Paper Craft Design Modification: Is it illegal?

Discussion in 'Feedback & Support Forum' started by gian7675, Jun 2, 2007.

  1. gian7675

    gian7675 Member

    Just wondering if this is illegal or frowned upon:


    Paper Craft Modeller buys a paper craft model. He sees that this paper craft model has a potential to be a base template for making other designs and models with the same theme.

    When said modeller was able to make the different designs from the said original paper craft model, he posts it and makes it available for those who asks for the variatons and distributes it for free. The original paper craft model of course is not for free distribution.

    Is this frowned upon?

    Just asking. Thanks!
  2. Kjev

    Kjev Member

    I dunno. As I understand it, copyright law demands at least a 20% change. So what the heck is 20%? No idea. I'd ask try to talk to the original designer first.

    Example: bought model of a 'mech, changed to a different color and offered for free-probably wouldn't fly. However, a complete kitbash into something unrecognizable probably would. For example, using a part or two to get a certain angle right.

    But I think it may be a pretty gray area.

  3. shoki2000

    shoki2000 Active Member

    If you took somebody else's design and modified it for your own use - you are fine.
    The moment you start making this modification available to others, even for free, without consent for the designer of the original work - you are infringing on his/her copyrights.

    I think that copyright still applies even if only 20% of the original design is present in the modified model.

    Take a look at those threads
    They will give you a bit more info on this issue
  4. SteveM

    SteveM Member

    Yes,this whole "X percentage change" idea is a myth. There is no fixed percentage codified into the law.
  5. SteveM

    SteveM Member

    Not just frowned upon, this is clearly copyright infringement.

    And just to make it clear once again, the fact that it is free has no bearing on deciding infringement. It will only affect the size of the civil liability damages.
  6. gian7675

    gian7675 Member


    Ok so if it's just for personal use, it's a-ok. Others may see the modified design but they can't have a similar version of it no matter how they plead or beg.

    Thanks for the info :)

    ARMORMAN Guest

    however, you may want to contact the original designer with your redesigns. They may offer to take them and compensate you for your work.
  8. Jim Nunn

    Jim Nunn Member

    I would say a little more then frowned upon.

    I have modified parts of commercial kits and have made them available only after I have received permission from the model publisher. All you need to do is ask the publisher and from my experience they will give you permission. I would also think that if you have a commercially viable model they may even offer to publish it.
    So modify the model for your own usage and if want to offer to the modeling community get permission from the publisher.

    Jim Nunn
  9. B-Manic

    B-Manic Peripheral Visionary

    Many of the designers here have had their designs modified and in some cases improved by forum users. They have then offered the changed design for sale/download giving the user full credit for the mods and in some cases compensation.

    If you would like to modify a design for other than personal use you should contact the designer first. Regardless of copyright issues, it is just common courtesy.

  10. paper warrior

    paper warrior Member

    I'll put this in a nutshell.
    It's ok as long as you do not redistribute it without the consent of the author.
  11. goney3

    goney3 Member

  12. Dragos

    Dragos Active Member

    I think I am the main character that started all, so here is my opinion:
    When you buy a paper model or a car or else , that object becomes yours, so you don't have to ask the permission of the car manufacturer if you want to repaint your car for example, that is why I have not asked for his permission.
    I've repainted a lot of paper models and no one gone upset until Ojimak, I don't blame him, but he has exagerated because I offered him the credit for the design and I have not share or sold the model. A Alpha Jet paper model is hard to find especialy a free one , and I don't think there is a paper model of the Patrouille de France. So here is the main reason why I've choose a model from Ojimak.
    What if I have not started the thread and no one knew about my repainted paper model? Then nothing will not hapenned , so maybe there are more modelers that changes the colors of the model and no one knows them, what is going the designer to do about them?
    Anyway this is a lesson for my and I have to think twice when I'm starting a thread where I'm presenting a repainted or modified paper model
  13. Lex

    Lex Dollmaker

    Tell the designer, always... I always ask premission to do anything~~ This might take time, but do avoid bigger trouble.
  14. Dragos

    Dragos Active Member

    Where the designer's rights ends and where the user's rights starts?
    I think this is the big question.
  15. Stev0

    Stev0 Active Member

    Theres now 4 threads about this.

    Come on folks.
  16. Captain Rhino

    Captain Rhino New Member

    The rights of the designer (as copyright holder) and the user depends on what copyright laws you are under.

    I am not a lawyer. So my opinion won't cost the US $200 to US $400/hour that copyright lawyers charge here in the United States. However, I have had to do some research into U.S. and international copyright law recently and may be able to provide some useful information.

