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Recasts and Bootlegging

Mar 6, 2012

    1. Since this appears to be a hot issue on Tumblr right now, I figured it wouldn't be a bad idea to open a debate about recasts here.

      There has been a lot of discussion recently on Tumblr about recasts-- why people buy them, who is hurt from buying them, and so on.

      So what is your stance on recasts?

      Edit: I edited this title since the discussion is on both recasts and bootlegging-- that includes the backdoor sale of dolls who are 100% the same as the original, but taken from the factory they were made.
    2. I think it's about the same as pirating videos - except worse because instead of stealing from a big, scary corporation with more money than it knows what to do with, you're stealing from a small company of artists who are just trying to get by.

      I think knowingly buying a ripoff just because you're too cheap to get the real thing is low. :\ You're already spending money, just save up a bit more for the real thing! And if it's a limited doll, try to find it second hand or something.

      I've also heard that a lot of these can be made out of hazardous materials?
    3. The companies don't get any of that money if you buy it second hand, and if it's a Limited and sold out (since plenty of basics are on the Market Place as it is), they've already resigned themselves to not getting more money from said sculpt anyway.
      I've gotten crap for buying used books and CDs either from other people or from a used media store, so, it would seem that anything other than buying brand new means you're cheating a company.
    4. No, buying secondhand is not cheating the company-- they may not be getting YOUR money, but they did get the money from the original purchaser. Secondhand sales of legitimate items is a good thing, because it encourages a good aftermarket to flourish.

      But if you buy a bootleg item, the company doesn't see ANY of that money. Ever. At all. That is cheating the company. That is nothing but giving your money to the furtherance of a criminal enterprise. And that is rotten for the whole community at large.

      (I can't believe those Tumblr creeps are actually bragging about it.... or, wait, no, maybe I can believe it. People are animals.)
    5. But the original owner did buy the doll from the company, even though later somebody bought it secondhand. With a recast, the company got nothing from anybody ever. Of course dolls will be bought and sold, that's a given with any collectible item. People however, maybe more likely to buy a company's dolls new if they know that they tend to hold their value decently on the secondhand market -- the marketplace can influence people's interest in a particular company's dolls.

      Having a lot of recasts floating around also erodes trust in the secondary market making it more difficult to buy and sell dolls. Plus, it puts newbies who aren't as familiar with as many companies in a position where it's easier to get ripped off, because the doll they thought was legit turned out not to be. You aren't going to be assured of quality with a recast doll either -- it may be ok quality wise, or you could end up with something that is actually harmful to your health (it's happened to people before). And of course, if you're going to buy a doll from a company, buying the legit doll supports the artists so they can keep putting out new sculpts.

      There is no good reason to buy a recast, and a lot of very real reasons not to. Also, there are many lower priced legit bjds out there now that are of comparable prices to recasts if not actually cheaper so lack of money is no excuse.
    6. .. But the company got money from the original purchase, right? And recasting limited dolls undermines the value for those people who DID buy from the company. And buying from recasters supports skeevy people who make money by ripping off other people's hard work. Also many of the recasters don't even warn you that you're buying a recast, so they're committing fraud as well.

      All in all, it's bad business.
    7. The recent mod post on the issue says most of my own opinion regarding it, but I want to draw special attention to this part as I feel it's officially relevant here, where so many members utilize the market.

      I do most of my shopping on the MP and almost all of my dolls have come from there. I don't want to have to worry about the authenticity of every purchase I make. No one should have to wonder if their doll is a legitimate company doll, or a recast someone has grown tired of and/or marked up and is trying to pass off as the real thing. If you are the second or thirdhand owner of a legitimate doll, you may not have all the paperwork, boxes or other "proof of authenticity" required to satisfy a now-nervous buyer.

      This should not have to be an issue. Ever. Ever ever ever ever. This is a hobby, and a luxury hobby at that. People should not have to worry about whether or not they are buying someone's counterfeit goods.

      But it is a legitimate concern. And the more that becomes widely known about recasts and where to get them, the more of a concern it becomes. Recasts are like any doll, people may eventually grow tired of owning them and want something else. Will the do the honorable thing and cut their losses and give the doll away or dispose of it? No. They are going to try to resell it. Are recasts allowed on DoA/ebay/any other massive market place? No. Therefore, the person will probably try to pass it off as authentic both to sell it and make an extra bit of profit.

