Would this be recasting ? (not sure)

Discussion in 'Replica Props' started by Jintosh, Aug 12, 2015.

  1. Jintosh

    Jintosh Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    He says he's making a recast of a crystal he bought at a Con and then making changes.

    He has not sold this, so it is not recasting. But if he pursued this.....would it be recasting ?

    I'm not trying to create trouble. I think this is a legitimate question that should be answered.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2015
  2. MadMike

    MadMike Well-Known Member

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    I am not an expert, neither on recasting nor on other legal issues :D But in my opinion, it depends on the final product.

    To give you an example what I mean, let's pick something that often pops up here, a Daft Punk helmet:

    Scenario A: I start from scratch, use my own design (which, of course, is based on the original), mold it, cast it, sell the copies - that's definitely no recasting.
    Scenario B: I buy a casting, make a mold of it and sell the castings - that's definitely recasting.
    Scenario C: I get a Pepakura-file of the helmet, print it, glue it together and go all crazy on it with resin and bondo and so on, then make a mold of it and sell the castings, I'd still be using someone's work (namely the file) to start my work, but I put a lot of effort and craftmanship in it to make it my project at the end. Recasting? Not in my opinion.
    Scenario D: I buy a casting, like in scenario B, but this time, I make...idk, a crossover-helmet to make it look like a viking helmet, with horns and rivets and all kind of additional work. When finished, I make a casting of this "new" helmet, making it very distinguashable from the original. Recasting? Dunno, but in my opinion, that is some kind of grey area.

    And depending on the final product, the guy could be in this grey area. It depends (as said, in my opinion) on what the original and on what his final product will look like. Are they distinguishable, is his product really something "new"? Is his method just a shortcut to save him some work in the beginning, but he goes crazy on the details so it really comes out as something never seen before? Or does it look like an old candle with a new wick when he is finished?

    There might be others here with other opinions, but in my opinion, at this stage, there cannot be a definite answer to whether or not it is recasting.

    Oh, and btw, I'm actually not reading something about him selling the copies (although I gotta say I didn't read the whole thread). And as long as he's not making money with it, he can do whatever the heck you want :D
  3. Jintosh

    Jintosh Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Correct. That's why I said, "If he pursues it." Meaning if he produced and sold them. (which he hasn't yet)
  4. sycor

    sycor Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Yes it's technically recasting. But it's more of a gray area for a lot of board members since the piece is very old, and no longer in production. Now, if the piece were still in production it would be a more clear cut case of "don't do that". And depending on which board members you ask, it's still a big no-no.
  5. TazMan2000

    TazMan2000 Sr Member

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    It is recasting. However, recasting has really become a bad word aroud here. Recasting a model piece is one thing, (almost all of us do it) but recasting a whole model is another. But people don't seem to have an issue if you recast an entire model or parts of it, as long as its for your own use and you don't make those pieces for sale. I know we like to use the word "profit" but would you feel any better if someone recasted your work and sold hundreds of copies over the world for a loss?

    MadMike, I do have a problem with your Senario D. If you make a casting from another person's work, whether you modiy it or not, I don't believe that's a grey area, but that's just my opinion. Indistinguishable to you, could mean something different to someone else.

    Recasting is such a touchy subject. It really can get people in an uproar. Especially those who have been recasted in the past. There are really no clear cut rules for it in this community. A lot of members here have their own opinions of it. Look on past recasting posting questions and you see a lot of 'what ifs, buts and howevers. But like MadMike mentioned, there are grey areas, but everyone has their own idea to where those grey areas are. With all the discussions regarding recasting on this forum, have you ever noticed that nothing is ever solved or there ever was a consensus?

  6. 19narvik40

    19narvik40 Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for articulating the issue so well.

    The problem as I see it is whether the crystal is an original work made by someone outside of the movie prop makers or if it is simply a copy of an existing movie prop. This is why I feel it is in a grey area. As far as I know there is only this version of the crystal, different colours notwithstanding, and I cannot find any find anyreference to anyone claiming it as their sole work. That does not mean that it is someones sole work and it doesn't mean it isn't. How does one solve this issue?

