BrickJagger

The Morality of Leaks

Leaks  

66 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you support leaks?

    • Yes, I support all leaks
      27
    • Yes, but I only support some leaks
      12
    • No, but I get why people like them
      20
    • No, I am against all leaks
      3
    • No opinion
      4
  2. 2. Do you seek out leaks on sites other than Eurobricks?

    • Yes, all the time
      23
    • Yes, but only they are from a theme I am interested in
      19
    • Yes, but I still think leaking is unethical
      8
    • No
      16
  3. 3. If you were a member when Eurobricks used to have leaks, how did you feel about it? (Pre-2012)

    • I supported it
      17
    • I was against it
      5
    • I was not a member at the time
      44


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Recently Lego has been making efforts to crack down on leakers who post preliminary images on Youtube, Instagram, 4Chan and the like, and have been quite successful. We are now halfway through November and preliminary images for most of the January 2019 sets have not come out yet, including the Lego Movie 2, which they are doing an insanely good job at keeping under wraps.

There has been a lot of discussion over the years about whether or not leaking sets is a good practice. Eurobricks itself started out as being pro-leaks, but you won't find any on here nowadays due to the site growing in popularity and Lego stepping in. 

In the poll I've included a few questions that I hope will show where we stand on this as a community. I personally think that there are solid arguments on both sides of this discussion. 

Feel free to discuss below. :classic:

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When I was younger I always thought leaks were so fun to find. Wow a look at a new set before it comes out, cool! I mean I never really worried if it hurt Lego or anything, which I am still not completely sure much of an impact leaking has but I now understand it can have some impacts. I feel if the business doesn't want certain information about their upcoming product revealed then they should have the right to have that info private. I will admit if I check Lego leaks on Instagram a lot to see if anything new has popped up (not much more harm looking at the product can do once the pictures are out), but if Lego leaks were to completely stop and only official announcements were to happen I would be ok. That's my stance. I would like to say that it gets annoying listening to people complain in the threads about the lack of leaks. They act is if they deserve to see sets before their announcement. Thought I would mention that as it's part of the topic. 

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I don't care much either way. If I stumble upon a leak I'll absorb the info and be glad about it, possibly even voicing my opinion on the items, but I'm not spending my time seeking them out proactively. The rest is beside the point. It's a game where nobody is on the right side. LEGO are just as much overstepping the bounds hunting people down way too many times as do the leakers by posting such info in the first place.

Mylenium

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I don't think leaks are a problem if only AFOL's would be interested in them: we generally buy LEGO anyway. I think the problem are much more copiers from China. Maybe also some of the kids' parents that might not buy the current police station if they know a new one will come out very soon after the holiday season, on the other hand I don't think the latter is a large issue with LEGO as if predetermined to buy LEGO they will before e.g. Christmas and the moments of giving presents are more important than having a 'new' version of some set. For tech companies people holding back is much more problematic I guess.

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I'm nearly sure that those so-called leaks are done on purpose. Ask yourself why/how it's often a thumbnail that "was found on Lego's servers" (& the rest being from distributors, like they can't make that safer). Without "leaks", no one would care about some new X-Men junior sets. When it's "leaked", it makes it "forbidden" & everyone wanna see it. Better, everyone searches for it. That's marketing gold.
But of course they have to pretend being annoyed & hunt them.
Besides, if all of these are genuine "leaks", it only means they're not doing their job properly.

Anyway, that's what I'd myself do, if I were head of marketing at Lego. I'd regularly "oopsy I let out some secret pictures" to generate interest because I know that no one cares when I do proper press releases.

That, OR Lego's marketing is filled with idiots who don't realize the value of leaks.

Edited by anothergol

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I remember in the run up the 2nd UCS Falcon, Lego released a small teaser each week, building up the suspense, and then about a week before the product’s release, a picture of it and some box images got leaked, and Did feel bad for Lego since they had kept it under wraps so well for so long. I do ton on Instagram every now and again to look at leaks, and a lot of the time now if there is a new look of interest (like a new wave of sets or something) someone often comes here and and mentions it, which then drives everyone to go and look at said leak. 

Thing is with Leaks (whether they’re pictures of sets, or simply a list of sets with prices) is that they’re a privilege, not a right. Lego don’t owe us any leaks so if they were to crack down even harder it wouldn’t bother me hugely. 

