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The consequences of copied dolls

Jun 3, 2008

    1. I've thought about this since the lolidoll ebay listings went up.
      And a couple of interesting ideas came up in the discussion thread.

      about recasting dolls...buying knock offs and all the terrible moral things that go along with it.


      IF they are complete recasts...
      and someone bought one...
      painted it...
      and NEVER told anyone it was from (insert company)....
      took pics of it...
      posted them in a photostory with their other dolls...
      how would anyone know?

      What I am asking is this...
      Once they are out of the listing and in the hands of a person, how would anyone know it wasn't the actual doll JUST by looking at a pic?

      I think THAT is the stigma with copies, fakes if you will. They are dopplegangers passing as the real thing.

      From Wikipedia,

      A doppelgänger (pronunciation (help·info)) or fetch is the fictional ghostly double of a living person, a sinister form of bilocation.
      The word is also used to describe the sensation of having glimpsed oneself in peripheral vision, in a position where there is no chance that it could have been a reflection.[citation needed] They are generally regarded as harbingers of bad luck. In some traditions, a doppelgänger seen by a person's friends or relatives portends illness or danger, while seeing one's own doppelgänger is an omen of death. In Norse mythology, a vardøger is a ghostly double who precedes a living person and is seen performing their actions in advance.

      What happens to the retail value of the REAL sculpt when copies are passed off as originals?

      What about resale of such copies? Here OR on Ebay? Will it drive prices lower?

      When purchasing secondhand... you may or may not be able to tell once the doll arrives.
      What if the seller of one of these dolls also bought it second hand and did not know the difference? Through no fault of their own sold it as it was represented to them? as an original?

      What long term consequences to the hobby and the value of ABJDs do you foresee if complete copies continue to surface?

      I am not looking for "Copying is bad." "I would never buy"...etc....that goes without saying.
      I am thinking of a debate that involves the long term effects of the problem as if it is continuing or growing.

      What could be done to prevent it, how to recognize these "Dopplegangers", What toll it might take on current sculpters and future work they might do? and a whole bag of other questions that I am sure will come up.
    2. The companies will have to eventually mark their dolls. Not all do. So one must purchase from a reputable company or business.
      There has been a debate about altering dolls from their original condtion. Does that mean all repaints are worthless as the dolls are altered from their orginal condition?
      There have been tons of knock off dolls especially at the time the Revlon doll came out in the 50's. Madame Alex sold her head to other companies and they made the bodies. But they did not call the doll by its MA name.
    3. How would anyone know? Have you looked at the "suspected copy" threads that still remain on this board? There are many people on this board who are "experts" about one company's work or another and boy howdy, they will KNOW. Particularly since lots of people are experts in Volks or Luts, and these are the two most frequently copied companies.

      Maybe the buyer wouldn't know, but the board would.
    4. I think how serious the consequences of this would be depends on how prevelant bootleg dolls become. They're obviously out there, but the communities have done what seems to be a good job discouraging them as well as offering a place where newbies can find the information they need to make informed purchases.

      I think if bootlegs became very prevelant, it could affect the values of the original pieces, but while they obviously have customers, I don't think bootleg companies are there yet, and there is still such a strong stigma against fakes in the hobby. More bootlegs appearing in the secondary market could definitely cause confusion and an extra concern for buyers who are making their buying decisions based only on photos.

      The best way to prevent it is to continue to do what has been done. Have the big on-line communities not allow them, make it clear that they are not welcome. This will help discourage people that want to be active community members from buying them. And also to keep making people aware that companies like Lolidoll are not legit so that fewer people get taken in.

      To some extent, copies are going to exist--it's just one of those things. As long as people are willing to buy them, they'll keep getting made and some people will buy them. I think it's just more a matter of keeping their popularity down by marginalizing them as much as possible.
    5. Same way that Pucci fanatics always seem to be able to spot the fake in a whole roomful of identically ugly neon-splattered 60s dresses. A sculpt-hound just KNOWS when something's wrong about that Sakaki, or that El, or what have you.

      Sixth sense? I dunno how they do it. Same as I dunno how my mom could always tell when I hadn't done quite all my homework. They just know.
    6. Sixth sense...boy that's the truth I knew a gal who could tell what brand of pantyhose you were wearing. HOW? I have no idea.
    7. Seriously, have a look around the forum. The answer you are looking for is YES.

      Exact copies do not exist in recasts. Recasts would be slightly smaller in every way.
    8. I think that many people could easily pass off a copy doll as a real one. Every person has different lighting in their home, so you couldn't detect a resin difference unless they had a doll of the real company - and even then dolls yellow over time, it could be passed off as that. I think unless it was a very poor copy or someone brought it to a meet, people still wouldn't know. Though if suddenly someone has a CP head matching a DOT body in resin color, something there would have to be copied.

