KIDROBOT’S POSITION ON “CUSTOMIZING” VS. “BOOTLEGGING”

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KIDROBOT’S POSITION ON “CUSTOMIZING” VS. “BOOTLEGGING”

Post by Kidrobot Guru » Wed Jan 28, 2015 10:45 am

KIDROBOT’S POSITION ON “CUSTOMIZING” VS. “BOOTLEGGING”

January 27, 2015 – Many folks have asked about Kidrobot’s position on “Customizing” vs. “Bootlegging” so we thought we’d set the record straight.

When you customize a Kidrobot art toy, you show respect to Kidrobot by making a purchase of the original art toy and then altering, adding to and/or building onto that original art toy, creating a modified version of the original and bringing something of your own to life. Customizing allows up-and-coming artists the opportunity to work on Kidrobot’s otherwise inaccessible platform shapes (e.g., DUNNY, MUNNY, KIDROBOT). Oftentimes, Kidrobot will promote these customized works via its social channels.

Bootlegging, on the other hand, involves the creation (or rather, re-creation) of somebody else’s work; it is also called copyright infringement and represents the illegal use of another’s copyrighted work. If, for example you cast a mold, or in any other way reproduce a Kidrobot platform shape, regardless of the material used, then you violate (infringe) certain rights of Kidrobot, since Kidrobot is the author and sole owner of those platform shapes.

It is important to understand that Kidrobot takes the protection of its intellectual property seriously and, therefore, must diligently pursue those attempting to profit from Kidrobot’s name and intellectual property. By actively pursuing bootleggers, Kidrobot demonstrates its support of the art world, its employees and customers, and the artists who license their amazing works of art, to Kidrobot, so Kidrobot can produce incredible collectible products. Kidrobot has worked with, and will continue to work with, literally hundreds of artists who engage us directly and request authorization to use Kidrobot platforms. We look forward to continuing those relationships, which we believe are strengthened by Kidrobot’s active pursuit of those who opt to move forward without authorization.

All of us at Kidrobot realize the lines between bootlegging and customizing can get blurry, so all we ask is that you reach out to us BEFORE you create Kidrobot-based works that may infringe. To our customers, retailers and the media, we simply ask that you continue to support Kidrobot and its artists by not promoting or purchasing bootleg products so that, together, we can make a statement that bootlegging is not welcome in the art world.



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Re: KIDROBOT’S POSITION ON “CUSTOMIZING” VS. “BOOTLEGGING”

Post by halfapparition » Wed Jan 28, 2015 12:11 pm

Great write up and about time!
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Re: KIDROBOT’S POSITION ON “CUSTOMIZING” VS. “BOOTLEGGING”

Post by Kidrobot Guru » Wed Jan 28, 2015 1:28 pm

Indeed.

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Re: KIDROBOT’S POSITION ON “CUSTOMIZING” VS. “BOOTLEGGING”

Post by paul » Wed Jan 28, 2015 1:38 pm

Good write-up. Now that KR has some funding, I hope to see them cracking down on the people who make resin copies. There are some artists with real talent out there who are wasting their time making a quick buck when they could be developing original characters and ideas that could create a brand new thing for collectors to lust over. This scene needs more new things.
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Re: KIDROBOT’S POSITION ON “CUSTOMIZING” VS. “BOOTLEGGING”

Post by GFD18 » Wed Jan 28, 2015 6:49 pm

Guru or anyone official from KidRobot --- You should set up some type of contact form where we, the consumers, can notify KR about individuals breaking this policy. AKA, if we see people selling blatant dunny molds/resins etc, who do we contact at KR.

I have always been against the bootlegging of KR's platforms. It is about time a statement has been made.
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Re: KIDROBOT’S POSITION ON “CUSTOMIZING” VS. “BOOTLEGGING”

Post by TO_designs » Wed Jan 28, 2015 7:37 pm

good write up but still doesnt touch base on the people who sculpt something onto a KR platform, and then mold and cast that to make multiple copies for a small series or something ....is that not allowed? would that be considered bootlegging since its not actually a factory produced toy underneath? or is the bootlegging more in regards to people who straight up mold and cast a plain dunny? but then that brings clear pieces to mind, how would artists be able to create a clear piece without casting it in resin? i dont think anyone would want to or could recreate the exact same design over and over if something for example was sculpted onto a dunny, munny, or whatever other toy of their choosing

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Re: KIDROBOT’S POSITION ON “CUSTOMIZING” VS. “BOOTLEGGING”

