21011 Brandenburg Gate, take two

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Brandenburg Gate

Thanks to forum member bricknation who purchased this set legitimately in the retail shop at the LEGOLand Discovery Centre, Manchester, UK , we posted the first picture of this two weeks ago.

It turned out that it should not have been on sale yet and a September announcement was planned, but rather than just plug the source of the retail leak and accept that it was now in the public domain, LEGO asked Brickset to remove the image. I felt it was an unreasonable request given the circumstances, but as I had just started my vacation and intent on 'getting away from it all' for a couple of weeks, I removed it for the sake of a quiet life.

Now, in a interesting turn of events, it's actually pictured and announced on the September store calendar, as shown in the Toys N Bricks forum. I have therefore reinstated the picture here.

When things like this happen, do you think it reasonable for LEGO to treat the fan community like this (and should we obey their every command?), or should they instead look to tighten their internal processes to prevent them in the future?

Update: Bricknation has now posted an excellent review of the set at EuroBricks.

33 comments on this article

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By in United States,

Yeah, lego is weird like that. you'd think if they really didn't want pictures being posted they would try alot harder. I just went on google images and found 5 different pictures of the set!

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By in United States,

I think that you should comply with the laws of the country you live in, and where you post from.
If posting a picture violates a copyright law in your country, don't post it. It's as simple as that.
The argument that it was already posted elsewhere is completely irrelevant. If someone is doing something illegal, and you follow and do the same, your argument will be that "he did it as well"?

You're literally asking us: "Should I comply with the law?"... well... of course you should!

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By in United Kingdom,

Surprised you're asking this, i'd say always do what Lego requests, even if it does seem a bit barmy at times. This is a great Lego community & resource, and nobody wants to upset the apple cart for no reason, only to risk some jumped up person deciding to shut everything down.

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By in United Kingdom,

^ Great review, @bricknation !

^^ This is a special case - the set was already on the shelves of a LEGO-affiliated store in the UK and had been bought by a Brickset member. On this basis, it was utterly ridiculous for LEGO to request that the photograph be removed- just because we love the product doesn't mean we should excuse bizarre behaviour like this. Given the multitude of recent gaffes, be it the premature appearance of the VW Camper Van and Winter Village Post Office videos, or the photographs of the 'secret' Maersk Train in LEGO's online cache, I think LEGO should be more concerned with tightening up their internal procedures than hassling legitimate sites when pictures are already all over the 'net.

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By in United States,

Work with Lego to be a good partner and good things will happen. I would comply with their requests. It should never be a us (consumers) vs. them (business i.e. Lego). Without Lego this site would not exist. It does not hurt this site in any way to wait until new products are officially released to post them.

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By in United States,

If the set was purchased legitimately at a major retailer, I don't think it is fair for them to ask you to remove the images. That's a completely different case than confidential images leaking from a LEGO catalog where presumably access to the images was restricted to those under contract with LEGO.

If as a customer we are able to purchase the item, we are under no obligation to keep it hidden until some arbitrarily decided release date.

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By in United States,

I'm disappointed at how wimpy many of you guys are on this issue. Lego exists to serve us, not the other way around. Put another way, it is we the fans who pay the salaries of everyone at TLG, including the lawyers. If the company pushes too hard-as I think they clearly did here-they should be reminded of the above facts. I love lego bricks, but am not about to be pushed around by anyone, thank you very much. Further I resent the company putting the burden on their loyal fan base, who as stated above, contribute much to the financial stability of the company.

I feel so strongly on this issue, that I logged into BS for the first time in months, for this post. I will also not be buying a copy of the gate, as protest over TLG snarkyness.

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By in Canada,

@Ronny, "Should I comply with the law?"... well... of course you should!

I agree entirely but I don't think any law has been broken by posting pictures of something that's been purchased legitmitely in a retail shop, has it?

LEGO may not *like* the fact someone bought it and photographed it, but legally, there's not much they can do about it.

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By in United States,

It doesn't make sense for removal requests, as you can't remove the memories of the picture that are in the minds of those who viewed them, and they could just as easily share the news and/or picture with another fan community! LEGO's efforts are fruitless, but they don't seem to care.

