An Open Letter on Piracy and Cyber Harassment

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Staff member
Forum Moderator
Aug 21, 2011

Madison, MS
An Open Letter on Piracy and Cyber Harassment

To all and sundry:

As many are aware, the issue of piracy in the Model Ship marketplace has become a topic of much discussion here on Ships of Scale and in other various online communities. We agree and acknowledge that it occurs, and we agree and acknowledge that the efforts of larger organizations to mitigate this problem is important and valuable. We applaud the efforts of these organizations to analyze and identify problematic kits and their efforts to educate the model ship community. That said, we would like our membership to understand that we are not able to independently verify or vet every kit on the market. We are also not able to independently verify the vetting process or terms used by these organizations to make such determinations. There is a real danger of libel and defamation, and we do not have the resources or inclination to further involve ourselves at this time.

The issue of piracy and copyright is complex, and we believe the various stakeholders remain the most relevant and important voices on the matter. We believe our membership is made up of capable and discerning minds, and we encourage all of you to utilize this forum and others to educate yourself on the quality and legitimacy of products you are planning to purchase.

It is clear to us at Ships of Scale, that while the heart and spirit of our hobby remain as it always has, the market is rapidly changing. As many other industries have had to deal with piracy and copyright infringement so now does the world of ship model design and manufacture. We have no doubt that this creates stress and difficulties in any business, but we are also business owners and students of history and believe that while unpleasant, this instability will eventually lead to growth and innovation in an otherwise stagnant market.

We believe that as a forum, our purpose is to cultivate a community around developing skills and enriching lives through ship modeling. We, therefore, choose to remain largely neutral when it comes to the business of ship modeling. Though some of us may be actively involved in this business we choose to avoid common administrative pitfalls and try to remain vigilant of any perceived or real conflict-of-interest. Most importantly, we want to avoid utilizing your membership and this forum for personal and financial gain. Therefore, we cannot in good conscience force our members to abide by a policy that would dictate how they spend their hard-earned money and valuable time. We want to stress that we have not come to this conclusion lightly, but through careful consultation with various stakeholders in private enterprise, and then, among Ships of Scale Admin, Moderators, and members-at-large. All of whom we hold as reliable and trustworthy members of our community.

We believe you all can make these determinations based on your own good judgment, available resources, and common sense. That is all we can ask of you, and all that we should ask. Ultimately the value of this forum is derived from you, our content creators and community builders. We thank you for your continued investment in our community and look forward to a healthy year together.

On Cyber Harassment:

Unfortunately, our neutrality has not been without criticism. We fully accept and apologize for the fallout of these interactions and apologize that we let it spill out into the pages of this forum. We have renewed our effort to no longer interact with or acknowledge critics who are not invested in the community at Ships of Scale and do not hold similar values to those of our membership. We accept fair and balanced criticism; we do not accept anonymous and cowardly abuse and harassment. We also do not accept the false narrative or the banner under which this abuse and harassment is hurled. We do not condone abusive use of the internet, nor do we condone online harassment of any kind (especially the insidious nature of anonymous, hate-filled propaganda). We will not be party to it, and we will not allow it to perpetuate on our forum. We ask that our members support and follow us in this effort by not giving space to online harassment and abusive criticism among our pages.

Please be aware that participation in, and perpetuation of abuse and harassment will be grounds for membership suspension; which may be appealed. We do not wish to alienate or exile anyone from our community but do need to draw a hard-line so as not to nourish an elitist, judgmental or exclusive atmosphere. You may offer your opinions and criticisms of Ships of Scale or its administration, but please do so without hostility and with a willingness to discuss openly and fairly. You may read, follow or cultivate memberships wherever you want in the world; but please, when you come to Ships of Scale – leave it at home.

We thank all of you for reading this, and for your continued support. We are a small forum, with a small crew but what we lack in money, time and resources we aim to make up with fairness, equitability, inclusion and most important of all – an educational, drama-free and fun community.

Thank You,

Ships of Scale
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