    I get jintosh's query and yes, it is a valid one. I personally have destroyed small pieces that have been proven to be recasts of someones sole work and I have other pieces I have doubts about. Things like Star Trek combadges and insignia, Battlestar Galactica original series rank pins, Babylon 5 PsiCorp pins and comlinks etc. The Life Clock is another of these items I have doubts about. This is why I want to improve on it. Does that make it mine, only the improvements could be legally claimed to be. Does that make it a copy, as you pointed out, everyones got an opinion. Who is right and who is wrong? Who gets to decide?

    If I direct someone to a site that sells these crystals, am I aiding and abetting a recaster? What bone fides does one need to show to claim something so common is their work and theirs alone? The FAQ section here does not give any opinion and places the onus on the person challenging the prop maker. The moderators themselves note that this is a contentious isse and offer no guideline to follow.
  7. Ironic Chef

    Ironic Chef New Member

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    Scenario 0: You create a wholly original prop that is "based upon" a pre-existing item but is uniquely your own creation (for example, the multitude of Blade Runner blaster variants that can be found on the RPF). You're probably OK, as long as you identify the source you derived it from (and you should, because we're going to figure it out anyway) and provide attribution to any significant reference you used to create it. That's not recasting, it's passion.

    Scenario 1: You pay the owner of the original intellectual property for the right to make replicas of an original prop (you do need to pay, even if it's just a dollar, for the agreement to be valid). You mould the original and sell it. You are NOT a recaster. You are a licensed reseller.

    Scenario 2: You purchase a prop from someone who has paid a fee to the owner of that prop's intellectual property, then make a mould of that prop, produce identical replicas, and sell them. You are a heinous recaster and deserve to spend the rest of eternity burning in the afterlife of your choice (and meanwhile, everyone will spit on you).

    Scenario 3: You have a prop that is NOT being made available by anyone who might own the intellectual property, and because you really love that prop and want to make it available to others you make a mould of it and start producing replicas for sale. You're still a recaster, but if you clearly attribute the source of your item (and ask anybody who might have a vested interest for permission), and sell that item at the cost of production, then you'll be forgiven for your transgression. To be clear - if the owner of the IP says no, then that means no, regardless of any other factor.

    Scenario 4: You have a prop that is NOT being made available by anyone who might own the intellectual property, see an opportunity to profit, and so mould it and start producing knockoffs that you try and sell for more than the cost of materials, then you're a recaster who deserves to (again) spend the rest of eternity being shunned. Failure to respect any objections from the owner of the IP guarantees an eternity of unpleasantness.

    Scenario 5: You obtain a prop/3D-file/reference-of-some-sort that's clearly inferior/inaccurate and want to create an item that's screen-accurate and which you're creating for yourself. In that case, just go for it. You're a Maker on a mission, and we're all rooting for you! Show us your stuff!

    Scenario 6: You obtain a prop/3D-file/reference-of-some-sort that's clearly inferior/inaccurate and want to create an item that's screen-accurate and which you intend to sell. If any of the above scenarios apply, then you're taking advantage of the work of others, and you're an evil recaster who should be stuffed into a rocket and launched into the sun. If, on the other hand, you ask and nobody objects, then it's probably OK (until the movie-studio-ninjas arrive and take brutal revenge on behalf of their legal department).

    That pretty much covers it.

    The bottom line is, just be straight-forward about what you're doing and what you intend to do with it. The recasters that everyone hate are a tiny minority of folks who acquire the work of others, make a minimal effort to copy, and then sell at a profit while claiming false provenience (saying they're original screen-used props or their own creations).

    Don't do that and all will be well.
  8. Ironic Chef

    Ironic Chef New Member

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    Oh, and a couple of other caveats that may apply...

    1. You've obtained a prop/3D-file/reference-of-some-sort that was created by someone you are unable to contact after making a reasonable (and documented) effort, and want to reproduce that prop for sale at a profit (not just for placing on your own private shelf). In that case, unless you have obtained a license from the owner of the IP then don't do it - the license to produce may well be held by a 3rd party who will emerge suddenly with lawsuit in hand.

