Minecraft Crafters Weigh in on IP and Custom Crafts

"I’m completely for IP rights. I’ll oblige by any cease & desist document I receive. In this scenario though, I believe I and others in the space are helping build the Minecraft label, I see it as free marketing for them. The actual game encourages creativity by having players build entire worlds."

Dan, crafter at TinyBricks on Etsy, joined us for an interview after the recent Jazwares and Mojang deal to produce a full line of Minecraft toys prior to the 2013 holiday season.

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When/why did you get into crafting Minecraft inspired items?

Dan: I bought the original Lego Minecraft Micro-World set and was disappointed at how small everything was. Being that I played with legos all my life I set out to craft something that I knew others wanted.

Have you had any interactions with fans who were excited to be able to get something from you that wasn’t available commercially?

Dan: Definitely. I feel there’s a level of exclusivity associated with custom-made products, in this case toys. 

What is your most popular Minecraft product?

Dan: The little Steve character is a hit, it also happens to be the first item I built.

Have you had any interactions with the Minecraft IP related to your crafts? Have you heard of anyone who has?

Dan: No I have not. In my view, it’s a growing market and it will eventually become an issue. 

Are you concerned about the stability of your shop in light of the licensing deal with Jazwares?

Dan: I am somewhat concerned. To my knowledge, the Minecraft brand has been licensed by other toy manufacturers including Lego and the custom products continue to flood the online marketplace.

What is your response to the sentiment that people who create products based on an IP they don’t license have no cause to complain if they are asked to Cease & Desist?

Dan: I’m completely for IP rights. I’ll oblige by any cease & desist document I receive. In this scenario though, I believe I and others in the space are helping build the Minecraft label, I see it as free marketing for them. The actual game encourages creativity by having players build entire worlds, a very different pastime for kids who are used to playing violent video games. The Lego’s that I craft further that point and I feel parents would agree.

I took a look at the products that Jazwares produces and I still feel there will continue to be a demand for the toys I make. If anything, I feel their largest competitor is Lego. It would seem very petty of them to attack the crafting community.

Any stories about being a crafter that you’d like to share? 

Dan: By no means is this a business for me, it’s more so a hobby of mine. My real job is in digital media. I work with some big clients and I do see niche markets for all types of goods where passionate communities engage in, Etsy is a big one. I feel big companies that attack small niche groups always get negative PR around them. This appears to be a pretty good example, assuming it happens.


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Amy White
Former Editor in Chief at GameSkinny. I am the Gray Fox. Questions, comments, feedback? Bring it. Amy.White (at) GameSkinny.com