    In the United States, when you by a copyrighted item, you are actually buying a licensed copy of the original work. The license gives you a set of limited rights to use the copy. It doesnot convey unlimited use rights to the copy and it certainly doesnot give you the right to make unlimited additional copies of the copy without permission of the copyright holder.

    Other parts of the law give artists certain use rights over original art pieces no matter how many times they are sold or resold. The law also has a "fair use" provision so that limited portions of a copyrighted work can be quoted for journalistic or scholarly research purposes without first obtaining copyright holder permission. However, republication without permission of a copy of an entire work (or paper model), even if it was made available for free download, would exceed reasonable "fair use. "

    As for commercial works, if any part of a copyrighted original design appears in your model, your model is a "derivative" work and you must have permission of the original copyright holder to use their parts in your model. It doesn't matter how much or how little of their design is in your model, if you make it a different size, or if you make cosmetic changes to their design. If it is recognizeable as the original copyright holder's design, then you have to get permission.

    However, as the author of a derivative work, you do have original copyright on anything that you added to the original model design. For example, if your derivative model is 10% someone else's design, you are the original copyright holder on the 90% of it that is your original work. (This would be important if someone in the future tried to use your model without permission.)

    There are a lot of older Eastern European paper model kits on the market.

    If I understand the international copyright law I read correctly, just about everything published in the old Warsaw Pact or Soviet Union prior to it's dissolution in 1989 is considered to be in the public domain (copyright free). Publishers may regain some copyright control over pre-1989 works by subsequently reissuing the item under copyright after 1989. However, under U.S. copyright law, this republication would probably be considered a derivative work and the publisher would only have copyright on any new additions made to it. The underlying original would still remain copyright free. Of course, anything issued after 1989 in Eastern Europe or Russia is covered by applicable national and international copyright laws.
  17. goney3

    goney3 Member

    Oh man, kiss goodbye then!

    See, "copyright" is HIGHLY broken. It is to the extent that the Creative Commons was founded, GNU, CopyLeft, OpenSource, Universal General Public License, etc.

    There is an obvious "need" ... hence the inventions with the painful necessity.
    This will only continue to grow until the masses demand it be fixed. In the meantime watch this video about our broken system:

    Copyright Problems Facing All Americans (VERY IMPORTANT!)

    Eyes on the Fair Use of the Prize
  18. Zathros

    Zathros Guest

    @Captain Rhino: Based on your argument since none of the models are designed by the people who make the paper representations, then they have no rights as their work is derivative, i.e. 99% of all models do not have permission from the original ,manufacturers of the real products. If you make a perfect "Spruce Goose" model and start selling a lot of them they will be all over you. I chose that aircraft as I have heard you are not allowed to take pictures of the aircraft where it is presently displayed. None of these people designed these ships or cars or planes etc., so I find it hypocritical that they wold be so angry when someone does a "mod" to their work. I would like to see any dedsigner prove they have permission for their work.
  19. barry

    barry Active Member

    Copyright again

    Zathros you are flogging a dead horse mate you seem to be terribly upset over your ekranoplane as you spent a lot of time on it why don't you just start from the plans you must have and design a better model with all the knowledge you have gained. That would make it original work as far as a cardmodel is concerned. Please remember that under copyright law plagerism is legal otherwise no one would be able to write any detective novel after "The Woman in White" but that does not mean you can rip off the entire book word for word however you can use the plot.

    Yes you are quite right I did not ask Boeing or Vickers Armstrong for permission to create a model of their designs or for that matter the Admiralty and if any of these parties object then I would have to withdraw them. Luckily as I own nothing in this world apart from a clapped out computer and a few tools paying them compensation would be somewhat of a joke.

    So if you don't mind leave me out of your hypocrit comments and until any or all of the above manufacturers tell me different I shall continue to claim copyright on my models.
  20. Captain Rhino

    Captain Rhino New Member

    There are probably a very small number of designers or model manufacturers that do have permission. However, you are probably right that 99% probably don't.

    Actually, this has become a problem here in the United States.

    Public image (as in movie stars, sports celebrities, and other notable nongovernmental persons) is copyright protected here. This makes sense since selling their image is the major way these persons make their living. For their image to have any value, they have to control when and where it is displayed for commercial purposes. Similar logic applies to images of sports cars, cruise liners, hotels and resorts, all kinds of things.

    Lately, defense manufacturers have been trying to exert the same rights over models of the products they produce for the US government. But there is a problem. The people of the United States pay for the development and production of these materials and images of these items rightly belong to the public if anyone. To counteract the defense contractor claims, modelers are trying to get a bill passed in Congress prohibiting defense contractors from collecting royalties on models of their products.

    I'm not sure what the present status of these bills are.

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