LEGO Ideas (formerly LEGO Cuusoo) is a LEGO website lego.cuusoo.com that originated in Japan as a way for ordinary people to submit ideas for sets that would then be produced and sold under that label.
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According to their website1, Cuusoo is a Japanese "Social Creation Platform". In 2008 They partnered with LEGO to create a website where ordinary Japanese citizens could upload models and vote on which ones they would like to see produced. This resulted in the production of two sets for the Japanese market.
Without any promotion or English-language marketing the site became known throughout the LEGO community even being featured in BrickJournal (Issue#). This led to the website being opened up to the world in April of 20112 with some adjustments including increasing the vote threshold need to produce an item from 500 to 10,000 ‘’supporters’’ and a switch to an English-language interface as the default.
The site was created and is maintained as a place where only adults are allowed to participate, likely due to internet access restrictions of jurisdictions such as the United States. However this has created tension between the Adult Fans of LEGO and the company. Adults have contributed many projects with adult-oriented themes but LEGO will only approve models they deem acceptable to children aged 6 - 11.
Several early models to reach the required number of supporters were rejected for inappropriate themes or content in the source material. Based on licensed properties from motion picture and television productions, they included The Winchester public house as seen in the movie Shaun of the Dead and the spaceship Serenity from the television series Firefly and the movie Serenity.
In May 2012, in response to the confusion and disappointment expressed by many users of the site, LEGO clarified their position on what constitutes an acceptable project for consideration. They specifically listed the following3 as elements that would not be acceptable:
- Politics and political symbols
- Religious references including symbols, buildings, or people
- Sex, drugs, or smoking
- Alcohol in any present day situation
- Death, killing, blood, terrorism, or torture
- First-person shooter video games
- Warfare or war vehicles in any situation post-WWII to present
- Racism, bullying, or cruelty to real life animals
3 - http://legocuusoo.posterous.com/brand-standards-what-makes-an-appropriate-leg - accessed 2012.05.09