The solution is simple enough: Design your own! While we all can't be
expert designers or builders, most of us CAN, if we want to, build
models that will fly acceptably. There are books by Harry Higley and
Andy Lennon, videos by Dave Platt and others
, and some stuff on the AMA website to help the beginning
designer/builder along. There's plenty of help and encouragement on RCU
and R/C Groups too. For instance, there's a little scale plans or kit
building "contest" going on on the R/C Groups Scale Electric forum, and
the level of cooperation and advice to newcomers is fantastic! It's
just as good on the glow and gas engine forums too, whether sport,
trainer, or scale.
Despite the foregoing, I also lament the high price of plans. If you
know someone with server space who would start a "clearing house" of
plans that people have purchased, but don't plan to build, and are
willing to swap, that might ease the problem somewhat!
Another source of relatively low-cost plans is Full Size Plans.>
sources of relatively cheap plans are the various British and
European mags that come with plans. Often the magazine back issue costs
far less than buying the plan alone!
Now, you got any plans you want to trade? :-)
Geoff...great idea to set up a clearing house for old plans ( used or not )
. Does Ebay have a section for that? I am very new in this hobby, but I
can see that helping others learn and build, such as often happens on the
r/c sites, is a practice not found in every hobby.
Having been a draftsman back in the Seventies, I have to say that it is
important to recognize that some folks earn their living by generating
technical drawings and selling them. There is absolutely no reason for
normal market economics not to work as usual for technical drawings than any
other form of capitalistic activity - altruism be damned.
The trouble with sharing old ones is that it violates the copyright of
the designer and/or original seller. If you have NOT built from the
plan, then there's no violation. And there are plenty of plans kicking
around that people haven't built from!
As for Ebay, I feel that they have too many ethical issues to do
business with. They allow people who have, as Robert indicated, ripped
off legitimate plans businesses to sell illegal plans.
First of all, the draftsmen already got paid whatever they had coming to
them decades ago, and RCM retains all further rights to the contents of
their catalog. That's not the point.
The pirates are printing copyrighted designs and selling them for a buck
on ebay. Assuming that the pirates are making money at that price, I'm
sure RCM can rethink their price structure a bit.
I'm not asking for altruism. I just want to make the rightful owners
understand that they will be put out of business by pirates if they
don't adjust their business plan. Along the way, the entire modeling
community will lose a great resource when RCM closes the doors on their
catalog of well over a thousand really great designs for lack of business.
I think the problem is that the owners of the big catalogs are assuming
that their copyrights actually protect them. Sorry, but the public has
become accustomed to the idea of shamelessly plagiarizing or buying
illegal copies. If you're the legal copyright owner, you're out of luck.
Take a look at an ebay seller called fee-me. Currently he lists the
Whimpy for 99 cents plus $3 shipping, and the Rodeo and the Miss Texas
for 9.99. These are all RCM designs, currently selling for $12, $16 and
$16.50 respectively, plus shipping. All RCM can say about their price
is that they are held captive by the price of paper. Maybe they should
ask fee-me where he gets his paper. Fee-me also lists about a hundred
other plans from various sources with which I'm not as familiar.
I'm not asking for altruism from RCM. I'm just trying to warn them that
they're up against the wall. Why is it so hard for some of you guys to
understand that point?
Here's another example. I bought the entire hobby collection of Vince
Miller a few years ago to liquidate on ebay. In addition to engines,
kits, planes, wood, etc, Vince also owned the originals and a lot of
copies of some really nice scale plans. I sold the transparencies to
Susan Calvin, a well known scale builder in Kansas City. She called the
Millers and secured the rights to reproduce the plans. Following the
business model of the past several decades, Susan made some nice prints
and compiled a catalog of the plans. She bought a table at the swap
meet for several years in a row to sell them, as well as advertising
nationally. Whenever I asked her how business was going at a swap meet,
she always told me that she hadn't sold anything. Mail order wasn't
much better, if any. These are really nice plans that you would expect
to pay $30 or $40 for, but the sad truth is that a large portion of the
public wants to pay either a lot less than that or nothing for plans.
So if you're the seller, what do you do? Keep trying to sell for $30 or
$40? It just isn't going to happen.
Ed, you're a swell guy. In retrospect, I'm pretty sure I put an
inappropriate title on this thread. It should have been "keep the RC
plans catalogs in business." I went back and changed it on my website.
