Selling FINISHED 3D Printed Prop Replicas?

BonesAreDollars

Active Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Found items do add an interesting point to replication. How many props are found items and how many are an amalgamation of found items?
What about original designs using greeblies, like Star Wars?
I think the best way I can explain my view on this is with a scenario.

Let’s say I designed and built some water guns and was selling them for $10. Some guy comes along and buys one, slaps some paint on it and sells it for $15, im probably not going to have much of a problem with it because the original intent of my my work was to make $10 for my self.

Now let’s say same scenario, but instead of charging $10 I’m giving them away for free to everyone in my neighborhood because they all love water gun fights so much. Same guy comes by grabs as many as he likes, slaps some paint on them, and then starts charging people without even telling them where they can get the free water pistol to begin with. As the original creator my original intent (to freely share with everyone) has been capitalized on, something I very much didn’t want. Now there’s two options, start charging per pistol to keep this from happening or stop all together.

This isn’t always the case because some modelers genuinely don’t mind if you use their design to make money. But it does hurt a lot of people. the ones already being paid before hand probably don’t care/mind as much as the people who put it out in the spirit of the community.
 

Props3D

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
So as someone who's been doing this for a while, both modeling and selling, I've found there's some pretty well defined lines that the community accepts. I've issued takedowns on Etsy and other 3rd party sites for people selling makes my models, and had a 100% success rate. I release my models under a share-alike non-commercial license as my way of giving back to a community I've gotten so much out of, not to make other people money I could have made myself.

I've been contacted lots of times by people saying:
'Can I charge someone to make your model for them' = always yes
'Can I print some of your models for sale at a booth' = usually yes, depends on who and the volume
'Can I sell prints of your models on Etsy, ebay, etc' = Always no, if I wanted to charge for them I would do it myself, I could probably make a decent amount on Cults just selling the models, but that goes against the spirit of why I do this

So first, look at the licensing:
- If it says 'non-commercial' then contact the creator and don't do anything until you hear back, some are ok, some aren't, some may want a cut or a flat fee
- If it says 'for commercial use', 'for any use', or has no license attached, it's still polite to contact the creator if you're planning on selling in any kind of volume or online, if they don't get back to you you're defensibly in the clear. They can still issue a take down, but at least you can show you made the effort and that the licensing doesn't prohibit it so you can defend against it.


It takes 100s of hours to model and test a model like this:

It took multiple prints and iterations, lots of changed parts, versions, etc. to get this right. Because was a faithful reproduction of a fairly modern prop I still felt the obligation to inform the original prop designer that I was doing even a small run on the RPF and got his approval before doing so. There was no legal requirement to do so since I modeled from scratch, but remember that this is a small community and being polite goes a long way. Creators sink a lot of time into projects expecting nothing more than to make people happy, just like the modding community in games or other equiv. There's a balance which needs to be respected or people will pull their models, stop making new ones, and we'll all be worse off for it.
 
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TazMan2000

Master Member
If someone bought a resin X-wing designed by a member here, and started casting and selling copies, that user would quickly be banned. However, if the user downloaded a digital file and started selling printed copies, people would not view that as big of an offence. I think it’s the same exact thing.

TazMan2000
 
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Props3D

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
If someone bought a resin X-wing designed by a member here, and started casting and selling copies, that user would quickly be banned. However, if the user downloaded digital file and started selling printed copies, people would not view that as big of an offence. I think it’s the same exact thing.

TazMan2000
Casting at least takes some skill, and you had to buy the xing in the first place which compensated the creator. That's still not ok but at least there's some barriers to exploiting the goodwill and time of others. Downloading the digital models and printing them for personal profit is a 1 click affair.

Sharing free digital files makes them open to anyone and that's why we attach licenses saying what you should or should not do with them. If that's not respected then you basically implode the 3D printing community.
 

TheNickFox

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Isn't a "replica" (taken from screen captures) a copy of the original design from the original creator
in the first place...

.
Yes, but props are not available on the open market. So replicas are not fair market competition for them.

Other replicas or finished replicas are fair market competition.

The “isn’t it all a copy” argument really always boils down to asking yourself: if I play a song on the piano, does that take anything from the original creators? What if someone now sells a recording of me playing it without my permission?
 

BonesAreDollars

Active Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Isn't a "replica" (taken from screen captures) a copy of the original design from the original creator
in the first place...

