No! We will not be posting the leaked late 2009 LEGO set pictures [Editorial]

By now, most of you who don’t rely exclusively on The Brothers Brick for your LEGO news have probably encountered all the grainy, blurry photos marked “Confidential” circulating on Flickr, Brickshelf, and elsewhere. With no specific policy in the past, we’ve pointed you to these now and then. We ourselves have never been a source or conduit for such leaks, of course, but we are a LEGO news site, and we’ve felt that these were newsworthy enough to share with you.

With this post, I’m announcing that The Brothers Brick will no longer be posting pre-release set lists, retail catalog scans, leaked prototype photos, and other very early LEGO set news. That doesn’t mean you’ll get less LEGO news — we’ll continue to bring you all of the high-quality information that you’ve come to expect from us, such as high-res box art, release dates, pricing, and other important details.

Here’s the thing. Solving LEGO’s information security issues isn’t up to consumers like you and me; the LEGO Group needs to figure out how to keep confidential things confidential. Nevertheless, LEGO frequently asks fan sites to remove leaked photos, explaining that these leaks can enable other toy makers to come out with competing products earlier and hurt LEGO sales by making fans hold off on buying sets now in favor of sets later. (For the record, The LEGO Group has never attempted to exert editorial or any other kind of control over The Brothers Brick. Update: Okay, not just once but twice.)

But none of that is why The Brothers Brick won’t be posting links to these scans and photos.

When photos of the Power Miners sets were first leaked, the comments about them were nearly universally negative. When higher-resolution photos became available, opinions started to turn, and with the actual release of the sets, it feels like many of us have actually found a lot to like in this new theme.

It can be fun to say, “How much do you think it will cost?”, “Do you think it will be available here in Mozambique?”, “Wow! Is that a new X piece?”, and the standard “Meh.” Following the comments on the most recent set of leaked images, I see this pattern repeated over and over.

Discussions about very early LEGO news are speculative at best and frequently seem to be proved wrong in the long run. Therefore, I believe they add little value to the conversation taking place within the broader LEGO fan community. I’m announcing this decision in an attempt to raise the level of discourse between all of us LEGO fans. By focusing on reliable, high-quality information rather than speculation, I believe we’ll have more interesting and relevant conversations here on The Brothers Brick.

Who am I to dictate what you talk about and how you talk about it? I’m just a blogger and a LEGO fan, but I hope that The Brothers Brick and you our readers can lead by example with the sort of mature, thoughtful discussions we’ve been having lately with the Power Miners designers.

So, what think you, dear readers? Cop-out? Cave-in? Sell-out? Or can you get on board with this? Let us know in the comments on this editorial.

75 comments on “No! We will not be posting the leaked late 2009 LEGO set pictures [Editorial]

  1. HoMa

    Whatever the major AFOL umbrella sites will do in not linking/publishing leak images the web will always open backdoors somehow …

    Why isn’t TLC not facing this “problem” in a more active way? Like a near by car manufacture I’ve been working for some time ago? If a new model will come to market it is confidential for a long time. But then in the process there is a project mile-stone called “1st official picture”. From this date on it’s ok to post picture online and in the press.

    TLC could do the same: Announce an official “1st picture” date and then launch non-blurry official pics on the LEGO website **before** any brochures are send out to somewhere and someone takes these blurry pics with his mobile.

    This concept would avoid blurry, leak pics on the web and many AFOLs could highlight the “1st 2009 Star Wars Pics Release Date” in their calenders and “F5” the LEGO website this day.


  2. Shmails

    Before I found blogs like this, I would go nuts waiting for the newest catalog to get to my mailbox so I could find out what new sets were coming out. There is a wonderful innocence to not being swamped with pre-release chatter, images, and criticism. It is one reason I no longer go to new movies (I have always been one who believed if everyone is talking about it, it can’t be very good).

    I like that you are taking a stand. There are plenty of other places for people to get their chat on, and they do not need to do it here.

    I have always loved this blog’s focus on the art of LEGO. New releases excite us all, but I for one come here for the wonderful MOC creations. As long as that does not change, I support your choice!

  3. Repoort

    I think, whether there’s a negative reaction or not, it always seems to change. And true fans of Lego will always be supportive of the company regardless or a once-in-a-while poor product.

    I was also thinking that as far as fanbase, perhaps people might now tend to read less of the TBB for this very decision. I’ve always felt that TBB is a more or less one-stop shop for those with a busy schedule. Now I’ll have to go somewhere else, or just continue to be uninformed.

  4. ry

    The current crop of leaked Star Wars set pictures is the blurriest I think I’ve ever seen, and people who are making ridiculous criticisms and assumptions about minute details in the pictures are grasping at straws at best; because you simply *CANNOT* see the details in these photos; they’re blurry, they’re grainy, they’re dark: they’re not the way we’re supposed to be seeing these sets. You’re absolutely right about the way the Power Miners discussion progressed.

    I think Mike Crowley’s Well Played #1 over at FBTB was a nice gag on the lack of photo quality.

  5. Brandon

    I do not really understand it at all since there are not really competing companies. I look at the other building toys and I see A) tie-ins with things lego did not choose to do like pirates of the caribbean, or B) military things lego won’t do, or C) mundane things like castle or pirate sets that are simply basic toy designs. The manufacturers that do directly copy lego products and make crap duplicates (even to the point of buying and recasting a set) are in places where these people can’t afford a lego set if it was even available to them – so they effectively do not compete for the same buyers as those people were never in lego’s buyer pool.