      Recasts bring absolutely nothing to the community, other than satisfying a sense of entitlement for people who missed out on the initial offering or a sculpt and/or are too cheap to pay full price (whether that be retail price or market value) for it.
    8. I wouldn't buy a recast, but... big "but" here I would never preach my personal choices onto anyone else. I have seen some really scary behavior here and elsewhere towards people that have bootlegs. I know that recasting is illegal and against my morals but I'm not the cops, I don't have any right to harass, cuss out, or threaten, others on the web because they don't adhere to my belief structure and neither does anyone else. If users quietly report bootleg auctions or others who are actively violating a site's TOS, that's fine.

      Some people who take it too far make us all look bad.
    9. The mold for a recast HAD to come from somewhere, meaning somebody DID actually buy an original at one point in time. Still, plagiraism is BAD bad juju and never fun for the person who originally created the object/idea/thing.

      I think the issue is less so about money lost, more so an issue of trust. No one likes being lied to, and no one wants to mistrust everyone they see selling second hand. Personally, what someone else owns is not my concern. If that person is selling their recast for whatever reason, I will make a note not to purchase from them and report them if I can- but I'm not going to constantly attack them for having, possibly, made a poor decision. If for some reason I was uninformed and unwittingly came in the possesion of a recast, I would be forced to keep it (unless it is toxic in which case it would be destroyed) and not show it publicly. I'm not going to lie in that I would probably still love the thing, even if my morals would prevent me from showing it in places such as this forum, if it was not harmful. I would likely not trust buying from whoever I got it from again, however, and probably not want to buy second-hand anytime soon.
    10. Are the people who are "harassing" the owners of recast dolls really doing it out of "morality" or are they just internet trolls with a new game to play? My guess is that people who would resort to harassment are trolls. People who really care about the issue take different tactics.

      As far as I can see, recast buyers are not in the same hobby I am in. A huge part of my idea of the hobby is the connection to the creator of the doll I buy and the feeling that I am supporting an individual artist. I am supporting maybe 100 people in Volks' case, when I buy from Dollstown I am supporting two people, when I buy from A.I.R I am supporting one person. When I buy a Dollshe doll, I know it's his mother stringing the dolls. Many of the one-man studios are people who also have day jobs because doll making is a labor of love, not something that pays the bills. These are not people who can afford my betrayal. We are, in a sense, patrons of a very niche art.
    11. That was my thinking, but apparently it wasn't satisfactory enough and by buying second hand items we're being lazy consumers or some such BS. >_>
    12. I agree with you, partially. None of us has the right to harass others, but as idrisfynn wrote below, how can you be sure it's bjd owners harassing others and not trolls?

      I take issue, however, with the underlying premise of your argument, which seems to be that all opinions/beliefs/choices are equivalent. Clearly this is not true when we are dealing with people who are supporting illegal activities. We're not talking about personal morality here. It is against international copyright law to pirate, even in China. Because that government chooses not to enforce the law does not make that law disappear, nor does it change the fact that those recasting bjds are breaking the law. Buy a recast and you are supporting illegal activity, plain and simple.
    13. I can understand people wanting to have a copy of a doll they can't afford. They might even find a recast that's pretty good quality, though I understand there is an inevitable shrinkage of the resin, and there are some concerns about toxicity (hence guarantees of safe "French" resin). Who among us has not pined for a BJD? Too expensive, no longer available, so legendary that you'll never ever get your hands on one?

      But face it: stealing is stealing. I don't know of any moral code that manages to ignore that. If I buy a recast I'm stealing someone's artistic creation. If I tell myself it's okay because I'm not doing the stealing directly since I'm a third party, I'm kidding myself because I want that doll so bad.

      Saying that I wouldn't do it to a small BJD creator but it's okay to do it to one of the major houses is just more rationalization. The voice of a guilty conscience. Every sculpt is a painstaking and often magnificent creation.

      But we are all consumers. We want what we want NOW. It's a sign of BJDs' consumer appeal that they've now gone the way of Gucci and Louis Vuitton. Do we really want counterfeit BJDs sold for a few shekels on sidewalks like bootleg handbags? The proponents of the practice of dealing in recasts seem to feel quite justified and perhaps even a little pleased with themselves. Maybe they would say that consumers have a right to possess copies of the dolls they love, and that these recasts are high quality products. Maybe they would say that they've found a way to make BJDs accessible to all. The guys selling the fake Gucci might say the same thing.

