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TLG acquires Bricklink

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11 hours ago, TeriXeri said:

I am not surprised at all to see only non-custom LEGO parts allowed, and I personally have no issues with that.

...

It's not like the Custom Market would be dead.

I agree with you. Bricklink's primary purpose was/is as a second-hand  marketplace for LEGO and LEGO-produced material (like instruction booklets, sticker sheets, etc.). Custom and customised stuff isn't Bricklink's core. The manufacturers of third-party stuff can carry on selling their products on their own sites or wherever else they sold them, while people who sold third-party parts second-hand on Bricklink will have to move elsewhere, unfortunately for the small number of them.

The real test will be if LEGO curtails people's ability to sell any sort of official LEGO product, such as banning the sale of Star Wars or Marvel minifigures, for example. If that happens, the writing will be truly and finally on the wall for Bricklink.

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You kind of get the feeling that this rather surprising ownership change wasn't entirely voluntary on the previous owners' part.

TLG seems to have had their lawyers drum up a series of demands which the site has been presented with to comply with, or else be shut down. The "sale" being suggested as a remedying "Alternative B", which was the only way for the previous owners NOT to be bankrupted by legal trouble.

Classic hostile takeover.

Shame that one of the few remaining toy and game companies which used to care more about fun and innovation has done a Disney and gone down the corporate legal toilet. May actually well be a consequence of relying increasingly heavily on IP from such infested companies, which force their collaborators to adhere to the same standards as themselves...

This might never have happened if TLG stuck with generic or own IP.

Together with the price increases for sets, as well as quality issues being widespread, I find it increasingly difficult to be motivated to keep LEGO as a hobby, my primary one for 25 years.

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4 hours ago, Clone OPatra said:

The real test will be if LEGO curtails people's ability to sell any sort of official LEGO product, such as banning the sale of Star Wars or Marvel minifigures, for example. If that happens, the writing will be truly and finally on the wall for Bricklink.

I've been thinking about Marvel and SW because of the licensing. We know that they can't sell Marvel or SW minifigures alone, because that would be an action figure. Now that TLG owns bricklink, on a way they would be getting money out of selling Marvel or SW figures, right? Doesn't that violet the licensing rule?

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9 hours ago, jonwil said:

<snip>

I wonder how this new rule about not selling parts that have been modified will apply for pneumatic tube? Many pneumatic sets came with long lengths of pneumatic tube and directed you to cut the tube yourself via the instructions.

<snip>

Pneumatic hose is problematic for MOCs needing it, whether for aesthetic or functional purpose. Same goes for strings, rubber bands etc. TLG really should start selling an official version of pneumatic hose and string by the meter as a replacement part, instead of just pre-cut lengths, and various sizes of rubber bands too. Or at least continue to allow third party replacements in BL.

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11 hours ago, Saberwing40k said:

What's next, Lego buying fan forums?

I don't know about fan forums, but I can certainly see them go after sites like Brickset next.

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10 hours ago, jonwil said:

LEGO wanting to keep things it didn't make (BrickArms, 3D printed parts, counterfeit stuff etc) or modified versions of things it did make (custom printing on genuine LEGO bricks, chromed parts etc) off BrickLink absolutely makes sense and I for one don't have a problem with it.

LEGO not allowing things that violate 3rd party copyright/trademarks to be sold as custom sets (MOC shop etc) also makes sense and I have no problem with that either.

I wonder how this new rule about not selling parts that have been modified will apply for pneumatic tube? Many pneumatic sets came with long lengths of pneumatic tube and directed you to cut the tube yourself via the instructions.

It will also be interesting to see how they handle things that were produced and never officially released but got out there anyway (e.g. the the first version of the Vegas Skyline set, the gold propeller element from that set, the red Darth Vader helmet etc).

Or things officially released but only internally or to partners (e.g. the xmas x-wing, the Ramboll oil platform, the various sets based on LEGO buildings or the Q elements made just for the parks and things and not put into a set)

 

This is one of the more sensible views. 

I've read the full T&Cs on the BL site and don't see anything unreasonable. 

No non-LEGO stuff makes sense; BL was always about being a marketplace for genuine LEGO in the first place. No infringement of IP rights makes sense too. How many of us would like our work ripped off and/or appropriated for profit without our permission? Well, in a fair society, the same protections should be in place for all without prejudice, big companies and little guys alike. 

It's amazing how many people are acting as if TLG is some evil, faceless giant, out to destroy fandom. In actual fact, TLG does more to encourage and reach out to fandom than any other company I can think of. 

Some have even referred to TLG as a shareholder-driven multinational without even bothering to check facts.... it's actually family-owned by direct descendants of the founder. 

And yes, of course a lot of TLG's decisions are about profit. The company has to survive in a competitive, ever-changing environment and they have thousands of employees whose jobs matter. What's wrong with being concerned about profit? How many of us go to work all day and don't expect to get paid for it? Of course it's not good to always put profit first; that's why many of us do volunteer work and why TLG has established LEGO Charity, LEGO Foundation, etc. 