    So the other companies are either making knock-offs for people who could not gets legos or making things lego does not – in effect supplementing lego instead of competing.

    It seems that lego has forgotten that we are not just buying building toys, we’re buying legos – it is a question of brand loyalty, safety, and quality. We and our kids buy legos because they are the best and not 80% lead by volume or brittle, junk plastic. Lego’s quality and customer service might have gone by the wayside in the last 5 years, but at least I know my legos still won’t kill me.

  6. Rocko

    If Lego can get their leak problem under control, good for them. But if and when they do get out, people will find them and talk about them regardless of the forum or site. I do think it’s funny that the Brothers Brick is making this decision even though I know I’ll see you guys commenting on leaks hosted on Flickr or elsewhere. You can’t help it because you guys like most other fans WANT that information and want to talk about it. The decision will certainly be a good political move, though. Surely it will leave a favorable impression on the Lego company.

    Also, anyone who is not a total idiot knows to reserve judgment on preliminary photos, but on a blog that allows anonymous commenting you should expect at least some people to act like douchebags.

  7. Sketchy

    I’m gonna say cave-in. I respect the choice, but at the same time I am disappointed that there wont be an organized place for these leaked images. They usually get removed from Brickshelf, BZpower pretends the Bionicle leaks don’t exist, and finding them on Flickr is nigh impossible. I guess Eurobricks will do, but the primary format of the site is a forum, so only the most recent content is on the front page. I for one have always been disappointed by some sets and hyped for others regardless of where I see them first be it a leaked image or store shelves. I can only imagine that perhaps there is already a blog that fills this niche, or that because of this change in your policy, the niche will be filled shortly. In the end I can see that protecting yourself is important, but if you think you stopped something from going on (and I doubt you do think that) you are most likely wrong.

  8. Eric D. Burdo

    First, thank you for explaining your stand, and the reason you are taking it. Good communication is always nice, and many times, severely lacking in blogs today.

    Next… I’m in favor of skipping the “leaked” stuff. I always skip it when reading TBB, simply because it’s not official, and means subject to change.

    And last… @ry – I like that FBTB comic. Thanks for the link. :)

  9. Air Phloo

    Post them or don’t mention them. All this type of post does is get people like me interested in pictures that I can’t find. It is like saying, “No we will not be posting pictures of naked ladies.” I respect your decision but I don’t think it needs to be advertised.

  10. starstreak007

    As a fan of Lego, I love to see any new sets coming out. But I can see the bad points too. Like other companies copying the sets. Or me saving my money for the set to come out in two months.

    But I also started seeing my local TRU and WMart stores jacking up the prices for sets that shouldn’t cost an arm. Good examples are sets costing around $20. Now those sets go for 24-30. $10 markup? I’m told its due to shipping. Right. And why isn’t that toaster that weighs 10 pounds only $20, instead of $50?

    It’s demand that drives the price. If you look at my flickr, I buy alot of sets, but as prices go up, my buying habbits is going to drop dramaticly, which is sad.

    Sorry, I got off track. My take on this is post the pictures as people will find them anyways. If it’s THAT blurry, its not gonna be copied correctly. If it is copied, I know for a fact I would NEVER buy a non-Lego, Lego type set. No matter how good of a fake Star Wars set it copied.

    I think true Lego fans, buy Lego because its a good product. I think the only time I see non-Lego being used by Lego fans is for parts that Lego would NEVER make. Like real looking military vehicles. Which is sad to me. I would love to build them.

  11. starstreak007

    OT: Sorry, just to prove my point on rising cost, the new Count Dooku set with ~380pcs is @TRU homepage for $59.99. Here where I am, I’m told it’ll be $67.99 at the store when it comes in. This is a set that should be around $40 at most.

  12. Josh

    @Maron – Thank you. We love you too. ;)

    @HoMa – You are right. Leaked images will probably always be avaliable. We aren’t trying to stop that. That is Lego’s problem, not ours. We are simply saying that we aren’t going to be involved in spreading them, for the single reason that Andrew stated above.

    @Shmails – The cool creations are my focus as well. Leaked pictures are usually ugly. I hate looking at them.

    @Repoort – If people read less, that’s okay. We have never tried to win any popularity contests. That said, I don’t think people have been coming here for the “leaks”. We haven’t posted them that much.

    @ry – I totally agree and that comic by Mike is awesome!

    @Brandon – I happen to agree with you. But that is not the reason that we aren’t posting leaked pictures.

    @Rocko – You are right. It is Lego’s responsibility to plug their leaks. We aren’t trying to do that. Do I look at leaked pics? Yes, when I am sent the links, I check them out. I can’t remember the last time I actually discussed them though. Perhaps you remember something I’ve forgotten. I post a lot of comments. What I have tried to do is refrain. As Andrew, speculation threads about leaked pics drive me up the wall. You can cut and paste the comments from one year to another and just change the theme names. I have ranted about making judgments based on blurrs. Seems like I’ve done that a lot recently. As for your comment about idiots…there are a lot of idiots on the internet…and they are making judgments. ;)

    @Sketchy – That’s fine, I’m not offended. I’ve been called worse. ;) As for an organized place for leaks…we never have been that. We have posted leaked pics a few times, but we don’t have a category and they would probably be hard to find in our search (I haven’t tried it, maybe I’m wrong). Also, we aren’t trying to stop it. As Andrew said, that is Lego’s problem. We just aren’t going to post them here because the repeated conversations drive us nuts.