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By in United States,

As I said when we first received the request to take the image down, TLG is wrong here. This was an image of the set purchased legitimately from a LEGO retail store, and not a confidential, pre-release image. Scouring the internet trying to take the images down and asking us to pretend it didn't happen doesn't correct the error.

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By in United States,

Jonbuddy makes a good point.

I'd like to extend it by pointing out that the ratio of actual benefit vs bad blood, just doesn't seem to be there for TLG.

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By in United States,

"When things like this happen, do you think it reasonable for LEGO to treat the fan community like this (and should we obey their every command?), or should they instead look to tighten their internal processes to prevent them in the future?" No, no, and yes. And the yes, only sort of. I love it when pictures are leaked. However, if they're going to make such a big stink about it, then by all means, tighten their internal processes.

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By in United States,

Yeah, Lego is completely wrong here. This is a loyal Lego site, but that doesn't mean Lego can push Brickset around. Why were they selling it a LEGOLAND in the first place if they didn't even want people seeing?! Does Lego need to make a drama out of EVERYTHING???

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By in United States,

@Huw, you're right! I missed that part I guess.
If you legally bought something, and took pictures of it to put on your site, they have no case.
Sorry dude...misunderstood you.

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By in Philippines,

Well, things like these probably happen with the knowledge of only the admin. Who knows how many more similar or perhaps even more unpleasant situations happen beyond the scrutiny of ordinary members? If you buy something, then it is yours and you should be able to do anything you want with it.

I don't know what incentive or compensation is given to this group (if there is any). If (and it should be a big IF) there be one, then perhaps we could offer a little respect and consider their demand (never bite the hand that feeds you). On the other hand, if there be none, and this site gets to promote their products and show appreciation for the same with the efforts of people not even officially connected with the company, then I think there is no need to follow them.

Posting this thread in a way makes known to them that their request was granted but that there is some dissent brewing with what happened. I think it is a form of subtle diplomacy but I don't know if they would respond in any way.

They should really tighten their internal processes if they wish to avoid these "ubiquitous" events from happening.

Finally, Huw, you're THE Boss around here, as I remember. Aside from DrDaveWatford and Rocao, I do wonder what the other members of the board feel? :-)

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By in United States,

This sort of stuff really grates my cheese! I respect that TLG has the right to make reasonable requests. HOWEVER, this was not a reasonable request, it is called news suppression.

Attention Brickset PTB's, you do not have to comply with every request TLG makes. It is Okay to respectfully Ignore an unreasonable request. It is some suits job to make the request. First ignore the request. Don't deny the request until it is made a second time, then politely tell them "no" and here is why. This will give TLG Legal (or whomever contacts Brickset with such requests) plausible deniability, they made the request in compliance with what they felt they should do. Chances are the TLG person knows they are making an unreasonable demand anyway. They did their job, the end!

What brickset should / should not post is likely a gut feeling to you guys by now. It is like the old explanation as to what pornography vs. nude art...you can't exactly define it, but you know it when you see it.

TLG is not going to be suing Brickset anytime soon. TLG did not get a successful as they are by not listening to their own mandate by learning to "play-well" with people who provide such a MASSIVE cost free service that increases their profit margin; like Brickset does.

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By in Philippines,

^ news supression is more benign. This may border on oppression already. Perhaps this is the sentiment being felt.

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By in United States,

@ Orthobotrex GOOD POINTS

Another suggestion is this. Sometimes unreasonable requests are a bit more reasonable when made by very close friends / business associates. That being said. Perhaps TLG should consider extending few extra sets to the admin's of Brickset. You get more flies with honey than vinegar. The fact is that Brickset offers a huge service, a service that would not unreasonable to compensate with some "review" product now and again.

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By in Canada,

Ultimately, Lego's early sales gaffe at the Discover Centre ruined.... the surprise of the store calendar? OH HEAVENS.

Once the cat is out of the bag, I'm not sure there's a point in stuffing it back in. The company has just made itself look controlling and/or draconian.

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By in United States,

Perhaps LEGO should tighten their own security to ensure pictures are not prematurely put on their own website and product is not put out early on their own shelves. Next time it happens leave it up, and give them an incentive to manage their own employees instead of coercing Brickset volunteers.

