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Counterfeit / Custom UCS Stickers

AvengerDrAvengerDr Member Posts: 453
edited March 2012 in Building and Techniques
Hi! I just saw an auction that ended recently.. There is someone who is selling duplicate UCS stickers and they are advertised as such. My question is: anyone knows how to make them? Do you need a special printer? Adhesive paper?

Comments

  • Si_UKNZSi_UKNZ NZMember Posts: 4,179
    Ive seen those too. Technically they are breaching copyright.
  • krklintkrklint Member Posts: 503
    AvengerDr, I've wondered the same question on how to make them? special printer? Special adhesive paper?

    So to sidestep a debate on legality, if I wanted to make my own custom stickers for my personal Lego village and space port, does anyone know what type of adhesive paper I might need to purchase, etc?
  • cavegodcavegod Member Posts: 806
    i use adhesive glossy photo paper and print with my Epson S21.
  • cavegodcavegod Member Posts: 806
    just bought a copy of 7181 though :-)
  • prevereprevere North of Bellville, East of Heartlake, South of Bricksburg, West of Ninjago City Member Posts: 2,904
    Definitely copyright infringement. I've sold a bunch of pre-owned, rebuilt UCS sets over the past 12 months; and always been up front whether stickers were included or not (all original of course).

    Normally eBay will flag the word "copy" in listings, so I'm a little surprised they snuck through. There is a community of corporations that participate in something called the VERO program on eBay. Verified Rights Owners program (or something like that). They patrol eBay as well and flag copies / questionable copyrighted issue listings.

    I won't even get into the copied adhesive stickered minifigs (i.e. Batman joker, etc) that are not original. That's a ripoff.

    For personal use - it would be helpful for all retired sets, to know how to recreate these stickers.
  • EricEric Queensland, AustraliaMember Posts: 376
    I understand that legal point of view, but no-one is actually losing sales from this individual selling these stickers. It would be different if Lego, Lucasarts, or Ferrari sold replacements, but because they don't, no-one is losing, and I will support the seller. Good on them for exploiting Lego's silliness and making a bit of cash on the side. This is something I really dislike about Lego, is that once my stickers have been destroyed by time, certain sets become totally un-displayable. Just my opinion.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    @Eric - while I understand your point, and you'll find plenty of people who do understand you...

    Do keep in mind that the law is on Lego's side. It is within TLGs right to keep copyright on the stickers and not sell them. Not making something for sale doesn't give everyone the right to copy it.
  • LegoboyLegoboy 100km furtherMember Posts: 8,785
    edited March 2012
    ^ And in nearly all cases, it'll be due to licensing restrictions that TLG aren't able to produce further copies of them after retirement.
  • Si_UKNZSi_UKNZ NZMember Posts: 4,179
    edited March 2012
    no-one is actually losing sales from this
    Actually they might well be. The sticker is the only part which can't be bricklinked. If someone builds one from parts and adds the sticker to it (not declaring it as a copy), they're reducing the rarity, and reducing the value of all of them. Just the same as with a fake of, say, a limited edition art print.

    They're also introducing uncertainty of authenticity into the second hand market.

  • forumreaderforumreader Member Posts: 97
    The sticker sheet can be bricklinked...not sure why you would say otherwise. Your other points stand, though.
  • RennyRenny USAMember Posts: 1,145
    I recently purchased the one for Star Wars 10030 (Star Destroyer). My original sticker fell apart and replacement stickers were going for absurd amounts in excess of $120. I just wanted one for display purposes as I don't intend to sell my sets (and if for some reason I have to in the future I will definitely be truthful that it is not original).

    I won't speak to the legality of it but I think he is providing a fantastic service and alternative to fans like me who unfortunately had their original stickers damaged and are forced to pay very high amounts for an original. It's not like he is asking for that much as well. I believe I paid $6 for mine.

