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Would still buy a doll if the artist required a contract?

Jul 23, 2017

    1. So in a Facebook group I saw a discussion wherein an artist had a few dolls they wanted to cast and sell. She stated that she specifically dislikes hybrids, but never says why exactly, as well as mods, which I believe she said something like being disrespectful to the original artist, and from what I gather that if she were to sell that she would not allow modification or parts to be sold separately. In fact in the comments she specifically mentions something about possibly taking legal action according to the VARA and making sure everyone who bought her dolls abided by her rules.

      I want to know sone opinions on this, but no attacking anyone.

      As a buyer this would push me away. The entire conversation made me want to steer clear of her future products. She was very adamant about making sure her dolls stayed in their original forms, without modification, but did mention customization (like face up I guess) was ok. I get fear of being copied, or even recast, but to market your dolls so that nothing can be changed but "customization" I feel like there would be a very small market...
      • x 9
    2. That's a lot of stipulations. This hobby is built around customisation, which includes hybrids, and every hobby has a buying and selling factor to it. If she doesn't want her dolls to be changed whatsoever, she probably shouldn't sell them at all. Going so far as to sue someone is just crazypants to me. I definitely wouldn't be buying!
      • x 11
    3. In some situations it might make sense, like if these were ultra limited art dolls or something. However, it sounds like these are just normal artist bjds. According to Wikipedia,
      "VARA exclusively grants authors of works that fall under the protection of the Act the following rights

      • right to claim authorship
      • right to prevent the use of one's name on any work the author did not create
      • right to prevent use of one's name on any work that has been distorted, mutilated, or modified in a way that would be prejudicial to the author's honor or reputation
      • right to prevent distortion, mutilation, or modification that would prejudice the author's honor or reputation
      Additionally, authors of works of "recognized stature" may prohibit intentional or grossly negligent destruction of a work. Exceptions to VARA require a waiver from the author in writing. To date, "recognized stature" has managed to elude a precise definition. VARA allows authors to waive their rights, something generally not permitted in France and many European countries whose laws were the originators of the moral rights of artists concept.

      In most instances, the rights granted under VARA persist for the life of the author (or the last surviving author, for creators of joint works).

      Covered works

      VARA provides its protection only to paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, still photographic images produced for exhibition only, and existing in single copies or in limited editions of 200 or fewer copies, signed and numbered by the artist. The requirements for protection do not implicate aesthetic taste or value."

      Unless I'm totally wrong, I think this means that unless there were less than two hundred signed and numbered dolls existing for exhibition only (aka art dolls) the artist cannot take legal action. It does state a little lower in the page that if the art isn't protected it the artist can still gain some benefits but it's unclear what these are. With all this being said, unless I'm misunderstanding this, I don't think normal non-art dolls could be protected under this. Therefore if one were to buy one of these dolls they could probably do whatever the heck they want with them and if worst comes to worse you could always try to fight with them legally. You could also bring up that different countries have different laws and thus if your country isn't under that law you don't have to obey.
      However, unless I really adored the sculpt to the point where I couldn't think about anything else, I wouldn't get it. I really hate the idea of someone thinking that their doll is so perfect that if it doesn't appeal to everyone then those people are wrong and how dare they try to change such a master piece? It seems so arrogant, I don't think I'd be able to bring myself to support them. I genuinely hate when people try to do this sort of thing. A huge part of this hobby is customization, taking that away just because you think your art is perfect is wrong. So what if people want to customize and create using your creation as a base? What's wrong with that? I would get it if the original were somehow changed by this but it won't be. You'll always have the original, so what's the big deal? Different people have different tastes. So, I probably wouldn't buy the doll if someone even tried to do this (unless the doll is specifically made to be a limited art doll for exhibition only, then that makes some sense).
      • x 11
    4. I think she's asking far too much. I'd say half of the doll I own are hybrids, so I just couldn't see buying a doll where the seller specifically condemned such things. If the item was OOAK and fully customised before getting to the buyer, I could sort of understand the desire to have a contract like that because of all the work involved, but I would still be wary of such a thing. I think anyone selling anything to someone else should be aware of the possibility that the buyer is going to change something about what they've purchased, and they have every right to. If the seller doesn't want to accept that, they shouldn't be selling.
      • x 2
    5. I think it would be incredible hard for her to keep track of this to begin with, people can sell in private or places she doesn't have account or simple in a time she wouldn't see the post. And if people mod, it would be done, and she may never find out about it.

