Is it legal to sell built free downloaded paper models?

Discussion in 'Feedback & Support Forum' started by Rocco13, Jul 24, 2008.

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  1. nebeltex

    nebeltex Member

    i believe it really depends on the "end user license agreement". many designers/publishers do not mind if you sell a built model or two. it is something that should be checked first and not assumed. often, the best way is to just ask the desingner/publisher. i've never refused a reasonable request.

    Law is not an opinion when it comes from a judge. it is a judgement. if it is against you, you can be ruined indefinitely.
  2. okumarts

    okumarts New Member

    These are good responses. Wow, I don't know what to think of the issue. The artist part of me says don't do it, but the papercrafter in me says, why not?
  3. Nath Smith

    Nath Smith New Member

    yeah I guess if someone took all the effort to build something regardless of its origin its their work and they could sell it, its a huge amount of work to build these things up sometimes. There are some amazing models out there!
  4. Cap'n Davo

    Cap'n Davo the new guy

    I had a thought to sell some of my models for a very small amount (like a couple $) just to keep my work bench and shelves clear. I couldn't stand to throw something away after building it but I don't have space available to save everything. I finally decided to give my built models to local elementary schools; they use them in their classes when teaching different subjects. The models don't last a long time in that kind of environment but it's no big deal if they get damaged/torn/etc... as long as the kids can learn from them. Just an alternative idea for those thinking to sell their models. Personally I enjoy the topic research and building of the models more than I do showing them to people. :)
  5. Harris

    Harris New Member

    I think it's legal, cos you have spent time making it (including glue that you used)
  6. sidewinder81777

    sidewinder81777 Midnight Modeler

    I have sold a few completed freely downloadable models but i have always made a point to secure the permission of the designer beforehand, just as a courtesy.
  7. Paladin

    Paladin Member

    Not that I would want to alienate anyone, but it seems to me that although there are these copyright laws, I can't see that any paper model designer could really try to cause trouble for someone who builds their models and then sells them.
    For example, lets say I download a free, or perhaps very cheap paper model of an F-16 Falcon. Then build it and sell it. Let's then say that the designer wanted to take action against me. Couldn't they just end up getting themselves into trouble becuase they most certainly did not get permission to make the design from Lockheed Martin? I mean if there was really a big stink about it and it goes to court, it may get the attention of the big aircraft manufacturer, and bring them down on the paper model designer.
    (And I know, the F-16 was originally designed by General Dynamics, who then sold their aircraft manufacturing business to Lockheed Aircraft in 1993 then they merged with Martin Marietta in 1995 to become Lockheed Martin). Anyway, I'm sure you get my point. I would certainly ask permission from the paper model designer, and give them a cut of the profit, but we could all still get into trouble IF and that is a really BIG IF the truly original designer, like Lockheed Martin, wanted to cause us problems. As someone said earlier, they probably wouldn't care at all, unless you were making thousands of dollars doing it, which ain't gonna happen.
  8. Tirick

    Tirick Member

    That's the problem with much of the copyright laws really; they seem specifically geared to employ lawyers. The artist rarely receives any real benefit from their protection as the cost of pursuit outweighs the return.
  9. jamesmhebert

    jamesmhebert New Member

    I think sidewinder's approach is best. It helps keep things on the level side.

  10. davidwillson

    davidwillson Guest

    I don't agree. When you sell a built model, free download or purchased kit, you are seeking compensation for your time, labor and the cost of materials. I absolutely do not see an issue here.
  11. Karvala

    Karvala New Member

    BSPline is right I think, both in that it is not legal without consent and that on a practical level nothing will happen.
  12. voodoo

    voodoo New Member

    Interesting discussion,I guess I will go with Sidewinders thoughts on this as to me I just build it and give it away my pleasure is to make it look real and once its built unless I have a specific need let it go and move on,i have given away some small n scale buildings and semi trailers to friends and thats just my opinion but it has been a great discussion by all and friendly to boot FANTASTIC!!!.
  13. Melissa19102

    Melissa19102 New Member

    Whoa...isn't this message just a copy of the original thread author's response a few years ago? An exact copy, right down to the misspelled "also" as "laso."

    I found all the responses to this thread very interesting. It seemed pretty clear cut at first (sorry, pun) that the sale of completed models should be OK. The discussion quickly made it much more murky. I think the best solution, as one person stated, is to get permission from the creator of the kit/pattern. I think I would be flattered if somebody wanted to use my designs to sell as completed works, but it would still be nice to be asked.
  14. japanfilipino

    japanfilipino New Member


    I guess it would be a bad thing to sell something you made into a three dimensional object using plans someone designed based off a design someone else made for a game based off a design someone made for a table top game... that's like crazy.

    But if I put a lot of effort into building a Landraider I'm not gunna sell it. heck no.. I love my first build. it was fun and hard.. and lot of work.. and I think I was doing something wrong in making it. but it came out well.

    But thank you all for the information. really interesting.
  15. ecuatoriano

    ecuatoriano New Member

    In legal terms a designer can not create a buildable paper kit that reproduces an model of an object protected by copyright, for example one could design a kit of an F-16 model and give it for free or sell it without permission from the LM.

    What do you think?
  16. tebee

    tebee Guest

    Hi there

    I've come somewhat late to this discussion but although I'm not a lawyer I am in the process of setting up a business doing models by 3-d printing so I've done some due diligence in this area.

    Firstly one very common misconception, most 3-d objects are not covered by copyright.

    If you read the copyright act it gives you a list

    (1) literary works;

    (2) musical works, including any accompanying words;

    (3) dramatic works, including any accompanying music;

    (4) pantomimes and choreographic works;

    (5) pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works;

    (6) motion pictures and other audiovisual works;

    (7) sound recordings; and

    (8) architectural works.

    Now the only 3 dimensional objects on that list are sculptural and architectural works.

    If you think about it, copyright is generated by simply creating an applicable object, it does not have to be applied for. So if it applied to 3-d objects then every man made object would be covered by copyright and it would be impossible to take a photo or show anything on television without breaking copyright law.

    There does exist design patents, but these have to be applied for and only last 16 years.

    What companies can complain about is the use of corporate logos or liveries on models but this is under trademark law.

    In regard to paper models in particular, if you build one you are creating a transformative work rather than a derivative one, very much in the same way as if you built a model from a set of drawing. The set of drawings may very well be copyrighted but that copyright does not apply to your completed model.

    Also in the US at least you would be protected by the first-sale doctrine. This doctrine allows the purchaser to transfer (i.e., sell, lend or give away) a particular lawfully made copy of the copyrighted work without permission once it has been obtained. (

  17. Heaven

    Heaven New Member

    Seems to be a contentious issue..
  18. cdlc

    cdlc New Member

    I do think it is good manners to seek the designers permission. I know in the quilting world a lot of designers of "freebies" give details of what is and isn't allowed eg "Can be sold for charity only" or "if exhibited designer must be named"

    Further to the original question: Would the position be different if someone bought or downloaded the template and then paid another person purely for building it. That way they are being paid purely for the act of cutting out and assembling. Or would they?
    I suppose this is why there are a lot of rich lawyers and poor designers.
  19. Xelizarios-Prime

    Xelizarios-Prime New Member

    Seems kind of funny to me, designers never make the money that lawyers and executive board members make, but it's the designers who do all the flippin' work! Something isn't right about this!
  20. jackjs

    jackjs New Member

    If you created it you can do with it what you like!
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