Responses to Questions Regarding Changes on LEGO® CUUSOO

We saw your comments on LEGO® CUUSOO regarding the coming changes to the site. Several of you expressed questions and concerns regarding our post yesterday about the new requirement that from January 12, users must be 18 or older to have a Project on the site.

One user created a new Project called “No to 18+!” to protest the coming change. Other users commented there expressing opposition, support, questions, and concerns. We were really grateful to see that the comments were polite and civil, even from those who disagreed. Thank you for keeping comments constructive, and thank you for being so passionate about sharing your LEGO ideas with us through LEGO CUUSOO.

No-18plus

Our team read every single comment within the “No to 18+!” project, took note of the concerns you expressed, and used your questions as a basis for this response. The project itself has now been removed, because it is not a LEGO product idea. We allowed you some time to vent and ask your questions there, and now we are responding here on our blog.

 

LEGO CUUSOO is in public Beta, which means we’re encouraging users to participate while we continue working out bugs and making feature improvements. By inviting your participation now, we’re able to learn much more about what will make a great site and experience than we would with a closed test site.  Thanks for your patience through the inevitable snags and glitches during the beta process.

Here are some questions gleaned from the comments, along with our responses:

Q: I am under 18.  Can I still support projects on LEGO CUUSOO?

Yes. Users who are at least 13 years old are welcome to support others’ projects and comment on them.

Q: Why is the age to create a project being raised to 18?

During the course of writing our new Terms of Service, due to be published after January 12, we have determined that users must be 18 years old or older to enter into the agreement with us.

Q: Will I be able to restore my project once I turn 18?

Yes. We are not deleting your projects, we are simply un-publishing them from the website. You will be able to re-publish your project once you are 18.

Q: If my project is unpublished, when I turn 18 will it still have the supporters I have already earned?

Yes. You will not lose your supporters when your project is un-published.  When you re-publish your project it will have the same number of supporters you had before.

Q: I am over 13, but under 18. May my parents create an account on LEGO CUUSOO and may I upload projects through that account?

If your parents create an account on LEGO CUUSOO, the account belongs to them and the LEGO CUUSOO Terms of Service apply to them. Therefore, our agreement regarding the necessary commercialization rights to any projects created is with an individual who meets the legal requirements.

Q: I am under 13. May my parents create an account that I can use on LEGO CUUSOO?

We’re sorry. LEGO CUUSOO requires individuals to be at least 13 years old before they can create an account.

Q: Kids and teens are the LEGO company’s target audience. Why are you restricting them, and if kids under 13 can’t vote, how will you know what they want?

Legally we cannot allow users under 13 to participate on a website that is open to all ages unless we comply with very specific rules to protect them. LEGO CUUSOO is intended for a grown-up audience. We believe even though project supporters are over 13, the amount of support required to produce a product is significant enough that it demonstrates demand and a market opportunity upon which we can make an educated decision to develop and release a new product.

Q: How will you give credit to users when more than one person has uploaded a Project related to a particular idea?

Other crowdsourcing sites that invite users post their ideas for product development have created methods to solve this issue and allow multiple users to contribute to a common idea. Some of these systems weight contributions based on effort and value added, and we think that’s a smart approach as long as it is transparent to you. We are investigating how we wish to approach this on LEGO CUUSOO.

Q: I’m concerned that another user will take my idea. How are you going to handle that?

There are two types of “ideas” submitted to LEGO CUUSOO; “generic” ideas and unique ideas that you conceived entirely yourself.

Many projects are “generic” ideas of things that already exist in the world built with LEGO bricks; for example a LEGO elephant, or a LEGO vehicle from a movie.  If you post your version of something generic, we won’t stop someone else from posting their own version.  This means the value of a generic project is in the substance behind your work, combined with the popular support. If two users publish the same generic idea and one does a better job communicating and gaining support, it is only fair to give weight to the better executed project.

In short, you can’t squat a generic idea and be the only person allowed to submit that concept to LEGO CUUSOO.

If you come up with your own unique creation (vehicle, story, etc.), that is not based on something generic (or someone else’s intellectual property), that idea is yours and it is unique.  We won’t allow someone else to submit your idea, change it a little, and benefit from it.  We’ll know it is yours based on when you submitted the project and the fact that it is not based off of someone else’s LEGO creations on the Internet.

