Sunday, August 05, 2012

Brickfair photos: can't stop the signal

I went to Brickfair yesterday.  As usual, some neat pop culture/copyright/TM issues.  The best of them, and in my opinion the second best creation there, was Serenity from Firefly:
Serenity by Adrian Drake

crew and mini Serenity

Serenity mess by Adrian Drake
The mess
There were others, including the Olympics, the Legend of Zelda, and the Sta-Puft marshmallow man:

And you could get your picture taken in a mock Washington Post (sorry, Brickington Post) story (note the gender balance issue reported!):
In the vendor area, there were some interesting statements from Brickfair/Lego's lawyers:
Brickfair wants you to know …

Some vendor products are arts-and-crafts style merchandise, including custom-molded elements and re-used LEGO elements modified, by fans, from their original form.

LEGO Lawyers want you to know …

Some items for sale at this station are not LEGO Products. They are re-used LEGO elements that have been altered from their original form. LEGO® is a trademark of the LEGO Group, which does not sponsor, authorize or endorse this product.  The LEGO Group is not liable for any loss, injury or damage arising from the use or misuse of this product.

… When the LEGO® mark appears in front of a noun, there is an implication that whatever follows the LEGO® mark is a product of, or is in some way endorsed or authorized by, the LEGO Group. [Comment: not just an implication that the thing is made of LEGO bricks? That seems the more likely implication in many circumstances.] While the LEGO Group appreciates the enthusiasm of its fans, and welcomes the opportunity to support fan-based activities such as this, we cannot allow our trademarks to be used in a way that may lead to confusion over our involvement with the event or its features.

The term “LEGO creations” implies that the works featured were designed and built by the LEGO Group. Although the components are made by the LEGO Group, it is improper to refer to the works as a a whole as “LEGO creations.” They are creations of the fans that built them [comment: out of LEGO], and should be described as such.

Just for fun, here's a picture I took a while back at the National Building Museum's LEGO exhibit:
"Personally, I view the LEGO(R) brick first and foremost as an art medium. No different than, say paint to a painter or metal to the blacksmith."  Trademark lawyers may sense a difference, not necessarily being coherently negotiated.

Extra note: sorry about the alt text/captions.  It seems to be almost random whether Blogger will allow me to add alt text.

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