Do Not Steal. It is as simple as that!
If you did not make an item from scratch, do not make copies without permission of the person who did. Doing so is theft and no matter whatever lame justification a person uses to say in their head that it is ok, they are a thief and should be treated as such. There are no loopholes as much as the
false information all over the web says there are.
This does not fall under "fair use" at all.
All of our items are from original masters that
we either make or pay to have made and as such
we consider them our own intellectual property
and as such are registered with the
US Copyright office as original works under the section that covers sculpture and works of art.
One of the lamest reasons I heard recently for pirating castings by a guy who does ok modeling but is obviously deficient in ethics was this:
No one will ever know....well first off unless you never post pictures or have others over, someone will note a large number of similar items and if quality is lower than normal THEY will know.
No one wants someone who is a thief in their home. You never can tell what they may steal from you if they already are stealing someone else's stuff.
If your good buddy gave or sold you some of those copies...congrats, you are now in posession of stolen property thanks to that good buddy.
Beyond it being illegal, it costs all modelers in whichever scale, gauge, or genre in these ways:
Every manufacturer has a rough idea of the market before they produce an item and adjust their
MSRP accordingly. Smaller numbers of sales will result in future items being priced much higher
so if your buddy made themselves 20 copies because they were too cheap to buy or unskilled to make it from scratch, they just cost YOU that money or availability on future items. If you have no problem supplying their hobby needs why not just buy originals up front and save everyone the hassle.
Every manufacturer has the skill and equipment
to make products in most scale, gauge and genres. If they find a lower than expected apparent demand, they will get out of that area as unprofitable
and YOU lose because there will likely be
no more new things for YOU to enjoy either.
Every modelbuilding hobby has seen dropping numbers of people involved in it since the 1960's.
If a manufacturer does not make the profits they expect, then fewer new things will be produced
and those new things may be the exact ones that encourage new prospective modelers to start ... which shows up as higher demand ... which then
the manufacturer makes even more new things
for everyone to enjoy. Which will result in an expanded number of items at lower prices.
In every genre, I hear someone asking weekly "Why don't "they" make an XYZ item. The answer may be that it was planned and the manufacturer felt they would not make the profits they expected for their time and effort so the items never get produced.
I hear occasionally some lame person trying to justify why they stole someone else's work...and do not deny they stole just as much as if they pulled a gun and robbed the manufacturer at gunpoint.
Their excuses range all over the place but in fact they are a thief and should be shunned by anyone who knows of their theft. If YOU are someone who has done it, contact the person / manufacturer you stole from and make arrangements to make it right unless you were raised to be a thief. If your friends do it, encourage them back to the path of honesty.
Some excuses / reasons I have heard:
The item is out of production.....So what. The person who made it (and their heirs) owns ALL rights to it well beyond their lifetime even.
I only needed one more and they cost so much....
So what, if you need a cheap hobby
perhaps walking may be the hobby for you.
Their website is gone....no one answers their phone or e mail or snail mail...they were mean to me....
So what. Not yours in the first place. Learn the skills to make your own through practice, just as they did. That is what modelbuilding is about.
The company has been out of business for X years. So what. Someone still owns the assets which include the molds, patterns, and rights to reproduce. Just because they choose not to at this time is not a valid reason to steal their rights.
No one will ever know....well first off unless you never post pictures or have others over, someone will note a large number of similar items and if quality is lower than normal THEY will know. No one wants someone who is a thief in their home. Never can tell what they may steal from your home too.
There is NO excuse to steal model kits or parts. They are not life preserving items.