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Premium Bandai Gunpla is finally coming to the USA

Last year Bluefin brands, the United States distributor of Bandai products, began carrying Premium Bandai model kits on their website in the United States.  Premium Bandai is Bandai’s name for direct to consumer products. Last year’s selection was quite limited with only a few kits offered. There is a Premium Bandai store for many countries but not all carry Bandai’s hobby kits, the United States among them.  This means getting kits not offered In your country usually means paying high prices for shipping from Japan or flat out price gouging from resellers who charged exponentially more than the original price of the kit.  

On March 1st 2020 Bluefin brands announced that the Premium Bandai site for the United States will be carrying Premium Bandai hobby kits.  They announced the first eighteen kits that will be available for pre-order on their blog.  

This is great news for consumers as the cost to get these kits has dropped significantly.  Pre-orders are scheduled to start on April 2nd 2020. 

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“Battle to the End” by @toxic_builderpr

Description: The inspiration for this diorama was the battle from Build Fighters episode 19 when both suits are fighting hand to hand, each with one hand broken off because of the Plavsky particles. This is my take on that battle in the theme of the Old Japan Stage.
Techniques: Custom Paint, Light Weathering,Battle Damage, Sculpting, Papercraft
Materials and Kits used: Casting Plaster, Plastic Scale Trees, Wood plates, Paper, HG Sengoku Astray 1/144, HG Star Build Strike 1/144
Social Media: Instagram

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“Iron Blooded Victory” by @michael_texidor

Description: A re-imagining of the Barbatos being more worn and battle damaged when found and used by Tekkadan and Mikazuki Augus. The diaroma depicts Mikazuki holding his hand up in victory after a hard fought battle.
Techniques: Spray and hand painting, reverse Wash, weathering, minor customization to the weapon and model, custom decals.
Materials and Kits used: HGIBO Gundam Barbatos and custom foam diorama
Social Media: Instagram

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Blog 2: Applying for a Copyright for Your Pictures part 1

It is great to be able to look at social media and see plenty of great work by hobbyists.  However many of those pictures are used without permission and people who are not the builder may be monetizing those photos.  With little recourse to stop these people some builders simply never share their builds. We are exploring the possibility of copyrighting photos for the protection registering them offers.

The information here will be about applying for a copyright in the United States.  First let me say this is not legal advice so please keep that in mind while reading. Part 1 of this blog is an overview to point out relevant information from the government website to help start out anyone interested in attempting to register.  Please make sure you check out all the information on these sites so you can make an informed decision. Part 2 of this blog will cover our attempt to copyright a set of photos of a custom build.  

Photographs are how many builds are shared online so I will focus on registering those.  Videos are eligible for copyright too. Photos can be copyrighted in groups. There are separate group applications for published and unpublished photographs.  The US copyright office handles registrations. The website and source of this information is https://www.copyright.gov/.

Benefits of registration

An easy benefit to exercise is the ability to make takedown requests.  The Digital Millennium Copyright Act places a requirement on platforms where users can post.  Platforms can have a registered agent to be contacted for copyright infringement claims. The platform will then get protections against liability for the infringement. Here is a link to information about this on the site: https://www.copyright.gov/dmca-directory/.  

As an example here is Instagram’s help center information on reporting a copyright claim: https://help.instagram.com/277982542336146.  

Because of international copyright treaties you get some protections in any country that has signed a treaty in common with the yours.  In these cases enforcement is handled by the laws of the other country.  

What you do not get  

Registration is not guaranteed!  You have to follow the guidelines for the application to insure your application is not rejected for an error.  They do have a contact page so use it to get your questions answered. Also if what you are registering is too close to something already copyrighted you could be denied.  You can search existing copyright records here https://cocatalog.loc.gov/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?DB=local&PAGE=First.  You want to make sure that there will be no conflicts with something already existing.  This search is text only.  

You also do not get automatic protection.  You have to police your copyrighted material yourself. 

The Application Process

When you register you have to state that you are the author of the material being copyrighted.  For photographs the person who took the photograph is the author. Photographs fall under the Visual Arts Works category.  You could use the Single Application to apply for copyright on one photograph for $35. However the Standard Application will allow you to file a group of up to 750 photographs on one application for a filing fee of $55.  That is a lot of pictures. See https://www.copyright.gov/rulemaking/group-photographs/ for more information.  

Here is the fee schedule:
https://www.copyright.gov/about/fees.html

Here is a link to the basic requirements:
https://www.copyright.gov/registration/photographs/index.html

Let’s wrap here but please stay tuned for part 2 of this blog.  I will go into detail on our experience applying and the results of the application.