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Moral/Ethical issue with having a doll of someone else withOUT them knowing it?

Feb 2, 2009

    1. Hi. Sorry if this was already posted somewhere. I looked up for past threads, but all I found were discussions about if having celebrity Minimees were okay, or if having Minimees of anime/video game characters crosses the boarder of copyright infringements.

      Mine is a bit of a different question... I'm a fan of the Minimees and I think it's great to have the possibilities of owning a doll with the face of someone you know you (already do and therefor) can adore.

      But what if you're using the face of someone -NOT a celebrity with their faces all over magazines and internet and NOT a character of a video game or otherwise existing works of fiction -but actually some "average person" that you know from work, or school, or the kid down the street you've had a crush on since you were 5?

      I raise this question because people need to even give their permission to have their photos released. We're technically not allowed to take pictures of someone and post them to the internet without their consent, regardless of context or intent.

      Now, I know that gets partially tossed out the window at anime conventions -not everyone asks if it's okay to post your picture, but if you pose for a shot, they're assuming that you've given them permission to do what they will with the photograph.

      Is it against some kind of ethical or moral code to request a Minimee doll based on the face of some "average person" without them knowing (and therefor, without consenting)?

      I mean, SPECIFICALLY REQUESTING that a doll be created (through a Minimee or similar service) to look like a particular person, not dressing or painting an already existing company sculpt to resemble someone you know.

      Please keep in mind this is only with regards to the LIKENESS OF THEIR APPEARANCE. Likeness of names, personality, otherwise related characteristics are NOT used at the same time.

      Is it creepy or stalkerish?

      Would there be any types/genres of photos/photostories that are "not appropriate"?

      If you knew and were friends with the person that you know for a fact a doll was made to be him/her, would you tell your friend about it? Even if they're not a "dollfie" enthusiast?
    2. Is it against some kind of ethical or moral code to request a Minimee doll based on the face of some "average person" without them knowing (and therefore, without consenting)?
      Yes. I wouldn't like to see my own face staring out at me from a doll's body, I doubt many other people would find it flattering either.

      If you knew and were friends with a person and you know for a fact a doll was made to be him/her, would you tell your friend about it? Even if they're not a "dollfie" enthusiast?
      I find this very, very interesting because my boyfriend is adamant that one of my dolls is a dead ringer for my friend/co-worker. I got the wig, eyes and clothes independently (the doll in question is my SDC Kurenai, Melangell) and developed the doll without thinking of anyone in particular, but somehow I've put together a BJD of my friend! Now my boyfriend has pointed this out to me, I can clearly see it and I am afraid of telling my friend about the BJD hobby and my dolls in case she thinks I deliberately made a doll of her when I did not.

      I love this particular doll very much, Meli is one of my favourite dolls, and I really don't want to alter her in any way, but at the same time, I find it unethical now I see that she shares so many traits with my friend that someone who knows both my friend and my doll will be able to spot them easily. My dilemma is accidentally re-creating my friend in BJD form!
    3. Is it against some kind of ethical or moral code to request a Minimee doll based on the face of some "average person" without them knowing (and therefor, without consenting)? At least to me it is, think about how you would feel if someone made a doll of you without asking and you saw a photo story of said doll doing things that offended you? I would be more then a little upset. Now if that person gave you permission to use their likeness, it almost becomes a "all bets are off" situation. If, like in Jescissa's case, you made a doll and later found out it looks like someone you know, i would try and change it enough to still match the doll's personality and not look like that person anymore. (like giving it a different hair color and style....Now if that person then gets the same hair color and style....they are coping you doll not your doll copying them :lol: )

      Is it creepy or stalkerish? If done because you are already "stalking" said person.... Example (none of these people are real) a girl works with a guy she wants to date/has a crush on/fell in love with, but he either dosen't like her like that/has a girlfriend/ ect. and she goes to make a doll of him so she can have him, then yeah that IMO would be creepy/stalkerish

      Would there be any types/genres of photos/photostories that are "not appropriate"? If you had an agreement with someone who said you could use their likeness i am sure there would be guidelines on how you could use them.

      If you knew and were friends with the person that you know for a fact a doll was made to be him/her, would you tell your friend about it? Even if they're not a "dollfie" enthusiast? I would ask them about it, to see if maybe they said it was ok and if not i would show them.

      Now, If you do decided to make a doll based on someone get an agreement in writing so that way later down the road they can't say you did it without permission ( i plan on getting one from my husband so i can make one of him...hehehe.....To which he wants me to make one of myself so he can take pictures.....Not sure if i trust him though :|)
    4. I don't know if I'd go so far as to call it immoral, but I think getting a Minimee of someone you knew without asking them would be INCREDIBLY creepy. I know I'd be very, very freaked out. And if the person was then posting suggestive and/or nude photos or photostories involving the doll that would be even creepier. And I don't think intent matters -- even if you just thought that person was pretty and would make a nice doll I suspect it would look creepy and stalker-y to THEM.