    @Eric D. Burdo – You’re welcome and thank you.

    @Air Phloo – I disagree. It needed to be said. The subject of leaked pics is a big one in the Lego fan community right now. We have had many people contacting us with leaked pics and with emails wanting to know why we weren’t posting them. Rather than making people think that we were either ignoring them or uninformed, we needed to make a public statement.

    @Wes – Thank you.

    @starstreak007 – That’s all very true and it annoys me as well. But that’s not the reason we made this decision.

  13. chris

    I think you have made the right decision. Tis better to be right and alone than wrong with the rest of the crowd.

  14. Ted

    I have to say that I totally support this policy. The comment about “cutting and pasting” comments from one year to the next hits the nail right on the head. I have gone through that process myself thinking some blurry pics showed the most evil piece o’crap ever and then having to change my tune when I finally hold a set in my hand. I do like the suggestion above about a “first official pic” date. There is no reason that that LEGO could not say something like “4 months before official release of a set pics will be distributed to sites like BB, CC, FBTB, TTFN, ABC, DUI… sorry getting silly with acronyms there. Maybe an ambassador-type person (Hi Andrew!) cold pass that request up the food chain. :)

  15. Curtis

    I want to know who’s leaking these pictures…. and shoot them in the face! Honestly, who is that bad at taking pictures or has that crappy of a camera? Cell phone or not, whomever is doing it sucks royally.

    I’m not complaining about TBB not showing these pictures anymore. In fact I’m happy they aren’t. I see enough of it on my flickr stream, brickshelf and Mocpage visits. I do have a question though, and maybe it’s already been covered and I just missed it, but will you be showing new sets when they are officially revealed? I’d still like to hear about official Lego sets from the TBB.

  16. Draykov

    Definitely on board here for the very reasons you sited: out of respect to the company we all love and to avoid unfair critique and comment about products we know relatively little about, leaked info should be more or less off limits. After all, LEGO is more active and directly involved with its customer base than any toy company I’ve ever seen. I think we’d all like to keep it that way.

  17. ThePaleMan

    I have absolutely no issue with this decision. In fact, I am neither one way or the other.

    Since I rarely, if ever, got any of this type of information from TBB anyway, I am certainly not offended. In fact, I applaud you for taking a stand.

    I am one of those who jump all over leaked images. I love the rush and I never truly judge a set until I see it for myself, but I realize that the majority og the LEGO fans out there do not function that way.


  18. Fred

    I see where you’re coming from…..

    But, my bet is there are always going to be earmark sets/themes released by Lego that you won’t be able to resist When the Falcon was first leaked I couldn’t imagine TBB not celebrating with the rest of us. Corner Cafe? The Taj?

    I get it.. predictable comments that I have no doubt submitted myself and an equally well worn path from “Eww I hate THAT” to “Well this gives me some neat ideas and the wheel parts sure will be handy”… especially when you went and interviewed the guy who created the sets. Our opinion on Power miners shifted collectively through conversation here and I really appreciated the input from more and less experienced builders/collectors.

    This doesn’t mean you have to post every new grainy image that pops up on brickshelf.. YOU are in control! I would be cautious about backhanding everything tat Lego puts out though. Leaks are not always a security problem.. it’s a publicity machine and we shouldn’t be biting the hands that feed us.

    Maybe you need to work on timing and be more selective about what you highlight but, I wouldn’t just ignore the buzz of the community outright.

  19. Kidthor

    Leaked content is pretty much universal whether it applies to movies, video games, toys or what have you, and most of the time, the leaks come directly from the source. It’s a sneaky way to get some early feedback and generate interest in whatever it is they are selling. Who knows whether or not TLC’s leak is intentional, but it is certainly a golden opportunity for them to create hype and gather some valuable first impressions.

  20. Brickbitz

    I fully support the policy but it’s a difficult one to play. To be a definitive source of LEGO news I guess these things need to be highlighted otherwise people will look elsewhere, but by the same token I’d rather it was announced with decent official pics.

    I think LEGO are the ones who really need to sort their act out here. They managed a great job with the Medieval village, I don’t recall any leaks besides idle speculation about a set. It was so much more rewarding for the world to be treated to a set with an official unveiling and great pics.

    Surely they are capable of doing something similar with their bi-annual product cycle. How many retailer catalogs do they distribute? Do they have to sign NDA’s to get hold of them? Why don’t LEGO just cut to the chase and officially unveil them to the world at the same time, even if some stuff may change.

    I do think the competition line wears a bit thin.
    They are always going to potentially loose out on the shelves to the cheaper clone brands due to price differences for the casual buyer. The fans know and love the LEGO brand but the uninterested 80% of the population still call all construction bricks “LEGO” and aren’t that bothered who makes it, where it comes from and what it is, but mainly what it costs… and let’s face it LEGO will never win there.

    They are the like “Apple” of the construction toys, it costs more than the cheaper stuff that does a similar job, but the loyal fans will stick with it. So maybe LEGO marketing could put a bit more effort in to rewarding them with official details of upcoming products.

    Just a thought….

