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TLG acquires Bricklink

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On 11/27/2019 at 6:21 AM, Masked Mini said:

TLG is a shareholder profit driven corporation in, this the year of our Brick, 2019.

LEGO is a privately held company owned by the founding family and doesn't have shareholders to answer to. So they can do what they think is best for the company long term rather than what's best for the share price (there isn't one) or the shareholders (there are none as such)

 

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2 hours ago, Itaria No Shintaku said:

It's not about guns.
If it was about them, a revolver or a tommy gun would count as much as a sword. They are always weapon.
It's TLG not wanting to do modern warfare
Actually a tommy gun cannot be considered modern warfare, it's something of more than 100  years ago.

It's not about guns, per se, as flintlock muskets and such have been used over the years by TLG in pirate sets etc., and certainly SW etc. use 'guns', but are considered non-modern warfare.  But if you don't think that the Thompson submachinegun was used in modern warfare, you are sorely mistaken.  The Thompson was used by the US military from 1938-1971!  No kidding, people carried these things in Korea and Vietnam.  These weapons are still produced, sold, and in use by some groups even today.  The first production models were 1921 (so the actual weapon, despite having ~40 working prototypes by 1918, is less than 100 years old, and, by most definitions is 'modern' since it uses a centerfire smokeless cartridge), and the round drum magazine was made iconic by the ultra-violent gangsters of the 20s and 30s in the US, which has been glamorized into what we see in the Lego production today.  So to say that TLG does not use 'modern' weapons is not true (which you can see by their inclusion in the Indiana Jones sets that are set in the 20s and 30s).  They do make some exceptions for licensed themes, however much anyone wants to argue to the contrary.

In general, however, I would agree that TLG does try to avoid modern weaponry.  I don't really care one way or the other about modern weapons such as BrickArms since I don't build in the WWI/WWII era, but there still remains the question of the limitations of what TLG wants to have as its image for sale on BL, but also the question of what restrictions are placed on TLG, and by extension, sellers on BL.  For instance, will TLG be held to its contracts of only current license agreements to be sold?  Since it's an old license, such as some of the NBA things that someone else mentioned on here, will TLG allow it to be sold?  It's perfectly legal for a private person to sell such things, but will TLG be held to some contractual wording with their original agreement with the NBA?  Amazon allows for these things to be sold by sellers, but then again, Amazon didn't produce licensed merchandise in the same manner TLG did.  If TLG's lawyers are smart, the will address these issues before they become a problem.  It does not inspire confidence when they say that they 'will not change anything' in the same breath as 'we will no longer allow third party products, such as BrickArms'.  Remember, they're not just banning modern arms, but also the swords, etc. that BrickArms sells as well.  I am by no means saying this is the end of BL or anything, but asking questions that I have relating to IP and other unusual aspects of a non-affiliated aftermarket coming under the control (and both the benefits and legal restrictions) of an associated corporation.

Edited by Grover

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LEGO saying no to things they didn't actually make (like BrickArms or BrickForge or custom 3D printed parts or whatever else) absolutely makes sense.

As for guns (like the revolver or tommy gun) its all about context, not the shape of the part. A revolver in a western set is fine since its old and not modern, a revolver in a police set is not fine since its modern. A tommy gun in a Batman set or an Indiana Jones set is fine since its fictional and not modern. A tommy gun in a police set is not fine since its modern.

There IS this item though https://www.bricklink.com/v2/catalog/catalogitem.page?id=86934 that TLG might want to remove from the site or block from sale (selling actual alcohol might be an issue for TLG)

Oh and these https://www.bricklink.com/catalogList.asp?catType=G&catString=1005 too.

Edited by jonwil

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29 minutes ago, jonwil said:

LEGO saying no to things they didn't actually make (like BrickArms or BrickForge or custom 3D printed parts or whatever else) absolutely makes sense.

As for guns (like the revolver or tommy gun) its all about context, not the shape of the part. A revolver in a western set is fine since its old and not modern, a revolver in a police set is not fine since its modern. A tommy gun in a Batman set or an Indiana Jones set is fine since its fictional and not modern. A tommy gun in a police set is not fine since its modern.

There IS this item though https://www.bricklink.com/v2/catalog/catalogitem.page?id=86934 that TLG might want to remove from the site or block from sale (selling actual alcohol might be an issue for TLG)

Oh and these https://www.bricklink.com/catalogList.asp?catType=G&catString=1005 too.