      On the VARA I don't know how it would work, since the main part of this hobby is costumization, it seen against the spirit of it limit how much you can customize. But with a contract the artist could complain I suppose.

      But I agree with such terms I just wouldn't buy it, no matter how awesome or perfect the sculpture would be. Even if I don't do mods, I just wouldn't want the headache to have to deal with someone that could nitpick what I can do.
      • x 1
    6. I would roll my eyes and walk away. Additionally, what's to prevent someone from selling the sculpt and the new owner going cray with a dremel/epoxy? I can't see how the idea of no mods/hybrids would even be enforced under law. Once you purchase an item, it is yours to do what you will with it (recasting aside as that is a copyright violation). I think this artist is wearing the crazypants to even think that she could actually enforce this idea of hers. To quote my 4-year-old grandkid, you're not the boss of me.

      Depending on where she is and who she's selling to, enforcing any kind of law in that regard (a signed contract to make no changes/hybrids to a sculpt) would get dicey as unless she plans to sell only within her country as getting another country's court system to uphold a ridiculous ruling like that (assuming it doesn't get tossed out for being a nuisance suite), would be very difficult. Court costs alone would likely have it being a one and done thing as well unless she's got stacks of money and has nothing better to blow the money on.
      • x 5
    7. So, say I got one and accidentally broke, say...a hand. Since she does not sell parts, i could make the doll a hook handed pirate. Wait, no, modification. I could purchase another hand from a similar company. Wait, no, hybrid. So, I'd have a one handed doll I could not fix because I couldn't modify it or replace the part. Yeah, I'd steer WAY clear of buying one of those dolls.
      • x 21
    8. VARA aside, an artist could probably come up with a sort of legally applicable ROFR, provided they had the desire and means to support and enforce it.

      While I agree that it's not very business-friendly as far as this particular hobby goes, there's certainly stranger stipulations on animal sales/breeding/adoption, for instance.
    9. @Melissa, I'm not versed in the law world, so correct me if I'm wrong, but I actually don't think she could get away with forming any sort of contract or "rule" like that.

      BJDs are consumer items, and she would be selling them as such. Unless she was selling them for a different reason, like as a historical piece or a OOAK museum piece, I don't think she'd be able to do anything about it.

      But putting all that aside, if I sculpted a doll and sold it (which is something I may actually try doing one day), I'd just be glad that anyone was interested enough to buy my doll in the first place. :XD:
      • x 1
    10. Modification and customization is the spirit of the hobby. VARA is meant to protect exhibition pieces, not toys. Commissioned murals on public buildings, a statue outside of the Capitol building, these are things VARA is meant for. I think she should just be happy someone would buy her stuff rather than try to hogtie customers with litigation.
      • x 5
    11. You sure that was an actual artist and not the person who posted something similarly - pardon my French, asinine here on DoA some time ago?
      • x 8
    12. If it's a high-quality one-of-a-kind or limited doll that makes my heart flutter, I might sacrifice my ability to hybrid or mod in order to obtain it.

      I think you should be given a discount for such a contract, to be honest. I am purchasing the doll, so I should be able to do whatever I want to do with it in terms of customization. If you want to maintain some sort of ownership of the doll, then you have to pay the price by selling it at a discount.
    13. Quite honestly? I think about this the same way I thought about modelhorse artists demanding the same. It is unreasonable.

      I, as a buyer, would also like some kind of protection that the company or artist, call whatever you like, does not run away with my hard-earned money.

      It would absolutely drive me away from that doll, no matter how much I love it. If you do not want your dolls to be changed, don't sell them!