Q: How do you plan to address the number of low quality projects that are on LEGO CUUSOO?

We have been discussing various solutions to the issue of low quality project submissions. We believe in a two-sided approach: The first solution is to educate the community on elements of a good project, providing examples and how-to guides. The other approach is to review individual projects for quality and moderate accordingly, or to consider moderating all new projects for quality and adherence to the Guidelines before they are posted to the site.  We will continue developing our approach to project quality and keep you informed.

Thank You

Thank you for your patience as we’ve taken the time to consider and respond to your questions. We hope the above responses provide some clarity.

In the coming weeks, we will expand on the thoughts introduced here regarding project quality, what makes a unique project and things you can do to improve your project submissions.

We understand that some of you are disappointed by the news of the new project age restriction, and we’re sorry for being the bearers of bad news. There are certain rules that we must follow to provide this opportunity to submit your product ideas and see them produced as official LEGO products. Thank you for understanding that we truly appreciate LEGO fans of all ages.

The LEGO CUUSOO Team

16 thoughts on “Responses to Questions Regarding Changes on LEGO® CUUSOO

  1. One question regarding users taking ideas. Does this still qualify for unpublished ideas? Can the Cuusoo staff even see unpublished ideas? I think the concern is that in the time it takes for a user to turn 18 that someone else will think of their idea and post it, or think that now that it is gone that they can post it themselves.

  2. To be perfectly honest, I’m not entirely happy with the answer to the one about underage kids not being able to vote. I think people should be able to support projects without getting an account.If you look at the top ten projects, all of them are eithera) Complex, elaborate original models clearly aimed at older fans of Lego, orb) Projects based on other trademarked properties, which all have large teen/adult fanbases.In other words, a project is only going to make it to the top ten if it appeals primarily to adult and teenage fans of Lego. Some of them, such as Phineas and Ferb, would hold appeal for kids, too, but the main reason it is up there in the top ten is because of the show having an established adult and teenage fanbase.My main Cuusoo project is aimed at seven to twelve year old girls, but it’s impossible to know whether it will be popular with that audience, because seven to twelve year old girls can’t vote for it. The only thing I have to gague its popularity is the opinions of a (predominantly male) teenage/adult audience.I honestly don’t see why Cuusoo can’t just leave a cookie on its users’ computers to prevent them from voting more than once, and have the support system independent from having an account. That way, children can vote and participate without coming into direct contact with other users. There could be an optional survey to provide customer data, but I don’t think people should be obligated to share that information. The support system should be as easy to use as possible.Anyway, sorry if I sounded a bit ranty there, but I think that giving non-members the ability to vote would increase the effectiveness of the site dramatically, and we would see a lot more projects reach 10 000 votes. I hope that you will at least consider this idea.–Bunyip.

  3. how will you be able to report if one of your original ideas that was un-published because of the fact you are under the age limit is taken by someone else?

  4. @Bunyip I can see your point about the target audience for your project as well as Phineas & Ferb. We don’t have a solution for this right now, but we are looking at the long-term future of the platform, which does include ways for people of all ages to more easily "wish" for something.We don’t yet have a solution that will both comply with COPPA and allow users under 13 to support projects. Because we’re in Beta and working to improve core functionality, it’s not in our short-term plan. It most definitely makes business sense for us (we want insights from kids–our core consumers), we hear you, and we’re looking into how to do this longer-term.@koalaexpert and @joethehmfce, If someone posts a project that directly copies an original idea of yours that is now unpublished, please send us a message via the Feedback tab or to LEGO-support@cuusoo.com and we will look into the matter.

  5. The new 18+ rules look really good.May I also suggest banning projects making use of trademarked franchises altogether? Project commissions from trademarked properties would have to go to the original copyright holders rather than the project creators, which makes for pretty messy legal ramifications.If I remember correctly, the Japanese CUUSOO users actually built original models (e.g. the Hayabusa spacecraft and the Shinkau submersible), rather than movies / video games / novels / etc that everyone else is proposing.