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2 hours ago, Tariq j said:

I remember in the run up the 2nd UCS Falcon, Lego released a small teaser each week, building up the suspense, and then about a week before the product’s release, a picture of it and some box images got leaked, and Did feel bad for Lego since they had kept it under wraps so well for so long.

Considering how disappointing it turned out, probably not a big deal. And of course your statement makes a point in itself: Wouldn't "open communication" be better to begin with than an eternal cock tease? Had they done so, it would have left a much better impression and not disappointed people that much. A similar analogy could of course be made for many other LEGO releases just as well. Or in other words: If they are trying to hype up the tension in the way they do this currently, the can't well complain when it explodes into their face when it leaks. My 2 cents...

Mylenium

Edited by Mylenium

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I think leaks are good for the forums, maybe not for Lego.  But for the forums, this year, I think they have been quite stagnent.  I mean there is 25 pages of people speculating, and asking for pictures on the Technic forum, with barely anything to go on.

I think it would be better if Lego officially leaked things to the forum, like a new mould, or a minifig torso so it actually encouraged decent discussion rather than speculation.

I used to have access to a retailer freinds catalogue, he would not let me take pictures rightly so, but I could have a good look at the catalogue, and then share my memories which would in turn create good discussion.

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7 hours ago, Mylenium said:

Wouldn't "open communication" be better to begin with than an eternal cock tease?

Yeah, Lego should understand that all this cock tease isn't helping them.  After a second look, the tank-looking Aston Martin isn't even THAT bad. Well, had it been leaked very early, I would have found it.. ok enough.

But it was teased for so long, your only reaction when it's finally shown is "all this for this crap?". Plus, had it been leaked early, Lego would have seen people's reactions upfront and would have had a chance to improve it before release.

The Transformers-not-fully-transformed Chiron had been teased too much as well. Ironically the great cars, like the Ferrari or the Beetle, weren't teased.

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I totally understand why Lego has been clamping down on leaks and from a corporate perspective, that is an improvement for them. However, as a fan, the lack of leaks results in a lack of hype. We are not that far off at all from the next release season and there is not much information available about what to expect so I am therefore not excited. I think the solution, if this even needs a solution, would be for Lego to simply release official images earlier. As far as the leak policy, I have been a member long enough to remember when Eurobricks allowed leaks and I recall twelve year-old me really enjoying it; leaks are why I joined Eurobricks in the first place. However, I understand that Lego would bring down the hammer hard if leaks were allowed here now so I don't feel the need to complain about them not being allowed anymore.

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6 hours ago, paul_delahaye said:

I think it would be better if Lego officially leaked things to the forum, like a new mould

On a related note, I'd still pay for a subscription box filled with new parts/recolors, sent before, or at the same time as the sets they come in.
Instead we have to wait until Lego allows us to BUY them. Not even sure if this another tease on purpose, a strategy (most likely), or just lack of care (probably a bit of that too).

10 minutes ago, Echo said:

However, I understand that Lego would bring down the hammer hard if leaks were allowed here now so I don't feel the need to complain about them not being allowed anymore.

Can Lego even do anything legally speaking? I mean, the "do not share" fineprints are more contractual terms, between Lego & partners/distributors. There it's normal that a leak could end up in Lego stopping business with a partner (& they don't even need a law for that).

..but an image that you, unrelated to Lego, got your hands on.. what's illegal here? Lego getting The Brick Show (even if it wasn't a great channel) closed was a lame move, and a pretty stupid one as they were one of their best advertisers on Youtube. But most importantly, they did it because Youtube makes it easy, I doubt they could have legally gotten away with it.

Edited by anothergol

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I think the do not share LEGO confidential is also a condition to be a LEGO Recognized LUG, Online Community, etc.

 

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I don’t care one way or the other. It doesn’t lessen my excitement not knowing exactly what’s coming. 

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7 hours ago, Echo said:

I totally understand why Lego has been clamping down on leaks and from a corporate perspective, that is an improvement for them.

I don't think so. In fact any company playing the hush-hush game in the age of social media can probably be called out for not understanding that part and in my view LEGO certainly don't. It's like Facebook et al are okay for them when they spread their marketing, but god forbid someone posts some info there they don't like and they'll turn into an evil Kraken...

