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BotCon 2012 Policy Update Regarding Fan Art

Posted on 04-03-2012 at 10:30 AM by Super_Megatron under Conventions
Botcon2012
We have received word that artists that booked an artist alley table for BotCon 2012 are now being told that any fan art that may infringe on Hasbro's intellectual property or trademarks can not be sold at BotCon. This does not affect licensees or Hasbro contractors...

The wording from the BotCon brochure advertised "that you can get single tables to show-and-sell your custom Transformers art for $200", but it would appear that Hasbro has reversed this now resulting in more table cancellations at the Texas convention scheduled for later this month.
Views: 6,325
Soundblaster1
Sounds like they're just trying to avoid the epic fail of 2011 where the 3rd party reveals brought in by TFSource were significantly cooler than the actual Hasbro stuff.
Joe Moore
It's definitely geared towards people dealing in knock offs and third party items. If a dealer brings them into the dealer room, be prepared to have it taken by Hasbro and/or Fun Pub.
Foster
I'm reminded of the old Johnny Cash song, "Don't Take Your Guns to Town".
StayingInTheBox
I think this is a good idea for the dealers. I'd like to see the response.

I'm going to be extremely bummed if I have to set up side alley deals to purchase 3rd party items at BotCon like I'm doing drugs or something.
Sidecutter
I'm quite open to posting both the letter itself and the response when appropriate. For the moment, however, I think it is best that it remain behind the proverbial curtain. Obviously, if anyone else signed up as a dealer wishes to see the current near-final draft of the letter before becoming a signatory, I'll share it with them privately.
Simes
There are two issues at hand here and Botcon is treading on VERY dangerous ground here.

First is the issue regarding sale / display of items on dealers stalls. Whether you like it or not, Botcon are well within their rights to ask dealers not to bring or display items at the convention but out of good practice if nothing else, they should issue some form of guidelines so traders know in advance what is and isn't acceptable. That way, they can all avoid any potential breaches of Botcon's unstated regulations.

A blanket statement like the above is too vague and leaves it open to abuse and will make dealers very wary about bringing anything along to the convention. The question could be asked where will the line be drawn... Knockoffs? Third party? Imported toys that Hasbro have already released in the US?

On a more serious note, I'd be interested to know about the legalities regarding the point about confiscation. While they would be within their rights to demand that items are withdrawn from display / sale, even to the point of confiscation during the convention, retaining possession of said items from dealers after the convention is immoral and I'd certainly question whether they could do that legally.

Also, the fact that they say they are reserving the right to display / sell items for "any reason"... well, I could see this getting rather unpleasant...
Sidecutter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simes View Post
There are two issues at hand here and Botcon is treading on VERY dangerous ground here.

First is the issue regarding sale / display of items on dealers stalls. Whether you like it or not, Botcon are well within their rights to ask dealers not to bring or display items at the convention but out of good practice if nothing else, they should issue some form of guidelines so traders know in advance what is and isn't acceptable. That way, they can all avoid any potential breaches of Botcon's unstated regulations.

A blanket statement like the above is too vague and leaves it open to abuse and will make dealers very wary about bringing anything along to the convention. The question could be asked where will the line be drawn... Knockoffs? Third party? Imported toys that Hasbro have already released in the US?

On a more serious note, I'd be interested to know about the legalities regarding the point about confiscation. While they would be within their rights to demand that items are withdrawn from display / sale, even to the point of confiscation during the convention, retaining possession of said items from dealers after the convention is immoral and I'd certainly question whether they could do that legally.

Also, the fact that they say they are reserving the right to display / sell items for "any reason"... well, I could see this getting rather unpleasant...
Correct. You've touched on several of the problems at hand which the letter discusses, and you're correct that the concern is not limited to what we call "third party".
Simes
Would you mind emailing me a copy of this? I'd like to keep tabs on this as obviously I need to keep all of Auto Assembly's dealers updated as well on what's happening as we're trying to be a lot more dealer and fan-friendly this year developing a new and improved third-party policy.
ScottyP
Definitely keep us informed! My "shopping list" for the dealer room will look dramatically different if some products aren't allowed ><
DethPike
I'm not setting up at Botcon but it sounds to me like unless you feel like having anything they deem to be "unofficial" confIscated, you might wanna leave it home.