OK, I can understand that argument better, however grey a line it is between fiction and modern.  I am still curious how they will address issues such as the IP rights when licenses have expired, however.  And I very seriously doubt they will allow the smoking materials and alcohol to be sold on BL, even with a Lego logo!

Edited by Grover

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There is a lot at stake now at TLG with this. If this gets ruined it will simply lead to alternatives to BL flourishing. TLG can't possibly buy them all up.

That said, expect teething problems with this.

Edited by Japanbuilder

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4 hours ago, jonwil said:

LEGO saying no to things they didn't actually make (like BrickArms or BrickForge or custom 3D printed parts or whatever else) absolutely makes sense.

of course it does.. to them. But then let's not pretend they will do that because it's guns.

3 hours ago, Grover said:

As for guns (like the revolver or tommy gun) its all about context

& Brickarms (& others) have no context

 

& what counts as "modern" anyway? Pretty much all Lego themes have bits of fantasy, so if it's fantasy that allows this set to feature a gun, then it's allowed in every theme. Because this looks pretty contemporary to me.

So yeah, it looks like it's only in Lego City that guns aren't to be found, but they are in every other theme, regardless of the time.

70421-1.jpg

 

The problem is that Lego isn't phrasing their "ban on guns" properly. It has more to do with the seriousness. Lego wouldn't do what clone brands do, replicas of warfare vehicles (past or present) that look too serious & made for fans. But there's a difference between a replica of a Sherman and the Metal Slug, which IMHO would be totally fine for kids, but too against Lego's strict rules.

Edited by anothergol

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10 hours ago, Itaria No Shintaku said:

Advertisement for a product is money you pay.
Lepin & Co. do not pay a single cent, yet they benefit.
TLG advertised set XXXXXX, Lepin did the same paratising the ad that TLG paid for.
Defending the copycats always wrong. There is no valid reason for defending them. Never.

That's right, but it does not change my argument. 

The Bugatti is the best example:

Instead of doing some more testing and fixing the suspension issues they paid half of youtube for some half-assed product placements. You see where the 70€ compared to the Porsche went.

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3 hours ago, Grover said:

And I very seriously doubt they will allow the smoking materials and alcohol to be sold on BL, even with a Lego logo! 

Well, they do acknowledge that BL is for adults. If they have a problem with these silly items, it's more that they regret having done such things in the past, I guess.

Because they can't possibily make BL safe for kids. I mean, a kid would be safer drinking & smoking than licking used parts full of salmonella.

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1 hour ago, Gray Gear said:

That's right, but it does not change my argument. 

The Bugatti is the best example:

Instead of doing some more testing and fixing the suspension issues they paid half of youtube for some half-assed product placements. You see where the 70€ compared to the Porsche went.

Whatever, still the point is that the copycats are no Robin Hood, they are Al Capone.

1 hour ago, anothergol said:

The problem is that Lego isn't phrasing their "ban on guns" properly. It has more to do with the seriousness. Lego wouldn't do what clone brands do, replicas of warfare vehicles (past or present) that look too serious & made for fans. But there's a difference between a replica of a Sherman and the Metal Slug, which IMHO would be totally fine for kids, but too against Lego's strict rules.

Probably they just "went too far" sometimes and they regret it. Not that a ghost revolver is the case, probably the Tommy Gun is only when coupled with a non fictional character.
Or, they can make adults sets, like Stranger Things, where they allow more than usual.

Since bricklink is a plaftorm for adults, there will be no kids buying smoking supplies or wine.
Maybe they will just put a disclaimer on that very object and that's it.
I wouldn't certainly disapprove that behaviour.

Edited by Itaria No Shintaku

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On 11/27/2019 at 11:57 AM, anothergol said:

Personally, I WANT Lego to process that data, I want them to understand which parts are wanted in which colors, & start producing them, whether it's for their own shop or distributed to sellers around the globe.

I think that you are naif, or perhaps just very optimistic.

On 11/27/2019 at 11:57 AM, anothergol said:

As for MOCers, I don't think has ever been any relevant for MOCs. Their system of buying MOCs from sellers is a bit pointless.

