Leaks are confusing, and previously we had no set documentation on the LAN for what is a leak. I’d like to share this documentation now - there shouldn’t be much new information here, but I hope it will serve as a guide in the future.
What is a leak?
We understand the confusion on what is considered leaks and what is considered fair play to share in the community.
The Novelty Policy which we introduced in 2016 states that:
The LEGO Group is asking fans not to share or publish LEGO® owned confidential information, for instance any information about new, unreleased LEGO® products. Some material carries a specific watermark saying that the image is not to be disclosed or published. Other leaks consists of copied or photographed material, which is obviously confidential information, which has come to the public without authorization by the LEGO Group.
To all our fans: Please do not share obviously confidential information, which has not been released by the LEGO Group.
While it is clear that confidential watermarked images are not to be shared, it can be somewhat unclear when it comes to other things – we hope that by giving examples below we can clarify this and reduce confusion and frustration.
The Valid Source:
Images and information can be shared if they come from a valid source. A valid source is confirmed/validated and could for example be close partners of the LEGO Group such as, but not limited to, Disney, Walmart, Amazon and/or online retailers with a clear business to business relationship with the LEGO Group through a local LEGO Market Office – for example an online retailer in Switzerland or Hong Kong. Other examples would be LEGO Brand Retail and LEGO Certified Stores who might take pictures of the product or use high resolution images and share through their official channels.
As long as there is a confirmed and valid source, images can be shared – though we do retain the rights to ask for them to be removed, should it be that the sharing was premature and therefore considered a leak. In an effort to treat the community as a partner, we notify all RLFM and RLOCs of a takedown when it goes into effect, so they have a chance to remove the content before receiving an legal cease and desist from the legal team.
Always make sure to validate your source, simply referring to a random news site is not enough as they could repost information coming from an invalid source as well. We have sadly seen that news outlets pass on news without checking the sources properly and we’d really hate for our most trusted fans to get into trouble because you shared news in good faith.
Using image crawling programs to pull unpublished images off a server is an exception to the valid source rule. Even if the site posting these is one with a business relationship with the LEGO Group, sharing images which are not easily accessible to the public is considered a leak.
The Shelfed Product:
If a product is put on shelf and is being sold, then it is completely fair to purchase and share pictures of the purchased product.
This of course requires a valid source for the purchase – i.e. making the purchase through a random eBay account with no other LEGO products but this single exclusive not even announced yet, does NOT fulfill the requirements of being valid. Having the opportunity to make a “backdoor purchase” ahead of the product going on shelves does not apply as a valid retailer source either.
But, should the product be available through a valid retailer such as Target, your local toy store, an online retailer or similar, then you can make a purchase and share it with the world. Just make sure you keep proof of purchase should someone challenge the legitimacy of your purchase and actions.
For Recognized Communities who’ve been offered the opportunity to do a review of a product which is suddenly being put on shelves ahead of the requested embargo for the review, the following rules apply:
You can purchase the product and do a review outside of the offer made by the LEGO Group based on your own findings after purchasing the product.
You cannot use the product which LEGO Group offered for an early review.
You cannot use any assets (for example pictures and video) already created using the product given by the LEGO Group for an early review
Any embargo related to the offer from the LEGO Group still stand unless otherwise communicated by the LAN Engagement Team.
You cannot share any assets provided by the LEGO Group (product photos, information unique to the press release etc.).
So what about Press Releases provided by the LEGO Group under embargo?
The same rules apply as for products offered for review, so if news (images and/or information) is shared through a valid source you can share that, but:
You can only share information and assets ahead of the embargo if the source is valid and confirmed.
You cannot share information from the press release which hasn’t been shared by a valid source.
You cannot use assets provided in the press release ahead of the agreed embargo, even if similar assets have been shared elsewhere by a valid source.
A valid source can never be another LEGO fan media breaching the embargo on the press release be that recognized or not recognized.
Sometimes a major news outlets (such as New York Times) may be given the opportunity to do an exclusive announcement ahead of the press release embargo – such announcements can be shared when they happen, if the repost clearly indicate the source.
We consider a rumor to be text information coming from an unknown source (i.e. posted on a social channel from a source you do not know). In general, we ask you to always name your sources, even if it’s just a username.
For text-based rumors, it is acceptable to speculate on these on your channel, provided you do not share leaked images, leaked press kits, and are not the original source of the rumor. Please do not described leaked images on your channel, make drawings of leaked images, or make MOCs of leaked sets. Do not link to sites which publish leaked images.
Enforcement of this Policy
Just because this document says something is acceptable to post does not mean the confidentiality team wouldn’t decide it needs to be taken down at some point, depending on the situation. If that is the case, we will reach out to you first to avoid having a copyright strike on your channel. If you do not take down the post, our legal team will reach out.
Any RLFM that is a source of a leak, even if it’s text based – i.e. saying with certainty that they know a set is coming out, what the set will be, when it will be released – risks being put on a 6 month probation from the RLFM Review program. This means your channel will receive no new sets for review for 6 months after posting a leak, or get interview opportunities. All over aspects of the RLFM program would be open to you as usual – your tier level will not change. This applies specifically to RLFM who are posting new information, not found anywhere else, from a source they cannot name. Always name your sources.
If your channel continues to post leaks during and/or after probation, we will offboard your community.