Or... Just not set up at Botcon.
igniz1984
Wow this is major. Botcon banning 3rd party stuff?? hory shet! Almost every dealer last year had some sort of 3rd party item. This is going to make a huge impact on those dealer sales. I hope you guys hear something solid from funpub/botcon in regards to this new BS statement.
gen1fan
Quote:
Originally Posted by StayingInTheBox View Post
I think this is a good idea for the dealers. I'd like to see the response.

I'm going to be extremely bummed if I have to set up side alley deals to purchase 3rd party items at BotCon like I'm doing drugs or something.

I just see more dealer that sell 3rd party items having after show hours in their hotel rooms to sell those items. I personal was looking forward to get some i-gear seekers to finish off them namely dirge,thrust and thundercracker. Those were going to be at the top of my shopping list for this years botcon show, along with some parts that I have been trying to hunt down.
NICKBOT
I sure as shit hope to buy a ton of 3rd party items at BotCon! Otherwise I'd suggest a Captured Prey hotel party! One of my favorite pieces from last year was the Mega-Gun! And I regret not picking up the Brown King. Poop jokes...priceless.
Deefuzz
Sounds like the number of parts parties is going to increase this year.
NICKBOT
Better than pants parties. Sorry, too easy.
Sidecutter
Trust me, the pants parties are safe. It's the pants-less parties you need to worry about!
Erector
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sidecutter View Post
Trust me, the pants parties are safe. It's the pants-less parties you need to worry about!
Or hunt out, depending on attendees.

... though yeah, probably avoid.
cobra zartan
Really hope they come back and say it's G1 ko's that they are banning, The last few years in a row ive witnessed people lying to other fans and claiming they were legit items. I had a run in with someone last year that was trying to sell a friend of mine a set of white japanese heads that were knockoffs and after trying to take him to Hydra's booth to show him the difference he just walked away, believe he also drags around a suitecase on the dealers room trying to sell his stuff..very annoying.
thielmj
i wonder if this will effect the price of official products to make up for the loss of 3rdthe party sales.
NICKBOT
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sidecutter View Post
Trust me, the pants parties are safe. It's the pants-less parties you need to worry about!
Will you guys have a 3rd party sneaky sale in your hotel room if need be?
gen1fan
Quote:
Originally Posted by thielmj View Post
i wonder if this will effect the price of official products to make up for the loss of 3rdthe party sales.
For those dealers that main sell 3rd party items, I could see that. But i think the dealer room will be high again, Mainly cause Fp jacked up the cost of the booth again. Its the 4th year in a row that the cost has increased.
rework
Let me know what kind of response you get. One of the guys with our booth is planning a heavy supply of one particular 3rd party item.

I can't imagine that FP has any interest in banning anything like that, but it's possible Hasbro is pushing this. We're kind of hoping this is just some kind of CYA on the part of FP in case Hasbro did decide they had an issue with this kind of thing.
Secretcode
The Botcon Twitter went on a tirade late last year about Third Party items being evil and cheapening the hobby, so I'm not exactly surprised by this.
rework
Quote:
Originally Posted by Secretcode View Post
The Botcon Twitter went on a tirade late last year about Third Party items being evil and cheapening the hobby, so I'm not exactly surprised by this.
Cheapening the hobby? Have they seen the price on most of these things?
Aaron
Wow, depending on the read they could decide they don't want you displaying that Sealed Grand Max, and then need to take it for evidence's sake.
Kickback
I think the language is a little too ... uninformative. While we all know that the HERCULES item is a Devastator ripoff, it is not called "DEVASTATOR", none of the individual components are named even slightly like the "CONSTRUCTICONS", and the figures BARELY resemble their official counterparts.

You want to confiscate KO's? By all means, please do.

You want to confiscate things like Hercules, the FansProject "Not-Insecticons", or those types of items? That's going a little too far.

iGear is probably fucked though
jiidee
I think the word to pay attention to in that blurb was "confiscate".