      ...basically I think it'd be a really, really bad plan in general. Maybe not unethical, but definitely outside the normal social acceptability boundaries and likely to make the person think you were a creeper.
    5. I admit, I have a hard time wrapping my mind around some of the celebrity Minimees though I can understand wanting to have a doll based off of a particular character from a movie/comic. A doll based off of a random person to me is very creepy, especially if they don't know that you're doing that.

      If I knew someone who had a doll made off of them, I might tell them not for the sake of dolls, but just to let them know someone is using their face. It would depend on the person and how they'd react, but some people might be amused by it; some people might feel really weird about it but they might still want to know.

      I honestly can't see, or at least really doubt the likelihood of, people surfing around and finding a few photos of an attractive/interesting person and having it sculpted into a doll or making dolls of friends without permission.
    6. maybe i shouldn't even post this, but what difference would it make, seriously, if someone took a photo of me that i was not aware of, and then had a doll made in my likeness, i probably would never even no about it. if i "did" see it i might be bewildered that someone even wanted a doll that looked like me, and then i would probably be flattered and make everyone i know look at it.
      why is this a concern of yours? has this happened to you, or someone you know? has someone been hurt by this? i find this an odd topic....
    7. The issue here is one of public versus private people. A public figure, such as obama or britney expects that their image might be used in ways that they don't approve of. Its part of being a public person. This doesn't allow unlimited uncompensated use of the image, only something similar to fair use.

      A private individual has an expectation of privacy which is higher than that of someone in the public eye. Therein lies your dilemma. Is this person likely to find out / object? I would think most people would consider it flattering to have something sculpted in their image.

      ABJD sculptures go a bit beyond the normal "I snapped a picture of this gorgeous chick i don' know in the park and I'm gonna use it for my next pen and ink drawing" Most of us have emotional ties to our dolls, thus a doll made in the image of someone you know may be percieved as odd.

      Imagine being at a dollshow, showing off the minime and someone inquire about the anatomy, you oblige with a demonstatration just as the inspiration walks up... priceless.
    8. :lol: It is a tough one because I really like my doll the way she is now and if I change her she won't be Melangell anymore, but I don't want to freak out my friend :doh Personality-wise, my doll is nothing like my friend, but when you look at a doll, you can't see their personality, you can only judge on appearance.

      I was so surprised to see this topic come up really!
    9. I have a friend who looks like someone's Hound. But he's not into dollfies at all, besides I think this girl who had the Hound lived on the west coast (and we're east coast). I put a picture of the Hound in a comment to his MySpace and he was like "Whoa! ...COOL!" and all his friends were like, "Holy crap! You're a doll now??" But no one was negative about it.

      Dolls are sculpted to resemble people, after all... Is it really weird to (and this is just as an example) think that the guy who works across the street has the perfect face for a doll and requested Minimee service to make a head of him?
    10. I wouldn't worry about it, since the likeness is unintentional--it's not like you commissioned a head to look like her. It's just like in real life when you happen to bump into someone that resembles you--those things just happen sometimes.
    11. Basically that was my thought too. I'd be dumbfounded if I KNEW about it! I mean WHY would you make a doll with my square face, freckles and nearly lashless eyes?:lol:

      But seriously, so what? Isn't that what artists do all the time? Use pieces of people they know or have seen for their pictures or stories?
    12. I think it's creepy and a bit stalker-ish to do something like that without someone's knowledge or consent. If I ever found out that someone had done something like that of me, I would probably be wondering if I should move out of state. :sweat

      A year or so, some pervy parent made a music video of his kid's teacher at a school presentation set to "Hot for Teacher"... and the teacher found out about it and was really upset, but couldn't get the hosting site to make him take it down. I don't know how much control we actually have over our own image, even (maybe especially) if we are private people.
    13. As I see it, if you're not wanting to tell a person you know that you'd like/already have a doll of them then there is obviously something which doesn't sit well with it.
    14. Well, I'm not sure if people do that, but I don't think it's something I would do. The dolls are expensive, and you love them a lot so their character is really thought out. I think, in my mind, it would be... a 'waste' of sorts to make a doll after a person like that, apparently one you don't know or trust enough to tell of the doll, when you could have come up with a appearance or personality on your own. Aside from the idea of loving the doll, my favourite part is coming up with a creative personality, history, ect.

      Therefore, I would only create a doll after a real person if I knew them well and they were important to me, at which point I'd be comfortable enough to ask them about it. I don't know if you'll agree, but in my eyes modeling a doll after someone else and not from my own ideas makes me feel like the doll isn't wholly mine... Like the person who's face they share also owns them, or that they have a connection with the doll I couldn't possibly have. And that idea would make me really upset, so I don't think I'd ever have a doll like that.