7 hours ago, Echo said:

However, I understand that Lego would bring down the hammer hard if leaks were allowed here now so I don't feel the need to complain about them not being allowed anymore.

That would have to stand up to genuine legal scrutiny and having a verifiable case at hand. It very much hinges on what you define as a leak, how the info was obtained, how it proliferated, in which country and court a case is filed and so on. In my view most of that wouldn't hold up so it would probably be okay to discuss alleged "leaks" on forums like this - strictly from a legal POV, not LEGO getting pissy about it. It's more a case of the operators of this site probably preempting any of that by not allowing anything at all.

Mylenium

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I don't mind leaks, and I'd be interested to see them. But i won't really go searching all over the internet to find something unlesss its really worth it.

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I used to find some of them were so early that I got bored of the set by the time it came out. Some CMFs, for example, used to get leaked 3-4 months before release. You see them so much before release by the time they come out, they are not so special.

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I really don't understand why some people seem so besotted with seeking out leaks, the sets will still come out an the same day and knowing about them 2 or 3 days before anybody else does not speed things along.

 

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I don’t care about leaks so much since Lego sets stay on the shelves so long. There’s no sense of urgency to buy - it’s not like I have to race out and be first in line. So in that regard, I don’t have to be in “the know” or first in line for pics either. 

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8 hours ago, CopperTablet said:

Leaks are bad for business

How?

All I can think of is, Lepin & Co. can get a couple weeks start on planning clones, but how much impact does that really have?  Genuine and clone, sets have print runs that last for years.  People that buy clones will buy clones anyway. 

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On 11/17/2018 at 3:34 AM, BrickJagger said:

Recently Lego has been making efforts to crack down on leakers who post preliminary images on Youtube, Instagram, 4Chan and the like, and have been quite successful. We are now halfway through November and preliminary images for most of the January 2019 sets have not come out yet, including the Lego Movie 2, which they are doing an insanely good job at keeping under wraps.

There has been a lot of discussion over the years about whether or not leaking sets is a good practice. Eurobricks itself started out as being pro-leaks, but you won't find any on here nowadays due to the site growing in popularity and Lego stepping in. 

In the poll I've included a few questions that I hope will show where we stand on this as a community. I personally think that there are solid arguments on both sides of this discussion. 

Feel free to discuss below. :classic:

There's no question; it is morally wrong to leak anything about Lego that they do not want to be leaked - BUT, only on the part of the leaker.

There's no moral issue for me as a consumer to look up pictures of upcoming sets. It's my duty to myself as an informed consumer to know as much as possible before purchases.

A good example of a "leak" thats had a positive effect is the recent Lego Movie 2 set names. I am *so* hyped for 2 of those sets that I can barely contain myself. Some companies would pay good money for that kind of hype from customers.

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Having interned at Hasbro, I can assure y'all that confidentiality is a BIG deal. People entrusted with confidential info can and do get fired for carelessly disclosing stuff that they're instructed not to disclose — especially when it pertains to an external partner's IP like Star Wars or Marvel, where even internally there are all kinds of safeguards to ensure that people who don't need access to that confidential info can't get it. With Star Wars, even characters and ships from past movies that appear in new movie merchandise are assigned bizarre code names by Disney/Lucafilm so that things like folder names on companies' internal servers don't give away their identities to everyone who has that level of server access before products are announced — check out this cached version of an Amazon listing which was still using Han and Chewie's Solo: A Star Wars Story code names, "Zeus Brown" and "Hercules Brown", or the URL of this ToyWiz listing which uses the Millennium Falcon's Solo: A Star Wars Story code name, "Pegasus".

 

In that greater toy industry context, the idea that LEGO alone is only pretending to value confidentiality while intentionally leaking low-quality images as a publicity stunt is preposterous. When info has to be shared with multiple people at multiple companies to get products ready for launch, there are hundreds if not thousands of opportunities for confidentiality to be breached against company policy, whether by accident or on purpose. There's no reason that the continued existence of leaks, even sometimes from sources within LEGO, hints at a secret official company policy to release small or blurry teasers and only "pretend" they're leaks.

