Author Options:

Beat this, K'NEXers! Answered

A life-sized replica of the Bloodhound sonic car - the world's fastest vehicle- made entirely out of K'Nex building blocks - was on display at the entrance to the British Toy Fair.

The Sonic Car replica was built by blind veterans from Royal British Legion Industries out of 388,000 pieces of K'Nex building blocks.




That's quite the build. Even working on a team, I don't think I'd ever have the patience to build something bigger than myself.

And I was always curious, we technically claim intellectual rights on any instructions we post here, usually picking a license saying that anyone can use our creations if they're not making money. However, we're using K'nex, a product we didn't come up with in the first place. I never knew if we could claim rights to basically how we arbitrarily connected the pieces, though I guess I can't see why we couldn't. But then as far as constructions toys goes, how effective is it even? If you change one piece, two pieces, three pieces, etc.? Is it still your intellectual property or something different?

K'nex has been a pretty cool company as far as I know, so I'd hope they wouldn't outright steal our creations. And as far as blasters go, I was under the impression they'd essentially be custom Nerf weapons firing little foam darts. Far safer and less threatening than our weapons that fire the pieces themselves. So I doubt they'd find our designs directly useful. Though it'd still be cool to be consulted for making designs for them.

Speaking purely as an interested bystander, as far as I can tell, it's the instructions that are copyright, not the final product of a K'NEX / Lego / Meccano / Lincoln Logs etc build.

That makes sense. Oh what wondrous joys we had arguing over who came up with what, and if it needed to be credited when it was used by someone else.

I'm not old enough to talk about let's say 5 years ago, then I had not yet discovered this knex community, but for now, I have to say there are almost no arguments about credits anymore. Were there really so many problems with people claiming credits a few years ago?

It wasn't huge, but it was a thing. If someone used an idea without crediting, we called them out. Sometimes some people were concerned enough they simply didn't allow others to use their ideas and build methods. Others put out a lot of concepts just for the sake of claiming them so that if anyone could pull it off and build it, they'd have to give credit. In most cases, it really didn't make a difference. In some instances, it left some grievances but nothing we didn't get over.


3 years ago

You know how much money all of that would cost? Too much. :P

You know what? I bet it didn't cost anything - I bet K'NEX paid the builders to do it!

What is more interesting is that the article mentions K'nex putting out a line of new shooters in response to realizing there is K'nex gun community out there. Did they commercialize any of the work done on ibles? Brings up the whole 3D printing business with the evolution of Makerbot and the ethics of open source. It would be cool if ibles were cited as prior art.

These days we have the attitude that things we find online are used for free, no matter if it has a copyright or not.
Same for the credits to the originl source, unless someone complains most people think "I found it, I made it, it is all mine!".
For big companies it is easy to do as they can always find loop holes and excuses.
I have seen companies stealing designs from websites and in return taking legal action against the original guy.
With server data all digital now they simply change the date on some documents and hand them in as "roof" that "their" is older.
Not easy for the little to get his right and not too manyrun through the trouble of getting a patent on things, not that would help for copies from asia...

For the K'NEX guns (or any building-block models), patents are a non-issue.

The only way to "get" the big boys is to go through copyright. Unfortunately, all they need to do to avoid that is to write the instructions down differently and use their own photos and the lawyers are happy.

A similar thing happens to me on a regular basis - I created this instructable in 2006: https://www.instructables.com/id/Blow-your-own-air-...

Two years later, the make was copied in a video - everything is the same, even the layout of the unmade pieces and the angles of the shots, but because the video is a moving image, instead of still shots, YouTube refused to consider my claim of breach of copyright.

The worst part is that I get a steady drip of people accusing me of stealing the idea, even though the posting dates clearly prove otherwise....

ah, I see where you encountered the forces of the Dark Side.

The issue is probably that first, law isn't even close to catch up with the rapid invention of technology, and 2nd, that the "big guys" think they were all "big" and can get away with everything they want.

Don't know what is more insane, that it was by blind people or the amount of pieces....

I wonder what is more expensive the replica or the original LOL