Post by hitechkoolaid » Wed Jan 28, 2015 7:42 pm

Kidrobot Guru wrote: It is important to understand that Kidrobot takes the protection of its intellectual property seriously and, therefore, must diligently pursue those attempting to profit from Kidrobot’s name and intellectual property. .
So this also means Kidrobot should be cracking down on ebay users who utilize the KR name and brand for search manipulation to make a higher profit when the item has nothing to do with KR. IE: Funko, TLS, etc. :partyman:

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Re: KIDROBOT’S POSITION ON “CUSTOMIZING” VS. “BOOTLEGGING”

Post by GFD18 » Wed Jan 28, 2015 8:52 pm

TO_designs wrote:good write up but still doesnt touch base on the people who sculpt something onto a KR platform, and then mold and cast that to make multiple copies for a small series or something ....is that not allowed? would that be considered bootlegging since its not actually a factory produced toy underneath? or is the bootlegging more in regards to people who straight up mold and cast a plain dunny? but then that brings clear pieces to mind, how would artists be able to create a clear piece without casting it in resin? i dont think anyone would want to or could recreate the exact same design over and over if something for example was sculpted onto a dunny, munny, or whatever other toy of their choosing

thanks! :)
IMO, it is clear that that is not allowed anymore. If you took a legit 3" dunny and customized it, adding clay, modifying shapes etc, that is fine. You paid for the Dunny and KR got its share (maybe not directly from you, but from the person who originally bought the dunny)

However, if you modified that situation and flat out made molds of your creation and cast multiples, that is bootlegging. The duplicates contain zero actual physical vinyl dunny, KR gets no "value", and KR actually gets jipped out of a sale.
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Re: KIDROBOT’S POSITION ON “CUSTOMIZING” VS. “BOOTLEGGING”

Post by dimply_gecko » Wed Jan 28, 2015 10:34 pm

GFD18 wrote:
TO_designs wrote:good write up but still doesnt touch base on the people who sculpt something onto a KR platform, and then mold and cast that to make multiple copies for a small series or something ....is that not allowed? would that be considered bootlegging since its not actually a factory produced toy underneath? or is the bootlegging more in regards to people who straight up mold and cast a plain dunny? but then that brings clear pieces to mind, how would artists be able to create a clear piece without casting it in resin? i dont think anyone would want to or could recreate the exact same design over and over if something for example was sculpted onto a dunny, munny, or whatever other toy of their choosing

thanks! :)
IMO, it is clear that that is not allowed anymore. If you took a legit 3" dunny and customized it, adding clay, modifying shapes etc, that is fine. You paid for the Dunny and KR got its share (maybe not directly from you, but from the person who originally bought the dunny)

However, if you modified that situation and flat out made molds of your creation and cast multiples, that is bootlegging. The duplicates contain zero actual physical vinyl dunny, KR gets no "value", and KR actually gets jipped out of a sale.
So simple solution is to include an actual dunny with every limited casting, then KR still gets their piece of the pie :partyman: heh :D
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Re: KIDROBOT’S POSITION ON “CUSTOMIZING” VS. “BOOTLEGGING”

Post by chorus » Thu Jan 29, 2015 12:28 am

TO_designs wrote:So simple solution is to include an actual dunny with every limited casting, then KR still gets their piece of the pie :partyman: heh :D
I thought the same thing.

But seriously, clear casts, heavily sculpted pieces, I gotta think it's the overall number of pieces made that KR would care about most...? I know there's that guy on eBay that sells 8" pieces that he customizes, He just floods the market, No way he's buying 50$ Dunnys and selling them for 10$ Also how would they stop it? They could send a cease and desist for a particular sculpt right? Then all the artist would have to do is change to another sculpt? Im thinking of the storm troopers here, they get a letter then they just make a darth vader. See? I dunno, how many artist are making resin Dunnys? 10 - 15 tops right? Is that seriously affecting KRs sales? Does KR just want a piece of those 75$ high end resin pieces. I'd love to see a breakdown of how small resin runs affect their sales. I'm not crapping on KRs parade here, I'm just genuinely curious.

Seems to me that those runs help KR more than they hurt them, but I'm freely admitting I don't have the facts. Maybe this is more to straight up bootlegs of designs and such. I guess we'll see who KR goes after.

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Re: KIDROBOT’S POSITION ON “CUSTOMIZING” VS. “BOOTLEGGING”

Post by sgr1000 » Thu Jan 29, 2015 2:06 am

So if you copy an 8" as a 3" or a 3" as an 8" This would be considered customising ?

