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Resin casting and copyright

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Lots of modelers have used their resin-casting skills to start their own aftermarket businesses, producing everything from complete kits to simple detail parts. If you're thinking about casting parts for sale, first make sure you have a clear understanding of copyright. Very simply put, a copyright protects a manufacturer (or artist, or musician, or publisher, etc.) from having his or her work copied and sold by someone else. Copyright law is incredibly complicated, but here's the bottom line: If the pattern you're working from is not your original work, don't sell copies of it.

For example, I could sell copies of the tool chest I show in my article "Basics of Resin Casting" (Car Modeler 2002), since I scratchbuilt the original pattern from sheet styrene. On the other hand, I shouldn't sell copies of the wheel-and-tire combination I cast as part of the article's demonstration, since the pattern is from a Fujimi kit. I can, however, make copies of the Fujimi kit part for my own use.

Think of it this way: You can copy a Beatles CD to play in your car's tape deck, but you shouldn't start selling copies of it unless you want to start getting letters from the Fab Four's lawyers.

This rule applies no matter how old the original pattern is. Even if the kit you're thinking about recasting is long out of production, or if the company that produced it is out of business, don't copy it. Another company may own the rights to the pattern. (The Beatles aren't making records anymore, but someone still owns the rights to their songs, right?)

By all means, feel free to use resin casting to share your handiwork with others; just make sure that any money you collect doesn't belong to someone else.

Originally printed in the 2002 edition of Car Modeler.

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