.
and that’s where intent of the source comes into play.

Most prop replica home builds come from some source of entertainment. No one here is arguing the semantics and ethics of using screenshots to build a prop. Not to mention glossing over the fact that the person who designed and created the original prop was more than likely compensated. (This is where it would be helpful if someone in the actual business could chime in and give insight on wether they actually own the rights to the prop they designed and if they’d even care if people are reproducing it. I’d venture to say they probably don’t, but I may be wrong)

The problem is someone who doesn’t want to take the time to model something themselves and using someone else’s tangible work (3d model) given to the community for free in good faith that it would be used for non-commercial purposes.
 

paulsboutique

Well-Known Member
3d design and printers has pushed prop building out of the dark ages and finally given the masses access to high quality content, but there is a real perception that the 3d artists time is not worth anything as they didn't produce anything physical. But without that step, we would not have the plethora of low volume click and print prop builders and sellers that we do have today. We all know that IP for the original design is held by the movie houses, but to be able to print that original movie design today is only thanks to the 3d artist who took the time to draw it up, so credit should be given to them regardless if the files are paid or free.
 

Moviefreak

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
3d design and printers has pushed prop building out of the dark ages and finally given the masses access to high quality content, but there is a real perception that the 3d artists time is not worth anything as they didn't produce anything physical. But without that step, we would not have the plethora of low volume click and print prop builders and sellers that we do have today. We all know that IP for the original design is held by the movie houses, but to be able to print that original movie design today is only thanks to the 3d artist who took the time to draw it up, so credit should be given to them regardless if the files are paid or free.
It’s the same across all forms of art. If you do a digital piece, and it gets shared somewhere online, you can bet it will find its way to t-shirt and poster sales somewhere without your consent. This is the world we live in.
 

propmaster2000

Sr Member
It’s the same across all forms of art. If you do a digital piece, and it gets shared somewhere online, you can bet it will find its way to t-shirt and poster sales somewhere without your consent. This is the world we live in.
I guess this also applies to a physical prop seen on screen for the first time, put there by the production company who designed it and/or had it designed, for just anyone to copy and reproduce, using their time and at their expense with no credit given to the production company or even the ok to copy it in the first place, in one fashion or another, one way or another........so a prop replicator gets no credit as well, it's an on going debate.
True, this is indeed the world we live in.
 
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TheNickFox

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I guess this also applies to a physical prop seen on screen for the first time, put there by the production company who designed it and/or had it designed, for just anyone to copy and reproduce, using their time and at their expense with no credit given to the production company or even the ok to copy it in the first place, in one fashion or another, one way or another........so a prop replicator gets no credit as well, an on going debate.
True, this is indeed the world we live in.
The prop maker almost never gets credit, even when the prop isn't replicated because of the nature of the contract with studios. But if the maker is known, most replicators I know give them full credit... just like they give the movie and actor credit for popularizing it.
 

Moviefreak

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I guess this also applies to a physical prop seen on screen for the first time, put there by the production company who designed it and/or had it designed, for just anyone to copy and reproduce, using their time and at their expense with no credit given to the production company or even the ok to copy it in the first place, in one fashion or another, one way or another........so a prop replicator gets no credit as well, it's an on going debate.
True, this is indeed the world we live in.
But if a person sees a prop on screen, and takes the time to research, sculpt it, build it, paint it, and then sell it, true… that is infringing on copyright material, but they did put a lot of work into making it. So there is some respect for the artist who skillfully made a screen accurate version. That is different than recasting.

If I create a digital art piece and someone sees it, and they make their own version, drawing a new piece, and putting time into their own take on it, yes it still sucks, but at least they put in effort to duplicate it. But more often than not, they just take my image, slap it on product and sell it. That is recasting, in a way, and that is what the prop world frowns on… taking someone else’s work and just molding it and selling it. That is the difference between copying an item you see on screen and recasting someone’s prop they built.
 

TazMan2000

Master Member
Casting at least takes some skill, and you had to buy the xing in the first place which compensated the creator. That's still not ok but at least there's some barriers to exploiting the goodwill and time of others. Downloading the digital models and printing them for personal profit is a 1 click affair.

Sharing free digital files makes them open to anyone and that's why we attach licenses saying what you should or should not do with them. If that's not respected then you basically implode the 3D printing community.

Casting does take skill but the same could be said for getting something printed. I've seen pretty crappy prints.

