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Making your own doll

Sep 19, 2010

    1. There has been a mini-debate going on with a small group of my doll loving friends and i wanted to share it with the forum to get some outside opinions (sorry if it has been asked before but i searched and didnt find anything relevant)

      The question is; Is it okay to make your own Doll based off of a brand doll? mainly with no intent to sell it/them

      For example (and the reason this debate was started) if you want ,say a Soom Chrom, but alas you find out it was only a monthly doll and the month has come and gone, would it be okay to make your own doll based on the Soom Chrom?

      I personally am undecided on which side i am on... on one hand i think its fundamentally wrong to copy something that you should pay for but on the other hand, they arent making it to sell or make a profit, its purely for personal gain

      Share your thoughts
    2. I personally don't see the harm in it--though I think the time, money, and effort put into making your own Chrom doll would probably be through the roof compared to just waiting to buy him off the marketplace. A lot of people flip out over the idea of "stealing original artwork omg for shame!!" but really, if they aren't going to sell the doll and it isn't a direct recast, there doesn't really seem to be a whole lot of stealing going on. Especially because the artisans at Soom are masterful, and if someone were to make there own I'm pretty sure it would be easy to tell a real Chrom apart from the self-made one.

      If I could make my own dolls I would make my own Chrom, but have him be shorter and less Asian looking. Making your own doll inspired off another gives you the opportunity to "fix" things about the original doll that you weren't super excited about.
    3. I'd just go and buy that Chrom. It's way more money to spend to have to go out and sculpt everything, make molds then cast in resin. :\ Then of course artistic ability comes into play, engineering, maybe all these things people don't actually have. So maybe it's more of a waste than anything.

      "No harm" is a load of crap too. It's a question of morality and integrity. How is that any different from taking someone else's character and reworking it to your own liking? That's for personal gain. Perhaps you don't intend on sharing this rehash of a character, so it's "no harm". Is it necessarily the right thing to do? Not at all.

      Chrom not the way you like him? Get one, have him modded, maybe do his face-up up a different way, put him on a shorter body. Easier fix.
    4. I think it's okay. Especially in the case of limiteds. It is impossible for them to benefit from you purchasing the doll second hand, the creators themselves can no longer benefit from the doll unless they re-release it.
      There's no laws saying you can't recreate other's intellectual property, specifically as long as you do not attempt to profit off it.
      Also, as long as you don't attempt to mislead anyone in to thinking you own the real deal, I see no problem with it.
    5. There isn't really anything wrong with this, as long as it's not an exact replica or super close to that (because I'm sure that there is someone out there who is talented enough to do that). I wouldn't be surprised if many doll artists got inspiration from one another. In fact, this happens a lot in general in the art world (and has for ages), and there isn't really anything wrong with that.

      I know if I personally were to start sculpting, there would definitely be some dolls that I would have in mind as an inspiration, but I highly doubt that I have the talent to make them similar. xD But in other areas of art, I frequently take ideas and modify them. In an art journaling community I moderate on Livejournal, lots of members share and take ideas from one another. The give and take is a really big part of our community, and it comes off as really strange if someone gives backlash after another uses an idea (without copying). It's kind of sad that the community on DoA (generally) is so ultra-sensitive to anything that remotely resembles the work of another, especially when that sort of reaction is given in a completely unjustified case.
    6. Yeah, haha, artistic ability and engineering are definitely something that people can't replicate.

      Specifically though, if someone is inspired by an actual company doll, and want to make their own, it's just up to the person to decide if it's right or not. Considering the above mentioned reasons, the doll would probably not come out looking anything like the original and you would only be able to tell it was originally based off Chrom if you said so.

      Like those Twilight dolls that were recently released, I think called Edward Moon and Wolf Man J--if the company hadn't named them that and positioned them as Twilight dolls, you never would have known. They looked nothing like the actors from the films, and had characteristics that would completely remove them from the Twilight universe (pointy ears!) but people made a big stink about it because of their names and they were taken off the market.
    7. How about some basic respect for said intellectual property? It's one thing to draw inspiration from something, after all a huge part of art in general is about inspiration and everyone draws it from somewhere but just because you're not making a profit from it doesn't really make it okay to go out of your way to copy something.

      Personally if I was going to go to the lengths of creating my own doll I'd want it to be my own and to explore my own ideas, sure being inspired by another doll or another artist's style is fine but I don't see the point in just copying when you could create something new and far more personal to you and your ideas.
    8. Then why bother asking then if it's okay to base it off an existing doll if you're going to make it so differently anyway?

      Taking inspiration =/= straight copies.
    9. Please clarify what you mean when you say "make a doll." If you are talking about a sculpting and casting your own BJD with an intention to replicate an existing doll - it's really bad, illegal actually. if you simply like a style of some limited, then buy a doll who has a similar look and dress him in similar (identical would be impossible) clothes - then yeah, sure, that's ok. It does however come off as a bit - how shall I put it delicately? - uninspired.
    10. Attempting to copy something strait, and failing to the point that it's unrecognizable doesn't invalidate the intent behind the act of copying.
      Also Anneke is not the OP. She was not the one who asked if it was okay to copy. Nor did the OP actually indicate she intended to make a copy of a doll at all. This is a theoretical question, so maybe you should calm down a little bit.
    11. I'm not sure where you got from what I was saying that failing at copying something makes it okay to copy? Besides--weren't you the one that said it's all fine and dandy to recreate someone else's intellectual property if you weren't making a profit off of it? 8)

