Hi all. I’ve once again had to respond to member complaints by taking down two public threads today by different members whose sole purpose was to advertise unlicensed items for sale. I try to moderate this site with a light hand, so I hate having to do stuff like that. I would therefore like to take this opportunity to implore everyone to please save me some headaches and to avoid imperiling our community itself by not creating such threads. There are many places around the web where you can sell prop replicas (eBay, Etsy, RPF, TPZ, etc); please use those venues instead of ours.
In case the reasoning and rules are unclear, I would like to re-explain the rationale for why we have this policy, and what the gray areas and limited exceptions to it are.
Specific guidance with examples
Firstly, let me just say I have zero problem with fan-to-fan trades—even sales of unlicensed items—that people arrange privately; those are none of my business, and I can’t imagine that even CBS/Paramount would care about such things. However, when it comes to our community, which is public, and its open threads, I want to keep us out of trouble and thus to make it clear that ours is a community that exists to facilitate two legitimate ends, as spelled out in the rules:
- to facilitate not-for-profit fan community sharing of information and research for purely hobbyist purposes
- to encourage and facilitate more accurate (and more available) licensed replicas
You may discuss whatever you like in private messages with other members (as long as you aren’t spamming people), but any public thread posted at TFW must ultimately serve one of these two primary purposes, or it’s in danger of summary deletion.
In case that’s too abstract, let me give some practical examples that will demonstrate the principle.
Let’s say somebody is doing even an unlicensed run of replicas for sale on the RPF or something. If they want to come here and do a long thread documenting their research and how they made it in a way that actually helps a hobbyist working alone in a not-for-profit way to make his or her own replica (sharing techniques and blueprints, etc.), I have no problem with that—so long as the thread is for information-sharing and documentation and not an advertisement (either explicitly or implicitly in substance) for an unlicensed replica with a link to a sales page. It’s not enough just to post pictures. You actually have to give people enough information to make their own copy of exactly what you’re making without having to come to you to buy it. Otherwise, it’s just an ad and doesn’t serve one of the two objectives stated above.
If you’re working on a licensed item for CBS, Paramount, or Roddenberry and want to come here to facilitate research but can’t for legal reasons share all your source files, that’s also fine because, again, it facilitates both stated objectives of the community.
Let’s say that you made some custom parts from an iconic prop and want to offer them up for sale here. You may feel that they’re just generic parts since they’re not advertised as anything specific and somehow don’t fall under copyright, but a) we all know better and b) the standard for inclusion here on our site is moral and ethical, not legal. Many things that would be perfectly legal to sell on the RPF or eBay wouldn’t be OK for our site merely a thread dedicated to selling them simply wouldn’t particularly serve the goals of the community as stated above. But most importantly, threads like this give the false impression to people casually looking at the site that one of the purposes of our community it to facilitate sales of unlicensed replicas, which is untrue and could get us, unfairly, intro trouble.
If you have spare general-purpose supplies and you very occasionally want to sell some resin, generic hardware, tools, etc., that’s totally fine. It facilitates a sense of community and helps other hobbyists get access to tools and supplies from trusted sources. Objective 1.
If you are selling a licensed item (old Roddenberry kits, built up or otherwise, Diamond Select toys, Anovos uniforms, etc.), no problem. Objective 2.
If a group of hobbyists are pooling together to purchase tools or parts to make something in a collaborative, not-for-profit way that would be too expensive for an individual to do on his or her own, that’s also fine—but everyone participating truly has to be collaboratively working on the project, not just one person organizing a “run of parts.” Objective 1.
One potential gray area is if you were officially involved in the production of the shows or films and want to offer up some artifact from your work that helps get information out into the fan community that wouldn’t otherwise be there before it’s lost to history, but such special situations can be arranged on a case-by-case basis.
Help hold us all accountable
If I’m ever not enforcing the spirit of these guidelines properly, please continue to feel free to message me to hold me accountable for doing so. When things slip by that seem to violate these rules, it’s usually just because I haven’t been made aware of them yet or simply forgot to apply the rules, not because I intentionally chose not to. Please don’t be shy to report something to me if it offends your sensibilities; chances are I just haven’t seen or thought about it yet.
Thank you for being awesome
Many thanks to all of you for making this an amazing community of which to be a part! I spent much of my younger life lamenting how poor the sense of community and availability of information was in the world of Trek props, and I feel that in the past few years you guys have done an enormous amount to completely reverse that. I’m very fortunate and honored to play my small part in the maintenance of this community, which for all of us is, let us recall, first and foremost about a set of stories and a philosophy of humanity/the future that we all love.