Legal considerations of Brickfilms

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This topic contains 29 replies, has 17 voices, and was last updated by  jay 2 years, 10 months ago.

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    Profile photo of jay

    Let me first apologize for dragging this issue up again and be clear that I am not looking for opinions on the issue, but rather for any facts or evidence of The Lego Company’s stance on brickfilms.

    I have tried writing to Tony of Spite Your Face about their experience and to The Lego Company in hope of some official word (beyond the brief copyright section on their web page) but I’ve had no response from either.


    1. Do any of the older members recall the details of the One debacle?

    2. Has anyone been in direct contact with the Lego company about the legalities of making, distributing and possibly even selling brickfilms?

    3. Does anyone know anyone else who has had any positive or negative feedback from The Lego Comany regarding a brickfilm?

    The reason I ask is that I’ve guessed at how long my pirate movie is going to take to complete (not to mention cost) and I don’t want to put that much work into something if I am seriously restricted as to what I can do with it later. I would much rather make it with Lego bricks, but I’m still at a point where I could switch to real puppets if I had to, although the cost and time involved will both increase dramatically.

    Any help would be appreciated.


    Profile photo of Drunken Farmer Ben
    Drunken Farmer Ben

    I’ve tried contacting Lego several times with legal regards, with no success. With copyright law, they could probably nab you if they wanted. I’ll take a look at some copyright law and see if I can find anything, and try to contact lego again. May have to send a real letter. And I’m researching US copyright. It is probably different for Canada, and international is most likley different too, but similar.

    LEGO Systems, Inc.
    555 Taylor Road
    P.O. Box 1600
    Enfield, CT 06083-1600
    (Just for my own refrence, so I know where I put it)

    And Jay, if you want to also contact them, here is the Canada address:

    LEGO Canada Inc.
    380 Markland Street
    Markham, Ontario
    Canada L6C 1T6

    Boy, I forgot how much I hate going trough code. I found one thing that we have all pretty much agreed on.

    US Code Title 17 Chapter 1 Sec. 106A:

    a) Rights of Attribution and Integrity. –

    Subject to section 107 and independent of the exclusive rights provided in section 106, the author of a work of visual art –


    shall have the right –


    to claim authorship of that work, and


    to prevent the use of his or her name as the author of any work of visual art which he or she did not create;

    So, pretty much, don’t use the word Lego in any movies, names, or show it anywhere. We all knew that, but here is the backing. Havent found any more so far.

    Profile photo of applepieandcoffee

    I can’t answer any of those questions, but if there were lego DVDs I’d probably buy them.

    Profile photo of Holgor

    “zirkusaffe” wrote:
    I have tried writing to Tony of Spite Your Face about their experience and to The Lego Company in hope of some official word (beyond the brief copyright section on their web page) but I’ve had no response from either.

    So, you actually tried to contact the Lego company. If you now would write a second email, that you didn’t receive an answer and that you now think that using Lego bricks in your movies (even for commercial purposes) is legal – then they have to answer. If they still don’t answer, safe your mails so that you can prove that you tried to contact them for that legal/illegal reason.
    Danger: I have no idea of the law in the US / Canada, but I can’t see anything wrong about the above.

    Isn’t there some kind of FAQ on the Lego site?
    Keep us informed!

    Profile photo of Brian of Gep
    Brian of Gep

    Maybe we could exchange our animating services for legal representation?


    Profile photo of Drunken Farmer Ben
    Drunken Farmer Ben

    “Brian of Gep” wrote: Maybe we could exchange our animating services for legal representation?


    I work at a law office. Only about $150/hour at the cheapest 😀

    Profile photo of jay

    On that whole selling issue; the idea isn’t to make millions and retire. I’m considering only a very modest fee to cover web hosting, CDs/DVDs and basic production costs.

    Of course, from the legal perspective the amount doesn’t matter. Once you start generating any sort of income it becomes an entirely different situation.

    I’ll let you know if I find out anything. Thanks for the input, guys.


    Profile photo of Jason


    I have talked to LEGO legal before, one of their top guys. Feel free to contact me via email to hear what they had to say.


    Profile photo of eventide

    Jason, could you summarize what the Lego legal rep. said and post here? Inquiring minds want to know.

    Profile photo of ferret


    I’ve been reading these forums for a while and I find them really great and useful.

    I’m prompted to post because of Jason’s mention that he has talked to LEGO legal before.

    I have bunches of ideas for stuff but rather limited time to explore them.

    I’d really like to hear any information Jason can shed on legal issues — even if it’s only a starting point for thinking up more questions.

    Despite the existence of the Lego Studios set — which is some sort of tacit approval for people to make movies with Lego parts — it does seem to me that beyond a certain point even the simplest movie endeavors go beyond “home use.”

    I first found movies with Legos on — that’s how I got all interested in them. The TOS for ifilm states:

    “To show your film on our site, you must own or hold the rights to the film and have all the rights and clearances (music, etc.).”

    Two things this makes me wonder about right off are:
    1. Do the folks with Lego films on ifilm *really* have all their rights and clearances to use Legos or not? As in — did a Lego lawyer sign off on it?
    2. Even if the filmmakers claim that they personally did the films for fun and not for profit, by being shown on ifilm the films are now part of someone’s for-profit commercial endeavor. Is this technically stepping over the line?

    Lego Corp’s position on this is really important. My non-legalese description of this would be “It’s all a lot of fun until someone pokes an eye out.”

    I know that my company is super happy when our product is featured *anywhere*. (It is totally unrelated to Legos.) But we go out of our way to try to get exposure — even if it’s talk show hosts making fun of our product.

    However, Lego’s point of view is going to be whatever their point of view is. I don’t know how comfortable I’d be working on something while always have a nagging legal question hanging over it.

    If Jason has some reason why he doesn’t want to post the info publicly, I’ll be glad to email him privately (or he is welcome to email me).

    If Jason can post what he has learned from Lego Legal here publicy, I think it would be much appreciated by both the regulars on the board as well as by the “lurkers” like me who have been reading for a while but have not posted. Although every person with questions could probably contact Lego, I think it would be more efficient for the results to be shared.

    Thanks for all the help (as I’ve said I’ve been reading these boards for a while and have really learned a lot here).

    – Eric (ferret)

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