I'm glad KR is about to do something about all the copies out there, It is hard enough to get the pieces over here in the UK without trying to sieve through all the bad pieces too with customs and shipping.

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Re: KIDROBOT’S POSITION ON “CUSTOMIZING” VS. “BOOTLEGGING”

Post by IgorVentura » Thu Jan 29, 2015 4:46 am

TO_designs wrote:good write up but still doesnt touch base on the people who sculpt something onto a KR platform, and then mold and cast that to make multiple copies for a small series or something ....is that not allowed? would that be considered bootlegging since its not actually a factory produced toy underneath? or is the bootlegging more in regards to people who straight up mold and cast a plain dunny? but then that brings clear pieces to mind, how would artists be able to create a clear piece without casting it in resin? i dont think anyone would want to or could recreate the exact same design over and over if something for example was sculpted onto a dunny, munny, or whatever other toy of their choosing

thanks! :)
I'd like to know that as well.
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Re: KIDROBOT’S POSITION ON “CUSTOMIZING” VS. “BOOTLEGGING”

Post by shrubs » Thu Jan 29, 2015 6:09 am

Does copyright also include artwork and characters as well as the platform?

Did KR get permission from Disney to use Mickey Mouse for the American Depress piece? or Heinz for the Sket One Dunnys?

I know Mark Bode personally asked Paul Budnitz not use the Cheech Wizard design for the Tilt Fatcaps but he went ahead and did it anyway.

I'm not making an accusation just interested to know if this the same
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Re: KIDROBOT’S POSITION ON “CUSTOMIZING” VS. “BOOTLEGGING”

Post by megrimlock1 » Thu Jan 29, 2015 6:58 am

i think I read that KR got plenty C & D letters.
There is one 8 inch Dunny they had to stop selling instantly. The one with the apple making it the rarest Dunny.

Basically the bootlegs are illegal and probably by people with no talent anyway.

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Re: KIDROBOT’S POSITION ON “CUSTOMIZING” VS. “BOOTLEGGING”

Post by DannyDesign » Thu Jan 29, 2015 7:43 am

Just to be clear though, it's still entirely okay to slap a Boba Fett head on anything, paint it a different color, give it a dumb-as-hell ironic and/or sexually suggestive name and sell it, right?

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Re: KIDROBOT’S POSITION ON “CUSTOMIZING” VS. “BOOTLEGGING”

Post by Kidrobot Guru » Thu Jan 29, 2015 8:16 am

Hahah... Basically when done like so, it mostly likely is case of "at your own risk." Indeed lines get blurred but if one is unsure, feel free to hit up KR directly. Like in he case of our very own fellow board member, "zombiemonkie." He ended up getting a solo custom show at KRSF, and went on to sell his pieces.

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Re: KIDROBOT’S POSITION ON “CUSTOMIZING” VS. “BOOTLEGGING”

Post by Rsinart » Thu Jan 29, 2015 6:24 pm

I think its good there is a post on it. I think communication between artist and KR needs to stay open as well. I as many of you know copied the agent K head for some customs which I still used production pieces to make. At the time I had the ok from those in charge as long as I followed some simple request. I have seen and been sent a ton of bootleg Dunnys recently. I have 4-5 8' blank dunnys I was sent for commissions (didn't know I was being sent them) I ended up passing on doing, they are junk, and I know a few artist that use them anyway. That type of thing I think is a bigger issue.
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Re: KIDROBOT’S POSITION ON “CUSTOMIZING” VS. “BOOTLEGGING”

Post by kidrobotKiwi » Fri Jan 30, 2015 12:56 am

Hmm... I understand the point that you're trying to make about bootlegging and customising as well. Perhaps I am ignorant of how many bootleg dunnys are being sold.

However, I also strongly feel that Kidrobot CONTRIBUTES to the existence of bootlegging (or customising) when you make poor decisions on which characters to offer within your series.

For example, Kidrobot has released two series of Futurama mini figures, for which I am very appreciative and have paid you very well to collect all of them, including the rare chase figures. That said, someone of authority ultimately selected the figures that were included in Series 1 & 2. A person (or persons) had to actually decide that collectors would rather own Slurms McKenzie, Hyperchicken or Donbot, rather than Professor Farnsworth, Robot Santa, or Scruffy, Clamps or Wernstrom?

Your staff should know well that collectors are often compulsive about completing their collections. Now the term "complete" is subjective and relative, in that anyone can always winge that you did not make a specific, obscure random figure. But excluding Professor Farnsworth from both series was simply a poor decision. He appeared in every Futurama episode and was often the main character of the episode's plot.

