A lot of people have been asking me (the creator of the Lego Ideas Ghostbusters HQ project submitted on that reached 10k and was rejected – more pictures) and Brent Waller (the creator of the Ecto-1 LEGO ideas project) what’s the deal with the official released „75827 Lego Ghostbuster Firehouse Headquarters“ and what’s our relationship to it.
The answer is unfortunately none.
I also get a lot of messages from people congratulating me for something that has unfortunately nothing to do with me. That’s why I want to make a statement here:
I am really happy about the release so please don’t get me wrong but i’am also very very disappointed that Lego didn’t contact me or Brent about that. For me this feels like a wrong and unfair move from such a professional company.
In June 2015 i met the Lego Ideas guys in Denmark, which was awesome, but they didn’t mention anything which feels wrong and hurts especially after those great conversations we had.
After I heard about the release from several people and posts I decided to contact Lego for an explanation. And guys I know very well the rules, policies and other stuff like that. Therefore I wrote them that I am very well aware of security issues (leaks etc.) in Product Developments and go-to-market.
Signing an additional NDA wouldn’t have been a problem for me. I have to use such contracts in my daily business.
This was part of the answer Lego give me:
We debated whether to share this news with you early during your visit to Billund in June, however we chose not to do so in accordance with our confidentiality policy. You’re correct in noting that we could have employed an NDA, and we sincerely regret not making the extra effort to share the confidential news of the upcoming set.
75827 Firehouse Headquarters was developed independently of any LEGO Ideas submission depicting the firehouse, and is a result of the ongoing relationship we have with SONY Pictures. Our LEGO designers planned and created the set by referencing the Ghostbusters film and through collaboration with the studio.
LEGO Ideas Guidelines state that projects based on current LEGO licenses are likely to be similar to concepts already in our product pipeline. By agreeing to our Guidelines and submitting a project, LEGO Ideas members acknowledge that any overlap or coincidence is unintentional; and that our pre-existing product pipeline supersedes fan-submitted LEGO Ideas projects. See specific guidelines here. We appreciate that your note is based less on this question and more around the fact that we didn’t share with you that it was already in development.
As a gesture of our sincere regret for not making the right effort to share this news with you in advance, we would like to send you a gift copy of 75827 Firehouse Headquarters when it releases in January.
I am okay with the understanding of Lego and of course the gift.
Nevertheless, it leaves a bitter taste when I look at both buildings next to each other and I see a lot of similarities.
In particular considering that we both built a hybrid between both Ghostbusters movies. This seems too much of a coincidence to me.
Taking inspirations from other constructions and making them better or a own version is nothing wrong and I support this. My sources of inspiration were: Brent Waller & Dr.Dave W. which I contacted in advance, before i built it.
Of course, I do not know the interior yet. I hope it’s better and different than mine. I know that Marcos Bessa is the Designer of the HQ and he is making a good job.
Nevertheless I would be more than happy with a little mention on the instruction booklet, nothing big (no images and big text) only a little „thanks to… swissgb, sergio etc…“ or something like that in a corner of the last site of the booklet… I think after that I can let it rest and Lego have made me more than happy.
But the reality is, that will never happen. Everything will get forgotten and Lego has the success. I already wrote Lego about this matter and i’m still waiting for an answer at the time of this writing.
And that leads me, a long time AFOL and GB-Fan, to the decision to never again post something on Lego Ideas. I’ve done a lot of free promotion for lego, spreading this out to a lot of communitys and fan-portals. The time I’ve spent to promote the project, I would have spend differently next time.
Edit (2015-11-10 – 09:15):
Thanks to all for your comments, mails and support.
I’d like to stress that my statement isn’t mainly about the similarities between these two buildings. For me, it boils down to a communication problem or bad interactions with the submitters in general. They just could have told me when I met them, but they didn’t. Also it is about the whole efforts, free PR & market research for Lego I did, spreading this project on a lot of communitys and blogs, a little mention on the instruction booklet is really not too much to ask for. – Sergio
Edit (2015-11-11 – 17:38):
This is the answer we got from Lego about our last mail:
Thanks for your message. We understand your feelings and fully acknowledge that you have put you brilliant building skills and a lot of effort into creating a very fine design. We hope you will understand that the LEGO Ideas team is acting in accordance with the terms and conditions stated on the LEGO Ideas site.