What is it exactly that LEGO does for Brickset, other than throw out a survey every few months? As far as I know they don't give Brickset any sort of advance info on upcoming sets or promotions, and it seems like all the great info that is gathered here is pieced together by fans from myrid sources.

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By in United States,

I just want to say...terrific, thoughtful discussion. I love that we can talk about these complicated circumstances in a calm, professional manner. Huw, I have always respected your respect for the requests of TLG, inane as they may be sometimes. I think it was said earlier, but don't rock the boat. We want to maintain a good relationship with TLG, and if this is how they want it, well, so be it.

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By in United States,

Well, I can understand (to a point) the need LEGO has a corporation to keep information about its future plans secure. Back when there were all the clone brands releasing very similar sets and pictures and building structures, it made sense that you didn't want your rivals to know what you were up to.

But now, LEGO is so dominant and its quality is so much higher than that of the rival brands, I don't see that secrecy is so urgent. When it comes to licensed products, or collectible minifigures, or specialty lines like the architecture series, there aren't really any rivals. And letting your customers know in advance what to look forward to is kind of like running movie trailers for films that won't be out for months. It only builds demand.

So I don't think LEGO's policy is very reasonable, no. As to obeying their commands, maybe. Even though sometimes they don't make much sense. But we should communicate to them so they see why there's a need to make things a bit more transparent for their biggest supporters.

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By in United Kingdom,

I think LEGO overstep their boundry since it is their own mistake. Unlike a leaked image, this set is bought, paid for legally and it is the property for the new owner. He or she can build, take picture and share it, sell it, or even give it away. The only thing LEGO can do is to buy back the product or image, which I think is impossible due to our internet era and LEGO being a fan based producrt. And all request by LEGO are to be answer based on goodwill basic. You can say yes or no. For me, I think LEGO mishandling their mistake. There are 2 better way of doing it. First, try to get back the set and image from whoever bought it, offer LOTS OF FREE LEGO with a contract to keep quiet and removed of all the images. I know I would go with the free LEGO temptation. Second, just sell it as it is regardless of whatever promotion planned since it is a mistake. Their customer, fan will love it since they can get it earlier, you got to let your fan have some exciting fun to pass on once in a while. Make your fan happy, not annoyed them. I hope LEGO will appreticate their fan site like Bricksets and FBTB, the two I visited most because I got a lot of information from them especially when it come to new sets and promotions. Your Fan love your products, why don't you love them back?

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By in United Kingdom,

I think it depends did they pull it off the shelves? I assume someone got in real trouble for that mistake. If they pulled it off the shelves then that is okay as they realised their mistake and want to plug the hole. However if the item is still sitting on the shelf somewhere and they sell it regardless the it to me is a unfair request as they are still selling it so cant expect people to look at it. I'm not sure if they do listen to fans I suggest some ideas and they told me they cant take fan ideas as it breaks Danish law (I think that was just to shut me up though) and i assume that falls to any real fan feed back aside from complaints about missing parts etc.

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By in Canada,

Some more information:

- Set was put onto shelves before it should have been. Error on someone's part at the LDC.
- Set was to remain 'secret' until Sept. 1st and revealed at a German LEGO event (I believe)
- Publication of image spoils LEGO's plans to do this, so they asked for them to be removed
- We removed them, out of courtesy.

Less than 2 weeks later:

- Set featured in store calendar. Error on someone's part?
- Image reinstated here and story also run at TBB and FBTB

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By in Belgium,

It was an unreasonable request, and moreover, an utterly pointless one. Sure, perhaps it'll be gone from this site and others that comply, but at the same time it will still exist in countless other places. Once the news is out there, it's out there. LEGO gaffed big time here (seemingly on at least two occasions).

I can't help but wonder why a set that's supposed to be revealed at a German event in *September* was in the stock room of a UK shop in *July*. Here's a hint if you want to keep something a secret: don't tell a lot of people.

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By in Israel,

Hehe, ditto BJMdotLEGO

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By in United States,

It sounds like alot of fans are "annoyed" at the "controlling" and "oppressive" Lego group.
I don't remember reading that there was a court order to cease and desist.
Lego ASKED to remove the image.
Big deal!!!!