Now I'm no dealer... but if a venue told me that they reserve the right to confiscate my stock without warning, then I'd tell them to take a flying leap off the nearest cliff.
CookSux
Looks like the dealer floor will be a little boring this year...
hardreturn
yeesh. i think tcracker was right about hastak going on the offensive.

so glad TFcon isn't official.
lildevilchick
Will they be returning what they confiscate at the end of the con? I'm pretty sure that anything they confiscate has to be returned upon the completion of the event, otherwise they're technically stealing since the clause leaves it open for them to take whatever they want. Plus, they can't just take something from you and not give it back just because they feel it violates their rules. Taking something that you didn't pay for is still stealing - rules or no rules.
Kickback
Quote:
Originally Posted by lildevilchick View Post
Will they be returning what they confiscate at the end of the con? I'm pretty sure that anything they confiscate has to be returned upon the completion of the event, otherwise they're technically stealing since the clause leaves it open for them to take whatever they want. Plus, they can't just take something from you and not give it back just because they feel it violates their rules. Taking something that you didn't pay for is still stealing - rules or no rules.
Sadly, I can see Hasbro and FunPub using the same argument in regards to intellectual property - you didn't pay for the rights to use it, thus, you are stealing from us. It's a clause specifically created to stop the selling of knock-off and third-party items. But to march in to a dealer and forcefully (without incident) take their items?

That's doing a little too much in my opinion. I'd say give the warning to "take it off your table, do not sell it" first, failure to comply with that request will result in item confiscation which will be returned at the end of the show at this time on this date.

But that'd just make too much sense. Stupid lawyer speak.
Simes
This is the problem - the wording as it stands reads that Botcon are stating that they will removing items from dealers tables and permanently confiscate them at their own discretion without reason. Without setting down clear guidelines on what is and isn't allowed at the convention this is going to be open to abuse and they are letting themselves wide open to legal challenges if anything is taken from dealers during the convention.

From a legal stance, Hasbro have every right to take issue regarding the sale of blatant knock-offs and the same with third party toys that infringe on their trademarks. While I would say that some third party toys would be fine, there are some that do cross the line and Hasbro / Takara would have the legitimate right to request their withdrawl from the convention and could request legal action be taken if this request be refused. the iGear Seekers are a perfect example, but there are others that are just as bad.

Certainly if it did happen, I'd advise any affected dealer to insist on an itemised receipt signed and dated by a senior member of staff from Botcon stating a reason for the confiscation. You guys are going to need to cover yourselves for every eventuality if things turn unpleasant over this.

We're trying to develop a policy here at Auto Assembly for this year's convention that complies with UK trading standards guidelines, and ensure that we do allow as many third party toys as possible that aren't in direct breach of copyrights. We believe that it's important not only for the dealers, but for our attendees as well to give everyone the best choice of toys possible in the dealers room.
Sol Fury
There's a need for common sense and a clear and transparent approach when you are running an event. What Kicky is talking about with a warning is also a good idea, and again, common sense. Regrettably, the wording is vague, and there does not seem to be a capacity for a warning first. I am certain most dealers would respond to a warning and comply. Outright confiscation - especially in such vaguely worded terms - strikes me as heavy-handed.

Transparency is needed here. There's a lot to be said for laying it out plain and simple for all to follow.

And yes, I know I'm somewhat hypocritical in terms of keeping things plain and simple!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Locustreign View Post
Or hunt out, depending on attendees.

... though yeah, probably avoid.
Protip: A pants-less party will always occur within the vicinity of Locustreign, whether he likes it or not.
Hooper_X
Here's the thing - as a private show, BC is within their rights to say what can and can't come through the doors. those of us who are ancient remember at one of the old 3H cons there was a bit of controversy because some dealer had bootleg movies for sale, including a giant stack of Girls Gone Wild and similar porny stuff. I think that one was basically resolved by that dealer not coming back the next year, but it's not like there haven't been issues with this sort of thing in the past.

Ultimately, this is a show licensed to FP by Hasbro, and what Hasbro wants, Hasbro is gonna get. Otherwise, you are free to pull a Dennis Barger and set yourself up in a hotel ballroom across the street and have your own Third Party Con (with blackjack and hookers). And honestly? Hasbro could, legally, confiscate things like the accurate G1 reproductions. It happens all the time with knockoff handbags, bootleg DVDs, and the like. Would it suck for you, as a dealer, to lose your stock? Absolutely. But you stock product that is in flagrant violation of Hasbro's IP, you take your chances.
DethPike
Again - not setting up at Botcon - but I've done shows in the past and there's usually a clause in the contract that says something to the effect of "we are not responsible if your stuff gets stolen" - ie, you watch your own table.