Perhaps a more egregious error was the sculpting of Duff Man or Funzo and Teeny, when major Simpsons characters like normal, non-devil Flanders, Principal Skinner, or a mini version of Ralph Wiggum were entirely omitted.

I would like to think that Kidrobot did not include Professor Farnsworth in Series 2 because there are plans for a third series or maybe it will appear alone as a SDCC exclusive. I'd like to believe that Kidrobot will give us mini-figures of Flanders, Skinner, Krabappel, Nelson and Ralph...

However Kidrobot has provided very little specific information about what to expect in the future from the company. I read of store closures and delays with the Simpsons Anniversary set and talk of losing licences.

Will there be any further series of The Simpsons (after the 25th Anniversary), Futurama, Family Guy, or South Park? Did you lose the license to make vinyl representations of any of these characters. It would be very good to know, lest I waste any more time checking your website to see if Hell froze over.

If Kidrobot still has the license to create mini figures from all or some of these lines, perhaps you would consider offering one final series of "completion figures" (characters that loyal Kidrobot fans really feel would complete their collection). The series itself could have characters from different animated shows to make up the 12-14 figures for the series. To demonstrate that Kidrobot is listening to the loyal customers who have stuck with your company, make a forum thread for people to suggest which final characters they want to see from Kidrobot. Or hold a competition... Let the customers on the discussion board vote to select the figures.

Or just come clean and admit that we're never going to see any further Simpsons or Futurama etc mini-figures. I've sunk thousands of dollars into vinyl Kidrobot figures that I love. But I can see where some bootleggers have found their niche. If you're not going to make it, someone else can and will. I budget a sufficient amount from each paycheque towards the purchase of collectable figures. I would like to continue to send that money to you, if you'd make figures that I want to buy.

It feels as though, perhaps, it's time that we broke up, Kidrobot. It's not you... it's me. I'm just not that into you. And I've been cheating with Funko for the past few months.

Take care of yourself and keep my t-shirts that you borrowed,
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Re: KIDROBOT’S POSITION ON “CUSTOMIZING” VS. “BOOTLEGGING”

Post by Chumps » Fri Jan 30, 2015 2:01 am

Nice write up. Was very interesting

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Re: KIDROBOT’S POSITION ON “CUSTOMIZING” VS. “BOOTLEGGING”

Post by halfapparition » Fri Jan 30, 2015 8:10 am

I remember clamps and the prof were to be made. something didnt sit right was the reason and something with price or complications. i forgot.
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Re: KIDROBOT’S POSITION ON “CUSTOMIZING” VS. “BOOTLEGGING”

Post by Kidrobot Guru » Fri Jan 30, 2015 3:10 pm

kidrobotKiwi wrote:Hmm... I understand the point that you're trying to make about bootlegging and customising as well. Perhaps I am ignorant of how many bootleg dunnys are being sold.

However, I also strongly feel that Kidrobot CONTRIBUTES to the existence of bootlegging (or customising) when you make poor decisions on which characters to offer within your series.

For example, Kidrobot has released two series of Futurama mini figures, for which I am very appreciative and have paid you very well to collect all of them, including the rare chase figures. That said, someone of authority ultimately selected the figures that were included in Series 1 & 2. A person (or persons) had to actually decide that collectors would rather own Slurms McKenzie, Hyperchicken or Donbot, rather than Professor Farnsworth, Robot Santa, or Scruffy, Clamps or Wernstrom?

Your staff should know well that collectors are often compulsive about completing their collections. Now the term "complete" is subjective and relative, in that anyone can always winge that you did not make a specific, obscure random figure. But excluding Professor Farnsworth from both series was simply a poor decision. He appeared in every Futurama episode and was often the main character of the episode's plot.

Perhaps a more egregious error was the sculpting of Duff Man or Funzo and Teeny, when major Simpsons characters like normal, non-devil Flanders, Principal Skinner, or a mini version of Ralph Wiggum were entirely omitted.

I would like to think that Kidrobot did not include Professor Farnsworth in Series 2 because there are plans for a third series or maybe it will appear alone as a SDCC exclusive. I'd like to believe that Kidrobot will give us mini-figures of Flanders, Skinner, Krabappel, Nelson and Ralph...

However Kidrobot has provided very little specific information about what to expect in the future from the company. I read of store closures and delays with the Simpsons Anniversary set and talk of losing licences.