As we have already stated, 75827 Firehouse Headquarters was developed independently of any of the several LEGO Ideas submissions that include the Ghostbusters firehouse, as part of our ongoing relationship with SONY Pictures. Our LEGO designers planned and created the set solely by referencing the Ghostbusters film and through collaboration with the studio.
The Ghostbusters firehouse is a real building and an iconic object in the Ghostbusters films, so it is natural that our design will look similar to other models that also reference the films to re-create the same building at similar scales, using the same available LEGO bricks. As you know, in addition to your project, LEGO Ideas received several submissions of the Ghostbusters firehouse, including the original project that yielded 21108 Ghostbusters ECTO-1. Naturally these models look similar to each other for the same reason we stated above.
The LEGO Ideas guidelines state: “there is a possibility your projects and our own new product development will unintentionally overlap,” and “If the LEGO Group introduces a product similar to an idea submitted on LEGO Ideas you understand and acknowledge that any coincidence is unintentional and release the LEGO Group against any claims of infringement.”
Since your email, public posts and comments have cast doubt on this and you have both directly and publicly asked for credit, we must be clear: 75827 Firehouse Headquarters is not a LEGO Ideas product, it has been planned and developed independently by the LEGO Group and our studio partner. As a result, no LEGO Ideas submission featuring a Ghostbusters firehouse model will be credited.
We hope you can understand our position. Despite 75827 Firehouse Headquarters not being a part of the LEGO Ideas portfolio, we are happy to see the many LEGO and Ghostbusters fans around the world who have shared their enthusiasm for being able to build and play with this iconic building from the Ghostbusters films.
In closing, on behalf of the LEGO Ideas team we do regret this unfortunate situation and we will consider making adjustments to the LEGO Ideas experience to prevent similar misunderstandings based on what we have learned.
Edit (2015-11-14 – 08:26):
First of all, thank you all for sharing your personal opinion and added comments.
There´s something I would add regarding any comparison of the two buildings:
The main problem of the whole issue was and still is the standardized communication of the Lego company or in other words not satisfying conditions for competition. Such declarations of intent raise a serious need to review the rules of the Lego Ideas project in general, in order to prevent further problems with disappointed fans, supporters and the world wide Lego community.
In order to take a closer look in detail about a potential similarity once more, I’ll share my point of view:
To say „…It’s a real iconic building, and the inspirations are taken, in cooperation with Sony, from the movies, so of course ours is similar to yours…“ is definitely not the solution! Okay, maybe for the outer – but the major not negligible fact is, that we are talking about a similarity of a fictional placement of the interior, which has my very personal imagination right at the heart of concept. Hint: In the movies, you only see 2 Floors (and basement) in the firehouse and there is no 3th upper floor. But, you can see that from the outside, it has to be a third floor, this is because I add a 3th fictional upper floor interior in my Lego project, what it no longer makes very accurate to the movies but better for the model. This is the reason why I wonder about the room-layout of floor 2 and 3, because nevertheless, it is not possible to simply dismiss this striking huge similarity: The big kitchen, pool table on the 3th and not 2th floor as in the movie, Egon’s Lab also on the 3th floor, containment-unit places etc. – all that is not placed in this form in the movies and can therefore only be fictionally built. This seems too much of a coincidence to me.
Here you can find some more facts about the interior placement of the GB HQ: http://ghostbusters.wikia.com/wiki/Firehouse (scroll down to see pictures).
Again I would like to clarify and point out that I’m talking about finding inspiration and not about stealing ideas etc… (there is nothing wrong about adhering to any source of inspiration).
And that’s why a little mention on the instruction booklet would have been nice and really not too much to ask for. That’s why in my business (Movie Productions) you show long credit lists at the end and simply include everyone. Even if it’s just a thank you, because the person has contributed something – no matter if it was a little bit or a little bit more…
I might be wrong too about this whole comparison thing.
I don’t know what else to say and believe myself after all this hassle I had during the past days.
As I have already stated out: Everything will get forgotten out there and Lego has the success. For me, it will remain just a bitter taste which won’t be forgotten for a quiet long time.
Anyway, I am truly looking forward for all those who really wanted a Ghostbusters HQ and I wish everyone great fun while building it. As a big Ghostbusters Fan I am of course also very happy about the release (Our dreams and wishes came true.), this revives the Ghostbusters franchise a bit more. – Sergio