      This is very scary.

      However, I think if someone tried to resell a copy as an original, they would be much more likely to be found out. Sales are put under a lot of scrutiny. Though if it got sold without detailed photos to someone new to the hobby, they might not even know what to look for.

      I think that the companies that make the copies would eventually be found out, though, and brought to light, so not as many people would buy from them, reducing the impact on authentic dolls.

      A note, however, although China is known for producing knockoffs of products frequently, I think the way you imply that all copies would come from China is a bit rude.
    9. I was using Lollidoll as an example and they are in China but in all fairness I can reword it.
    10. This kinda makes me think of knock-off purses.
      There is a huge Chinatown, if you will, in Houston called Harwin that is noted for being the best place to get knock-off bags. There are dozens of stores there that sell nothing but fake designer jewlery, bags, sunglasses, etc. Have I bought stuff there? Yep. I've gotten a few fake Chanel bags, coach bags, and whatnot because I honestly was not willing to pay $300 for a similar bag I could get for $30.

      The point of all that? Knock-offs only have bad stigma because they are just that: knock-offs.

      My dad always likes to say that things are priced as high as people will pay. BJDs are no exception. If someone offers essentially the same product for the lower price...I'm game. I know it sounds bad, but I'm gonna be honest. Having a "copied" doll would only give negative stigma if it was known to be a copy.

      My dad had a fake Rolex (we dubbed it his Faux-lex XD) and when he took it to the jewlers to get the battery fixed, the lady said she wouldn't have known it was fake if she wasn't a jeweler. She made a comment how people's opinion of a watch suddenly changed when they learned it wasn't "real" even though it was just as good.

      I can understand BJDs being somewhat different because it's essentially art...but then again...so are bag/jewlery designs.
    11. The problem there is how many of us mod the dolls we buy, even just slightly. I've modded my hound subtly, but you can tell the difference between him and an unmodded doll.

      When you remold a doll, especially depending on the quality of resin and silicone you use, the new product is smaller and the detail begins to get lost. Sharp edges or high detailed areas, like the face and ears, get softened and muddied. That might me a useful clue if they're not using high quality products, but I don't think that will be obvious unless you see both together.

      The forever dolls, in person, are easy to tell they're fakes. Their resin feels more like plaster and their skin is painted(the one I saw was orange under the paint). But these recent once look like their the same kind of resin as the original item...

      As for marking the dolls, a lot of dolls seem to be made with metal plates that have the doll's company name- but they fall off all the time. My naraes and my limho boy's have both come off. XD I have them in a safe place, but I move so much eventually they'll probably get lost. A stamp in the resin itself might be better, but again, that would probably be copied when the copy is made.

      In response to people who think they can spot the differences... sometimes they think they can and they really can't. I had someone swear to me my shiwoo elf was "clearly" a sleeping shiwoo vampire. But he isn't. He's a sleeping shiwoo elf head and I modded his eyes open myself. I bought him through liria when the shiwoo elves were first released, before there was an english luts site. That was really frustrating and honestly sort of insulting.

      I think this is going to get very messy and that it will also bring witch hunts against people trying to sell perfectly legitimate dolls.

      sorry, that was a long response. X3
    12. PWN'D!
    13. Amen to that. :( It almost makes me afraid to mod my dolls... I've done some modding to my Juri06 and it would be easy for someone to point at him and say "Oh, his lips are smaller and his face shape is a little off, maybe he's a recast", when it was really just my first modding job and he is a legit doll from CP/Luts.

      I also agree on the plates... I've glued my Domuya girl's headplate back on once already. So the presence or lack of a headplate can be an indicator, but a missing plate doesn't necessarily mean it's definitely a copy.

      I foresee it getting more and more difficult to tell some of these copies apart in the future, and I'm afraid of the "witch hunt" mentality that it may bring. Owners of legitimate dolls that have been modded may be persecuted for having a suspected copy/bootleg. And while I don't want to see that happen, I also don't want to see bootlegs passed off as the real thing.

      The thing that really scares me is the idea of buying a doll secondhand based on photos... the buyer may think it's the real thing and only realize it's a bootleg once the doll arrives. Worse, what if it's a doll or company the buyer isn't familiar with yet, and they don't even realize it's a copy?

      Not necessarily... it's against the rules, but I do sometimes see dolls sold in the Marketplace even without photos. I subscribed to a sales listing where the seller stated "I will post pictures tomorrow" so I could decide when the photos were posted. However, before the day was up the doll had been sold. I've also seen listings with dark, small, or blurry photos, where identifying differences could easily be disguised.

