Remember the very cool Lego ideas I showed you a few months ago? More cool ideas are on the way. Pley is a Lego-sharing site, in which for $10 a month, you get a different Lego set to play with every 30 days or so. After a month has passed, you send it back and receive another one. That in itself sounds like so much fun, but it gets even more interesting and creative. Pley has launched Pleyworld, a crowdsourcing platform in which users upload their ideas for Lego sets, the community votes, and once the idea accumulates 5,000 approvals, Pley will manufacture the set and put it up for rent or sale. The objective is to set up an ideas site that is faster and more agile than the Lego crowdsourcing platform, in which ideas can take months to get manufactured, if they pass the rigorous selection process.
So who holds the copyright to the designs? The designer? The manufacturer? Lego? It turns out that the copyright on the majority of Lego’s bricks has expired, so 3d printers can cheerfully churn them out as much as their filaments can handle. And Lego is not bothered by this, according to Pley’s founder Ranan Lachman, the two companies have a good relationship. Pley, the manufacturer, is content with the income it will get from the rent or sale of the 3d-printed sets. The original designer keeps the copyright.
Which is just as well, since the creator does not get a cut of the income from his design. And Pley expects this to work? Where’s the motivation? It turns out, go figure, that people don’t play with Lego for money, nor do they feel the need to get paid for their Lego-based ideas. It turns out, who would have guessed, that sometimes people create for fun.
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For more on Crowdsourcing, visit my Flipboard magazine “Sharing economy + crowdsourcing”