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Retooling an old vacform, piracy?

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I have some experience in retooling old, long out of production vacform into a resin kit with the permission of original vacform producer. But what if such permission cannot be obtained? At what point using a vacform as a base for a resin kit stops being piracy? Retooling is a lot of work and final product in very different from the original. 

I'm thinking about retooling Esoteric Overstrand, I'm happy to make some deal with the current owner of rights but I have no idea how and I definitely don't want to be accused for piracy

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I've seen the matter of piracy argued with respect to "copying" of existing injected kits from Eastern Europe and the Far East, but comments were passed to the extent that providing sufficient changes are made to make it significantly different then producers could not be sued successfully.   I think that the alterations necessary to do a resin model would be quite sufficient, but (without knowing the Esoteric kit) are there not other changes that you will/could be making to improve the accuracy or level of detail?


After all, every accurate model of any subject has to bear a remarkable resemblance to the original and hence each other.


However, the amount of money involved would likely be considerably less, even for mainline kits, than the costs of a legal action.  My comments  are not "legally informed" but if you do go ahead you could keep o record of what you have done to try and find the owner of the rights as this would improve your position anyway. 

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The original owner has passed away more than 20 years ago. I'm not aware of any heirs, the kits were not reissued by any other marque either.


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