    2. If the item you are attempting to reproduce is basically screen-accurate, then the only entity you are beholden to is the original owner of the intellectual property. Any other creation that is clearly a derivative work meant to mimic the original piece is the property of the IP owner, regardless of who created it. Again, if you're creating something just for yourself then nobody cares. If you're creating something for sale then you really need to clear it with the IP owner. But be aware that ONLY the IP owner can take action against you legally.

    That said, folks here often create and sell items that aren't licensed in any official capacity. And that's kind of awesome, since there's no way for anyone to make a living selling a few dozen one-off props to the handful of people who want them. Again, if you're making stuff for yourself, then just go wild! Show off! Be amazing! If you're thinking of making stuff to sell, do understand that you're not going to be quitting your day job any time soon, and that if you try to take advantage we WILL figure it out a lot faster than you might think.

    Good luck, and show us your builds!
  9. TazMan2000

    TazMan2000 Sr Member

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    See how compilcated things can get? No wonder some people don't want to touch subjects like this with a 10 foot pole. Sometimes there are no clear answers. As builders/creators sometimes we take works from sources where we couldn't possibly find out who the sole holder is. Sometime even taking steps to find out, may yield false results, much like asking who in the room dropped a 100 dollar bill. If someone smells money, you may find several people who may claim that is their sole work. Sometimes things can get complicated.
    I wish there were more black and white answers. but I feel Ironic Chef's and MadMikes scenarios have a lot of merit, although Ironic Chef's punishments may be a little difficult to put into action.

    Discussions like this are good, because asking a question about something like this means a person wants to learn, and cover his butt on any possible issues that may happen in the future. I am by no means anything close to being a lawyer and if someon has legal questions on something that they are planning on selling, my best advice is to find someone who has the education to answer you questions correctly. If you're planning on making something for yourself, its your choice to find out the legalities of doing so, but since only you and your friends will see it, I don't think you have to worry. Its only when selling is involved that people get their knickers in a twist.

    There are good and bad people in this hobby. The good ones create their own work, share their talents/ideas with others, ask permission before using someone elses work, and generally earn respect in this community. The bad ones recast. The good ones will ascend to a higher level of being, and make models with the gods. The bad ones will roast in the depths of hell, and be forced to use expired resin.

  10. Jintosh

    Jintosh Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    He clearly got the item from a person, (as apposed to appearing out of thin air) and it is unlikely that he can contact this person at this late date.
    He is taking a chance (in this theoretical situation) that this person will not appear to claim their rights.

    But this reminds me of the song "Down Under" which was sued 28 YEARS after the song was published for infringement. The writers of "Down Under" lost their lawsuit even though only a part of the song was copied.

    I do not see "modifying it afterward" as a valid excuse to cast a copy someone else's work. It is still part "not yours".
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 8, 2018
  11. Duncanator

    Duncanator Sr Member

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    I think Ironic Chef has most of it right; but if I read it correctly, a couple of his statements have more to do with copyright infringement and not necessarily recasting.

    Just to muddy the waters a bit: Several years ago a friend of mine who worked as a product developer for several collectables companies had to contend with other companies copying their work. He told me that legally if the the object had been modified "15%", then it became very hard to sue the offender. Now , It begs the question, who decides how much is 15%.

    That being said: I despise anyone who is ripping off and making money from someone else's work.
  12. 19narvik40

    19narvik40 Well-Known Member

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    Okay Jintosh,

    For your elucidation, the item was purchased at a vendor's table at a science-fiction convention (ConVersion) in Calgary, Alberta, Canada in the mid to late eighties. The name of the vendor and his company (if he ever had one) have been lost in the mists of time. Was the vendor an authorized reseller of this item, really doubt it.

