Podcast - Adam Savage Project

Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project – Recasting – 11/27/2012

This week, Adam, Norm, and Will tackle the controversial (at least within the replica prop community) process of recasting. Whether you don’t know what recasting is or already have strong opinions, you won’t want to miss this episode of Still Untitled. More Still Untitled can be found at http://tested.com/podcasts

Comments (13)

13 thoughts on “Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project – Recasting – 11/27/2012

  1. The Lucas UK Stormtrooper case is an interesting look at how crazy things can get in copyright law, especially when the involved parties were located in different countries and the events took place in the early 70s. Worth a (long) read if you are interested in such things.

    Having read a few of the lengthy arguments over on the RPF, I have to agree with Adam, once you ignore the thieves and charlatans (of which there are a few) the only way to draw lines is on a case-by-case basis.

  2. I’m a little backlogged on the podcasts and the site overall, but I hope whoever made the original Will and Norm blockhead design was contacted to make the Jamie and Adam designs – and I also hope he got paid for it. Specially concerning the discussion of this Untitled.. 😀

    Wasn’t he a community memeber?

  3. I’ve said this many times on tested but it bears repeating: The patent system was set up to create the best outcomes for producers, which in turn created the best outcome for consumers. The original casters obstructing people from recasting in every case may increase the value of their solitary object but they also decrease the value of replica casting as a hobby in general.

    Maybe they don’t want people sharing in their hobby, but that’s a rather disappointing road to take.

  4. Some of the artists who designed original props own the copyrights, some of these are very willing to share details (these days some even share 3d models).

    However, some of them also make their own replicas of the props, and no one can deny them the right to pursue anyone who makes a confusingly similar or derivative replica (recastings obviously being the worst offence in the latter category) as it clearly diminishes their ability to make a living from their work.

    Some of them are nice about asking people to stop, some of them are assholes about it and pursue people who make a single replica for their own collection, but they are 100% in the right every time. Same goes for companies holding Ip rights who choose to pursue those who they feel are taking advantage of their IP.

    The hobby only exists because most makers operate so that the benefits of the community interest outweigh the potential losses for IP holders.

    When it comes to someone selling a replica of a prop to which they do NOT own the copyright, they don’t really have any legal rights to stop the recasting of their work. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t do their best to make the community aware that the recastings are second-generation and being sold by a recaster.

    You say that such a thing is devaluing the hobby, I would say its the exact opposite. If people thought that their hard work would inevitably be taken and recasted, and that as a result they would be less likely to recoup their investment of time and materials through a run in the RPF Junkyard, I am fairly sure far less people would be involved at that level of the hobby.

    Most of the people selling castings are the people Adam are describing, who have spent months if not years researching and iterating a prop, to where their version can be said to be as accurate as is possible in a kit. People who recast and then undercut such efforts are what is detrimental to the hobby. It has been repeatedly shown on the RPF that recasters are driving high-level artists to only provide castings of their work for themselves, friends and private trades, with the greater community loosing out on the opportunity because some asshole had to try to make a few bucks off of someone else’s work, skill and dedication.

    You’ll find very few people on the RPF who wouldn’t share their process and insights freely and want as many people as possible involved in the hobby. Most people who try to be secretive about the process or techniques are quickly shunned, because that is what the community is for. That doesn’t mean anyone is expecting, or should expect, that the community members should allow their actual work to be taken advantage of.

  5. I believe its Adam’s personal machine. M5 has some really nice CNC equipment that they’ve used on a few episodes to make scale replicas of things and I’m sure they can find use for a 3d printer, would be nice to see a mystery object on the Discovery Channel. =p

  6. I’m not into prop building or prop purchasing. However, I found this episode really fascinating. These, seemingly, random topics usually turn out to be the best.

  7. Here’s the problem with Black and White takes on the issue.

    If you say recasting shouldn’t be happening. There are a lot of people out there who can’t afford either the materials to make a good prop, or the higher end replicas of the props, and recasting fills that void. If no recasting was happening, there would be a lot of disenfranchised people in the replica community who want a good prop. Driving out the people who want replicas can kill the community. Because those are the people who will be inspired by good work to make their own replicas. Maybe not all of them, but the portion that will are the portion that will be making replicas later on.

    If you say recasting is a good thing. If recasts happen more often then the makers who create the props would become disenfranchised. They’d have little to no ability to recoup any costs or time and effort, while others would indeed be making a much larger profit off of their work. This drives out the actual makers. This removes the people who make replicas that are actually better than the original, not be outright copying, but by hand making them based off of the most idealized images of the prop. The Tested group has pointed out time and again that movie armor looks terrible in real life, but compare that to the replica armor based off of the look of the movie armor and it’s night and day. You can claim that the replicas made by the replica prop makers are copies of the movie props, but it’s just not true, in almost all cases they’re improvements.

    The trick is to strike a balance. There shouldn’t be no replica piracy involved, but there also shouldn’t be too much of it either. The White/Black arguments of the internet result in both sides being wrong all together. It’s only in a balance of the issue that the argument is resolved.

  8. I am so glad that you discussed this. I recasted the handle of a STIII Kruge disrupter that a friend had because I loved the feel of the grip. I didn’t do this to remake the prop or sell them though, this was for my own use and I used my casting to make grips for a real pistol. I still have that pistol and will never ever get rid of it. It fits my hand perfectly. I would feel bad if I sold it with those grips. Not only was I not the original designer, but I put too much work into them to make this fit the pistol. It is a BB pistol by the way.

    I agree that if you buy something made by an artist it makes you morally responsible to not use it to create your own copies to sell for a profit. If you are buying one to make multiples copies for yourself or your club, then let the artist know that is your intention. I’ve had artists offer to sell me copies of their fiberglass molds so I could make a copies of a prop for our limited use, then if they ever broke we could make more. It was never discussed, but we knew not to sell the ones we made, or create more to generate cash. We just knew that was wrong.

    I just wish the people who take advantage of an artist to intentionally recast for profit would listen to their better conscience and not do so. If you are so desperate for cash that you feel you need to do this, then at least work out a deal with the original artist so they get a large cut and you are a legal reseller.

  9. Everyone has been to forums where the buddy system exists, and all talk contrary to the norm will get you dog piled by the hordes. The RPF is a great example of this. Just mention ‘recasting’ and you will get all the villagers out with their torches shouting the same mantra “bad”, “scum”, etc. Yeah I thing recasting is wrong, BUT, it really annoys me when you see the big wigs in these forums who either have been there since the inception of it, or they are the mods or owners, and they say what is okay and what is not. Take one Star Wars helmet maker, who simply took a helmet from a company that ceased existing, and copied that helmet and all of a sudden they think they are the be all, end all, and have somehow convinced others that it was alright and have taken some kind of strange ‘grandfather’ clause and applied it to their casting/recasting. They then beat the war drum when anyone does the same thing as they, and they bang it really loud for show, getting all the minions to get on board and somehow ad credence to their deception. These people are the real scum bags. They somehow remind me of politicians with how they finagled their way into their theft and deception and made it legit. Sure the lowly recaster is a douche, but the person I described could easily be likened to the original vampire, or more aptly, the Grand Douche.

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