    The sticker itself is pretty decent quality, although it can smudge easily so if you do happen to purchase one from this seller please handle carefully.
  • Si_UKNZSi_UKNZ NZMember Posts: 4,179
    The sticker sheet can be bricklinked
    I stand corrected! I do wonder which are legit though - with prices like that it has to be tempting to counterfitters.
  • AvengerDrAvengerDr Member Posts: 453
    edited March 2012
    I wouldn't call them counterfeit though.. It's not like he is asking for the bricklink prices for the real ones. Before they arrest him, however, I've ordered the UCS one for my MF bricklink project. I'd even have settled for a sticker who had a tiny "duplicate" tag written in a non-prominent place..

    now, if someone could make duplicate light bluish grey levers...
  • beets665beets665 Member Posts: 106
    I have tried looking for the seller of the stickers on eBay and can't seem to find them does anyone have the sellers name or even have any spare themselfs I am after the y wing 1s and maybe the snow speeder
  • LegoboyLegoboy 100km furtherMember Posts: 8,785
    ^ They currently have no stickers for sale. I wonder if TLG have had a word?

    http://myworld.ebay.co.uk/clairstraws/
  • cavegodcavegod Member Posts: 806
    nope you can still buy from them, great quality as well!
  • rocaorocao Administrator Posts: 4,290
    As a collector, I have mixed feelings about reproduced, counterfeit stickers.

    When I got back into collecting in 1999, one of my highest priority sets to obtain was 375 Yellow Castle. I bought several versions before I finally had a copy in a condition with which I was content: minimal scratching on the surface of the bricks (yellow shows easily), and an unapplied sticker sheet.

    A year or two later, someone started selling reproduced stickers that marginalized the rarity of the stickers. Obviously the flip side is that had I not embarked on the previous quest, I would be quite content with the reproduction.
  • LegoboyLegoboy 100km furtherMember Posts: 8,785
    ^ Likewise. I have spent a vast fortune obtaining some of the rarer sticker sets as replacements for future years. Whereas it's nice to have replacements (albeit fakes) available just for 'personal' or home use, I can't help feeling a little 'sick' about them being available to everybody for a fraction of what the official ones cost.

    One thing to mention though is that the stickers are printed on a white backing so those sets requiring a clear backing such as 7191 or 10129 for instance will have to settle for a completely 'white' windscreen.

    ^^ Available direct they may be, but not through Ebay.

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/clairstraws/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_from=&_ipg=&_trksid=p3686
  • cavegodcavegod Member Posts: 806
    i know i asked about that and have a perfectly reasonable answer from them, I'd rather buy a £5.99 sticker than pay stupid amounts of money for a genuine one that is exactly the same.
  • LegoboyLegoboy 100km furtherMember Posts: 8,785
    ^ ......albeit one can't see in or out of the cockpit unless it's cut out further as to only apply the 'framework'. :-)
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    i know i asked about that and have a perfectly reasonable answer from them, I'd rather buy a £5.99 sticker than pay stupid amounts of money for a genuine one that is exactly the same.
    True, but the same can be said for buying counterfeit DVDs... Why spend $10 to buy the "genuine" DVD when you can buy a copied DVD-R for $1.

    Or did we all just forget that copyright theft is a crime?
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,531
    edited March 2012
    ^ I'm not sure that's a good analogy, however - if LEGO still produced and sold replacement stickers for their older sets then there wouldn't be a market for reproductions. Compare and contrast with a DVD, which is almost invariably available to buy through official channels and as such the motivation for buying a copy is purely avoidance of paying the going rate, which in the case of the DVD is going to be RRP or less.

    You could argue that $120 is "the going rate" for an official UCS sticker on Bricklink, but I suspect that few would have any sympathy with a Bricklink seller missing out on a sale when they're effectively holding the collector to ransom with prices like that.

    From a copyright perspective, while LEGO would be unlikely to condone such a practice (particularly in the case of licensed sets) I'd bet it's really not high on the list of things that they are looking to crack down on....
  • LegoboyLegoboy 100km furtherMember Posts: 8,785
    Being the majority of the counterfeit sticker sets are/were in fact licensed and most of them being Star Wars, whereas I wouldn't necessarily expect TLG to be that bothered initially, I would expect George to be all over TLG demanding they take action.