      Bah, that was moire of an oppinion on something totally different! That wasn't the question, was it?! DX

      Really, I don't see it as an invasion of privacy, but it does cross the boundary of creepy.
    15. Uh, I have a hard time wrapping my mind around the idea^^; I would never pay for a minimee of a real person, mostly because it's very possible that the doll would be ugly/lack that something that make me want to create it in the first place... also I am not very fond of Minimees in general-- some of them are really scary D: Anyway, back on the topic... Well, no, I wouldn't be offended if someone wanted a Minimee that looks like me. Pff, you can even name it after me! I bet I wouldn't even recognize it's supposed to be me haha Seriously, I wouldn't care... Well, there is that one option where I would care - the owner makes it clear that the doll doesn't just look like me, but the doll represents me, and the owner kills, rapes, tortures the doll in his/her photostories D: That would be very creppy. Like sanding negative vibes in my direction, something like torturing a voodoo doll;) But if the doll just looks like me, because the owner finds my look pretty/interesting, I don't care.
    16. Oh, God: persiasecretary, that's a good point-- I totally forgot there was the whole Voodoo dolls idea.

      Could BJDs be used for Voodoo? Especially if you got a Minimee head of someone and even dressed the doll to look like them? o_O Now that's a whole other topic... and definitely creepy!!
    17. I had a personal experience with something like this, before I had even heard of BJDs.

      Six and a half years ago, I did an art trade with a friend online. I did a commission art piece for her, and she made me a commission of the custom plushies she was selling. I was going overseas the following semester, and decided I wanted a plushie of one of my best friends to take with me.

      Despite the plushie not being anywhere as close to the real thing as a Minimee would be, for me it was a link back to home that comforted me when things got tough at school. After I got home, I told my friend about his plushie twin and he took it fairly well. :)

      Thing is...I don't need that emotional anchor anymore. The plushie sits high up on a shelf, tucked away amongst other stuffed animals, because it's just weird to me to have it around. Kind of like I have a piece of someone that I don't quite have permission to be holding. But giving it away would be even weirder, and perish the thought of throwing it out!

      In retrospect, I'm sure that he would have given me permission had I asked beforehand. But that wouldn't make it any less weird now, to still have it around as I do. =\
    18. Though I understand people basing their dolls after fictional characters, I find minimees modelled after real people to be a little creepy. Even going to toy stores and seeing those 'Mary Kate and Ashley' dolls is a bit unnerving to me, because I guess it feels like you're trying to own a 'person', and not just a 'character' (for example, detailed figurines based off live action movies).

      As for the doll being modelled after a real person, especially without permission, I guess it would depend on the context. Who's the person who made the doll, and what are they doing with it? I'd be a little surprised if a close friend made a doll to look like me, but think nothing of it if they just played with it like a regular doll. But, say, if they used the doll in sexual contexts or it was someone I'm not particularly close to, I'd find it really disturbing.

      Jescissa: I think you should keep the doll as she is now if you're happy with how she looks! How many times have we watched TV or read a book, and a character either looks or acts exactly like us or someone we know? You didn't have your friend in mind when you created your doll's character, and you said she doesn't have the same personality, so I don't think you have any real reason to change her.
    19. While I know this is not exactly the way this discussion is phrased, what this brings up for me is the combination of stunned and weirded-out I felt when I was browsing the group orders and happened to see an attempt to organize an order of someone I know...who happens to be a celebrity. Just because a person is a more 'public' figure does not make it any less strange and off-putting in seeing a Minimee feeler for your friend, a person that you watch football and drink tequila with. I suppose, to me, a Minimee order for his likeness is just as invasive or awkward as if it was for any of my other friends.

      YMMV, of course. Just offering another perspective and a reminder that public people are still people.
    20. I think I will keep Melangell the same. I might change her dress sense a little, but she wouldn't be the same doll to me without the eyes and wig she has now, they're perfect for her. Dismantling her would he awful. If it ever becomes an issue I could change it if my friend wants me to, but for now I'm just going to enjoy my doll.

      This is a good point, but I think the OP means that public figures/celebrities somewhat expect to see their likeness when they're out and about, some even have action figures made of them, whereas private citizens don't expect this.

      Minimees don't sit right with me very much, however. When I saw the listings for Jensen Ackles/Jared Padalecki Minimees my first thought was ":D"...but my second thought was ":?" Having those guys' heads sitting around my room would be taking fangirling them to a whole other uncomfortable level, and as my Supernatural fangirl friends are totally not into BJD, they wouldn't think it was cool either.

      Saying "Hai! I have your head in my room :fangirl::fangirl:" Probably isn't the best conversation opener at an autograph signing!