  21. Tyler (Legohaulic)

    Don’t do it! I was actually hoping I wouldn’t see those ever annoying grainy photos here on TBB. I’d much rather TBB stick to official Lego news and new set reviews with GOOD photos like Nannan’s review of Dooku’s Solar Sailer. Posting grainy pics would only lower TBB to the level of the kids which flooded the net with in the first place.

  22. Mark "Hinckley" Larson

    @Sketchy-In regards to our format at Eurobricks, you can also check the first post of any “new picture” thread, which you can find pinned at the top of each theme sub-forum. When pictures are found, we always update the first post of those threads with the new info. That way people can check out the new pics without having to dig through multiple pages of chatter.

  23. Captain Rex

    Well, the Space Police pics aren’t confidential; they were taken at a LEGO store in LEGOLand. Can you post those?

  24. Athos

    Personally, I think the explanation that most people dislike or have negative comments about the prototype pictures is a silly reason to stop posting preliminary pictures. If that is a reason, then negative comments could be used to justify not posting anything. What if everyone hated the final Powerminers sets? Would you never post Powerminers again?

    As to wanting to prevent Lego’s competitors from having an edge, that’s a more reasonable justification. Though, since the pictures are out there to be found, fairly easily (in fact, I first stumbled onto them on the frontpage brickshelf), it makes me question how much assistance you’re providing to Lego. Sure megablocks (and I’m going to use megablocks as the generic competitor) won’t find the pictures of TBB, but a quick brickshelf search will find them easily enough.

    Its up to Lego to stop the leaks. Asking everyone to take them off their sites, after the pictures have been copied into every other flickr, brickshelf, etc. folder is like shutting the barn door after the horse has gotten out.

    If these competitors are really out there looking to steal Lego’s set idea from preliminary pictures, then they’ve already gotten the pictures by the time the sites have taken them down. If I’ve seen them, the megablocks has seen them.

    Further, if competition is a legitimate reason to take down the pictures, then it cannot apply to licensed themes. Megablocks, even if it had access to all the information regarding Star Wars or Indy or SpongeBob, still cannot legally make such a competing set.

    In the end, this self-censorship, either at the behest of Lego or by a self-developed desire to help TLC, only keeps the pictures out of the hands of devoted Lego fans.

    I personally like to know what is coming down the pipe, so I can budget properly. Maybe I’ll skip on a $50 Star Wars set, in order to be able to afford a $100 Castle set. It also helps with MOCing, since I know what pieces are coming. If I wanted to build a farm, I may wait until the farm comes out, so I can put cows in the scene. Or maybe hold off on ordering brickforge’s cows…


  25. Kaitimar

    My view on this is simple: as much as I like to see what’s coming (also helps me plan my purchases), I hate to see anything hurt LEGO, especially now that their patent expired.
    And yes, it was funny to watch the tide turn with the Power Miners.

  26. Brian D. Carlstrom

    I seem to be in a very small minority, but I think this is unfortunate. One of the main reasons I came to TBB was for news on upcoming LEGO Star Wars sets. I was surprised yesterday when I learned about the late 2009 pictures from other sources with no mention on TBB.

    FBTB has long annoyed me with its similar “Respect the Brick” policy. In response, I’ve always consciously made my purchases through TBB affiliate links, in effect helping fund TBB. I don’t know how much this really helps TBB cover costs, but given the fact that they encourage such links, it has to count for something.

    I think there is a need for a LEGO news site that is for the AFOL that is more of a collector and less interested in MOCs. If anyone can tell me of such a site I would appreciate it, so far I have relied on TBB but now I have to look elsewhere.

  27. Josh

    @Chris – Thank you.

    @Ted – I’m sure one of the Ambassadors can pass that along. Whether or not Lego does something like that is, of course, up to Lego.

    @Curtis – I don’t think violence is needed. As for new sets, naturally we will post about them when they are official. Or, I should say, when GOOD official pics come out.

    @Draykov, obxcrew, & ThePaleMan – Thank you for your comments.

    @Fred – The sets you refer had either already been released, were shown at public, etc. We are specifically referring to the blurry, grainy pics that people find from Dealer catalogs and such. Have no fear. We will be blogging the “buzz” when landmark sets are brought out.

    @Kidthor – Since Lego has asked various sites to take the “leaks” down, I have to assume that they are not intentional.

    @yokemode01 & Strider_mt2K – Thank you!

    @Brickbitz – We agree. Dealing with leaks is Lego’s problem, as is the issue with competition. Neither is the reason for our policy.

    @Tyler & Anthony Sava – Thank you!

    @Captain Rex – The issue isn’t simply one of leaks. It is also a question of quality. Leaked pics are almost always of very poor quality. I have seen the pics of the Space Police banner. They are extremely poor and you can’t make out anything. We won’t be posting them.

    @Athos – I’m sorry you feel that its silly, but that is decision we have made. We are not trying to end negative comments. Negative comments make for good discussions. However, the ugly, grainy, blurry pics have no detail that you can make out. There is nothing to talk about, except that a certain theme is being considered. The sets may resemble the blurriness, but we can’t know. People go off the deep end with long rants about absolutely nothing.

    We have always had strict guidelines about the quality of pics that we blog. We also try (“try” being the operative word here) to keep the conversation at a higher quality as well. We don’t always succeed, but it is a goal. Leaked images don’t add to either of those.

    @Kaitmar – Agreed, but that is up to Lego. They need to deal with their leaks and they are trying to do that.