      And this is a discussion, I'm discussing with someone else contributing to the discussion. And when I said "you", I meant the general "you", not Anneke specifically. Though I thought this was obvious.
    12. If you're fond of Chrom, there is one of the regular edition Super Gems now that has a face with a similar feel. You could pick up that doll to remake into Chrom's second cousin Dom -- mod him some wolf ears, make him a similar outfit, perhaps sculpt him paws on your own -- with relative ease and without the ethical concerns. That would be as close as I'd be willing to get to 'copying' in this position. People did similar things to create a human 'Sard' from Dia heads on male bodies, and there weren't cries of woe or trauma, so there is some precedent for this general approach.
    13. Replying to a thread in general is usually understood not to be a direct reply to the creator. I don't think it's obvious when you quote someone specifically. I personally take that to mean a direct response, as it is in this case, and how you replied to me.
      You quoted Anneke so I had to assume that her comment had some relevance to what you were saying.

      I'm not sure where you got from what I said that I applied an inherent goodness or badness value to your comment.
      Taking in to account that you quoted Anneke, and that her comment had to do with the difficulty behind sculpting leading to a copied sculpt looking unrecognizable anyways, I pointed out that intending to copy something and failing doesn't invalidate the fact that you attempted to copy, and that is why someone might ask if it were ok or not, even if the final result is no where near looking like a copy.

      I guess I misunderstood your comment, because from my perspective you were mixing both Anneke's point of view, and that of the OP MissHellspawn, and because of this I took your tone to be somewhat confrontational.
      I apologize.
    14. I suppose what you mean by "based" makes all the diffrence. I personally would say that making a doll with one generic feature similar to a doll you like would not be bad. By this I mean a doll with a pointy nose simailar (not an exact copy) to Chrom or maybe a doll with a grumpy pout similar (again, not an exact replica) to Chrom's would not be something that I would find to be ethically wrong, as long as the rest of the head was original. What I would find wrong would be attempting to entirely recreate another doll (especially a LE). I guess to me it really matters rather you mean "Loosley based" or "Exact replica".
    15. Let's not forget that the OP used Chrom as an example too--so it's probably not the exact doll they mean.

      There's similar "wolf type" dolls made by other companies that you could say were inspired by Chrom, but not copies. There's plenty of inspiration, sharing, and improving on artistic concepts in pretty much every medium.

      I think the OP could clarify the situation by sharing exactly what they mean. I was assuming they did not mean recast, since you have to have the original on hand to recast in the first place.
    16. It becomes a crime if the copy was being sold as well as the copy artist claiming to be the creator of the design.
      As for personal use - and you made a direct copy and still called it your own design while displaying it is also a crime.
      Even if you gave credit - it is a crime if you didn't have the original company/artists permission.
      There are copyrights for a reason.


      It wouldn't be a crime to modify your own doll to have wolfish ears or wolf paws like Chrom. I don't think anyone has the monopoly on wild animals and their traits! The same goes for angel wings, elf ears, pouty lips - I hope that makes some sense.
    17. It's also not like it's impossible to find Chrom second-hand. I've seen many in the MP.

      On principle, and legally, it would be wrong to make a copy of Chrom. A large selling point of limiteds is that they are harder to get, rarer, in some way more special, and if people are just off making copies regardless of their intent to sell or not, it's working against the company's aims in creating limiteds in the first place. The sculpt of the head and body are the intellectual property of the company. Fanfic, for example, doesn't become legal just because no money is made off of it. In most cases it's allowed to go on because it doesn't harm the bottom line, but that doesn't mean it's actually legal.

      Also, while recasting would be challenging enough and likely more expensive than other more acceptable options, recreating from scratch is just an unfeasible idea. These dolls are created by knowledgeable sculptors and don't exactly happen overnight. If you're going to learn all the skills involved in doll creation, why not make your own original sculpts?
    18. I may get some criticism for saying this, but I feel it's ok to copy anything if you have absolutely no plans to sell them or even give them away.

      I did that with a bracelet I saw on QVC or HSN one day. It wasn't exactly the same in terms of the colors used, but other than that, it was pretty much a duplicate. I still have it, never made a second one, and don't intend to sell it.

      If you have no intention of selling them whether or not you've bonded, nor do you plan on fooling anyone with your copies (i.e., bootlegging), then I think it's ok.

      Plus, as others have said, you can tweak your own design to fit your own wants, without risking screwing things up badly.
    19. Woah.. didnt think i would get this many responses so quickly *_* anywho let me clear up as much as i can

      my friends was thinking of sculpting her own from scratch, and she is well talented in this as she has made dolls before, which were her own original ideas, but now she really wants a chrom (or i guess a wolfie type in general)

      i was just curious because, with her level of skill it could indeed look very similar to the brands model, probably not exactly.

      a side note is she hates dealing with auctions and is a bit iffy about the MP due to past personal experiences (not with DoA tho, i think it was Ebay)

      i hope this clears up anything
    20. If you're a professional BJD scultor and you created sculpts from scratch that look like preexisting ones from other BJD companies, that is called plagiarism and it doesn't say much about your artistry since a true artist should present his/her own visions of beauty. On the other hand, if you're an amateur creating a sculpt based on a commercial one for fun and you do not claim it's the real thing nor do you attempt to sell it, then I don't see anything wrong with it. It's like why should I spend $10 on a bunch of organic veggies from Whole Foods if I could grow my own for free in my garden?