights and responsibilities under US copyright law. Basically, US law generally allows for "fair use", that meaning that one can reproduce a copyrighted item for one's own exclusive use (I can scratchbuild a model or parts of a model to look exactly like the real thing, but in miniature, just for me, with no fear of reprisal), but from there on, it gets more restrictive, to the point that I cannot reproduce say, an entire book for the purpose of selling my own copies, without the express written permission of the copyright owner. This applies as much to say, a model of a real car, as virtually all styling and/or design work done by industry gets copyrighted, even if a patent also exists on those items.

Even a model company has some copyrights as well--not so much the styling of a particular car, but certainly the design of the parts, how they go together, that sort of thing. However, in resin-casting, seldom is a particular model car part able to be reproduced exactly, due to the limitations of both the resin material and the type of molds used to make those parts. And in any event, model companies seem to be generally rather happy to see aftermarket parts produced that enhance their kit offerings. That said, however, I see it as a very gray area if an aftermarket person decides to simply copy say, a wheel, an engine or whatever, from a newly released model kit, with the implied purpose being to simply make it possible for a modeler to buy those parts without having to spring for the entire kit. To at least some extent, it seems to me to do such is working at cross-purposes with the model companies who invest big $$$ to produce kits that feed our "addiction".

A few resin casters today can trace their roots back to a time, some 20-30 years ago, when there were seemingly innumerable model car kits that had once been produced, but hadn't seen a reissue in so long as to lead modelers to believe that they would never again be rerun. As such, some of those casters began their businesses by reproducing often lost or broken parts which could be used to restore old model kits and promotional models. That eventually grew into reproductions of entire kits--but the "bloom" fell off those flowers once model companies realized that there might be money to be made in rehabilitating old tooling and molding out newly reissued kits of once long-dead model subjects--resulting in those early resin casters either going out of business, or evolving into molding models of cars never before done in plastic scale model kits--and that is what drives the resin cast aftermarket "industry" today.

But, in general, the model car aftermarket is full of producers so small as to be correctly termed "cottage industries", and thus do fly well below the "radar screen", and as such just don't get much scrutiny from say, Detroit, Stuttgart, Wolfsburg, or even Marinello.

Art

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Posted · Report post

Weird question but wouldn't selling kits on eBay also be copyright infringement. Especially if you post the makers name and model type

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Posted · Report post

Weird question but wouldn't selling kits on eBay also be copyright infringement. Especially if you post the makers name and model type

No, you haven't copied or counter-fitted the item. You have a right to resell a legitimate item that you bought legally. It's the same thing legally as selling a used car.

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Posted · Report post

On the flip side....

How much money do model companies SAVE because of resin casters? Think about it.

ALL those parts erroneously reported "missing" or "short shot" instead being resin cast and sold / traded.

Probably saves the model companies BIG bucks.

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