Every once in a while the issue of how the mother company feels about custom products rises to the surface. Their official policies are vague and leave things up to interpretation of individual employees and those affected, these policies are stated in the “Fair Play” brochure. Statements from individual representatives vary in opinion and interpretation. The main argument against custom products is that the original blocks are copywrited. Here is what my research has shown:
1. Opinions and interpretations may vary but the action/inaction of the corporation determines the policy.
A. Action/inaction: At officially sanctioned events sponsors and vendors who offer custom products are allowed to participate and contribute to the creativity of the hobby and sell their products.
B. Action/inaction: Allowance of the copywrited terms to be used throughout the internet. Specifically web domains, and companies selling custom products.
C. Action/inaction: 100’s of companies that have sprung up over the past 20 years that have as a product line the copywrited item in question. (You can Insert a long list of companies and websites here)
D. The purpose of copywrite is to prevent copying of their product design. This is a separate issue from customizing products. This can be demonstrated by observing all the knockoff companies and how they slightly change the design to avoid violating this issue. Attempting to eliminate custom products is an overreach of copywrite.
2. Name one product that you can easily purchase in a retail environment in which the company who makes the item claims they still own the product after you have bought it. Then that company tells you what you can and cant do with that purchased item. I can’t think of any.
A. Example: An ambulance company buys a van from the manufacturer. The van is loaded with patents and copywrites. The company alters the van, upgrades the parts and features and sells the finished ambulance product for a profit. Does the van manufacturer say, “No, you can’t do that, thats our van you bought.” Absurd.
B. The absurdity of this scenario is one reason I believe the company in question won’t take their dissatisfaction any further than firm warnings and pointing fingers, it just doesn’t make sense legally in an exchange of goods.
3. The custom product market has tremendous benefits to mother company.
A. Free research and development of new characters, themes, accessories and products. I’ve seen several characters made that are remarkably similar to ones customizers have made. And not just characters but aftermarket accessories have been copied by the mother company as well.
B. A more satisfied and widening market of adult collectors. These are individuals with expendable income.
C. Less desirable bricks are sold in bulk and turned into desirable items that enhance the hobby.
D. Mother company gets a cut of resold product now that they own BL, double dipping on profits of their own products.
In conclusion, statements by individuals will be made about custom products. However you may still attend an official conference or event and purchase custom items from third party vendors and you won’t be arrested. As a matter of fact, you will probably be asked where you got such a cool unique item. You may also search the internet for custom products using official terms, and you will find lots of stuff for sale. The custom product industry appreciates your support and will continue to improve, enhance and advance the market for these collectible products - and mother company will continue to benefit as well.