Never insult a centaur... or a big blue troll, for that matter

EDIT: Replacing entire post.

Occasionally, we’re sent links to LEGO creations that were clearly not built by the person who posted them. It’s usually fairly obvious — the person has re-posted a particularly well-known creation or collected and re-posted LEGO creations from several different builders spanning several different styles.

Earlier today, we got a link to a Flickr photostream that included copies of Micah Berger‘s creatures. They looked familiar enough for me to make the connection (and link to Micah’s Brickshelf gallery), but it’s been a few years since we first featured them, and I simply didn’t take the time to double-check that the LEGO creations were truly original.

Sadly, they weren’t.

Plagiarism is not cool, not okay, and will never have any place here on The Brothers Brick. Apologies to our readers for not doing our “due diligence” in this case, and thanks for understanding.

17 comments on “Never insult a centaur... or a big blue troll, for that matter

  1. Andrew Post author

    Crap. Well, in Pete’s and my defense, it’s been nearly three years since we’ve featured Micah’s creatures, so I didn’t re-review all of them before blogging these. :-(

    Unfaved, unblogged, and blocked for good measure.

  2. carterbaldwin

    No harm no foul. I wouldn’t mind seeing an in-depth article on the recent rise in Lego plagiarism from TBB.

  3. Motor.On

    I haven’t followed the online community for long enough to know if there’s been a rise in plagiarism or not, but I agree that an article on it would be interesting.

    Also, I wonder how much is true plagiarism versus putting pictures in your photostream for easy access. This obviously was plagiarism, as there were no citations or such, but how many “plagiarists” are just too lazy/stupid to create bookmarks/contacts, and just copy & paste? Basically, how much is malicious versus how much is stupidity?

  4. Ochre Jelly

    Yeah, a lot of Flickr users seem to regard Flickr as just “a place to post stuff they found on the internet”. I just did a search on Flickr for one of my creations and found pictures of it on at least a dozen photostreams. That’s the great unwashed for ya. Whatchagonnado?

  5. Nolnet

    ^ Shit, that would’ve never occured for me, but I just found one of my pics on flickr as well, after a minute of search. Apparently you just have to search for the most stupit or obvious title under which people would post your pic.

  6. jpmanalo

    I believe another plagiarism-related issue is the one related to those who create a MOC, but for some reason or another don’t ‘publish’ any pictures of their MOC on the Internet, and lose the credit for their work when someone else ‘publishes’ pictures of the MOC, and takes the credit for it.
    There may have probably been a couple of minor (and, likely, unreported) cases of this nature occur, but to paraphrase Ochre Jelly, “Whatchagonnado?”

  7. Herman

    I’ve never posted any creations, but I’m working on it. Here’s what I would do:
    – Keep the original, full resolution pictures to yourself.
    – Post smaller versions and put in a watermark that clearly states who created the pics.

    If ever someone cuts off your watermark and posts the pics as if they were his/hers, you can always send one of the originals to prove the creation is yours.

    I don’t see the point of stealing other people’s creations. I take a lot of inspiration from others, and definitely will use building techniques I’ve seen on other work. The fun is in the building itself not in taking credit for it.

    Although I do think some people will find cool stuff and forget to mention they didn’t create it themselves.

  8. Will Thomas

    @ Ochre and Nolnet: it’s common place on MOCpages…I’ve reported more “members” than I can count.

  9. Andrew Post author

    What’s so frustrating about the phenomenon on Flickr is that there’s a perfectly nice way of “collecting” all your favorite pictures on Flickr: Fave it!

    I agree — most people are probably just being stupid, rather than malicious

    @talltim: Definitely blogworthy, but we generally try to feature newer stuff, and from the context of the rest (posted in 2006), I think they’re pretty old.

  10. eti

    If somebody posts your picture (whether it be Lego or any other photo or video) on their Flickr photostream, the best thing to do is politely asking to take it down because it is not theirs. If they don’t do this, you can always report abuse and the Flickr team will take care of it.

    I agree in some cases it’s plagiarism, in other cases it’s plain dumbness – don’t assume the worst, ask friendly first…

  11. Andrew Post author

    ^ Agreed — that’s what I do myself. I’m currently working on the editorial carterbaldwin suggested, and I’ve run into dozens and dozens of popular LEGO photos re-hosted on Flickr. For my own photos I found, I left a comment saying that it was my photo, and suggested faving my photo (with a link) instead of copying it without permission. The “Done” in this comment is a nice result of that.

    I’m sure the same thing happens throughout the rest of the ‘net. It used to be that sites like Gizmodo were terrible about proper attribution, but I’ve seen them improve dramatically over the last two years or so. Now they at least link to a LEGO fan site like ours, where we do link to the builder’s home page, gallery, etc.

    This is a great discussion. Feel free to add more thoughts, everyone — it helps me a lot with the editorial.

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