    The response change on the powerminers is a poor example. The majority of the time everyone is VERY excited when they see glimpses of leaked sets. LEGO has really upped their game lately and is releasing some awesome sets! But what does everyone expect initial reactions to be for a less traditional theme that is primarily built of lime green and orange! I mean come on! I admit the sets are slowly growing on me but my initial WTF reaction would have happened regardless if I saw the leaked photos or if I spotted powerminers for the first time on the shelf. I personally will not be purchasing any powerminers because I don’t see any uses for the pieces in my MOC’s.

    As far as LEGO security issues, is any one really that naive to think the bad guys (competitors) are going to get their leak info from AFOL websites? LOL! These are big businesses and they are willing to go quite some lengths to get the info the want. $$$ It’s like how anti-gun movements and governments think banning guns is the solution to their problem. The bad guys don’t care about the rules and will get the guns anyway using whatever tactics they deem necessary. The only way LEGO can stop leaks lies within them. Involving the AFOL community is addressing a symptom and not the cause.

    I also do not see the harm in leaks. LEGO does not have to worry about competitors until the competitors can offer the same QUALITY of pieces and sets that LEGO offers. Not to speak of LEGO fabulous customer service and organization. Competitors are already offering similar sets and sometimes more interesting sets but the quality is not there. To name a few, Megablocks has released pirates, dragons, LOTR, and military sets that would look very appealing to audiences who are not as concerned about quality as myself.

    I find this post slightly ridiculous and it shows that this site is less concerned about providing news and info, but rather hinges on the authors personal feelings and relationship with The LEGO Group. Would you read a newspaper or watch a news station where they decide not to show certain important things hoping it’s viewers will pretend it’s not out there? Not me, I prefer to have all the information available at my disposal to decide what I want to see. This site was great with its constant updates but now I will be spending more time looking through the net to find info on the new sets. At least I now know where not to look…

  29. Jennifer Boger

    I think it’s important to respect the company and their wishes of the toy we all love so much. If they have a leak problem, they should fix it, but we as afols shouldn’t perpetuate it, make it worse or exploit it just to find a picture of a set that no one can buy yet (or of a set that may never be released). Play fair. Fair play. I say good choice.


  30. Marc Nelson Jr.

    You’ve got a lot of justifications there (we don’t want people whining about new sets; we don’t want to post lousy pics), but this sure looks like the usual “Respect the Brick” move by AFOLs/sites who have been co-opted by TLG.

    Fearing negative comments could be a reason not to post anything, not just leaked pics. There could be just as many negative comments about official pics as leaked ones. And “blurry pics” is just an excuse, which says nothing about good leaked pics.

    Posting official info and spin from TLG, but not unofficial info makes you look like corporate tools. A more coherent policy would be to post only MOCs and fan news, while not discussing TLG or its official products.

    I’m not throwing a tantrum and saying, “I’ll never read TBB again!”, but I am saying that this policy makes this site less valuable as a source of LEGO news.

  31. Magnus

    I’m quite disappointed.

    I don’t know what TBB is meant to be from Admin POV, but I’ve always appreciated it as something by the fans for the fans. I’ve come to TBB, and will continue to do so, as it is such a terrific source for great MOCs and also a good forum for LEGO related news. And early pix of sets, no matter how grainy are absolutely newsworthy.

    If you don’t like the negativity, just post the pix to share them withthe community, and disable comments.

    On an aside, I think if LEGO actually released decent pix in advance of early drafts of sets they could harvest all sorts of constructive feedback from the AFOL community (and I bet the comments would be more positive if we say good quality pix). For instance, lots of us initially complained about the Power Miner colors, because they looked aesthetcially ugly in the blurry pix. They look much better in good-quality pix.

    If I had seen good quality early pix of Power Miners and I knew that there was some chance that AFOL feedback might influence the line, I would have made a request/suggestion to change the torso designs a little to remove the orange icons on them, and make them look a little more like the utilitarian Rock Raiders torsos. This would make these torsos far more useful to military builders, and I could see a small set with 3 figs, or optimally even a fig pack, selling well to fill this niche. And if you think military builders make up a miniscule buying group just look at the success of BrickArms.

    I’m not a market analyst, but I also suspect that TLG’s obsession with competing toy manufactureres copying their ideas is a little exaggerated. I think this is essentially a control issue for a company that is trying to become more flexible and interact with its audience but still maintain 110% control. The NXT programming thing was the only major exception to this trend that I can think of.

    As a fan, one of the reasons I like seeing early pix is because it is interesting to me to see how sets evolve. Often the final version of a set will be different from the leaked pix. Would TBB consider posting linking to high quality pix of early versions of sets after the final versions have already been officially released? If someone came upon a cache of pix of pre release prototype versions of old Blacktron sets from the ’80s, would you post those?

    As a fan of the company and the brick, seeing the development of LEGO products is interesting to me in the same way as that as a music fan, I love hearing early live versions of songs before they evolve into actual tracks that get put on albums. But I digress.

    If TBB decided not to post early pix because TLG asked or told you so, and you acknowledged this straight up, I could totally respect that. But now you’re refraining from posting highly newsworthy stuff out of disrespect for the AFOLs. Or at least disrespect for how the community has, at times responded to leaked pix.