With that in mind, HEAVEN HELP the person who tries to steal or "confiscate" anything from me. Hasbro's intellectual whatnot be damned. They can throw me out - but I'm leaving with what I came with. Nobody is walking away from my table with thousands of dollars of unpaid-for toys.
Simes
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hooper_X View Post
Here's the thing - as a private show, BC is within their rights to say what can and can't come through the doors. those of us who are ancient remember at one of the old 3H cons there was a bit of controversy because some dealer had bootleg movies for sale, including a giant stack of Girls Gone Wild and similar porny stuff. I think that one was basically resolved by that dealer not coming back the next year, but it's not like there haven't been issues with this sort of thing in the past.

Ultimately, this is a show licensed to FP by Hasbro, and what Hasbro wants, Hasbro is gonna get. Otherwise, you are free to pull a Dennis Barger and set yourself up in a hotel ballroom across the street and have your own Third Party Con (with blackjack and hookers). And honestly? Hasbro could, legally, confiscate things like the accurate G1 reproductions. It happens all the time with knockoff handbags, bootleg DVDs, and the like. Would it suck for you, as a dealer, to lose your stock? Absolutely. But you stock product that is in flagrant violation of Hasbro's IP, you take your chances.
I think the issue here isn't a case of what is or isn't protected by Hasbro's trademarks or what Botcon - as an event - have the right to restrict with regards to the dealers. As a convention organiser myself, we reserve the right to have a prohibited items list as well, but it is not fair on dealers to simply take items without warning or without due reason. Dealers deserve to know what they can and can't sell beforehand so they know a) what type of stock to avoid spending thousands of dollars on and b) using valuable space in their vans etc. transporting them to the convention.

If products are illegal then they shouldn't be sold and that's a stance we take here at Auto Assembly as well and we would support a ban on them, but we don't have the right to take stock away from dealers and refuse to return it afterwards. Our policy regarding prohibited items is much more effective - we stress that offending items are withdrawn from sale (after being provided with a list and guidelines in advance of the convention) and if the dealers refuse then they will be asked to leave the event. A simple verbal request is all that is needed but we are working with our dealers to make sure that our policy works for everyone so they can offer a range of third party products while still keeping within the constraints of the law.
rodimusminor
Without a clear list of what *IS* allowed, I will be looking for a refund on all my booths. Period, end of story.

We can take *anything* for *any* reason is unacceptable.
Mr Dumas
almost every con has rules about, nudity, knock offs, bootleg videos. Have you ever seen a Toho convention crack down it is wild.
rodimusminor
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Dumas View Post
almost every con has rules about, nudity, knock offs, bootleg videos. Have you ever seen a Toho convention crack down it is wild.
I'd be fine with that. The problem here is there is no rules.
Joe Moore
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Dumas View Post
almost every con has rules about, nudity, knock offs, bootleg videos. Have you ever seen a Toho convention crack down it is wild.
I think the concern boils down to the fact the vendors are being intentionally kept in the dark about the guidelines of what is and is not allowed. The contract, as currently laid out, allows for confiscation of anything some unidentified entity desires. And that those vendors have to do so without so much as a peep. The terms or needlessly over reaching without being clearly defined as to what is and is not allowed.

If they want to say it's "nudity, knock offs, bootleg videos", then they need to clearly define that those are what they are targeting. A little transparency on the part of Fun Pub goes a long way. Couple this with Fun Pub's PR nightmare currently going down, and you can clearly see why vendors are, and should be, concerned.
rodimusminor
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Moore View Post
I think the concern boils down to the fact the vendors are being intentionally kept in the dark about the guidelines of what is and is not allowed. The contract, as currently laid out, allows for confiscation of anything some unidentified entity desires. And that those vendors have to do so without so much as a peep. The terms or needlessly over reaching without being clearly defined as to what is and is not allowed.

