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Social media dilemma - MOC rip-offs.

Mr_CrossMr_Cross East Anglia (UK)Member Posts: 1,659
Yesterday, I refrained from commenting on a facebook post and it's been bugging me. I'm now wondering whether I should have commented after all.

The problem?
Someone on a LEGO buy & sell page was showing off an impressive looking Joker bust that they'd bought and built. The production values of it were excellent but nevertheless, rather sadly (and predictably) it was made by one of the outfits that have sprung up over the last few years that take fan's models and without consent produce sets based on those designs.
This was the model:[email protected]/48928190956/in/dateposted/Joker Bust
You might have seen this when brothers brick featured it last October.
I'm aware that there are many other AFOLs with mocs being ripped off out there too, it's just that this was the one that fell across my path.

The dilemma?
Despite what I believe, it's a free World and it's not very cool to be a total killjoy and destroy the excitement of that guy who bought this on facebook. Any attempt to alert him to the (let's call it) bigger picture (or alternate pint of view), assuming he doesn't already know what he's doing could go badly.
Even if I worded it really carefully, there was a distinct possibility that he just wouldn't take it very well (a suspicion backed by experience of similar situations).
I've come to the conclusion that arguing with strangers on the internet (particularly in the detestable corner known as facebook) is almost always a futile pursuit that ends with me blocking them when they start TYPING IN CAPITALS! I was pretty reluctant to provoke the reaction tbh.

I feel bad for George Panteleon, I do, but is this really my fight? I don't know him, is it actually any of my business anyway?
Solidarity as a creator made me want to at least check if he knew, in case he wanted to chime in on the facebook post, his flickr photostream clearly shows that he knows these copycat sets are out there... so, what good would it do telling him about this one specific violation?
I'd rather not know if it was me, I thought, the reminder would inspire vitriol and impotent rage in me, so why should I expect George to be any more Zen about this sort of thing than me?

Unfortunately, the sad truth is that if you put anything on the internet, there is a very real possibility you'll get ripped off. There's almost nothing you can do about it either - look at LEGO's battle. Perhaps we should all just be aware of this situation by now?

So I didn't do anything about this LEGO moc piracy and I feel bad about that, because if offends my principles. If I did want to reconsider that decision, I doubt I could easily find the group post again now anyway, but that doesn't stop me feeling like perhaps I should have gently tried to educate the OP.

I also feel conflicted because there is obviously a market for these things, people's appetite for building block toys is blatantly insatiable and TLG are  (surprisingly perhaps) not meeting that demand (despite their efforts with "18+"). Therefore, unscrupulous individuals will spring up to meet that demand, and this probably won't change even if LEGO did do more or something else. Even if there were better international copyright laws, who is policing it and would the creator also fall foul of similar IP laws?

Should I have spoken up? To be honest, just considering the "multiverse" of conflicting arguments here has done my head in, and I'd like to spend my time more productively.


  • karritkarrit USAMember Posts: 839
    To me it isn't worth trying to inform anyone on social media unless it is in direct response to a question they've asked.  Things often end badly when offering unsolicited advice or information.  And even when one asks a simple question they often times will get some pretty nasty and uncalled for responses from total strangers.  I tend to follow the rule of if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all when it comes to things I have a vastly different opinion on.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,523
    You could always write "the original MOC is showcased here ..." with a link to it.
  • pxchrispxchris Oregon, USAMember Posts: 2,238
    karrit said:
    To me it isn't worth trying to inform anyone on social media...
    That pretty much sums up the whole of social media! Ha!
  • DeMontesDeMontes North YorkshireMember Posts: 745

    Just tag the original creator and leave it at that 👍🏼
  • DeMontesDeMontes North YorkshireMember Posts: 745
    Also @Mr_Cross, if it makes you feel any better, George knows about it

  • bandit778bandit778 Docking Bay 94. Member Posts: 2,361
    I have in the past notified sites and or members of different forums when I've come across obviously stolen MOC designs but invariably the reply comes back "Thanks, I'm aware, yes it pisses me off but what can I do" which made me feel better for reporting it but also sad that someone's hard work has been ripped off.
    It does give some understanding as to why the likes of Mirko Soppelsa do things the way he does (Limited edition books and numbered tiles) and why they cost what they do but it's sad that they have to go to those lengths to stop this kind of rip off.
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