    What is next? What if LEGO regresses to putting out crappy sets (say theoretically that they brought out Galidor again). And say that we as a community start calling them on it once those sets are released… Are you not going to post about newsworthy new releases just because you are worried that we, the fans are criticizing the company for putting out bad product?

    That’s my two bricks worth.


  32. tiberium_blue

    I’m sure the likes of Megabloks have access to the same dealer catalogs that Lego do and if they want to get hold of preliminary pictures they will. I doubt they have people trawling the internet looking for them.

    If Lego continue to produce the high quality sets they do at a reasonable price then people will continue to buy them regardless of what other companies are doing. This whole stance of TLG strikes me as a little paranoid. People in marketing would tell you it’s a good thing to generate hype about a product before it releases.

    As for not blogging about it, that’s up to you guys but it really isn’t going to change anything. If people want to talk about something they will find a way. I appreciate what you’re saying and what you’re trying to do but, perhaps if Lego marketed better quality photos as they did with Medieval Marketplace that would help dispel some of the negativity to begin with.

  33. Andrew Post author

    @All: I’m very pleased that this has sparked such a lively, constructive discussion, and I appreciate the civility that everybody has displayed.

    Josh has demonstrated his psychic abilities and responded as I would have to many of the earlier comments. Nevertheless, those of you disappointed with or critical of our change in policy (or rather, statement of a specific policy) have given us lots to think about. You our readers are TBB’s customers, not TLG, and your opinions matter more to us than approval from TLG. I stand by everything I said in my editorial, but that doesn’t mean clarifications or tweaks to this new policy can’t happen with your input.

    Let’s keep this great discussion going, and I’m looking forward to hearing from more of you out there. Thanks!

  34. Chris

    I respect your decision, but I don’t fully appreciate your reasoning. You will always have people decrying a new product, whether it’s a different line of Lego or strawberry-flavored Kleenex. It’s just a fact of life on the Internet and I find it difficult to believe that it negatively affects the Lego Group. In fact, I think it’s quite the opposite; it gets us excited about upcoming products and encourages conversation. Folks like us—folks who seek out these pics—are loyal fans of Lego.

    Certain sets and certain themes will always be more popular than others; not every product the company produces can be a winner. Ultimately, consumers vote with their wallet. It’s just the nature of business, and you cannot insulate the Lego Group from it by curbing conversation about upcoming product lines.

    That said, TBB is much more than a news site to me. I drop by daily for both inspiration and entertainment, and that will continue regardless of this policy.

  35. Sarah

    It is your blog! Do what you want! If people want low quality pictures and brainless thoughts there are plenty of places on the web for that. I come here for fun and quality Lego news and pictures. This policy does not change what I get out of this site. Keep doing what you been doing and I’ll keep dropping by! :D

  36. Mr. Meep

    I myself don’t particularly mind whether you post leaks or not. There’s both good aspects (generating hype) and bad aspects (competitors copying) to the leaks. Like other people have suggested, maybe there should be a “first picture day” with a silhouette or a small (but non-blurry) picture, to prevent too much from being revealed.

  37. Shmails

    Where can we see the early pictures of the Strawberry-flavored Kleenex!

    I think Magnus had a good suggestion (if you are looking for them). Turning off the comments would be a good compromise, but that is only if you feel comfortable doing so.

    As with the reactions to early pictures, I think the one obvious thing here is that people care about TBB, whether they are supportive of this choice, it seems most are supportive of the site, and I hope that continues.

  38. Anthony Sava

    Well, in the specific case of the recently released sets, they are all marked “Confidential” with a watermark. Regardless of TBB’s leak policy, it would seem to me that these particular pictures were released through some break in confidentiality either through a third party company’s rogue employee or what have you, and could be considered stolen property. While I’m sure no one is going to jail over it, there is a moral dilemma surrounding them.

  39. "Big Daddy" Nelson

    I applaud TBB for taking this stance. Even if it turns out to be only a temporary measure that eventually changes in time.

  40. Sibley

    I like to look at the first leaks because they give a good idea of the feel and color scheme of upcoming themes–but I don’t spend much time on them, because little more information can be gathered from them. I don’t think blurry, grainy pictures have any place on this blog.

  41. Jai

    I gotta say “cave-in” if I have to choose. I don’t particularly care what your policy is, but I will say that if it were me choosing to not display cruddy first-look leaked pictures — my reasoning would be that they are not of a high enough quality, citing that bad pictures of custom AFOL models are not hosted for exactly the same reason.

    In a way, I see that this IS what TBB’s reason is. From, you know, a certain point of view (Except that I get the impression that high-res photos are no more likely to be posted than the first terrible ones). But the clearest reason you’ve claimed is that speculation is of little value and sometimes completely wrong and thoughtless. That’s a cave-in. You can moderate comments, you can disable anonymous posting (Rocko said something similar) — there are many things you can do to alleviate the pain of seeing people say stupid things about LEGO in TBB’s comments. Of course, one of the options is to no longer host leaked material, and you’ve taken THAT route. It’s your call and I don’t have a problem with it, but I do have to call the justification a cave-in.

    It is kinda too bad, of course. I like commenting here on a clean and professional site, as opposed to the seedy places I’ll have to go to to see these leaked pictures (Yikes, too many “to”s). ;)

  42. Chris

    Andrew — I appreciate TBB’s decision. Posting leaked pictures is kind of like the little brats that unwrap their Christmas presents in advance then wrap them back up before anyone notices. It takes away some of the “specialness” about the whole thing as well as the healthy anticipation we *should* have as we get ready for that special day that we’ve been awaiting … whether it be Christmas morning or TLG’s official release announcements.