LEGO is, after all, a toy and a luxury item, (not essential like food or medicine) and TLG's acquisition of BL won't be robbing anyone of anything or denying anyone if anything they cannot get easily enough elsewhere if they really want it. So please, let's put this in its proper perspective. 

 

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@JanetVanD Everything that you're saying is basically what I've been trying to say. I mean..... people had to have known that it would happen someday. I don't even use Bricklink though so it doesn't affect me. 

I'm impressed by your intelligence. I'm giving you a follow. 

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I saw this coming as soon as the announcement was made. Whilst it's ultimately a licensing issue (can't control all custom prints or parts uploaded) I would've thought they'd still allow custom chroming, although that probably would fall foul of either H&S or quality.

 

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8 hours ago, Robert8 said:

I've been thinking about Marvel and SW because of the licensing. We know that they can't sell Marvel or SW minifigures alone, because that would be an action figure. Now that TLG owns bricklink, on a way they would be getting money out of selling Marvel or SW figures, right? Doesn't that violet the licensing rule?

That is one of the things I have been concerned about and I believe a few others did too. We were a little laughed off by some, but now with this stifling MOCs of IP products- It might just be a matter of time before it all gets complicated regarding old licenses and anything that might infringe current licensing agreements. 

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Woodworker makes wooden toys and sells them to make money for his family. People like and buy them. Plastics come along. Family decides to try plastic. Make toys. People buy. Family incorporates and gets bigger. Someone recognizes that AFOLs and resale parts market is huge. Starts niche company. Family buys niche competitor. Gets rid of non family products. Family corporation grows.

Where in that timeline / natural progression does it say that TLG has to cater to people who modify their parts for profit, or corner the market and jack up prices, or do anything else that does not help the Family Owned Business.

Not a rant, but just the real world.

I designed software and copy-write protected it. Filled a niche a major corporation had not addressed. They did and my product never sold. Such is Life.

Ed

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Looks like there's at least 5 people still on this site with brains, and a lot of tanty children. So TLG removed from Bricklink some things that don't belong on Bricklink. The world ends tomorrow.:hmpf:

 

16 hours ago, Robert8 said:

I've been thinking about Marvel and SW because of the licensing. We know that they can't sell Marvel or SW minifigures alone, because that would be an action figure. Now that TLG owns bricklink, on a way they would be getting money out of selling Marvel or SW figures, right? Doesn't that violet the licensing rule?

They aren't individual action figures, they're 'incomplete building sets' with the vehicle's parts removed, your honour.

Edited by Artanis I

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22 hours ago, Clone OPatra said:

The real test will be if LEGO curtails people's ability to sell any sort of official LEGO product, such as banning the sale of Star Wars or Marvel minifigures, for example. If that happens, the writing will be truly and finally on the wall for Bricklink.

Ooh, good point. That will be interesting to see if that ends up happening. Would TLG getting a small part of the sale warrant enough to ban them though?

18 hours ago, hjxbf said:

You kind of get the feeling that this rather surprising ownership change wasn't entirely voluntary on the previous owners' part.

TLG seems to have had their lawyers drum up a series of demands which the site has been presented with to comply with, or else be shut down. The "sale" being suggested as a remedying "Alternative B", which was the only way for the previous owners NOT to be bankrupted by legal trouble.

Classic hostile takeover.

Shame that one of the few remaining toy and game companies which used to care more about fun and innovation has done a Disney and gone down the corporate legal toilet. May actually well be a consequence of relying increasingly heavily on IP from such infested companies, which force their collaborators to adhere to the same standards as themselves...

This might never have happened if TLG stuck with generic or own IP.

Together with the price increases for sets, as well as quality issues being widespread, I find it increasingly difficult to be motivated to keep LEGO as a hobby, my primary one for 25 years.

Do you have any kind of proof or is thus just some wild speculation because you don’t like the move?

Edited by Vindicare

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I'm fine with the move and I use bricklink.  I think it's Lego protecting it's investment.  I also buy third party parts but from there own websites.  I agree with some people on here that Lego does more for their fans than most if not all companies nowadays.  They are definitely making moves that will better their brand and this will also give them some insight on what fans are buying a lot of and possibly why, which could help them expand their line and improve their product in the future.  

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17 hours ago, JanetVanD said:

It's amazing how many people are acting as if TLG is some evil, faceless giant, out to destroy fandom. In actual fact, TLG does more to encourage and reach out to fandom than any other company I can think of

TLG actively lied to us when they said that "nothing is going to change" and "there won't be any change in the way sellers operate". That alone makes me loose all the trust I had in them. 

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6 hours ago, Artanis I said:

 

They aren't individual action figures, they're 'incomplete building sets' with the vehicle's parts removed, your honour.

Hmm Interesting take, but what about the SDCC exclusives? Or the promo polybags? Those doesn't have anything removed. The figure is the whole product

Image result for lego star wars promo figure"Image result for lego SDCC marvel"

 

It will be interesting to see if HASBRO takes action on this

 

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7 hours ago, Vindicare said:

Do you have any kind of proof or is thus just some wild speculation because you don’t like the move?