  6. We’re not going to ban license based ideas altogether. If they reach critical mass, that shows there is demand, and we can work out the licensing details if we get to that point.We might look at better ways to consolidate license based projects, so it’s not one user’s Star Wars project versus another, for example. Unless, of course, a user wants to promote their version of a specific model as a product, which I think would qualify as unique.Even the most popular model right now, the DeLorean, is license-based. Though I think you’d be hard pressed to see someone who genuinely would not want us to produce that as a kit! ;-)

  7. I don’t think that licensed projects should be abolished; however, I do think there needs to be a quality control system in which projects are reviewed by a moderator before they can be published. To pull it off, there would need to be at least one moderator online at all times. I don’t think the quality requirements should be all tha strict, though. As long as the page pic contains either a photograph of an original model, or some original concept art, I think it counts as a valid project. Page pics that have only a logo, a poster or a still from a movie would not get through.

  8. @Bunyip, I definitely agree. However, I’m not sure how fair it would be to deny those that have a great idea for a line, product, or otherwise just because they can’t put together a decent model.I think there should be some leeway for those that want to put forward an idea for something not as tangible, like a Theme, etc, that just want to gauge support. I understand that the site is meant for projects people have built, but what if you yourself are unable to build it, or can’t quite communicate the idea, could it be possible to allow them to go, "Here. This is what I’d like to see done. What do you think?" Or would that possibly fall under the multiple project support idea (someone else builds something in support of that same goal) that the LEGO Cuusoo team put forward?

  9. We’ve seen some crowdsourcing sites work well with moderated content, and we’ll seriously consider this in the future. Also, I think there’s the opportunity to show by example what makes a good project, and compare the similarities between many of the most supported projects to make a project creation guide and some moderation standards that are known to all. I think we can come up with some good standards that are fair to people with different building skill levels.Thanks for the suggestions.

  10. Trouble is, a lot of people don’t read the guidelines that are already up, and while there are many projects that set a good example, I don’t think it really lifts the quality of the majority. I think it’s a tad unreasonable to open this site to (almost) everyone, and to expect them all to behave professionally. Cuusoo was originally a Japanese site, right? I can’t help wondering whether it had the same problems then as it does now, or whether cultural differences impacted the way people used the site. I have another suggestion, which I think I’ve mentioned before: Extend the forums to be a place for discussion between members, not just feedback. There can be places where members can meet to find people with specific skills for collaboration to ensure that every project has a good description and image. There can be a sub forum called "Builders in need of an idea" in which talented MOCists show off some of their work, accompanied by a brief blurb about what their preferences/strengths are, and people who aren’t so confident at building can approach them for assistance on their projects. Then there can be another subforum entitled "Ideas in need of a builder", for people with great ideas who need someone to make a model for them.Additionally, there can be places for artists, writers, custom minifig/part makers etc to meet up with people who need their assistance.I hope Lego implements more features that facilitate collaboration on projects, as I think that that would increase the overall quality of projects submitted- especially the ability to discuss a project with other people before posting it.

  11. I do not see why when a minor’s submission reaches the voting requirement the LEGO group can not enter into an agreement with the child’s legal guardians instead of just deleting the entry. Other than this I agree with the rest of the new rules.

  12. I agree with Bunyip. I think if there was no need to log in to vote, it would be an improvement, Just having a date-of-birth entry thing on unregistered user entry would work. That way, the people I share things with, like the DeLorean Project, would be more inclined to support the project… It’s easy to be put off by an entry form… On the other hand, if somebody is serious about supporting something, maybe they should go that extra mile and sign up… Hrm…I’m so glad I’m already 18… I really ought to take advantage of this and make a project! But not right away… I’m too sleepy…

  13. @DEMONTILE: – Bionicle was removed because CUUSOO is for NEW products, not re-releases of older, discontinued ones. – There’s no need to type in all caps – it’s the internet equivalent of screaming at the top of your lungs, which is very rude and inconsiderate in the current context.

  14. What I’m over 13 but under 18 and I have a good idea? I can’t use it till I’m 18 which means waiting 4yrs and by then my idea will be taken which isn’t exactly fair.

  15. why did lego make the age posting limit 18. I can make an official petition that can make laws in the country, and yet I cant post a project idea and get votes. You need to chew on that!

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