It costs me around a dollar an A0 page to print plans. It costs me
another dollar for a mail tube, it costs me around a couple of dollars
to post them. The whole process takes around half an hour which its at
least another $15 if I were to charge my labour. This is for my *own*
plans, or plans that someone else wants printed.
For this reason I don't particularly care to sell plans. The files are
I.e. I charge to print and post plans, not for the plan itself.
If someone wants to sell them themselves, more fool the buyer.
And it must be some poor kid selling who has access to someone else's
copier as well, if he cam knock them out that cheap, and not cost his
labour. Good luck to him.
The internet is making plenty of business unprofitable. Plan selling is
juts one of them.
I tend to agree.
I totally agree.
People have been passing plans around for years. and copying them
All the internet does is make it easier.
The sellers are such small fry that it makes no sense to sue them.
Building form plans is a small and shrinking subset of the whole hobby.
In essence magazines make money from advertisers: plans are just
something that gets people to read the magazines. If someone simply
sells old plans pirate wise, my guess is that the magazine is probably
not that unhappy. They probably would only sell 2-3 plans a year from an
old model. Thats a big amount of paper to keep in stock on the offchance.
I dont think thats true. Copyright means you cannot copy and re-sell the
original, at least in such a way that it damages the original copyright
holders chance to sell the plan again.
I.e. you can copuy a plan as many times as you like for your own use, or
sell the original, but you cant keep the original and SELL copies.
Whether or not you have built it is irrelevant.
Also, copyright lapses after a while. IIRC its 50 years with some
Plans of models published prior prior to 1958, are therefore free for all.
So what do you expect to do about it?
Its all below the legal radar by and large.
If the guys were making millions, then the plan copyright owbers would
have some reason to sue. They aren't.
I sold some old books on Ebay. I gave up. Just one 'I never got that
parcel' complaint - whether true or a lie - wiped out all the money I
made. The game wasn't worth the candle and the hassle. If some
impoverished student with a drawer full of his das old plans and free
access to a university copier wants to make a couple of bucks that way,
At least he isn't selling drugs on campus.
Speaking of their (lack of) ethics, eBay was recently charged with multiple
counts of Ticket Scalping. They certainly are in the *anything for a buck*
business. They owned the company that was scalping the tickets through
I have never understood the concept of ticket scalping.
If someone buys something for one price and then sells it
for a higher price, that is capitalism. Same as what some
folks call ticket scalping.
How difficult would it be for a state legislature to pass a
law saying that no more than so & so tickets can be sold to
a given business entity or individual at one time? Piece of
It's okay for speculators to drive the price of oil out of
sight and make the common man suffer. But it is considered
scalping when someone deprives an upper middle class
individual from buying a cheap ticket to a football game? I
don't get it.
Let's see......... You feel it's good American capitalism to conspire with
the ticket issuer to take almost all the tickets for popular events leaving
essentially none for local outlets, raise the price, and sell them on eBay.
You don't think this makes the "common man suffer" more than if the scalping
did not occur?
Strange attitude. You hold how many eBay shares?
| I dont think thats true. Copyright means you cannot copy and re-sell the
| original, at least in such a way that it damages the original copyright
| holders chance to sell the plan again.
It's not quite that simple, at least not in the US. (You're in
| I.e. you can copuy a plan as many times as you like for your own use, or
| sell the original, but you cant keep the original and SELL copies.
Still not that simple ...
| Whether or not you have built it is irrelevant.
Plans are a bit different, because actually building it is making a
copy of the plans of a sort. So if somebody sells plans to build a
plane, I imagine that would have to come with a license (perhaps
implied) to build a plane from these plans. Can you build multiple
planes? That would depend on the license.
I don't know if any of that has ever been fully worked out in the
courts or what, so there's probably a lot of room for people to make
their own interpetations.
| Also, copyright lapses after a while. IIRC its 50 years with some
Certainly not in the US ...
| Plans of models published prior prior to 1958, are therefore free for all.
Well how is that different from buying all the oil in Saudi, and leaving
none for the rest of the world, and selling it on at high prices?
Arguably the common man suffers whenever businesses get to a size that
allows them some sort of de facto monopoly.
Capitalism isn't perfect, and more enlightened countries moderate it
with some sort of consumer (or other) legislation.