      Ugh... overall, I agree. I think it'll just get messy.
    14. I remember the witch-hunt mentality, especially with the up-cropping of certain companies that had copied in the past. Comparisons and "a-ha! Copy" and finger-pointing were made in all directions, and most were far-fetched at best. Yet the accusers were incredibly adamant; they "clearly" saw that they were copies. It all makes me a bit uncomfortable, really.

      It would definitely make the marketplace a much more frightening place. I think much of the stigma comes from the fact that the copies are generally poor quality. I remember Forever Doll or one of the blatant bootlegging companies would put saw-dust in the resin, or something similar.

      But I almost prefer that obvious, low-quality fake to the very subtle, very well-done copy that is hardly distinguishable from the original, without being placed side-by-side. (As in imhitomi's example of Chinatown bags).

      I would hate to see this discourage modding; I find modding to be one of my favorite parts of this hobby. It's such a personal, customizable hobby, and discouraging such a key element would be absolutely terrible. And if they are not in their exact clothing, with their exact face-up, with all those specific, immaculate details, would that cause them to be suspect, if the copying became so blatant, and suspicion ran that high? I certainly hope not. Then this hobby would cease to be of interest to me.

      Personally, I doubt it will get to that extreme. As Taco mentioned, boot-legging is very discouraged, and there are many restrictions in place. It's definitely not as "acceptable" as buying fake designer items. (As designer labels are quite obviously marked-up, while doll prices are incredibly understandable if one takes all the costs into consideration).
    15. I wish we could all be as sure as you & Taco seem to be. Remember how popular designer-knockoffs actually are! They may be discouraged, 'tis true, and they may be looked-down-upon, and marginalized, and declared tacky, but... millions of people buy them and happily use them and don't care. The Have-Nots want the same things as the Haves, and now they can have plastic versions that look real enough from a distance. Its authenticity doesn't matter; its price & accessibility do. Thus, the knockoff market prospers. You forget people are sheep.

      I apologize to the sensitive for my dim view of humanity, but when you look around at the crap people are wearing these days, it's really hard to think brightly of them. And it's impossible not to automatically think of that happening (or already having happened, as the case may be) to the doll market.
    16. I highly agree with you on that one!

      I own some genuine designer purses and a co-worker of mine scoffed at me for owning the real thing while she bought her knock-off purse (it looked exactly like mine and the quality is at the same level as mine) for $30.00--and even went on to chastise me for buying the legit item from the legit store and called me "materialistic."

      But this is not about knock-off handbags. It's about knock-off dolls.

      I've seen the thread in the Buying and Shipping section and there is a person who is hard up in cash and is tempted to buy a knock-off doll. Then they even went as far as calling the members (who suggested that s/he go the legit road) "elitist."

      When worse comes to worse, I will not be surprised when the legit companies will just keep rolling out the limited edition sculpts and retiring them as soon as they sell out. It sounds rather far-fetched but that's probably one of the very drastic ways they are going to resort to just to prevent the bootleggers from keeping up.
    17. ^ I seem to recall an instance of accused copying where the 'copy' turned out to be a completely different size from the 'original' in the end. (mini versus SD size) lol!

      As for the topic, I don't think I know of anyone who would intentionally purchase a bootleg doll. The quality of the bootleg product would be inferior (bad resin, loss of sculpt detail, etc). Not to mention you'd never be able to legally resell it if you were downsizing your collection.
    18. I definitely agree with what you said about the popularity of knock-offs and the speculation that they'll be around for as long as people will buy them happily in favor of spending so so much for the real thing.

      But handbags are handbags and dolls are dolls and unlike what Alithea said, the concept and reasoning behind it all is exactly the same no matter if we're talking handbags or dolls.

      Here's the way I see it (minus the 'morals' involved with the unwillingness to shell out money for the real thing and such):

      People want the ABCD handbag that's selling for XXX to XXXX amount but don't want to/can't afford to pay XXX to XXXX dollars for it. Understandable. Would anyone who earns anywhere between 'getting by' and 'living comfortably but not in luxury' really want to shell out such an amount? Heck, even people who DO have a life of luxury sometimes are unwilling to pay it. Some people of course WILL pay it, but there are many many MANY who would be content to simply look like they own the real deal and would be content to shell out a fraction to get that look.

      People want the Volks doll but don't want to or are unable to shell out that kind of money to get the mold. Again, understandable. Want, but not enough money to get it. Want, but can't see why they'd have to shell out XXX to XXXX to get it. Another company offers the same thing or near the same thing at a much much lower price. To some of these people, it's close enough and that's enough for them and it's affordable.

      People want handbags they can't afford or won't pay the price for and so they turn to knockoffs because they can be satisfied with just the looks without the name attached.