    I don't condone the sale of the counterfeit sticker sets, but I'd have to concede that even a stand-up guy such as myself would have trouble turning my nose up at them if they were 'as-good-as' quality.
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,531
    edited March 2012
    I'd be interested to know why George would care, frankly. The usual reason that people get exercised about breach of copyright is either (1) because it diverts revenue away from 'official' channels, or (2) it somehow damages the brand. Someone selling good quality reproductions of sticker sheets for long-retired sets is highly unlikely to be ticking either of those boxes, so while it's clearly not legal, why should LEGO, or indeed George, care ? Hell, it's a service to their customers, so they're probably secretly pleased, although they probably wouldn't admit it.

    The only real victims of this 'crime' are of course Bricklink sellers, but if they're really selling genuine UCS sticker sheets at $120 a pop then it's hard to feel too sorry for them in the light of such 'opportunistic' pricing.....
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    ^ I'm not sure that's a good analogy, however - if LEGO still produced and sold replacement stickers for their older sets then there wouldn't be a market for reproductions. Compare and contrast with a DVD, which is almost invariably available to buy through official channels and as such the motivation for buying a copy is purely avoidance of paying the going rate, which in the case of the DVD is going to be RRP or less.
    Most of us drive over the speed limit from time to time. "everyone doing it" doesn't make it legal. :)

    Disney regularly puts DVDs in the "vault" for 7 years... Take a look at the current price for Cinderella:

    http://www.amazon.com/Cinderella-Two-Disc-Special-Ilene-Woods/dp/B0007Z9R7A/

    $44.00

    Does that make pirating it "ok" since Disney chooses not to sell it?

    The fact that TLG chooses not to offer sticker sheets for sale in no way invalidates their claim to copyright on those sticker sheets, and it is just as illegal.

    Now am I going to report you, the seller, or anyone else? No, of course not. If TLG cares, they can complain, if they don't, that is their right.

    I'm just making the legal point, you're welcome to your own moral opinion. :)
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,531
    Nobody's arguing that the practice is legal - it's clearly not.

    I just suspect that LEGO, and indeed George Lucas, would rank this very low in their list of priorities as it's not damaging the brand nor denying them revenue.
  • LegoboyLegoboy 100km furtherMember Posts: 8,785
    I'd be interested to know why George would care
    For the same reason he prohibits TLG from selling additonal copies in the first place I suspect.....whatever that reason may be.

    I agree with you Doc, what difference does it make? Star Wars has built itself up on merchansdise and getting the brand 'out there'. Why throttle it?
  • seemingly lego can only produce a certain ammount of original stickers, due to licence issues. So one per set basically.

    This leads to bricklink sellers using lack of supply to hike the price of a sticker to over $100 at times. This does not seem right to me.

    Perhaps if the copied stickers did not carry the lego reference number and lego logo at the side the copies could not be confused with originals.

    The copies then allow retired sets where the stickers have flaked off to be completed and look great again.

    I think there is a need to restore lego sets, so there is a need for re-issued stickers, we all love lego. So i dont think this is the worst breach of copyright for lego or lucas, lets face it they make billions already. I think the copies help all parties.

    The stickers are no longer on sale.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    This leads to bricklink sellers using lack of supply to hike the price of a sticker to over $100 at times. This does not seem right to me.
    Why? It is the basic law of supply and demand.

    What would your solution be? Force sellers to only sell at a government approved price?
    Perhaps if the copied stickers did not carry the lego reference number and lego logo at the side the copies could not be confused with originals.

    I think there is a need to restore lego sets, so there is a need for re-issued stickers, we all love lego. So i dont think this is the worst breach of copyright for lego or lucas, lets face it they make billions already. I think the copies help all parties.

    The stickers are no longer on sale.
    None of that matters, it is still a crime. If enough of them are sold and Lucasfilm, LTD and TLG decide to go after the sellers, they can and will do real jail time.

    For what it is worth, I don't think it is the worst breach of copyright either, nor do I see either company going after these sellers unless it becomes very common.

    I'm just pointing out that trying to rationalize it away is pointless, just call a spade a spade, it is illegal and you don't care.

    BTW, not caring, is not a crime. :)
  • RedbullgivesuwindRedbullgivesuwind Brickset's Secret HeadquatersMember Posts: 1,886
    ^Would you see some one not buying the offical pc wall paperbut getting a picture from the internet a crime to cause i do it all the time. And this is the same thing they are small stickers I doubt anyone at lego does care. This guy\girl has seen a gap in the market and taken it. If lego made the stickers still to be ordered then there would be no market.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    You are allowed to make copies for personal use, that is allowed under Copyright. You may not make copies to sell.