Will there be any further series of The Simpsons (after the 25th Anniversary), Futurama, Family Guy, or South Park? Did you lose the license to make vinyl representations of any of these characters. It would be very good to know, lest I waste any more time checking your website to see if Hell froze over.

If Kidrobot still has the license to create mini figures from all or some of these lines, perhaps you would consider offering one final series of "completion figures" (characters that loyal Kidrobot fans really feel would complete their collection). The series itself could have characters from different animated shows to make up the 12-14 figures for the series. To demonstrate that Kidrobot is listening to the loyal customers who have stuck with your company, make a forum thread for people to suggest which final characters they want to see from Kidrobot. Or hold a competition... Let the customers on the discussion board vote to select the figures.

Or just come clean and admit that we're never going to see any further Simpsons or Futurama etc mini-figures. I've sunk thousands of dollars into vinyl Kidrobot figures that I love. But I can see where some bootleggers have found their niche. If you're not going to make it, someone else can and will. I budget a sufficient amount from each paycheque towards the purchase of collectable figures. I would like to continue to send that money to you, if you'd make figures that I want to buy.

It feels as though, perhaps, it's time that we broke up, Kidrobot. It's not you... it's me. I'm just not that into you. And I've been cheating with Funko for the past few months.

Take care of yourself and keep my t-shirts that you borrowed,
Kiwi

Sorry to hear you're moving on... You cheater!!!! heheh, just kidding. As we all know, unfortunately it is hard to please everyone, no matter how much one tries, someone in the end will be disappointed. A side note, some awesome series are indeed coming, heheh. I cannot mention which, but some info will come sooner than later, and it does pertain to somethin' you have mentioned.

Have fun with Funko, they'll just break your heart!

Again just kidding, you know, just playing along, heheheh.

Now back to the subject at hand.

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Re: KIDROBOT’S POSITION ON “CUSTOMIZING” VS. “BOOTLEGGING”

Post by reganomics813 » Sat Jan 31, 2015 7:22 am

Rsinart wrote:I have seen and been sent a ton of bootleg Dunnys recently. I have 4-5 8' blank dunnys I was sent for commissions (didn't know I was being sent them) I ended up passing on doing, they are junk, and I know a few artist that use them anyway. That type of thing I think is a bigger issue.
Agree 100%, the bootleg 8" Dunnys are out of control at this point. eBay is littered with them along with some of the customs Rsin alluded to. While most of us who've been around know the deal but these types of dealers are cheating those new to collecting and could really cheapen the KR experience for them by doing so. It definitely needs to be addressed.
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Re: KIDROBOT’S POSITION ON “CUSTOMIZING” VS. “BOOTLEGGING”

Post by shrubs » Sat Jan 31, 2015 7:38 am

KR could probably cut down on 8" bootlegs if they just made blanks available to buy. I think making up coming artists and customisers pay full retail price for a production dunny only to be stripped down and painted over is kinda sucky
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Re: KIDROBOT’S POSITION ON “CUSTOMIZING” VS. “BOOTLEGGING”

Post by reganomics813 » Sat Jan 31, 2015 8:36 am

shrubs wrote:KR could probably cut down on 8" bootlegs if they just made blanks available to buy. I think making up coming artists and customisers pay full retail price for a production dunny only to be stripped down and painted over is kinda sucky
Why bend to bootleggers and potentially kill your product when they need to be dealt with anyways? In making DIY Dunnys available for purchase, it would flat-out ruin the specialness of the Dunny platform. You want to make your own Dunny? You gotta work for it.

Don't get me wrong, I love blanks but if KR made those available to their customers we'd see a sea of mediocre/bad customs that would kill the brand. Keeping control of who they give a Dunny to is their way of maintaining a quality product. Production Dunnys are something for customizers to shoot for as they love the design and is KR's way of showing it's appreciation for the talent and dedication of those chosen to have one. Guys like Rsin, Dril, Betso, Cris Rose, and others put in years of hard work and earned their pieces. You don't want to lose that.

I think Kidrobot deserves a lot of credit for seeing the demand for DIY, mainly through people stripping Dunnys, and have more than filled that need with their Munnyworld line. KR can't regulate who customizes figures and with people already upset at the rising Dunny blind box costs, imagine if they were asking that for something a child could buy and scribble on at the kitchen table. It would be the end of the Dunny.

Any way you shake it, Kidrobot still needs to protect their brand and deal with those infringing on their copyrights. Hell, a couple cease and desist letters would probably take care of 99% of the current eBay outbreak anyways.
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