I'll chime in that I don't PERSONALLY agree with selling customs. If we're talking ethics, it's simply an act that is infringing against another's intellectual property for profit which isn't "right" I guess... I don't personally care if people do though, if they are good members of the customizing community, as Gregorbian more or less stated. That to me is where selling customs becomes an irritant in my eyes and where I simply lose respect for the customizer.
When I was at C3
, the www.FFURG.com
booth busted ass to make this hobby better and show it off to a broader audience. There were a few people in the group who were camped out at the booth the majority of their weekend there, and they were doing that to simply better this hobby and get new people into it... They were representing this niche of Star Wars collecting to the mass Star Wars fandom community. You have to respect that, and that they did this on their time and their dime at the show.
And there's lots of guys who post their wares and share all their knowledge (recipes, techniques, tips, etc.) in all the various forums. The customizing community goes beyond one forum that way, and it's a big positive... However, like all hobbies there's people in there who really simply use the forums as a means of advertisement, which I don't care for on any site much less the two I work at to keep clean of this behavior... If you're only here to show your stuff and ask people how many they want to buy, you're not part of the community. You're a bootlegger, plain and simple, and I can't see anything to contradict that.
If you're here to share though, and perhaps sell stuff (from your own site), well that's your thing... And you are at least giving back by sharing how you did this or that, what your recipes are, what your tools you use are, etc... That's a positive. That doesn't make customizing sales "right" in my eyes as it is something that can be ceased if Hasbro wanted to... Hell they came down on Lego even, haha, but they've also swept through Ebay when they've felt like raising a stink... That's just my personal stance, I don't hold it against people on a personal level though so long as they are the kind of people who really give back to the hobby. I respect that... People who share knowledge, ideas, or help are always good to have in the hobby, so that's cool.
I think if you want to Ebay some things Fritz, I wouldn't personally disrespect you for it... I don't agree with it, but I also think you're pretty good in this hobby overall and you are helpful and add to the hobby. Even if I don't agree with you deciding to sell some stuff, I still think you're a good guy in the hobby and am glad to always check out what you make and I know you'll reply to any critiques or questions with positive thoughts. That's good man.
I hope that covers my opinion well enough without it being offensive or anything.
Oh, and there's also a secondary circumstance where you sell customs due to necessity. Sometimes you just NEED money... At that point I still hold firm to my belief it's not ethically "right", but at the same time I think when you have to do what you have to do to survive or whatnot, you may as well sell... Though I think when people get to a point they can't afford to live as they want to live and feel they "need" to sell this or that... I think it's time to re-estimate financial sitautions, budgets, etc... I'm not sure "funding" the hobby is such a great excuse since this is the same argument I see scalpers make about collecting... "Well I'm a collector and I only sell stuff so I can fund my hobby of collecting..." Well yeah, but that's still scalping (just making a general argument with this point). I'm not sure I agree then that you NEED to fund a hobby by selling customs, but again like I said, if you're adding to the community, if you're free with knowledge and tips... This changes my opinion some. I still view custom sales as not overall "good" or positive for the hobby, and customizing sales are what I believe has led to bootlegging, recards, frauds... Vintage collectors have often looked down on customizers for that reason and they have some basis for this.
At the same time though, as I said, good people in the hobby are appreciated irregardless of what they do with their customs generally. It's at least someone trying to build the community upward, instead of just taking from it what they can and not giving anything back. That's my stance on it... It's an old debate. I remember arguing this back in the 90's during the old listserver days, haha. It's been around as long as this hobby's had any sort of organization to it.