So called ticket scalping is no different from any distributor buying in
bulk and marking up to whatever price the market will stand.
We have a saying here, about low cost or free medical care "when you
pay, what you get is dictated by the size of your wallet, when its
cheap, what you get is dictated by the length of the queue"
With ticket scalping, you have a situation where tickets are being sold
well below the market rate.
Which represents a loss for those issuing them. A sensible approach
would be to sell tickets either by (Dutch?) auction in the first place,
or by incremental cost. Those at the front of the queue pay little,
those at the back a lot more.
| I have never understood the concept of ticket scalping.
| If someone buys something for one price and then sells it
| for a higher price, that is capitalism. Same as what some
| folks call ticket scalping.
Yes, but people don't like it, so they call it `wrong' and push for
laws to make it illegal.
And consider price gouging. There's a hurricaine coming, and most of
the gas stations are running out of gas. But you've got plenty, so
you double your price -- because you'll know people will pay it. It's
capitialism, yes, but it's also illegal in many places, and even if
not, people will be outraged ...
Personally, I think it should be legal and even encouraged. Sure, I
don't want to pay double for gas, but if the station owner should be
rewarded for planning ahead to have plenty of gas for an emergency.
And making price gouging illegal removes the incentive for a gas
station owner to add an extra big tank of gas to handle emergencies
like this, which means that your legislation may actually mean that
fewer people get the needed gas.
| How difficult would it be for a state legislature to pass a
| law saying that no more than so & so tickets can be sold to
| a given business entity or individual at one time? Piece of
Sure, but why do you need a law for that?
If the demand is so high that the tickets sell out in minutes,
obviously the price was too low, and they should charge more next
time. Perhaps it's a perception of price gouging -- it's OK for the
scalper to do it, but not OK for your favorite band or venue? Perhaps
the venues should start sister companies that are hard to directly
link to the venue themselves, but they handle the scalping of the
tickets, but get special treatment in getting the tickets or something.
| It's okay for speculators to drive the price of oil out of
| sight and make the common man suffer.
Regarding oil prices, that's more an issue of simple supply and demand
than speculators -- demand is going up, and supply is going down. And
over any long period of time, the price of oil is only going to go up.
(And glow fuel will probably go up too, as more alcohol goes into auto
fuel. Fly electric! Fly gliders!)
| But it is considered scalping when someone deprives an upper middle
| class individual from buying a cheap ticket to a football game? I
| don't get it.
That's neat how you made it a class-war issue. Yes, those with more
money are better able to buy new laws.
There is nothing specifically American about capitalism. And selling things at
the highest market price attainable is exactly how capitalism is supposed to
work. Entrepreneur is French for middle man, or more exactly "between taker"
The problem with Yanks is they only like capitalism (or any other principle)
when it is in their direct self-interest. When China (say) manages to make
products cheaper than American firms by the logical expedient of charging less
for their labour, then the typical American "believer in capitalism and free
enterprise" runs crying to mommy. "Unfair competition", "slave labour" etc etc
being the cry.
Well as a good upholder of the merits of free enterprise and self-sufficiency I
am prepared to bet that Ed's pension scheme holds shares in plenty of firms that
exist to make money, whether eBay is amonst them or not is entirely beside
Of course expecting an American to stand by any principle except "me first and
fuck you" is a lot to hope for, so I don't suppose Ed will support anything I
have said here.
Your very affectionate cousin,
On 17 Jan 2008 17:58:22 GMT, "Doug McLaren"
wrote in :
I checked into this a few years ago when this topic
first came up.
There is no doubt that architectural plans may not be
used to build more than one building without the permission
of the architect. That seems to be well-established in law.
If I remember correctly, the relevant legislation was
quite specific about buildings and boats.
It was silent about the status of model aircraft plans.
Gotta get ready for class. Google probably has the old thread.
My personal bottom line: I am not going to worry about building
extra models from the same set of plans.
You Europeans always have to get a shot in at the Americans, don't you?
I never hear we Americans talking amongst ourselves badly about the Brits,
Germans, French, Dutch, etc. I wonder why that is?
Now that that is off my chest. I don't hate anyone because of where they are
from. Plus, anyone that likes model airplanes is okay with me, as long as
you don't want to cut our heads off. Is that too much to ask?