      I admit that I don't understand the ethics at work here, just as I can't quite fathom some of my students' complete nonchalance about plagiarism. They seem to feel that simply finding an appropriate document to copy for their report is a sign of cleverness and should merit a good grade in itself. Why should it matter that they don't actually understand half the words in the text? Or that the words are someone else's? They've done some manipulating, but they haven't done any creating.

      Not much anyone can do about these zombie BJDs, though. Rail against it (but not too much, I agree). Report it when it's caught. Redouble our loyalty to the artists who have delighted us with their creations.
    14. I think it depends on what you're buying.... In certain hobbies/shopping circles that do not have a strong emphasis on limited edition items, buying used IS looked down upon, because really, you could've given the company X amount for yet another new item Y instead of buying item Y for X-n from a seller on the second-hand market. (or something along these lines... I don't personally adhere to this belief, but I do think it's the logic behind it - especially if it's something heavily number-based, like books or records or whatever else that counts the number of sold items and uses it as a way to judge how good something is)

      Conversely, in hobbies that DO involve a lot of limited edition items, such as BJDs or high-end action figures or figurines (citing these because I've personally experiences both), the second-hand market is very active and very encouraged - and in these hobbies, the state of the aftermarket DOES benefit the company. A big high-end action figure company recently began re-releasing old editions to cash in on the craze (these guys consistently put out product that easily tripled in price within a few years of being sold out), and they received a lot of criticism for killing their aftermarket and being, in the long run, negatively affected by this. A healthy aftermarket generates attention for the company's new products - not just because they keep their value, but also because people see that this company enjoys great popularity among collectors because there are people ready and willing to buy their product "used" and subconsciously connect it to popular = good = quality.

      I actually think that the importance of the aftermarket does have something to do with how seriously bootlegs are taken; in places where there's the constant drive to sell-sell-sell make new make more, bootlegs seem less important because by the time they weave themselves into the market, the company(ies) moved on to something new; take, for example - movies. By the time good-quality pirated copies of new movies make it up on the websites, I'd be willing to wager that the cinemas and movie companies have already captured the vast majority of the audience they were hoping to get; by that point, the only thing left is selling the DVD/Blu rays when they come out, and in that sense, the pirated copies might not even be such a bad thing because people who were hesitant to go and spend the money in the movie theatre might enjoy the movie so much that they'd purchase a hard copy of it later. (This "give it away for free and watch people spend money on it" is something that many good webcomic artists/publishers rely on, and it seems to work splendidly thus far). Conversely, no one is going to buy a bootleg to "try out the company's doll" and then eventually upgrade to the real thing because they like it so much. Really, [consciously] buying the bootleg already shows that they do not care about the company, and are likely trying to save themselves money.

      To be honest though, I don't even think pirated movies/music is comparable. Sure, they both involve ripping off the original creator.... But as far as I know, pirated copies of movies are distributed for free. With recasts, someone, likely someone with very dubious intentions (it's a pretty well-known fact that the Triads like to get some of their funding via sales of stolen intellectual property, though TBH I don't think BJD's sell at quite the scale they want to operate at), is getting paid for stealing someone else's hard work. Someone else's hard work who likely toiled over it for hours as a labour of love more than anything else, and to whom that one lost sale (or lost advertisement) matters a lot more than a $9 movie ticket to a big corporation. There's also this little ethical tidbit to consider.

      Me, personally... I would never be able to live with a recast. I would probably destroy any doll I owned if I found out it was a recast, because not only does the notion disgust me, but it would always be a constant reminder of my stupidity and wasted money. (Okay, if I could confirm that it wasn't toxic, I might give it away to a children's charity or something like that - but regardless, I would get rid of it). I CANNOT comprehend how someone could waste so much money on a stolen item. Like... it seems more of a waste to me to spend $200 on a recast than $2000 on the real thing in the secondary market. And this might make me sound vindictive, but I honestly don't have a problem with people openly praising and advertising bootlegs and how happy they are with them getting hassled; maybe not death threats and other highly immature and overblown behaviour, but people dishing out personal feelings and contempt? Yeah, I'd say that's kind of expected when you steal things.
    15. Actually I am with you, Lelite & Sakuraharu -- I don't have a problem with criminals getting harassed. By whomever. I am all in favor of creating a climate that no longer encourages that activity, and no longer allows that activity to flourish, unchallenged, with impunity. Like, take the "No Means No" campaign, when, late 80s? Up till then, date-rape wasn't viewed as much of a crime, and there was that same attitude of "well, yeah, it's bad, but I'm not the cops, so I'm not gonna hassle some guy who just got carried away". By having a lot of people speak up & loudly hassle anybody who held that opinion-- by having a lot of people say "yes, I am judging, because it is wrong to think that this is OK"-- eventually date-rape no longer found the social climate so hospitable, or so easy to stay accepted. [But, side-note that the battle is never over kthx.]

