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Brick Wars - Anyone outside Germany taking notice?


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3 hours ago, elmaslıefendi said:

I'm German and watched most of his content before he got carried away in his spirit. I know what he said 4 years ago & I know what he says now. It was over for me after he pitched for BlueBrixx like c'mon how bad can something be. He either did it out of spite or they gave him a mad bag of fun coupons, probably both.

From starting a 100% LEGO-only retail store as a big LEGO fan to the situation as it is now, something has to have happened. And it did. Watch his newest video, where he sums the last years up pretty good. Otherwise I don't know what to say to your comment. I saw about every single video he released and my opinion is just a whole lot different. If you say "it was over for me", that sounds like you didn't really watch/listen to him anymore afterwards, well, then you might have missed what is really going on with his approach.

Start at 6:32 if you'd like to hear the important part:

 

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Trying to educate myself a little with these brands. Took a spin around "legal" brand site for Xingbao.

They have an Aliens set. Does that mean they have an Aliens licence ? If they do, why do the product pics show product with box, but notes say no box included, just parts and manual ?

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2 hours ago, roxio said:

They have an Aliens set. Does that mean they have an Aliens licence ? If they do, why do the product pics show product with box, but notes say no box included, just parts and manual ?

I doubt they have any sort of license. The Chinese don't really care about that sort of thing.

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On 1/28/2021 at 10:46 AM, roxio said:

Trying to educate myself a little with these brands. Took a spin around "legal" brand site for Xingbao.

They have an Aliens set. Does that mean they have an Aliens licence ? If they do, why do the product pics show product with box, but notes say no box included, just parts and manual ?

First of all they even send many sets of their own in-house series with no box - just for the reason of saving on shipping cost.

Secondly, no, they don't have the license for the 20th Century Fox ALIEN franchise. But that does not matter since nowhere do they claim to have it and none of what they are using/selling in the form of brick sets is protected (like the common English word "Alien" or the designs of extraterrestrial monsters). Recently a German brick store was able to sell their own "Razor Crest" completely legally, just because LEGO/Disney had missed to register their own stuff as trademark in Europe. And the design of the space ship could not be registered anyway. So, again, what is not protected can be used by anyone.

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6 minutes ago, Frank Brickowski said:

That's a pretty racist remark.

The US Department of Justice has talked about this ongoing problem and the threat of insiders willing to take (sell, steal) intellectual property from US businesses for use in China.

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5 minutes ago, iahawks550 said:

The US Department of Justice has talked about this ongoing problem and the threat of insiders willing to take (sell, steal) intellectual property from US businesses for use in China.

LEGO is no US business first of all. Secondly if someone says "the Chinese" ("the Russians", "the Germans...") with the purpose of attributing one specific characteristic to ALL citizens of this country, that's a racist remark. No matter what some US Department of Justice has or has not said - which is anyway totally irrelevant for this question.

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14 minutes ago, iahawks550 said:

You are right. I should have said Chinese government. Where are these sets that are appearing in Germany manufactured?

Alright.

The legal Chinese alternative brick sets that are legally sold in Germany are being produced in China by regular Chinese brands - just like legal phones by Chinese brands Lenovo, Huawei, ZTE etc. Meanwhile even official general German importers for Chinese brick brands Xingbao, Qman and CaDa have been established - all operating under German law inside Germany, where copyright infringement, selling if illegal copies etc. is of course forbidden and you'll go to jail if you do it anyway - just like in the US. So for anyone who does not know, Germany is a democratic "1st world" country, no "3rd world" corrupt dictatorship.

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This is the first I am hearing about this. I live in the U.S. and am not a native German speaker, though I grew up and lived in Switzerland for many years.

I don't think this is grabbing much attention outside of Germany for several reasons. I can only speak for the U.S as that is where I currently live and have experience dealing with issues of copyright and fair use (I'm not a lawyer but in my work this is a topic we are constantly engaging with). In the U.S. this kind of litigious action is very common, big companies will often go after people who they feel are infringing on their copyright (usually this takes the form of a cease and desist letter first, and if no action is taken then it can lead to further legal action), so in some ways this wouldn't really be seen as newsworthy. As you said this is primarily a German story with most discussion occurring in German so that automatically takes it out of the larger realm of discussion in the worldwide LEGO community. 