And with a lot of these themes, the typical buyer doesn't even engage with the online AFOL communities where these sorts of leaks tend to spring up. How many 4-year-olds do you think are checking leak-related tags on Instagram to find the latest LEGO Duplo or Juniors leaks? Even many of the 6 year olds who buy LEGO City sets probably aren't all that great at reading, let alone plugging foreign-langage sales listings and forum discussions into Google Translate to get the hottest scoop on what the next version of police is going to be. On a related note, if LEGO were really "leaking" this sort of stuff on purpose, why would it so often be in forms that lead to false impressions that result in disappointment about the final product? Do y'all really think that LEGO benefits from sneakily revealing details about new sets/themes, letting fans mistranslate and misinterpret them beyond recognition, and then playing coy about the details so that the fans of Castle or Space or whatever can experience maximum disappointment when the actual reveal shows them to be a new action/adventure theme or whatever?

Even with preliminary info that HAS in the past been purposely and officially disclosed, like the preliminary sets displayed at some Toy Fair events back before LEGO got really secretive about those, the results for fan engagement were often less than great. Any "buzz" about these sets in the fan community would often peak long before the sets were actually available for those fans to buy. And in a lot of cases, fan sites that report on new set reveals with small or low-quality images, short or mistranslated descriptions, or incomplete pricing information don't wind up reporting on them in nearly as much detail when better or more finalized images or details about those sets become available. If anything, leaks tend to pull the rug out from under the much more painstakingly planned and executed product reveals that are often intended for closer to release.

I'm not gonna get into the whole messy conversation about morals and ethics because let's be honest, those kinds of debates about personal freedom and responsibility are the kinds of conversations that even in academia never tend to reach any kind of meaningful consensus. But I hope that as a community we'll someday be done with the boneheaded conspiracy theory that leaks are really some deceptive form of stealth marketing… it's tedious hearing supposed adults parroting it as though it's even within the realm of plausibility, let alone as if it's the ONLY thing that makes sense. :/

 

Edited by Aanchir

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Personally, I always like to know what's coming.  Of course, when I discover something I like, my next question is always "why can't I have that now?" so I suppose I'm less about "leaks" than I am about release schedules and production runs - in my "perfect" world there'd be no such thing as a leak because by the time the product was mature enough to be a trusted "leak" it would be ready and shipping (and, yes, I know the world doesn't actually work that way, especially when third party IP and coordinated roll-outs are involved.)

On the flip side, I acknowledge the risks of leaks to the company.  When licensed IP's are involved a leak becomes a legal liability with respect to breach of confidentiality agreements.  Leaks also give clone (and outright counterfeit) operations lead time to prepare knock-offs.  And, in some cases, leaks can cause future products to cannibalize existing product lines (e.g."I'm not going to buy set X today because I saw set Y and I want to have money to get it when it eventually comes out" How many sets X go unsold while we wait for Y?  How much revenue does TLG lose to stagnant shelf stock because people are saving up to buy something that hasn't even been put into production yet?)

These issues don't really impact me personally.  I'm kinda over the whole IP spoiler thing, I care less about the theme than the build and the model.  I don't buy clones.   And if I like some set X I'm going to buy it and if I like future set Y more, I'll buy that one too when it comes out.  I realize, however, that I may be a minority of one in that regard so, while I'll consume leak data when I find it, I appreciate (and do not object to) TLG (or Eurobricks) stance on the matter 

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1 hour ago, ShaydDeGrai said:

Leaks also give clone (and outright counterfeit) operations lead time to prepare knock-offs.

The only way Lepin was able to clone sets, was because of leaks in the printing companies that Lego use to print instructions, it's not remotely the kind of leaks that concerns us online.

Knock-offs.. it's pretty easy to guess next year's line-up of Lego's best-sellers: firefighters, ambulances, some cars, and Star-Wars stuff that has many other ways to leak anyway. And if you check Xingbao's offers, you'll see they don't have anything to envy to Lego anymore.

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8 hours ago, Space Police XVIII said:

How?

All I can think of is, Lepin & Co. can get a couple weeks start on planning clones, but how much impact does that really have?  Genuine and clone, sets have print runs that last for years.  People that buy clones will buy clones anyway. 

In a couple of cases, Lepin have got sets out before LEGO. The most famous case was probably the Ship in a Bottle, although they worked from the Ideas submission there rather than the final LEGO set.

 

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