Yes, I happen to have access to TLG board decisions, lawyer letters and emails between the parties...🙄

I could have spent an hour typing out several markers of why this can be perceived as a hostile takeover, I chose to post my own summary.  The key point being that this transaction is definitely good from TLG's point of view, but is most likely to the disadvantage of the end user (us). You are at liberty to classify that as speculation, analysis, opinion or downright garbage 😊

The proof lies in the future. What will TLG do?

1) Will they develop Bricklink further, use the data within the platform to make available a greater variety of products and pieces, at an average lower cost and better availability, by e.g. actively tailoring their own production to alleviate scarcity in brick availability? This would be VERY good news for the end user, and increase TLG's revenue.

2) Or, will they impose limitations on how Bricklink is used, by restricting flexibility, availability etc. in order to steer demand towards the point of highest revenue. Such as disallow new sets to be resold while they are still in production, to curtail resellers buying bulk while discounted and then undercutting TLG's standard price later? Or disallow reselling exclusive pieces which they want us to buy an expensive set to obtain, such as Porsche rims, Powered Up components, rare colours, etc? This would be VERY bad for the end user, and increase TLG's revenue.

Alternative 1 is nearly unprecedented in business, hence I find that very unlikely. Alternative 2 is very common, and is what I expect to happen. In which case it bears all marks of a hostile takeover.

I would be delighted to be surprised in this matter!

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55 minutes ago, hjxbf said:

The proof lies in the future. What will TLG do?

1) Will they develop Bricklink further, use the data within the platform to make available a greater variety of products and pieces, at an average lower cost and better availability, by e.g. actively tailoring their own production to alleviate scarcity in brick availability? This would be VERY good news for the end user, and increase TLG's revenue.

2) Or, will they impose limitations on how Bricklink is used, by restricting flexibility, availability etc. in order to steer demand towards the point of highest revenue. Such as disallow new sets to be resold while they are still in production, to curtail resellers buying bulk while discounted and then undercutting TLG's standard price later? Or disallow reselling exclusive pieces which they want us to buy an expensive set to obtain, such as Porsche rims, Powered Up components, rare colours, etc? This would be VERY bad for the end user, and increase TLG's revenue.

Alternative 1 is nearly unprecedented in business, hence I find that very unlikely. Alternative 2 is very common, and is what I expect to happen. In which case it bears all marks of a hostile takeover.

I would be delighted to be surprised in this matter!

So would I.

But I fear that we're much more likely to see number 2 than number 1. This wouldn't be the first time we've seen a company try to get rid of the second-hand marked.

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12 minutes ago, f2k said:

So would I.

But I fear that we're much more likely to see number 2 than number 1. This wouldn't be the first time we've seen a company try to get rid of the second-hand marked.

But option 2 doesn't make good business sense in the medium to long term, and TLG are no fools. They must know that it would be relatively easy for the second hand market to simply migrate to a new site if it were unbearably stifled in the original site. In fact, since it is often easier to start fresh than fix problems with something old, a new site might actually be better and more popular than BL ever was. There would be just a couple of years time lag. So where would the increase in revenue come from, if that's their plan? Seems too short sighted to be a viable option. 

So that leaves option 1 or, more likely, some combination of option 1 and a bunch of other possibilities yet to be decided. 

I don't think TLG actually lied in the original press release. Yes, there was the usual marketing spin put on it, but they did admit that certain items would likely be restricted (they just didn't itemise which ones) 

As for the IP issues,. it remains to be seen how that will pan out, but I still don't think they lied about changing things. After all, protecting IP is a legal requirement and adherence to the law should be assumed, and is not the same as barging in  and making arbitrary changes. 

The main cause for concern may be TLG legal team's interpretations of the various nuances of the laws surrounding IP rights and the secondary market. 

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I don't know about other countries but its established in the US under the first sale doctrine that you can buy something and re-sell it and you don't need permission from the copyright/trademark holder to do so. There are certain issues associated with the resale of digital items and certain computer software but those wouldn't apply to LEGO product or the things sold on Bricklink to the best of my knowledge. (of course IANAL so I can't gaurantee this is accurate but this is what I have read online from people who do know more about what they are talking about).

 

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On 12/14/2019 at 5:40 AM, Masked Mini said:

hmmm new ToS.

Everytime I accept a terms of service agreement I think of a certain South Park episode :-)

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19 minutes ago, astral brick said:

hmmm new ToS.

New TOS wherein you have to agree that your mocs are propertie of TLG
If you don't agree with the TOS you are not in the opportunity to remove your mocs.
If you remove your mocs after you agree you will find that TLG has a complete backup of the site including your mocs.

Intresting...
Very intresting in a court of law.

Edited by coinoperator
$%^$&^typo

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On 12/15/2019 at 11:46 AM, Lego David said:

I don't know about fan forums, but I can certainly see them go after sites like Brickset next.

I would say Rebrickable, possibly Brickset too.

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32 minutes ago, Mutantenwastl said:

Bricklink is fun. TLG can not allow this, so they need to make it into boring business.

That's my only upset about TLG. Instead of making things because they make children happy, they're in it for greed and money. For me personally, that turns me off. Something that's supposed to be fun is now boring. 

Edited by pooda

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