Lego protects brand image from teen's 'inappropriate' Spinal Tap film

LONDON - Lego has prohibited parody rock band Spinal Tap from including a stop-motion video of Lego characters performing the song 'Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight' in a concert DVD of their 'Unwigged and Unplugged' tour, citing copyright infringement.

The stop-action video, created by US teenager Coleman Hickey in 2007, is a YouTube hit with over 82,000 views and features Spinal Tap Lego characters singing, playing guitar and crowd surfing on top of their Lego fans.

Spinal Tap projected the video on stage during performances on their recent "Unwigged and Unplugged" tour and wanted to include this footage in their concert DVD.

However, Lego declined to grant permission to use its figures, which are protected by copyright.

Julie Stern, a spokeswoman for Lego Systems, the US division of the Lego Group, told The New York Times: "We love that our fans are so passionate and so creative with our products.

"But it had some inappropriate language, and the tone wasn't appropriate for our target audience of kids 6 to 12."

Lego said it had not removed Hickey's stop-action video from YouTube, along with many others like it,  because the video-sharing site "is a less commercial use".

Stern said: "When you get into a more commercial use, that's when we have to look into the fact that we are a trademarked brand, and we really have to control the use of our brand, and our brand values."

Spinal Tap, famous since the 1984 mock documentary 'This is Spinal Tap', have complied with Lego's request and are not including the Lego concert footage in their tour DVD.

Hickey, who is now 16, told The New York Times: "In a way I'm disappointed that [my Lego video] won't be forever memorialized in a DVD.

"It's not like I was going to get any money for it, but it's too bad. Lego has the right to do that, but it's unfortunate that they don't have a little more of a sense of humour."

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