Now for my opinion (I know- I know what they say about opinions). This is the first that I have looked into Thomas Panke, and I have to say that from an outsider's perspective it appears that he is at least partly pushing the "outrage" button in a move to increase engagement on his videos - this may not be outrightly intentional, just a result of seeing that videos on this topic get a lot of comments, drive up engagement and increase views, thus it becomes a bigger topic. In any event I certainly wouldn't look at the notorious youtube comment section or ratios as an indication of a greater trend. Also I have to say I'm not 100% confident in the reputability of BILD which seems to be the primary (traditional) news organization reporting on this (I admit fully I could be wrong on this as my understanding may well be out of date). As far as Bluebrixx goes, if you look into it a bit further it appears that LEGO mostly had issue with sets containing minifigures, and as they state they consider the minifig, with its precise proportions to be a trademark of LEGO. In the U.S. we would say that this is "Making a mountain out of a molehill".

As far as LEGO Sales being down in Germany, maybe in brick and mortar retail shops, but it would appear that overall, including online sales this is not the case. A quick google search brings up this info: https://www.statista.com/statistics/671661/sales-toy-market-germany/ Which indicates that LEGO along with Brandstätter lead sales in the growing toy market there. As a moc maker and designer I can fully see where people like Janke are coming from, I have plenty of gripes with the designs of some LEGO sets, but I don't see that as large enough portion of the LEGO market to make that big of a dent (and many of us AFOLS still spend $$$$$ each year on official LEGO sets despite our misgivings). Granted, again, I will admit I am not that familiar with the German LEGO afol community.

If you've made it this far thanks for reading lol. If this is a topic you are interested in you can see more here https://www.lego.com/en-us/legal/notices-and-policies/fair-play/ where LEGO goes over what they consider copyright infringement and what they don't in great detail - and you can see where they may have issue with people like Janke and Bluebrixx, whether those objections are legal or not, well that is up to the courts to decide...

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3 hours ago, tyskr28 said:

As far as LEGO Sales being down in Germany, maybe in brick and mortar retail shops, but it would appear that overall, including online sales this is not the case. A quick google search brings up this info: https://www.statista.com/statistics/671661/sales-toy-market-germany/ Which indicates that LEGO along with Brandstätter lead sales in the growing toy market there.

The numbers up to and including 2019 cannot tell anything since this whole thing (rise of alternative brands' popularity) only started in 2019. Sales numbers and market share for 2020 and following years will be much more interesting. Apart from that, to fully understand what Held der Steine does why and why he does it this way, you really have to know the complete story. Some years ago he started as a convinced 100% LEGO-only retailer ...

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Well I dare say that the 2020 numbers will be skewed due to the current situation... As of now TLG has reported stronger sales than expected, as of September consumer sales in all markets, including western Europe were up 14%, this is before the holiday rush so I would imagine they will show strong gains for the second half. I would also take your argument and apply it to Held der Steine and turn it around the emergence of the high quality competitors such as CADA (which I understand are very high quality products) have only really emerged in the past couple of years so the fact that he started as 100% LEGO doesn't really carry much weight to me, there weren't that many competitors until just recently.

Having said all that I do see in general more acceptance here in the U.S., especially by younger folks, of the actual knockoff brands. That is a real problem for LEGO, and a hard one for them to solve unless they can get support from the home governments of these brands to move forward with litigation.

In any event, I think if there is a little competition for LEGO that will only benefit everyone. I'm just not sure if I readily accept that this 'attack' on one person represents a downward turn for TLG. I think that LEGO is going through a bit of an identity crisis right now, looking for ways to capture more market share and I think that how they come out of that over the next couple of years will have far more affect on their sales (and status) in the global market than any legitimate competitor. 

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6 minutes ago, tyskr28 said:

Well I dare say that the 2020 numbers will be skewed due to the current situation... As of now TLG has reported stronger sales than expected, as of September consumer sales in all markets, including western Europe were up 14%, this is before the holiday rush so I would imagine they will show strong gains for the second half. I would also take your argument and apply it to Held der Steine and turn it around the emergence of the high quality competitors such as CADA (which I understand are very high quality products) have only really emerged in the past couple of years so the fact that he started as 100% LEGO doesn't really carry much weight to me, there weren't that many competitors until just recently.

Having said all that I do see in general more acceptance here in the U.S., especially by younger folks, of the actual knockoff brands. That is a real problem for LEGO, and a hard one for them to solve unless they can get support from the home governments of these brands to move forward with litigation.

In any event, I think if there is a little competition for LEGO that will only benefit everyone. I'm just not sure if I readily accept that this 'attack' on one person represents a downward turn for TLG. I think that LEGO is going through a bit of an identity crisis right now, looking for ways to capture more market share and I think that how they come out of that over the next couple of years will have far more affect on their sales (and status) in the global market than any legitimate competitor. 