  43. David4

    The pictures are some of the worst pictures we have ever gotten. If they looked like final pictures, that’s one thing but the Star Wars pictures might be 2 square inches in size. The Castle ones have a “flash” in the middle of them. The City ones are the best and look like I forgot to put my glasses on.

    So to people you might not have seen them, they are terrible anyways.

  44. Dave Shaddix

    GREAT decision here. I would much rather see you guys as a source of credible information or discussion. Thank you for staying true to your readers. Stay above the fray my brothers!

  45. Andrew Post author

    @Jai: I thought my references to the poor quality of the images implied that that was part of the reason, but perhaps I should have made that more explicit. Yes, absolutely, the poor image quality is a huge part of why they don’t belong here on The Brothers Brick.

  46. Bladi

    Jeeez guys, ever notice the regularity and consistency of these ‘leaks’ year after year? Make a chart; figure it out. Good grief.

  47. Will Will

    Hmmm… hard to say how I feel about this decision. I’m a little concerned BB has been gently coerced into this for some reason. Just a gut feeling.

    I personally like seeing what’s coming down the pipe(s) in the next year or so — helps me not get ripped off trying to round out my collection by over-paying on ebay (i.e. 15 bucks for an IG-88 minifig that gets released in a battle pack a year later).

    I also feel a little “cool” being on the cutting edge, and the LEGO guru of my social network. It’s fun. :)

    Whatever BB does in this matter is cool with me — as long as it’s not a puppet of TLG.

    By the way, PowerMiners suck hard — no amount of interviews or sugar-coating is going to change that… just saying…

  48. Jacob

    “Who am I to dictate what you talk about and how you talk about it?”

    You, Andrew, are one of the bloggers on the juggernaut of LEGO fansites. Your readership is in the thousands, and, as some have said already, this is the only LEGO site many people visit. Maybe you’re just being modest, but either way, what you do has a big impact.

    I think we should respect LEGO’s requests, whether for security or because they just want to keep them secret.

    “… on a blog that allows anonymous commenting you should expect at least some people to act like douchebags.”

    Well said, Rocko.

  49. Zepher

    I’m sure all of what I’m aout to say has already been said, but I love my two cents more then anything ;)

    I would like to compliment you for making this choice. I like to read about the new sets when they come out in the magazine.

    I like to wait for the sets to really be known before I think about them.

    I think that as fans it is our job to help Lego out, NOT damage them.

    I think this is a mature and proper step for Brothers-Brick.

    Props guys.

  50. David4

    We will have pictures of 99% of the sets this year in three weeks when the NYC Toy Fair begins. I think it’s the 14-17th or something.

  51. Andrew Post author

    David4 is absolutely correct. Toy Fair (February 15-18, with a Collectors Preview for invited LEGO fans on the morning of the 15th) will reveal much — if not all — of the stuff that’s currently circulating in leaked form.

  52. Chris

    I’m going to be the devil’s advocate here—I would like to know how posting images (however poor) of these sets to TBB actually “damage” the Lego Group? Especially if those pics are already all over the Internet?

    I can appreciate the decision not to be the first to post these kind of pics (i.e., if an inside source emailed you them to you). You’ve built up a rapport with the company and you’d certainly earn their scorn for disrupting their marketing plans.

    However, once the images are all over the Internet, I think the damage (and I use the term loosely) is already done and posting them is fair game. You state clearly that it’s not your responsibility to take care of the company’s security problems, and I couldn’t agree more.

  53. Chris

    I have read the full editorial; I suppose I was speaking to some of the most recent posters rather than you directly.

    In an earlier comment I more directly addressed your editorial, saying “I respect your decision, but I don’t fully appreciate your reasoning. You will always have people decrying a new product, whether it’s a different line of Lego or strawberry-flavored Kleenex. It’s just a fact of life on the Internet and I find it difficult to believe that it negatively affects the Lego Group. In fact, I think it’s quite the opposite; it gets us excited about upcoming products and encourages conversation. Folks like us—folks who seek out these pics—are loyal fans of Lego.”

    Having had a day or so to think about it though, I can appreciate your exasperation at the reactions you see in the forums. The constant negativity must be difficult to mitigate, and in that light, I can see why you would like to put an end to it.

  54. AFOL

    Simply leaking the names of sets, which Lego itself does, allows competitors to begin copying ideas. And for licensed lines like Star Wars, “Endor Battle” conjures the same images for most people. So the best solution for Lego if they don’t want images leaked it not to produce them in the first place. If they must then they should just learn to live with the consequences or find the leak themselves and impose Non-Disclosure Agreements on anyone who has access to preliminary photos.

    P.S. Power Miners sucked before the final pics were released and still sucks now that the final products have been revealed. Juniorized garbage!

    P.P.S. That FBTB comic sucks even worse.

  55. Gambort

    This policy spells out politely the reason I’ve so rarely (if ever) blogged leaked information. As an editorial decision I applaud it. Those who want leaks can go find them and whinge elsewhere.

  56. Riley Hunter

    Hey, it’s your blog. Besides, I think I can relate. For a while I tried to get people to not say ‘Legos’ and use something like ‘Lego blocks, Lego bricks, Lego sets’ etc. They didn’t seem to want to be bothered by it.