Does anyone remember how we found out about new sets before the internet was around?
I do.
Not happy with Lego?
Sell your sets and get a new hobby.

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By in United Kingdom,

I think that now its out in the store calender you are well within your rights to post up the pictures as everyone will have a copy. However if Lego have activley tried to close the door then they can ask for you to take it down. or they assumed that it was one of those early sets that float up on ebay. I'm not suggesting that you ever would do that at all.

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By in United States,

Seems to me that there is an issue within LEGO because the items were sold ahead of time - fix = updating computer system at stores to share a "not for sale until this date" statement at the register. Such a "fix" is simple. So HUW, you have every right to share images of store bought product our community has purchased.

Also, and I'm calling on my own time within corporate business, seems that employees who are to search the web and send out "remove content" statements to sites such as this have a job to do, and their managers tell them to complete their job without a balanced comprehension of how the individual situation may hurt future sales.

Here, I would guess they have a manager who is not being fully diligent in speaking with internal authorities about how the current "process" is hurting image within a core segment of the AFOL population; and anyone that understands marketing trends within the information age knows that billboards and commercials work to a point... but the best sales actions occur within the 10-12% of the buying public that has made an emotional connection with the product (aka, AFOL community). If you begin to break that emotional connection, you lose sales.

This is market-specific marketing vs. the classic market-blanket system used in magazines and tv commercials.

LEGO, in my estimation, has grown very fast and has not yet trained long-standing management within R and D and public relations on how the information age has changed the market place.

Until LEGO does update training within their own ranks, and possibly remove some management that is unwilling to comprehend how the world market has been flattened by the world wide web, they will continue to disrupt the emotional connection some long-standing members of the LEGO Nation have with this wonderful product. (steps down from pulpit).

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By in United States,

I will never understand the love for huge corporations. They are here to serve us. It is not our job to make sure they are not selling the wrong item in their stores. When everyone sees it because nearly everyone has some access to the internet it is not the fault of the consumers that post pictures of the item they legally paid for, it is Lego. You messed up, guess your product is getting released early, deal with it.

In fact I think Lego corp owes a bunch of people and apology. Bite the hand that feeds? That is the people paying for your product. Remember that.

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By in United States,

I think Lego Group is taking advantage of Brickset's willingness to play by the rules here. The question you have to ask is what is THIS WEBSITE getting of doing this?

In this case, the set was legally purchased so whatever "privacy" contract Lego had with the retailer doesn't apply to the Customer. Once the customer has the product, the cat is out of the bag.. Take it out on the RETAILER that broke NDA. Of course, these are all big chain stores.. Some stockboy saw a box of product and put it on the shelf.... Things like shelf dates never get passed down.

This is why publishers always release on Tuesdays. The literally time the delivery of the trucks so the product physically doesn't get to the store before Monday morning at the earliest. Obviously, left doesn't have those resources.. So get with UPS and pay the money for supply-chain management to deliver the sets ON release date, right from the UPS warehouse, or shut up and deal with it.

Obviously Lego has supply chain problems (that sound POLITICAL not criminal) in that retailers seem to get stuff before the Company Stores do. I follow Apple stuff, and this is boring old hat. Is Lego not paying attention to how it's done?

This is where Lego is getting FREE marketing from Brickset and not PAYING for it (or Brickset would have some NDA in place). Lego is benefiting from all the Hype and all the secret little anonymous leaks. It seems Brickset really tries to play fair... But that's the problem with FAN SITES. YOU have NO OBLIGATION to a corporation to "play good". You only have obligations to MONEY, the Law, and Contracts (in that order) that's what Lego is doing because their lawyers KNOW they don't have a case. The site's editor obviously knows that it's CHEAPER to avoid the legal bills... But is Lego going to PAY HIM somehow for something he is not legally or contractually bound to do??

As a side note, this is a big problem with the Western legal systems. This is open and closed fair use of the images as news. Companies that file FRADULANT claims of infringement should be fined 10x legal damages for "crying wolf". Once the notice is sent to your ISP the damage should be calculated... Anything less is abusing he legal system for personal gain.

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