The question for 2020 in Germany will be about market share, not total sales. I mean total sales went up for ANY online retailer in 2020, so that alone is nothing special. TLG's share of the German brick market alone can only go down, I cannot imagine how it should go into the opposite direction - otherwise they would not be acting like the are. But I dont know if anyone will any numbers for the brick market alone.

Regarding HdS I cannot condense the whole story out of about 100 videos over the past 3 years into one comment here. I'm just saying: It's a "little bit" more complex than most people think who only watch one of his videos now and then or have started following him only recently.

As described in my earlier posts, TLG did not just attack one person, but several German retailers.

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What's the big deal about this ONE Medieval set? Oh, I forgot, not all brick fans have the luxury of having access to the fabulous Medieval-themed range of brick sets you can buy LEGALLY in Germany from LEGAL Germany-based online (and offline) stores. ...and, of course, for a fraction of that ridiculous price LEGO wants you to pay. What about an officially licensed "Kingdom Come Deliverance" water mill set with over 2,800 pieces for 120 Euros, for instance? Or a similar non-licensed water mill with 2,600 pieces for another 30% less (=80 Euros).

And the Blacksmith here for 70 Euros instead of 150 for the one from LEGO with about the same amount of pieces moreover doesn't hurt your eyes by looking like made for kids but like a realistic AFOL display set. You get the idea. Whoever has access to the Blacksmith below and still buys the LEGO version instead... I feel sorry for you.

Medieval.jpg

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On 1/20/2021 at 2:48 PM, Eric83 said:

170€ (205$) in the Netherlands though.... ouch

Serious AFOL Blacksmith set with a simliar amount of pieces + does not hurt your eyes + doesn't make people laugh. 70 Euros + 10 shipping to the Netherlands (from Germany), see below:

102000_1.jpg
102000_2.jpg

@HandyHand 

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7 hours ago, Alpinemaps said:


More specifically, please stay on topic to discussions of this particular sets.

You’re welcome to make a thread about those other sets. As long as they are legally produced. We do have a MegaBloks thread.

I thought my post was pretty much on topic because I made people who intended to buy this set for their own collection aware of the fact that they were going to buy an inferior product for much more money. But I see that rational advice is not always welcome.

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5 hours ago, Frank Brickowski said:

I thought my post was pretty much on topic because I made people who intended to buy this set for their own collection aware of the fact that they were going to buy an inferior product for much more money. But I see that rational advice is not always welcome.

my God man, pull it together!

15 hours ago, Phil B said:

Please stop peddling fake LEGO on a LEGO investment site.

the fact that this even has to be mentioned is beyond Captain Obvious

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6 hours ago, Frank Brickowski said:

I thought my post was pretty much on topic because I made people who intended to buy this set for their own collection aware of the fact that they were going to buy an inferior product for much more money. But I see that rational advice is not always welcome.

You will surely change minds.

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On 2/6/2021 at 10:35 AM, Frank Brickowski said:

I thought my post was pretty much on topic because I made people who intended to buy this set for their own collection aware of the fact that they were going to buy an inferior product for much more money. But I see that rational advice is not always welcome.

I checked the BlueBrixx website. Apparently their manufacturing partner is Xingbao, the sister to the illegal brand starting with an L.

Xingbao, also known to steal designs from AFOLS after pictures of their MOCs posted online. And for their inferior brick quality. 

Thank you for showing alternative options, but I prefer to stick with the A brand named LEGO.

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1 minute ago, HandyHand said:

I checked the BlueBrixx website. Apparently their manufacturing partner is Xingbao, the sister to the illegal brand starting with an L.

Xingbao, also known to steal designs from AFOLS after pictures of their MOCs posted online. And for their inferior brick quality. 

Thank you for showing alternative options, but I prefer to stick with the A brand named LEGO.

Most of what you're writing above is wrong. Nothing is illegal here. But I get that you and most other folks here like to stay with their LEGO religion. I wish you good luck and deep pockets.

Edited by Frank Brickowski
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32 minutes ago, Frank Brickowski said:

Most of what you're writing above is wrong. Nothing is illegal here. But I get that you and most other folks here like to stay with their LEGO religion. I wish you good luck and deep pockets.

Selling LEGO has allowed me to have deep pockets. Not sure the same can be said about the secondary market for BlueBrixx. 

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