      If we sit back and say "well, yeah, recasting is bad and illegal, but let's not judge", we continue to foster a climate where people feel comfortable recasting, soliciting recasts, bragging about how they got away with slipping a picture of their recasts onto DOA, etc. out in the open. And attain some measure of acceptability. Which I do not think is OK.
    16. Ah, but I'm not saying that we need to accept illegal activities, just that it is not our job to police such activities. I am prone to positive indifference, that is to say that any activity that people engage in that does not directly infringe on the rights of others takes a backseat to matters of higher priority IE: Theft, murder, rape etc. In other words it's my choice to still associate with some people in my life who do illegal things, so long as they do not hurt others I'm indifferent.

      What my post was really about though was instances where I have seen rabid strings of swears and threat passed at people on different sites for posting about their recast doll (be they from troll or from dollers they will get attributed to us either way). To me a threat of direct physical harm is waaaay worse than owning a bootleg object and as an artist I can honestly say I'd rather deal with the nightmare of someone stealing my art than have to face being threatened with violence. I've also seen some very erroneous comparisons. I remember someone on here compared bootlegging to puppy milling. While both are morally wrong bootlegging doesn't kill over 1000 living breathing beings each day, most of whom live in torture. I think I facepalmed so hard I got a concussion.

      So my point was: Fake dollies = bad, but there's so much worse stuff out there it'd make you weep.
    17. Actually, you have an excellent point. I retract what I said about it being like pirating movies.

      What about the RIGHT of the creators to their intellectual property? Or the right of the rest of us to be able to trust the secondary market? Recasts hurt the community as a whole. If I caught any of my friends stealing things to sell for any reason at all, they would not be my friends any longer.
      Yes there are worse things out there and YES of course I think that rape/murder/assault are much worse crimes than bootlegging, but that doesn't mean that it should be accepted. I mean... rape is worse than sexual harassment, but does that mean we should accept sexual harassment and just be glad it's not rape?

      JennyNemesis is right. Saying "let's not judge" just allows this behavior to continue.

      And do you think it doesn't hurt people if they buy a doll thinking that it's legit and then find out their precious doll is a recast?

      EDIT: Also recast dolls CAN literally hurt someone because some people use TOXIC MATERIALS in creating them, which can severely impact the health of any unsuspecting buyer.
    18. Recasts are hurting the original artist. Maybe they don't get stabbed, raped or tortured, but they do get hurt. I don't know if you ever worked hard on something that took many hours to perfect, but I have. I'd be gutted if someone took it, copied it and then sells it for money without my consent.
      If you say the illegal activity of selling/buying recasts by your friends is okay with you, because it's not causing a big hurt, you're saying that stealing a small item from a shop is okay, because at least they didn't scam thousands of people out of their pensions.
      Illegal is illegal. If someone does something illegal, it doesn't mean you have to be mean to them, but you also shouldn't pretend it's okay by looking the other way.
    19. I think we shall just have to agree to disagree however I just wanted to respond to this to clarify that I do not know anyone who has recasts. I was speaking of members of my family who... well they grew up in the 60's if you know what I mean (with lots of brownies for munching). I just wanted to clarify since I don't want anyone falsely accused of anything.
    20. Recasts have no place on DOA, and I hope to see it stay that way.

      Honestly though, I accept that people will do bad, immoral things. That there's a recast community on tumblr that gives reviews and shows pictures of recast dolls and talks about their quality is a useful tool for me. I assumed, until stumbling on the blog, that any recast doll would smell funny, but full of bubbles, badly colored, and shrunken looking. This tumblr showed me otherwise, told me things that I need to know and that are informative if I ever look for secondhand dolls. For example, some recasts have no shrinkage now, or very little, because apparently some recasters digitally scan their dolls somehow to create molds.

      Also, as much as I do not support the idea of recasting, a group of people who can share reviews and experiences can possibly create better safety for bootleg doll buyers-- and that is something I do care about. If they're reviewing these recasts, as the tumblr blog seems to be doing... if some seller makes a bad, toxic doll giving off fumes, at least these buyers can share that information and possibly help prevent other people in their group avoid putting their health at risk.