I disagree, in fact I believe that supporting the design and the sale of new (and nice) sets was probably the point of no return for Bricklink. Thanks to the use of true Lego parts, they became - on a minuscule scale of course - a legitimate competitor of Tlc itself. Paradoxically, a "reseller" which paid much more attention to their customers than the original company did.

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2 minutes ago, astral brick said:

I think that you are naif, or perhaps just very optimistic.

Lego has always been producing parts for LUGs, how is that different

3 minutes ago, astral brick said:

I disagree, in fact I believe that supporting the design and the sale of new (and nice) sets was probably the point of no return for Bricklink

I'm not talking about the AFOL designer program, I'm talking about MOCs sold in BL shops. If you even knew that it existed, because yeah, no one does, and it's not even an idea that could have worked (it's just a miracle when a shop has all of the parts needed for a MOC).

 

20 minutes ago, Itaria No Shintaku said:

Or, they can make adults sets, like Stranger Things, where they allow more than usual.

Oh I think Stranger Things was rather kids (or at least teens)-friendly when they covered it. I don't think they would have made the same choice after the totally over-the-top season 3.

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9 hours ago, Itaria No Shintaku said:

It's not about guns.
If it was about them, a revolver or a tommy gun would count as much as a sword. They are always weapon.
It's TLG not wanting to do modern warfare
Actually a tommy gun cannot be considered modern warfare, it's something of more than 100  years ago.

That is great. World War 1 ended over 100 years ago, so should we expect to see LEGO doing WW1 sets?

 

8 hours ago, Artanis I said:

I fail to see how people are afraid of licenced parts/sets whatever being removed. All sellers on BL are RE-SELLERS of previously existing items, no one is PRODUCING ITEMS, no one is even a RETAILER. TLG paid the fee already, and anyone can re-sell anything of physical property.

 

First of all, sellers on BL are retailers if they are buying stock to resell. Plus there might be leverage from the license holders to have certain items removed from (or not inserted into) the catalogue. So for example, if Disney (or LEGO) does not want individual Luke Skywalker minifigures sold at bricklink, they could have them removed from LEGO's bricklink catalogue. It is their catalogue now, they choose what goes into it.

 

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10 hours ago, Bornin1980something said:

If they remove products that don't match their 'corporate image,' would that mean banning some of their own older products?

A lot of companies have done this with their old product. They either outright cut them out or frame them as something from a time/attitude that is less enlightened (See, any product with really badly  racist connotations)

8 hours ago, Artanis I said:

When you listed your old Hulk pyjamas on eBay did Disney demand a cut? Or send a cease-and-desist?

No, but you are a private person using a selling platform by a merchant to sell on the items you own. LEGO are a licensee, they will be making some money from bricklink and they will be making the money on IP, IP holders will want to renegotiate the terms.

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1 hour ago, anothergol said:

Lego has always been producing parts for LUGs, how is that different

Have they? I know they supply parts for LUGs, but all the parts I have ever bought that way have come from existing parts rather than specifically produced parts for LUGs.

Plus I think manufacturing parts that are rare so other sellers can sell them is somewhat different. If there is a case to make them, then surely they would put them in their own sets rather than let others profit from selling rare parts (at inflated prices).

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31 minutes ago, MAB said:

So for example, if Disney (or LEGO) does not want individual Luke Skywalker minifigures sold at bricklink, they could have them removed from LEGO's bricklink catalogue. It is their catalogue now, they choose what goes into it.

To be fair, if Lego wasn't wanting anything on (old) BL, they could simply have bought them all.  (but I don't see why on earth a license owner wouldn't want licensed part on BL)

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2 hours ago, Itaria No Shintaku said:

Since bricklink is a plaftorm for adults, there will be no kids buying smoking supplies or wine.
Maybe they will just put a disclaimer on that very object and that's it.
I wouldn't certainly disapprove that behaviour.

I don't think LEGO will be able to argue that bricklink is for adults only. You only need to look at COPPA and what it is doing to youtube content providers. They can say that the content they produce is aimed at adults, but children may be interested in it. LEGO is a toy and as such any LEGO site is attractive to children. That said, there is nothing wrong with producing things such as toy guns. It is LEGO's own decision not to do modern warfare.