TazMan2000
 

Astyanax

Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Casting does take skill but the same could be said for getting something printed. I've seen pretty crappy prints.

Agreed. It's never EVER a "1 click affair", and I find that to be a highly reductive phrase in this context. Getting a quality print can easily be as difficult as getting a quality casting, depending on equipment and materials, and complexity of the model. It can be an art unto itself.

But to the greater point, my question's definitely answered, and thanks for the lively discussion! In short, selling a print of someone else's design is regarded as "digital recasting", regardless of the printing or finishing process. I'll always secure permission from the creator and will credit them appropriately before taking any such steps!
 

TazMan2000

Master Member
Agreed. It's never EVER a "1 click affair", and I find that to be a highly reductive phrase in this context. Getting a quality print can easily be as difficult as getting a quality casting, depending on equipment and materials, and complexity of the model. It can be an art unto itself.

But to the greater point, my question's definitely answered, and thanks for the lively discussion! In short, selling a print of someone else's design is regarded as "digital recasting", regardless of the printing or finishing process. I'll always secure permission from the creator and will credit them appropriately before taking any such steps!

That's the proper way to do it. Unfortunately there are tons of opportunistic scumbags out there that just want to profit off of someone else's talent. It's a bit like someone buying a compact disc of a band, converting it into MP3s and selling those MP3s to everyone else.

TazMan2000
 

13doctorwho

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
That's the proper way to do it. Unfortunately there are tons of opportunistic scumbags out there that just want to profit off of someone else's talent. It's a bit like someone buying a compact disc of a band, converting it into MP3s and selling those MP3s to everyone else.
TazMan2000 That's a great comparison.
 

chubsANDdoggers

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
This has been an eye opening great discussion here. Designers from my experience are not really respected. Appreciated yes but not really respected. I’ve read it here, seein it written it elsewhere and experienced it first hand myself. “All a designer is doing is copying a licensed or unlicensed prop”. But the skill IMHO is the attention to detail and obsession in bringing those details to life within what ever software or avenue you choose. LOTS of trial and error along the way. Good luck explaining that to people who’s first question is “Can I have the file? I want to print it myself”.

This is a great community with many a people standing on many others shoulders. But the designer (especially when it comes to 3D printing but machining as well) can get easy lost in the mix. 3D printing is changing everything and definitely for the better. Especially hobbyists as it’s weeding out and exposing people who simply want to make a quick buck. But we are in the early stages and it’s still pretty murky.

Any advice from others who have gotten burnt on the best way to share their work moving forward? Specific file formats that can’t be easily manipulated?
 

TazMan2000

Master Member
I'm not even sure that some designers are even appreciated that much. There are several members here that design printable stuff and there are a few that do post messages of thanks when they release them for free, but most, download and forget about giving any thanks or credit. Take it and run.

A few years ago before 3d printers came out, there were several members here that made models, of props and so forth. Many were probably asked if they could produce them for others. Some did so and created a small business by casting their work. The problems arose when the demand outpaced the member's ability to produce them. They would take the money and the customers would have to wait many months or years to receive their items. (Where have we heard that before?) Initially respected members that couldn't keep up or spent the money before producing the items have been banned or not heard from again. Good modelling skills and good business practices don't always go together. Luckily there are still quite a few respected members who honour their commitment to customers by making and delivering their items promptly.

Along come 3d printers and designers can create models that almost anyone can print. This has opened up the hobby of modelling and collecting prop replicas a lot. Unfortunately the issue of "re-casting" still is there.

The only time something is truly appreciated is when it isn't there anymore.

TazMan2000
 

chubsANDdoggers

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Unfortunately the issue of "re-casting" still is there.

The only time something is truly appreciated is when it isn't there anymore.

Recasting is a whole other issues that won’t be going away anytime soon and comes in many forms. Many people (even some respectable RPF’ers) turn a blind eye so as long as they get what they want. Simply make the claim that so and so “changed” something trivial and now everything is hunky dory. Careful not to upset the apple cart.

That last statement is very much on point. eBay thrives off the desperation to acquire what you originally missed out on.
 
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TazMan2000

Master Member
I should also add that those makers who impose limits on items are also taking steps for quality control as well as not to overwhelm themselves with orders. With rising costs it might get more expensive to make the same item a few months later, so that is another smart move in limits.

TazMan2000
 

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