    I rediscovered the piece while looking for parts for a hanger bay diorama for the new Battlestar Galactica. I have five figures sculpted by Chris Elizardo for Mad Dog Resins. Charlie at Mad Dog now longer wished to be bothered with the figures so I offered to purchase both the masters and the molds for these figures. The molds themselves are all damaged as the sculpting material has shrunk and split along the wire frame underneath. The molds are very near the end of their casting life. I cast several of the remaining figures )one mold never made it to me) and I am in the process of modifying them to a better standard. I am replacing hands and heads and reshaping the bodies as well,

    The only reason I bothered to tell you all this is to try to show that I do not take copyright issues lightly.

    I have followed your work with the Gravity Falls items you have done and in some cases sell. Your announced intention to digitally copy pages from the show to fill a prop book don't sound as though you plan to follow your own credo of, and I quote, "You can't go wrong using your own designs."

    Is it a coincidence that you have sent "your" design for the Life Clock to Shapeways and are now questioning me about my intentions? As you have stated in your posts, you do sell your works online. Could you please give us chapter and verse your references and other material from which you derived "your" design?
  13. Jintosh

    Jintosh Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    :) I plan to copy and paste screen shots for my Gravity Falls Book 3. I do not plan to sell my Book 3.

    As to my crystal, I looked at the ones in the thread from Kathy and made a pristine 3D file in Tinkercad.
    I then imported the resulting STL into Zbrush and used the Smooth tool on it. All stages of my build are
    documented. The final STL is slightly different than the last one I posted to the thread.

    I am no Saint. And yes, it did bother me that you took a shortcut to arrive at the same destination. That is the truth.
  14. 19narvik40

    19narvik40 Well-Known Member

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    Irregardless of you intention not sell your Book 3, you have just admitted you plan to steal some else's work even if it is just for your personal use. As I have made no statement that I plan to sell anything in my posts, you have basically accused me of intellectual property theft even though I am adapting my own personal property. Your moral high ground seems to be eroding.
  15. cavx

    cavx Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I think the whole "re-cast" topic gets a bit out of hand sometimes.

    This is my take on it and feel free to ignore it if you wish.

    Re-casting is simply the act of taking a part and making a copy of it. Regardless if this part is your own work or someone elses, the fact remains that has been copied by molding and casting and this is re-casting.

    A Re-caster is someone who takes something, whether made by themselves or someone else and makes copies of it. They may keep for their own personal use or they may sell it (for profit?).

    The problem is, if it is NOT their own work and they DO NOT give credit to the original artist, then this is straight out stealing.

    As has been mentioned, sometime the part was created years ago and is no longer in production. Is making a new batch a bad thing?

    Even a patent has a shelf life of 10 years and if someone creates a better version of the product, then the patent can be made null and void.
    TazMan2000 likes this.
  16. Jintosh

    Jintosh Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Message 3 of this thread clearly states my only concern of this question. I have said this is a theoretical question.

    The information is useful should I ever be in a similar situation.
    Most answers were along the lines of "Oh heck yes, that's recasting".
    The other answers have been that because of the age, this may be an acceptable gray area.

    Thank you all for posting.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2015
  17. asalaw

    asalaw Sr Member

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    There is no "percentage test" for copyright infringement, nor is there a particular extent of alteration that makes it harder or easier to sue, though that does seem to be a very popular myth. The standard under U.S. copyright law is "substantial similarity" to the protected work, and whether that standard is met is a matter for the jury.

    Recasting and infringement are two entirely different concepts; recasting another's work may or may not be infringing, depending on whether the work is protected by copyright to begin with. The work may be in the public domain, in which case any form of reproduction is legally irrelevant with respect to U.S. copyright law (but that doesn't mean the work doesn't have some other form of legal protection, such as a registered trademark, or a valid copyright in another country).

    For example, if I make a copy of a Star Trek episode and put it up on YouTube, that's infringement, whether I make any money or not. Under the DMCA, CBS could have it taken down, and they could also sue me for infringement under the Copyright Act, because Star Trek episodes still have valid copyrights protecting them. But if I make a copy of Night of the Living Dead (1968), or It's a Wonderful Life, nothing happens, because both of those films passed into the public domain decades ago.

    Recast an artist's original, protected work? Infringement. Recast Michelangelo's David? Not infringing (though technically challenging).
    TazMan2000 likes this.

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