    I won’t stop visiting because of your decision. Keep up the good work and thanks for all you do!

  57. Ramone

    First let me just say that Brothers Brick is one of my favorite blogs. I visit it daily and I come here first and foremost for any/all Lego news. I’ve come to learn more about the hobby through this site and I thank you for that!

    I respect your decision on the leaked photos thing, and I think it’s admirable that you’ve chosen to take a stand one way or another.

    However, pulling the pictures seems very drastic to me. I can’t imagine Lego is so naive that they would think a news site would NOT publish the photos. My fear is, in the long run, this stance will diminish BB. It seems like the site is caving to the wishes of a company that hasn’t taken care of business.

    I work in PR. Sparring you the boring details, I can say that when we experience a leak, we’re well aware that the flaw is internal and not the responsibility or fault of outside entities (like media outlets). Those entities act in accordance with their purpose and we deal with them on those terms. We try to cover the leak as quick as possible and exert some influence. It’s almost always too late–so the solution is to update procedures, enforce policies internally and retrain employees. That’s the BEST we can hope for.

    With respect to the examples of the power miners and pirates being susceptible to competitors–I’ve not seen any sets from other companies either before or after Lego released their sets. Is this a problem more outside the US? Without seeing any actual competition, this argument on the part of Lego seems without merit to me.

    Also, as far as the power miners negative-turned-positive reception, I can see your point on the “value” of the comments. But then why not just disable comments on those announcements? There is still value in seeing the photos, and certainly fans will find other ways to discuss their opinions. But this feels like more of a ‘punish the fans’ approach.

    While I’ll begin looking elsewhere for news and photos of new sets, I hope that BB reconsiders this stance. I hope this is more of a growing pain of the relationship between BB and Lego that will need to be worked out. (It seems more of a Lego pain than a BB one). They seem to have unrealistic expectations of their fans and the sites that support them.

    I don’t agree with the policy, but I will certainly continue to enjoy the wonderful MOC creations on this site, support my fellow Lego fanatics, and participate in lively discussions.

  58. Andy

    Is it the business of a news vendor to post only rose-colored good news?

    AFOLs have their favorite lines and regularly dump on the kid’s lines. The cycle of comments is what it is and will always play out the same. Speculation is and should be treated the same as “I wish they’d make … set.” It is fluff reading without any meat. As for being in the pocket of TLG, I will note that news agencies regularly post “news” at behest of their owners.

    As to small, grainy pictures, that is part of the cycle. Many fans want to see those. Some others don’t. That is a personal choice and does not change the fact that it is “news”.

    “Raising the level of discussions” only says that you want to avoid controversy. The maturity of the readers hasn’ really changed. I didn’t think that you were bothered by individual comments. Frankly, I don’t see the pain of controversy starting with the new set picture freaks. Honestly, I can only see the pain coming from legal action by TLG or fans that “Respect the Brick!”

    It is fairly apparent that TLG does have a hard-line on this issue. It is reflected at many sites. Eurobricks is aligning more with a “Respect the Brick” policy. shows:
    “Unfortunately, LEGO has advised us they do not value the Star Wars collector that buys Star Wars LEGO as much as the LEGO fan that buys Star Wars LEGO.
    We don’t believe it serves our community well, and no longer dedicate resources to covering Star Wars LEGO.”

    Of course, the simple message is “We got tired of dealing with this. Stop bugging us to post pre-release pictures.”

  59. Logan

    This discussion, when broken down to its simplest parts, reflects two sides of a point:

    1.- People who prefer discussing rumors.
    2.- People who wait for fact before discussion.

    There are merits to both sides of the equation… it’s simply deciding which part of “peanut butter and jelly” you like better.

    That said, I personally prefer blurry prelims where they belong… the National Enquirer, along with the NASA photos of Bigfoot, and Nostradamus coming back to life to say the world is supposed to end every other Monday.

    Show me a catalog, I’ll talk about it… Show me something that I can’t see, and to me, I’m just shoving one foot in my mouth and the other in my behind if I say anything remotely concrete.

  60. LH

    “these leaks can … hurt LEGO sales by making fans hold off on buying sets now in favor of sets later”,

    but that is exactly why I look up leaked images, so I can plan what to buy a few months down the line, sometimes you might think a certain January set is good, but then you see the summer line up and change your mind, and lego is an expensive hobby with a stingy company, and on top of that they want us to buy without planning ahead?! I’m glad I’m not a starwars/legostarwars fan!

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  64. Creative Anarchy

    I’m honestly baffled by the notion that leaked photographs of upcoming products somehow hurt it’s release. I’ve heard that argument in a broad number of geek-associated forums and it just doesn’t hold water. Every time information about upcoming products gets in the hands of fans of the product line there is tremendous publicity. It builds excitement for the product and keeps the consumers energized until the release. It doesn’t cause people to avoid spending on models on shelves. If anything it spurns then to purchase more. News about Space Police boosted sales of Mission to Mars Legos because of the perception that the line was being replaced. Even if people have a negative initial reaction they still look at the released product with every but of objective scrutiny they would were no pictures leaked. I think that attempts to suppress leaked information is entirely about primadonna advertising reps feeling threatened that their job could be done just as well by accidentally dumping poorly shot photographs of the product on the interwebs.

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