I recently tried to respond to a comment on this post by Tangible Day, but once again, there is a glitch in the Matrix. The comment in question is the first one on the post, made by Sandra McCall, and the response I tried to post is as follows:
If by “creator,” you are referring to the actual person who came up with the design, and not a corporation that holds the intellectual property, then I agree completely. Then again, I make a lot of 3D models of Soviet tanks, and both the Soviet Union and Nikolai Shashmurin are long dead, so what am I worried about?
On that note, I’ve actually SOLD .stl files to people who want to print large numbers of my own models, since it’s a lot cheaper for them than to buy the prints from me. I think companies such as Games Workshop should do something similar, making it possible to more easily customise miniatures (think Hero Forge). Standard patterns for the likes of the Imperium or Eldar wouldn’t benefit too much from this, but Chaos and Ork miniatures could be, effectively, randomised in a program, and then the customer could buy the files and print them at home. As long as there is no option to buy the 3D model files, people are either going to make their own or steal them in order to avoid the cost of buying physical models.
On the other hand, I know a Chaos player who would say that such an option would take all the fun out of making custom Chaos miniatures, gluing spikes and using all manner of rubber and texture paints on models, but to each his own.
I am not a fan of copyright law, largely because it protects corporations more than individuals (thanks, Disney). Recently, I had a request to make the Chrysler K GF, an experimental heavy tank developed for the US Army in 1945. The reason I bring this up is the same reason that I brought up the Soviet Union and Nikolai Shashmurin specifically. Shashmurin was a noted Soviet tank designer, and the designs of Objects 901 and 260 are both his. Were he still alive, would I have to pay him royalties to make miniature models of those tanks? If some Soviet government agency held the patent (machinery is covered under patent law, not copyright), does that mean all intellectual property is moot, since the Soviet Union doesn’t exist anymore? The laws are very different in different countries, after all, and some countries have absolutely no protection for inventors or artists. Now, back to Chrysler. Since Chrysler still exists, does that mean I have to pay them royalties for the K GF tank? What about the original designer, whose name I don’t know, and probably never even held the patent? Since patents expire after 17 years, the answer is no. However, copyright doesn’t expire until 100 years after the copyright holder’s death. Again, thanks Disney, for lobbying to increase the time limit five times since Walt’s death. See why I’m not a fan of copyright law? Much like insurance, labour unions, or public schools, the intent behind copyright law was benevolent, but has since become corrupted.
Miniatures are expensive, and called “plastic crack” for a reason. Getting 3D model files and printing your own is much cheaper, and everyone knows that. This is why I was able to sell a printable file for a set of 1/300 scale 18th century frigate masts for $50. I charge $25 per hour, though some people tell me that I should charge $100 for design work, and even if I charged $200 for the mast set file, it would still have been cheaper for my customer than buying 30 sets of printed masts from me. I know I’m repeating myself, but if companies don’t offer this cheaper option, then people are going to copy (re-make from scratch) or steal (hack and/or download illegally) the 3D model files, and either use them for themselves or sell them to others and make lots of friends that way. Much like outlawing alcoholic beverages, draconian copyright laws and greedy corporate practises make for a nation of lawbreakers. The answer is NOT “respect copyright law,” the answer is “copyright holders need to change their behaviour.” Now, since I deal with a lot of stupid people on the internet, I apparently need to point out that I’m not defending theft. I’m pointing out that if you don’t want to be stolen from, then don’t make your products too expensive to buy, or otherwise difficult to obtain.
This is all just my own opinion, of course. I’m not rigid when it comes to the ethics or legality of my choices. If you want to know what I mean, read Crime and Punishment by Fëdor Dostoyevskiy for a particularly extreme example of “flexible ethics.” What some people don’t seem to grasp is that certain artists are more protective of their work than others, and certain creations are more precious to those artists than others. For instance, if someone were to take a clip of one of my BitChute videos because I uttered some particularly humourous line, without even contacting me about it, either before or after, I don’t think I’d care. However, if someone were to buy a whole bunch of my sailing ships, most of which are based on historical designs but not copies of any actual ship, then create their own board game and not credit me with designing the models, I’d be rather annoyed (though I probably wouldn’t do anything as long as I’m making money off it). As it is, I don’t think I was ever properly credited for the miniature ships used as game pieces in The Pirate Republic, but since that was years ago, when I had no name for myself, didn’t really know what I was doing, and extremely busy with a day job that I don’t have anymore, I don’t care. I had exactly one sailing ship in my shop when the creator of that game contacted me, and it wasn’t even that good. In fact, some of the sailing ships I currently sell are designs that I submitted for the game, but were rejected, such as my popular Man-of-War. Now, were someone to do what I just mentioned with a ship of my own design, especially one that I’m particularly proud of, such as the Zaphnora, I’d be absolutely livid, and that person could expect to meet me in court (I am my own lawyer). The point of all this is “ask first, this is not an instance in which forgiveness is easier to obtain than permission.” This is yet another reason that I don’t like large corporations holding the intellectual property of individual artists: if you ask a corporation for permission to use something of theirs, they will not respond, because you are not worth their time. In most cases, you’re probably safe doing whatever you want anyway, because said corporation either won’t notice, won’t care, or won’t consider any legal action to be worth the time and money, as in the cases of Christian retailers copying well-known brands. On the other hand, if you steal from me, I’ll definitely notice, I just won’t care in a lot of cases. The fact that I’m a cheap date when it comes to my prices ought to tell you how much I care about profit.