3 minutes ago, anothergol said:

To be fair, if Lego wasn't wanting anything on (old) BL, they could simply have bought them all.  (but I don't see why on earth a license owner wouldn't want licensed part on BL)

It is because if someone can buy just the minifigure of whoever, then there is no reason to buy the set. Plus, if it is true about LEGO not being able to sell individual licensed parts themselves, then why are they allowing the sale of them on their own site?

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After reading through the interview again, I get the feeling that TLG was not fully expecting to buy BL (at least not now). A lot of 'I dont know yet', 'we will have to see' answers are given. And it was stated that buying BL was an 'opportunity', so not a delibarate execution of a business goal? Still don't know if it's good or bad though...

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17 hours ago, Ankoku said:

True enough, but there is also the question of power and control. So some of what they spent may relate to that. Now they are the biggest fish in the resale/reseller platform market, which means they can influence it.

If you think about it, with this purchase, they take a very similar position to Amazon. Amazon controls the platform that everyone sells on. Amazon is also the biggest seller on said platform. Which is something regulators are looking into. BrickLink revenue is tiny in comparison to The LEGO Group. That said, LEGO could potentially becomes the biggest seller on the platform they now own.

Not only could they be the biggest seller, but they also have access to records of how much inventory all their sellers have, and how much they are selling it for, including any stock held in stockrooms not accessible to the public. Plus they have records of what their sellers have sold, in which quantities and again how much they have sold it for.

3 minutes ago, Rudivdk said:

After reading through the interview again, I get the feeling that TLG was not fully expecting to buy BL (at least not now). A lot of 'I dont know yet', 'we will have to see' answers are given. And it was stated that buying BL was an 'opportunity', so not a delibarate execution of a business goal? Still don't know if it's good or bad though...

I imagine they wanted the AFOL sets programme, as something that can be combined with unsuccessful IDEAS projects or other popular but not retail worthy (for them) projects. They collaborated with BL on that and saw that it was a useful idea, at least for US buyers in the first instance. It just happened to be at a time the current BL owner is selling up a lot of his businesses.

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28 minutes ago, MAB said:

It is because if someone can buy just the minifigure of whoever, then there is no reason to buy the set. Plus, if it is true about LEGO not being able to sell individual licensed parts themselves, then why are they allowing the sale of them on their own site?

but.. *someone* has already bought the set.

And is it known for sure that Lego is not *allowed* to sell individual licensed parts? I thought it was just that they didn't want to (for 2 reasons, the first that they, as you say, wanna sell sets, and the second reason that a licensed part is generally produced just for 1 set, thus in smaller quantities, it's their best interest not to produce too many extras that they're not garanteed to sell outside sets, and can't reuse later).

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17 minutes ago, anothergol said:

but.. *someone* has already bought the set.

They have, but then a LEGO owned company is allowing them to do something that LEGO says is not possible.

18 minutes ago, anothergol said:

And is it known for sure that Lego is not *allowed* to sell individual licensed parts? I thought it was just that they didn't want to (for 2 reasons, the first that they, as you say, wanna sell sets, and the second reason that a licensed part is generally produced just for 1 set, thus in smaller quantities, it's their best interest not to produce too many extras that they're not garanteed to sell outside sets, and can't reuse later).

We don't know, that is why I said the"if it is true". They say they cannot, but then often when a company says that it is because they choose not to rather than they are not allowed to. Only they (and any licensing partner) know.

 

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17 hours ago, Dane said:

What is it you wanted TLG to do? if its true that BL have been for sale for a while as some claim and with the large store chains going bankrupt all over world. TLG then need to secure an important channel as BL is, I dont think TLG expect to re-earn from fees what they paid but in the long run they have secured this platform.. that is if all AFOL's dont freak out about it in advance before they even find out how it will go...

That freaking out part. THAT worries me more than TLG buying Bricklink.

Anyone remember Stargate Universe? Part of the failure was that some fans boycotted the series, due to the others ending.

That Bricklink users or sellers freak out is the greater danger than TLG, in my opinion.

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2 hours ago, MAB said:

Have they? I know they supply parts for LUGs, but all the parts I have ever bought that way have come from existing parts rather than specifically produced parts for LUGs.

Yes they have. They wrote it in a note they sent to the Ambassadors this year.
They do special runs for this very purpose.