    Of course there is a gap in the market, the owner of the item is choosing not to sell it. If I write a book, sell it for a year, then decide to stop selling it, that doesn't make it ok for you to make copies and sell them yourself.

    Look, I get that many people simply don't care. That's fine, if you don't care, go right ahead, I'm not your father/law enforcement/god, you don't answer to me. My only point is that you shouldn't try and justify it. Just say "I don't care that I'm breaking copyright laws" and be done with it.
  • cavegodcavegod Member Posts: 806
    I don't care I'm breaking copyright laws :-)
  • BeardedCastleGuyBeardedCastleGuy Member Posts: 127
    It's all about Copyright, that's why Lucas Film and thus their licensee would care. It comes down to the fact if you don't protect a copyright/trademark you can lose the protection of the same. It's not like George Lucas really cares personally that someone has made a copy or 3 of a sticker sheet for a Star Wars LEGO set.
    I personally rarely if ever apply stickers and if I do decide to in the future, I plan to make a copy and use the copy while saving the original. I don't plan on sharing any, or making copies, especially copies for sale so if I do make copies I'll be fine under personal 'Fair use' doctrine.
  • RedbullgivesuwindRedbullgivesuwind Brickset's Secret HeadquatersMember Posts: 1,886
    I'm not your...god,
    What! What do I do with these lego gold statues of you and the sacrificial bull then?

    Are they easy to make then the lego stickers I always thing youd have to desgin them all yourself based off pictures

  • cavegodcavegod Member Posts: 806
    scan em in with hi-res scanner and print out on correct media.
  • RedbullgivesuwindRedbullgivesuwind Brickset's Secret HeadquatersMember Posts: 1,886
    Wicked as im brick linking a ucs millenium falcon
  • LegoboyLegoboy 100km furtherMember Posts: 8,785
    ^ Let me know when you're ready and I'll scan in my sticker set for you. :o)
  • RedbullgivesuwindRedbullgivesuwind Brickset's Secret HeadquatersMember Posts: 1,886
    Thank you! I will do
  • bluemoosebluemoose Member Posts: 1,716
    edited March 2012
    If any of you wish to engage in copyright infringing activities, that's entirely your own business. However, keep it off the boards.

    We do not condone, encourage or endorse such behaviour. OK?
  • someoneinsummertimesomeoneinsummertime Member Posts: 3
    edited March 2012
    what about these custom mini-figures, a similar infringment of licence?
    they look great, professionally printed.
    lots of people are producing custom minifigure decals.......
  • LegoboyLegoboy 100km furtherMember Posts: 8,785
    edited March 2012
    @bluemoose.

    With all due respect, I think that's a little unfair given there have been numerous posts already detailing such practice - starting with the OP requesting details of how to go about doing it. Over the past two weeks, we have debated the morality of it, learnt details of where to buy illegal copies as well as learnt what paper is best used when printing them out. I think everybody here is in agreement that replicating material subject to copyright is illegal, yet over the past two weeks details of how to break the law have been allowed to be discussed freely. Should the thread not have been closed sooner?

    I have made it clear that I won't be buying or replicating licensed material due to their imperfect quality/design and would/could only accept originals for my models - I'm one of the plonkers who has spent $100 plus on sticker sheets (plural)! Can I suggest closing the thread since the OP's question has already been answered and can no longer be discussed? Or at minimum remove any detail or links within the thread relating to licensed material leaving only information relating to 'custom'.

    My "bzzzt" has not activated. :o)
  • bluemoosebluemoose Member Posts: 1,716
    edited March 2012
    It's only in the last few posts that anyone has specifically offered to engaging in a (technically) illegal activity, rather than simply discussing the theoretical basis for the activity & the legal rights and wrongs. To me there is a big difference between the two ... the moment you offered (in public) to scan your stickers for someone else to produce duplicates, then a line was crossed.

    Frankly it's a matter of liability for Brickset; if we do not take action against it, then we are potentially liable in the (admittedly very unlikely) event that legal action results.

    But you're right, this thread had probably run it's useful life. Happy to take it to PM.
This discussion has been closed.

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