DoA's rules state that bootleg dolls and recasts are forbidden on-site, but we feel the need to restate and explain why it is forum policy and what it means to you.
We are not in a position to ban members for simply owning recast dolls; it is too difficult to identify a recast in a photo, and we don't have the time or interest to stalk members off-site to see if they're acquiring dolls illegally. Similarly, we do not want to promote a community of members who stalk one another. However, we do not condone recasting and will not tolerate having recast dolls promoted or pictured on-site.
In particular, we have zero tolerance for bootlegs in the Marketplaces; if we find out that you are are buying, selling, or trading these dolls in our Marketplaces, you will lose access to the Marketplaces and possibly the forum as a whole.
You may wonder why DoA does not condone bootlegging. Here are several of our major reasons:
1. First and foremost, bootlegging and recasting is illegal. In certain countries there are steep legal and financial penalties for buying or selling counterfeit goods.
2. Bootlegging hurts legitimate companies and deprives the original artists of their livelihoods. Many people who support recasting base their justifications on Volks' sales statistics, but it is important to keep in mind that Volks is not solely a BJD maker and much of their revenue is generated from other areas (and due to having many physical stores in the 6th most expensive country in the world, Volks' overhead is rather high). Should producing Super Dollfie cease to be profitable, Volks could easily terminate that line to focus entirely on other products. Volks is also extremely unique in the BJD world in terms of its business structure; aside from Volks, there are no "big companies." The largest companies have barely 100 employees, and quite a few are made up of fewer than 10 people. Most of these companies are extremely niche and have a limited line of products; if they are unable to sell to their target audience, they have no other products to fall back upon to remain open and keep their employees paid! If companies go out of business, then we all miss the opportunity to see what new sculpts they might have produced in the future.
3. The presence and acceptance of bootlegs creates stagnation and mistrust in the second-hand market. Shopping is a fun, exciting part of the BJD hobby. The introduction of bootlegs into the second-hand market makes hobbyists fear purchasing a fake doll, which makes sales in the second-hand market extremely slow. As most people try to keep their doll spending circular, if they can't sell their unwanted dolls, they can't buy new ones. It creates a slowdown in both the first and second-hand markets, and that is bad for our hobby.
4. Quality control is hit-or-miss. Some bootlegs are made with inferior materials which can pose a health hazard to their owners... or to customizers who may handle the doll during commissioned work. Many customizers refuse to work on recasts for both ethical and health reasons. If customizers become worried that potential commissions may be undisclosed bootlegs (which may carry additional risks or quality control frustrations that would complicate their work), they may stop taking commissions entirely. This leads to fewer talented artists available to the community.
The bootlegging issue is not new, nor is the group of supporters large. However, recent activity on other sites has made it seems as though recasting is becoming more accepted by the BJD community. This is not the case and the outrage against bootlegging is stronger than ever.
With regard to DoA, we are first and foremost a community of people who love dolls. This love of dolls should translate to respecting their creators by not supporting or promoting the theft of their work. It is worth mentioning as well that without the advertising support of dollmakers, DoA would not be able to pay its five-figure yearly hosting costs while remaining free for all members. We don't ask a lot of our members, but we do ask that you respect and abide by our rules by not promoting bootlegs or "sneaking" them into our galleries or discussion threads. This is a simple request and we have every expectation that our members have the integrity to honor it.
Recasting is unethical, illegal, and hurts both our hobby and our community. DoA will never support or promote bootlegs.
(Note: We normally ask that other forums and communities refrain from "borrowing" from our rules and announcements; however, in this instance we invite any community to reuse or rehash this announcement if they share our views on recasting and art theft.)