When is a ripoff not a ripoff?

yo sez:

Apparently some folks have taken issue with our describing Bif Bang Pow's dolls as "Mego knockoffs" in our Toy of the Year announcement. They say that's an incorrect description. I'm here today to tell them they're wrong.

Granted, they do have a point: EMCE toys owns the Mego tools, and BBP licensed the rights from them. The bodies are made from the original molds, which is as close to being a real Mego as you can get.

However, that doesn't change anything. Yes, as toy fans, we generally use "knockoff" to refer to something that's unlicensed, because that's how most knockoffs work. If you buy those cheap "Robomorphers" at Big Lots, you're not buying an official Transfomer. You're buying something made to cash in on the Transformers' recognizability, often with stolen or copied molds. And yes, those are knockoffs, but "knockoff" and "unlicensed" aren't synonymous.

knock·off/ˈnäkˌôf/
Noun: A copy or imitation, esp. of an expensive or designer product.

Yes, as you get down into additional definitions, you get to "an unauthorized copy or imitation," but the purest definition of knockoff is "imitation." And no matter how you look at it, Bif Bang Pow's stuff is doing its damnedest to imitate Megos - they even went so far as to license the official molds, so their imitations would be closer to the real thing.

The bodies, the clothing, the packaging design... it's all calculated to imitate the Megos from yesteryear, and that's why we call them knockoffs. Even if the bodies are officially licensed...

--yo

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