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Cuusoo and the bane of licenses

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Cuusoo and the bane of licenses

Post  P_Thorne on Thu May 10, 2012 12:57 pm

(For brevity, I hereby coin the term "licensoids" for "ideas that require licensing of intellectual property (IP).")

At the May 9 (Wed.) KoP meeting, recent 10,000-vote proposals on LEGO Cuusoo were discussed briefly, and Chris voiced his vehement objection to licensoids (Back to the Future III DeLorean, Firefly freighter Serenity). Since in many cases LEGO won't be able to negotiate a license and will reject the proposal, should it impose an additional criterion to prevent licensoids from the outset?

Why do builders propose licenseoids, and why do people vote for them? IMHO, same reason as the little kids at our shows notice the licensed minifigs first, and the clever architectural flourishes never: they're familiar and recognizable.†

As I see it, a licensoid would be acceptable under these conditions:
* It extends an active license (e.g., Star Wars).
* It adds to a dormant license that might be revived (e.g., Avatar: The Last Airbender, which suffered from the dearth of buildable vehicles during its first season).
* It would need a new license from an existing licensor (e.g., Generator Rex††, from Cartoon Network, which licensed Ben 10).

But licensoids tapping entirely new licensors would be rejected. The submission-screen could actually be structured using these point-by-point criteria. (I agree with Chris that entirely original submissions, free of IP constraints, are always preferable.) Submitters may be forgiven if they don't know the exact circumstances of each license, since it's not like TLG posts a current list and contract details (e.g., CN may've been a one-time deal; Spider-Man-the-character was licensed from Sony, not Marvel; the Star Wars battle packs exist because Hasbro holds the license from Lucasfilm for action figures). And agreements change (Sony's Spider-Man moved to MB, which also has Columbia's The Amazing Spider-Man (2012); PotC moved from MB to TLG).

Although... Such a list, maintained by a third party, could be useful to Cuusoo-submitters looking to optimize/differentiate their proposals.

† The most obvious IP-licensors are entertainment companies, but don't forget transportation (Boeing, Maersk, railways) space agencies (NASA, JAXA) and real estate owners (the whole Architecture line).

†† Bad example:Generator Rex is licensed to MB, according to the 2011 Toy Fair, although a year later, it's not yet among their active themes.

(Oh, and could the admin please disable the forum software-censoring of [the full name of MB]? It's patently juvenile and impedes discussion of the competitive market. I had to obfuscate the hyperlinks with TinyURL. Mad )

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Re: Cuusoo and the bane of licenses

Post  maarek on Thu May 10, 2012 1:40 pm

P_Thorne wrote:(For brevity, I hereby coin the term "licensoids" for "ideas that require licensing of intellectual property (IP).")

At the May 9 (Wed.) KoP meeting, recent 10,000-vote proposals on LEGO Cuusoo were discussed briefly, and Chris voiced his vehement objection to licensoids (Back to the Future III DeLorean, Firefly freighter Serenity). Since in many cases LEGO won't be able to negotiate a license and will reject the proposal, should it impose an additional criterion to prevent licensoids from the outset?

Why do builders propose licenseoids, and why do people vote for them? IMHO, same reason as the little kids at our shows notice the licensed minifigs first, and the clever architectural flourishes never: they're familiar and recognizable.†

As I see it, a licensoid would be acceptable under these conditions:
* It extends an active license (e.g., Star Wars).
* It adds to a dormant license that might be revived (e.g., Avatar: The Last Airbender, which suffered from the dearth of buildable vehicles during its first season).
* It would need a new license from an existing licensor (e.g., Generator Rex††, from Cartoon Network, which licensed Ben 10).

But licensoids tapping entirely new licensors would be rejected. The submission-screen could actually be structured using these point-by-point criteria. (I agree with Chris that entirely original submissions, free of IP constraints, are always preferable.) Submitters may be forgiven if they don't know the exact circumstances of each license, since it's not like TLG posts a current list and contract details (e.g., CN may've been a one-time deal; Spider-Man-the-character was licensed from Sony, not Marvel; the Star Wars battle packs exist because Hasbro holds the license from Lucasfilm for action figures). And agreements change (Sony's Spider-Man moved to MB, which also has Columbia's The Amazing Spider-Man (2012); PotC moved from MB to TLG).

Although... Such a list, maintained by a third party, could be useful to Cuusoo-submitters looking to optimize/differentiate their proposals.

† The most obvious IP-licensors are entertainment companies, but don't forget transportation (Boeing, Maersk, railways) space agencies (NASA, JAXA) and real estate owners (the whole Architecture line).

†† Bad example:Generator Rex is licensed to MB, according to the 2011 Toy Fair, although a year later, it's not yet among their active themes.

(Oh, and could the admin please disable the forum software-censoring of [the full name of MB]? It's patently juvenile and impedes discussion of the competitive market. I had to obfuscate the hyperlinks with TinyURL. Mad )

I can fix it, but it was put in place before I was made an admin so I'm reluctant to change it without permission.... Joel... Cale?

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Re: Cuusoo and the bane of licenses

Post  vyronwynter on Thu May 10, 2012 4:56 pm

Leave the censoring, damn it. That was one of the few things that make slogging through the lengthy and incoherent diatribes posted here fun.

Crying or Very sad

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Re: Cuusoo and the bane of licenses

Post  Brickadier General on Thu May 10, 2012 6:36 pm

I know there are people who don't like the licensing thing, but there's no way to skirt around it without banning it outright. The site might lose some steam. Minecraft proves, for better or worse depending on your opinion, that licensing is not outright impossible. I'm stoked about Back to the Future and back before the VW Beetle set came out, I remember people voting for what the next large scale licensed car would be. Among them was a Delorean sporting the look from the film...I think it has a good chance. Even in Japan, the CUUSOO sets have been licensed.

In order for non-licensed projects to take off, they probably need more support from the Lego community, but the challenge is that it's very fragmented. Fans of Back to the Future supported the project because it was a car from the movie. AFOL interests are vast and varied.

The site's still beta and they're working out the kinks, but I think it's off to a good start.

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