      People want dolls they can't afford or won't pay the price for and so they might turn to knockoffs or more affordable dolls because they can be satisfied without the attachment of a more famous doll company.

      They want and can't have or won't pay for it. Same thing in both cases.

      One might be tempted to argue that 'But it's a work of Art!' sets the situation with dolls aside from the situation with handbags, but let me tell you; one of the first things you learn as a fine artist when you are schooled is to COPY. Copy, copy, and copy some more. When you can copy Raphael or Prud'hon to the point where you can hardly see any differences, you can go and sell your copies for money and this is why you see a bunch of places hung with paintings whose originals would cost an entire fortune to purchase and some are legitimate and some are not and some come from artists trying to pass themselves off as the original artist.

      This sure as heck doesn't make the matter with dolls any less acceptable or 'right', but it just goes to show you that people purchase copies of art, too, legitimate and/or otherwise and are comfortable doing so and do so for the same reason people purchase knockoff handbags.

      The way I see it, the difference is in the fact that dolls have more personal feelings attached to them/invested in them and so the sense of "OMGBADBADBAD!!!" is just that much stronger.

      And... yeah.

      Definitely a bad thing.

      But I think that:

      1) as long as the companies stay in the know of these knockoffs and are willing to actively take part to fight for their copyrights

      2) fans/patrons of the 'real' doll companies keep up to date and don't support the knockoffs and help the companies keep up to date


      3) we here at DoA and at other major doll forums/communities keep our eyes peeled and keep a firm and consistent conviction on how we think about and treat situations like doll copies and DON'T support them ourselves

      I believe that the spread of the knockoffs can be held at bay.

      Knockoffs will always happen and there will always be people who will support them for one reason or another.

      If we as consumers don't want the knockoffs around, then don't support them and make sure to report them - to others, to the original companies, etc.

      If companies as the makers of the originals don't want knockoffs around, then they should report those other companies and if possible, pursue legal action.
    19. I have huge issues with this, which I described in the same thread that's sparking this debate. There really is no end to the problems that can come from this, especially in a hobby market, and especially in a relatively small hobby market, which this is.

      The actual value of the real sculpt, IMHO, does not change. Market value, on the other hand, is very likely to change. Let's face facts -- some people just do not care about artists or small economies, and will gladly grab the cheapest item they can find on the shelf, be it legit or not, and if those people had no other option, they would be forced to get the legit copy or none at all. This is going to be especially damaging to the value of limited edition items that are reproduced in this fashion.

      There are a few different common buyers of knockoffs: people who don't care, and people who don't know to know there's a problem or it's a knockoff. The latter group can usually be educated, but that's only if they find a board like this one or another resource before they click the order button, and that isn't always going to happen.

      The people who don't care? Quite frankly, I can't think of a way to make them care. The best way to kill knockoffs is to kill the market for knockoffs, and unfortunately, for every customer the knockoff makers lose to education, yet another 'don't care' customer seems to be born. A friend of mine deals with illegal file sharing of 3D content and copyright concerns to try to protect the rights of artists, and she has described the problem of piracy as 'like fighting a hydra'. She is entirely correct about that.

      I agree with what's been said about marking dolls; it's probably a very good idea and I hope more companies begin to do it. Not just the heads, either -- though I don't know how it would be possible in the case of some parts.

      I'm sorry, but no. Not even slightly. Not even just a little bit. This is not a matter of 'oh that is garbage because it doesn't have a real designer label on it!' -- this is a matter of 'you have stolen the creative, time, and monetary investments of others to make a quick profit for yourself'. If you don't think an artist's education and skills that have taken time to develop and foster have value and associated costs, I invite you to show up on the door of any art school on the planet and demand they teach you to the professional level for free for that reason -- I would really love to hear what kind of response you get.
    20. I think there is a world of difference between the general public buying knock-off handbags and people here looking at copy-cat dolls. There was, perhaps, a stigma about knock-off goods once upon a time, but just like Alithéa said, it is now more acceptable to some people to pay less for a non-legitimate item than the full price for the original item.

      This is never going to happen in this hobby because copied dolls are not acceptable and are disallowed as a forum topic here and other online communities. There is outcry and disgust whenever a new knock-off company sets up and their dolls can't be featured on DoA. As long as the forums and the local doll communities shun these fakes, they will never have a following big enough to compete with legitimate dolls. Even people who have bought fake dolls will soon realise the difference in quality when they go to a meet and find the doll their doll was copied from and see the difference in resin and overall quality.

      I think there is a greater stigma about copying in the BJD world than in the human one, where piracy and knock-offs are seen as more acceptable than buying the real thing, because it's all about cost.