leafan

TLG acquires Bricklink

Recommended Posts

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.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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).

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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 :-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, pooda said:

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. 

Seriously... Maybe you should take a few minutes to read up on The LEGO Foundation before you accuse people you don't know and don't know anything about being greedy?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, LegoFjotten said:

Seriously... Maybe you should take a few minutes to read up on The LEGO Foundation before you accuse people you don't know and don't know anything about being greedy?

They only do certain things because they sell dude. What do you think that is? If it were done to make the children happy, then that would be their first and only reason. I tell you what. The founding fathers wouldn't be too happy! 

Edited by pooda

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Captain Nemo said:

Everyone--let's keep it civil here, please. 

 

Thank you. :thumbup:

No hate here. No attacks towards anyone here. Just enticing an epiphany. That's all! :wink: :thumbup:

Edited by pooda

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, JanetVanD said:

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. 

Sadly, businesses tend to think short term, not long term. 

If Bricklink does get too bad, alternatives might eventually be made, yes. But building a website with the size and complexity of Bricklink is no easy task. It takes a lot of time and a lot of money. More time and more money, I would suggest, then AFOLs will be able to put into it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Public companies have to think very short term to keep share prices up and shareholders happy but LEGO being a privately held family-run company means they have a lot more flexibility to think longer term and do what might be good for the company in the long run.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, jonwil said:

Public companies have to think very short term to keep share prices up and shareholders happy but LEGO being a privately held family-run company means they have a lot more flexibility to think longer term and do what might be good for the company in the long run.

 

Yes, I agree. 

I have met and spoken with the owner of the company on a number of occasions and he was down-to-earth and keen to listen. Being wealthy and being a decent person are not mutually exclusive. Running a successful, profitable company does not automatically make one greedy. 

At the grand opening ceremony of LEGO House, Kjeld spoke very animatedly about his long range visions for the company. He seemed quite passionate about the legacy he inherited and would eventually pass on. It seemed to me that he genuinely believed in what he was saying and the LEGO brand meant a lot more to his family than just its monetary value, 

As I said, it is possible to be very rich and still care about other things besides money.

I have met several other people of various positions within TLG over the last few years and I know a few of them personally. They are all, by and large, hardworking people trying to do their best, just like most of us. 

Whatever the plans for Bricklink are, I do not believe ruining things for AFOLs is the objective. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.