In the world of marine architecture, you normally get the rights to make one boat from a plan set. I believe it is the same with building architects as well. Of course you can negotiate for multiples, but the designer owns the design unless he explicitly sells the rights to it. If someone designs for a living, you steal from them when you violate their intellectual property rights. They are under no obligation to share their work freely. Of course you can try to knock off their design, but you better not get caught selling them.
You may not have been communicating with Ray when you made you inquiry. I have no idea what his business arrangement is, but he may have an assistant answering mail and shipping items.
IMHO, Ray Jardine is an engineer at heart and by practice. Did you know he holds patents on the cam climbing devices? And he had the cajones to stand down the conventional wisdom of a good part of the outdoor recreation industry. If you read his book, I think his diatribes on diet and foods illuminate the crackpot side of his personality too. So think nerdy-inventor-iconoclast rather than a slick business type with an MBA. People are often brilliant in one area and not so much in others.
We're lucky that many of the cottage makers are good on the service side too. A few have been weak on the communication side, or keeping up with order deadlines, etc. I think we've seen some outlandish responses from a couple of the more corporate equipment manufacturers in the forums over the last year or so, doing more damage than good to their reputations. Business is the Wild West, with a lot of variation in quality of product and service. I do agree with voting with your wallet--- you want the product enough to put up with the annoyances or you don't.