      Anyways, I now go frankensteining some more dolls! One of the aspects I enjoy most about this hobby.
      • x 1
    14. A contract that allows no modding, huh? I can't help but laugh at that, the arrogance is strong with this one :XD:
      I don't think it's something that one can actually enforce, besides the fact I sure as heck won't buy a luxury product I don't fully own.
      If you want to make a doll and have the vision be yours and yours alone... Well, you can't sell it. Simple as that.
      • x 3
    15. Oh, no, I'd pass. I buy it, it's mine, no restrictions.
      I wouldn't sign a contract to buy a doll, unless it's a financial contract to pay (do that anyway). Ridiculous! I'd never feel as if I actually owned the doll.
      #15 kurogane, Jul 23, 2017
      Last edited: Aug 16, 2017
      • x 2
    16. I agree with most everyone here. If I'm buying something then it's mind and I may or may not mod it. Anyone that sells me something with the rule "you can only do X, Y and Z with it" makes me just go somewhere else. While BJD is a small hobby it's not so small that I would be restricted to buy things from him/her. I would happily go spend my money elsewhere.
      • x 1
    17. Well, doll companies themselves sell parts so one can mix them how ever they like. They give heads as extra and they kind of expect you to find a body for it. It's super likely that people don't choose the body that was made for the head. It's all about building yourself a doll you love.

      An artist can view a doll as such a unique art piece that they don't want people to mess with it. But then again, I'm very much allowed to buy Mona Lisa and draw eggplants on it with super markers, since I own it after I've bought it. A unique art piece, yes, but the artist has no say in it (even if he was alive). I could just say Mona Lisa is safe and sound in my basement. No one would know. (this is an exaggeration, sure, but you get the idea) When it comes to bjds, the artist can make multiple casts. And I'm sure many people want to keep their dolls just the way they are as well.

      As someone who's somewhat artistic I really understand not liking it when people change your art or do something to damage it. But the bjd hobby is all about customization. It's about the art of the sculptor just as much as of the one who buys a doll and completes it. This is a creative hobby, you can't really sell something meant for artistic use and say you aren't allowed to be artistic with it, unless you only do face ups. She's really preaching to the wrong crowd.

      But there really is no way for the artist to keep track on how the doll is doing or if the buyer has done something to it. They can't harass the buyer or monitor them. And if they do- who wants to deal with that? And there's also all the trouble about selling the doll and accidentally breaking parts you can't fix and so on.
      I would rather just buy elsewhere, even if I had no intention of modding or making a hybrid.
      • x 2
    18. I whole heartedly agree, as an artist also. However, if I ever decided to sculpt dolls and people began modding my dolls. I would give them the things they wanted. Elf ears? Let's do this here's an elf head. Vampire teeth? Boom another head. I feel like if you want to make a ton of money making Bjd you pretty much need to sell your soul to your customer.
      • x 2
    19. Personally, no, I wouldn't. I can see why an artist may want such a contract in place if they were selling a unique or very limited art doll where a lot of effort had been put into the painting/clothing etc., and I'm sure there would still be a market for such a doll if the artist was prestigious enough (whether or not said contact would be legally enforceable, I'm not sure), but it would kill my desire to own the doll - I like the creativity aspect of the hobby and am buying dolls to interact with and customise, rather than as art pieces.

      Like others have said, it sounds like she is trying to target the wrong audience.
      • x 2
    20. My doll, I can do what I want with it. You don't like it, come fight me!

      Seriously though, it's mine. I paid money for it, it's now my property. I can wipe my butt with it if I so desire, I can throw it out a plane, I can do whatever because it's MY property. Only thing I can't do is recast pieces or attempt to make any sort of profit off it due to intellectual copyright laws.
      But as an object? I can drill the face off, I can eat it (I wouldn't recommend that), I can cover it in mud and yeah, I can rip that head off and stick it on something else because it's mine mine omg so mine.
      And if the artist has a problem with that, they're gonna need to go all over the world and fight people in person and who's got that kinda energy?
      How would you actually enforce it? It's just silly.
      • x 4