If they want to say it's "nudity, knock offs, bootleg videos", then they need to clearly define that those are what they are targeting. A little transparency on the part of Fun Pub goes a long way. Couple this with Fun Pub's PR nightmare currently going down, and you can clearly see why vendors are, and should be, concerned.
I've been out of things for a while, what PR disaster are you refering to?
Joe Moore
Quote:
Originally Posted by rodimusminor View Post
I've been out of things for a while, what PR disaster are you refering to?
I would suggest checking this thread for information.
Dragonclaw
I just don't see how this wont devolve into something unpleasant and I can see finger pointing if any action is taken. "Well if THESE are bad why are THOSE allowed" etcettera. What if they pull stock from one dealer but not the same stock from another...is it OK for TFSource to have these, but not Rework?...This is a bootleg, but it's from Korea in the 90's compared to a bootleg from last week...what about the people who sell customs? Where is the line drawn and what will the enforcement actually be. Is this just paper tiger "boilerplate" stuff to appease the powers that be "don't bring this...wink, wink" or is this going to have the teeth they seem to be implying?

I've noticed on a few sites we now have "3rd party" segregated away from everything else. If you don't mind my asking is that from the public asking or has Hasbro asked for it...I think that would give us some clues on where this is coming from and what might happen.
Insane Galvatron
If they crack down on third party stuff, this will be my last Botcon.
NICKBOT
Quote:
Originally Posted by Secretcode View Post
The Botcon Twitter went on a tirade late last year about Third Party items being evil and cheapening the hobby, so I'm not exactly surprised by this.
Of course they would...silly rabbits. Pretty sure everyone who buys 3rd Party products also buys most of what Hasbro puts out.
StayingInTheBox
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragonclaw View Post
I've noticed on a few sites we now have "3rd party" segregated away from everything else. If you don't mind my asking is that from the public asking or has Hasbro asked for it...I think that would give us some clues on where this is coming from and what might happen.
It was the mods decisions to do so, that's what they tell us and I have no reason to believe they're hiding something. Same reasons why we now have a separate Transformers comics section as well. I think the TFC Hercules thread that was parked in the news and rumors section probably helped the move a little bit.

I think it's hilarious the TFCC is trying to deter the selling of 3rd party products or whatever the hell it is their saying. Their club magazine comes with a flier of TFsource advertising "figures that cheapen the hobby."
NICKBOT
Quote:
Originally Posted by StayingInTheBox View Post
It was the mods decisions to do so, that's what they tell us and I have no reason to believe they're hiding something. Same reasons why we now have a separate Transformers comics section as well. I think the TFC Hercules thread that was parked in the news and rumors section probably helped the move a little bit.

I think it's hilarious the TFCC is trying to deter the selling of 3rd party products or whatever the hell it is their saying. Their club magazine comes with a flier of TFsource advertising "figures that cheapen the hobby."
But that makes them money!
Dragonclaw
Quote:
Originally Posted by StayingInTheBox View Post
It was the mods decisions to do so, that's what they tell us and I have no reason to believe they're hiding something. Same reasons why we now have a separate Transformers comics section as well. I think the TFC Hercules thread that was parked in the news and rumors section probably helped the move a little bit.

I think it's hilarious the TFCC is trying to deter the selling of 3rd party products or whatever the hell it is their saying. Their club magazine comes with a flier of TFsource advertising "figures that cheapen the hobby."
SOme of that is just silly...the comics forum certainly wasn't so busy it needed to be split into 2 forums

And yeah, TFSource is excactly one of those that I'd think would be singled out if they start nailing some people but not others...it's OK to advertise 3rd party in the magazine insert but not at Botcon itself? If there's going to be a crackdown would they go heavier on dealers other than TFSource because they're a major advertiser and don't want to rock the boat?

(I am in NO WAY trying to slam Curt, I like TFSource...it's just an example...)
rework
Sorry, I haven't been able to follow this closely... Just got back form a week in Hong Kong.

I see all kinds of conjecture here but no facts. Has anyone (maybe Sidecutter) actually picked up the phone and asked to talk to Brian? He's usually pretty good a talking to his dealers and letters and emails don't really show the sense of urgency this seems to be escalating to.

If no one has done this, maybe I will just have to do this on Monday. Not that I really care, because I rarely sell 3rd party or knock-offs... But two of my partners are freaking out and talking about cancelling over this.

Continue: BotCon 2012 Policy Update Regarding Fan Art Discussion on the 2005 Boards!

 
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