2 hours ago, MAB said:

I don't think LEGO will be able to argue that bricklink is for adults only. You only need to look at COPPA and what it is doing to youtube content providers. They can say that the content they produce is aimed at adults, but children may be interested in it. LEGO is a toy and as such any LEGO site is attractive to children. That said, there is nothing wrong with producing things such as toy guns. It is LEGO's own decision not to do modern warfare.

Still TLG can put on individual items "This item is intended for adults and not for kids".
It's easy, no particular stress, and effective.

-

I am a little curious, I read all the comments and I didn't find a single comment blaming bricklink for this choice. Business are made within two parts. They are both responsible. If this acquirement is this much evil as someone is depicting it, the misdeed is being carried by both sides.
On my behalf, I think TLG is the lesser to be blamed here. When the Jezek family sold bricklink, it became something uglier and careless.
I still remember that there have been 3 months in which the forum was full with people complaining that they weren't receiving any more orders point-blank, and they had a normal average just before (and they had also after) that period. I was one of them. I usually got my 3-per-week orders and I was really frustrated to discover that (if I recall correctly) from May 2017 to July 2017 I didn't receive a single order that I didn't ask for (like, telling a friend I was making a special discount for him).
Bricklink never told us the truth. They said that nothing special happened, but we customers aren't stupid. Three months without a single order? Many people all togheter point-blank? 
Come on! 

Not to mention all the rest. Errors all over. No replies from the help desk. A clear intent to sell everything. If this (and I don't think so) cession is the biggest misdeed happened in the AFOL era (as most are depicting), you have two parts to blame, and TLG is the lesser. My 2 cents of course.

Edited by Itaria No Shintaku

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56 minutes ago, Itaria No Shintaku said:

On my behalf, I think TLG is the lesser to be blamed here. When the Jezek family sold bricklink, it became something uglier and careless.
I still remember that there have been 3 months in which the forum was full with people complaining that they weren't receiving any more orders point-blank, and they had a normal average just before (and they had also after) that period. I was one of them. I usually got my 3-per-week orders and I was really frustrated to discover that (if I recall correctly) from May 2017 to July 2017 I didn't receive a single order that I didn't ask for (like, telling a friend I was making a special discount for him).
Bricklink never told us the truth. They said that nothing special happened, but we customers aren't stupid. Three months without a single order? Many people all togheter point-blank? 
Come on! 
 

I received plenty of orders during that time in 2017, so it could have been coincidence that you did not.

I found BL didn't really change (operationally) when the Jezek family sold it. Later on it did as they tried out new things, most of which seemed to fail. The community aspect did change a bit when it was sold, and of course the new BrickOwl coming along due to the sale.

59 minutes ago, Itaria No Shintaku said:

Not to mention all the rest. Errors all over. No replies from the help desk. A clear intent to sell everything. If this (and I don't think so) cession is the biggest misdeed happened in the AFOL era (as most are depicting), you have two parts to blame, and TLG is the lesser. My 2 cents of course.

I agree there have been a lot of errors recently. It is far from perfect.

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I was surprised like everyone else of this sale.
I see a lot of people are worried, maybe rightly so, time will tell. On the other hand if Lego make a lot of changes that the users do not like, they will move somewhere else so it is not in their interest..

Lego has a lot of money now they need to invest, they recently bought Legoland in Billund and now BL.
Of course the owner of BL earn some money, but I think it is peanuts compared to what Lego are making on other parts of their business. So I think they will use it to mine user-information, that is where the real money can be made (just look at Facebook)..
A very basic example:

Lego sees that a single goat cost 30 euro on BL. So they make a set and include a couple of goats in it, since that is a part that has very high value a lot of AFOLs want it. The set will sell more copies that if it had not goats included and Lego makes a lot of money..

So in the best case scenario they leave BL alone and we get more sets and parts we want :shrug_oh_well:

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1 hour ago, Roebuck said:

Lego sees that a single goat cost 30 euro on BL. So they make a set and include a couple of goats in it, since that is a part that has very high value a lot of AFOLs want it. The set will sell more copies that if it had not goats included and Lego makes a lot of money.

Realistically though, how many extra sets are they going to sell because of that? I don't think it would be enough for LEGO to be too interested in.

Did any stats come out in regards to how many sets BL sold during the event they did in collaboration with LEGO? I do wonder if that was a test LEGO did in relation to buying BL.

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