Lego is clamping down on fan-made 3D print designs even though patents for Lego bricks have expired.
TorrentFreak reports that Lego is sending out takedown notices for fan-made designs ‘inspired’ by Lego, but it’s not been well-received by the community. Apparently the company hasn’t given a clear reason as to why it’s been issuing the notices. Fans who are sharing their creations for free are being targeted with some criticising Lego for putting an end to ‘free marketing’.
Similar complaints arise in the games industry, with Nintendo often getting flack for protecting its IPs rather than enjoying ‘free marketing’ but ultimately, that argument is pointless. It’s not for fans to decide how a company handles its business. The real issue here is whether what they’re doing is copyright infringement, and if you’re crossing legal boundaries, a corporation shouldn’t let you carry on regardless just because you’re a fan and have voluntarily forked out cash on its products.
This particular scenario isn’t as clear cut given the patent issue, so Lego really needs to clarify its stance on what exactly the problem is.
CEO of 3D printable content platform MyMiniFactory, Chengxi Wang, told 3D Printing Industry that a legal rep from Lego got in touch to ask the website to “remove a long list of LEGO-related free content. The legal representative didn’t mention in what specific way those free contents infringed LEGO trademark and copyright.”
For now, people are complying with the notices because who wants to get into a legal battle with a company the size of Lego?
This post originally appeared on Gizmodo UK, which is gobbling up the news in a different timezone.