Another Copyright Question...involving LEGO

  • Moderator

    So, I have this character that I originally created to take with me on my backpack trips. It was my son's idea, to take photos of it out in the world for him. Its a LEGO mini-figure, frankensteined together from other mini-figure parts to make a little avatar of myself. A couple of trips ago I got creative and started making little "Adventure stories" with her. Yes, it's a her, she has become a real person. LOL. I love making the stories and thought about compiling them to publish on an ebook site. It's reasonably cheap to do so, I believe, and if I can make a few bucks off of it, that would be cool. BUT, copyright. It's LEGO. Then I tell myself, people make art out of LEGO's ALL THE TIME. What's the difference? The pieces I use are lego bricks that I combined into a little sculpture of myself. She's not recognizable as any of the LEGO "characters".
    I would like to hear @davidhohn 's opinion on this topic. @kaitlinmakes thinks she knows what you would say, David. I'm curious if she's right 😜. She probably is.
    Just to add, If I do proceed with this I would definitely find out for sure if it's legal. Worse case scenario, I make PDF's to hand out for free from my website. Cuz, I think they are super cute and make people laugh. Here are a couple of picts of Scrapbear doin' her thing.
    2_1541563224501_IMG_2909.jpg 1_1541563224501_IMG_2505.jpg 0_1541563224501_IMG_2504.jpg

  • SVS Instructor Pro

    First, very cool looking book idea!
    I'm always intrigued by questions like this!
    What you are suggesting seems to me to be less of a copyright infringement and more of a trademark infringement.

    So while my opinion is that this is a "technical" infringement, you need to answer whether this is an "actionable" infringement.

    The answer to that may be clearly spelled out by Lego itself! I did a search and came across this youtube video:
    which led me to this PDF from the Lego company:
    which instructs those who wish to make books using lego brick to contact Lego for more guidance (this is also mentioned in the video. Apparently the Lego PDF guide on what is allowed for books is something they don't publish online. You have to request it)

    So it seems that Lego is more flexible than most about how their IP is used. I would love to know what you find out!

  • Moderator

    @davidhohn Wow, thank you for those links. I did not expect that. Very appreciated! You are kinda awesome, I hope you realize that. =)x

    30 minutes later...I just finished reading and watching. My particular issue was not really addressed. It talked about how to refer to the trademarks (the LEGO bricks). I would not actually refer to them at all, except to say that I am not affiliated with the LEGO Group. Which would be required according to the Fairplay brochure. The YouTube video referred to a version of the brochure that still had a way to request a Books policy. This new one does not. I will have to contact the legal group for LEGO and ask permission. No problemo. 😬
    I will let you know how that goes. =)x
    Thank you!
    I will probably have to do the same thing for Nemo brand sleeping bags, Jet Boil, Larabar and several other outdoor enthusiast brands. My friends and I thought it would cool to include our gear in the picts, for product endorsement. LOL.
    'night all!!πŸ˜ƒ

  • SVS Instructor Pro

    @burvantill Did you see this book using lego?
    I might send a message to Brendan Powell Smith who created the book to find out what issues they faced. Or just pitch your project to (the brick bible publisher) as they clearly have worked out some kind of relationship with Lego.

  • These are freaking hilarious! I think the backpacking community would get some good kicks out of these - you could go viral!
    If Legos decides to not be so forthcoming with you, you could potentially craft you're own little Scrapbear and copy and paste her in to pre-existing images.
    The research David pulled up about Lego's being a little more lenient though does make sense, considering legos mission statement and what they stand for -
    "Our ultimate purpose is to inspire and develop children to think creatively, reason systematically and release their potential to shape their own future - experiencing the endless human possibility."

    You should definitely reach out to them and let us know what they say!

    On a slightly different note - here's a sad video of a man who came home to find his lego collection destroyed and then his follow up. I can't imagine putting so much time into something, only to come home and find someone had destroyed it for no good reason.

  • Moderator

    @davidhohn I checked out that site. At the bottom it said that they were not affiliated with LEGO, but they must have got some kind of permission. Maybe. πŸ€” Maybe all I need to do is say that I'm not affiliated. Because it's about the same thing. Characters built with LEGO bricks. I'm gonna check just to make sure.
    I will look into that publisher, too, though. Thanx! πŸ˜ƒ .

  • @kaitlinmakes Oh my god that first video was heartbreaking!!πŸ˜₯ What is wrong with people? Poor guy. Thanks for posting the second one, so humanity could be redeemed. 😊

  • Pro SVS OG

    I know this is a very geeky book, but another great one using LEGO:


  • Moderator

    @smceccarelli I love it! I like it when scientists break down information in a way ding dongs like myself can understand. πŸ˜‚
    I noticed in the Amazon description that they referred to the LEGO Group and LEGO bricks properly, but I didn’t see any disclaimers. I would have to see the actual book I think. I’m still going to check for sure but it seems like I could use my mini figure without repercussions.

  • Moderator

    @kaitlinmakes it makes me so mad that there are people who think it’s okay to do something like that. To that man, that was his art. Such a violation. I’m glad people encouraged him to keep going. That Star Wars stuff was AMAZING!

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