We know it’s dreadfully difficult to know all the different products that are being bootlegged these days. However, we do have some guidelines for you to use in selecting the merchandise you bring to the convention. The item must have a copyright notice on it somewhere.
This includes but is not limited to:
- A Japanese tax sticker (the little stickers that appear in different shapes, most often gold or white, stuck on the box or outer packaging of the item)
- A date of manufacture
- The place of manufacture (i.e. 1997, Made in Japan, etc.)
- Information as to who the owning studio is (i.e. Bandai, Sony, Pioneer, etc.)
- Not be a known bootleg item.
Of course, there are exceptions to these rules, like the Japanese garage kits, which are legal, but may not have the copyright information on them, and which may have simple Xerox labels on the simple paper boxes. However, even these items usually will have a Japanese tax sticker on them somewhere, identifying that royalties have been paid back to Japan.
Wall Scrolls Here’s the problem: there are many bootleg wall scrolls out there. Most recognizable by the pale purple hanger on the plastic tube holder they come in, they’re Taiwanese rip-offs that do not have the copyright information on the scroll, and even in some cases were copied from legitimate posters and transferred to the cloth, with the copyright information cut off of them to the point that it cuts into the design. Few legitimate posters have incomplete designs (edges of characters’ bodies cut off, edges of hair missing, etc. Some of them are even copied onto the cloth crookedly, or the image is blurry.) Alledgedlly Diamond Distributors somehow is selling these things, and as far as we have been told, they are not legal to sell. You would think that they would know better, but perhaps not. And unfortunately, even if you legally obtain an illegal item, that doesn’t legitimize the item itself. (If you accidentally bought a joint that was hidden in a pack of regular cigarettes at your local convenience store, you’re still liable for that illegal item, even though you purchased it legally so you thought.)
SonMay and EverAnime CD’s Another problem, in that there is a rumor that alledgedlly Diamond may well be carrying these things in the future. From what we’ve been told, SM CD’s are legal to sell in Taiwan, however, are illegal once they leave that country. Insofar that they do not return royalties back to Japan, we do not want them to be sold at A-Kon®.
T-Shirts Same thing applies as the wall scrolls – many of them do not have copyright information on them. If they do, fine, no problem.
One of the reasons we are having to be so strict on this is outcry from legitimate dealers and production companies who’s rights are being stepped on by these bootleg products, and the new laws that establish liability for the convention organizers for illegal items sold at their shows. While some of you have been with us for years, and some are personal friends, to be honest, there are very few people on the planet I’m willing to go to prison for. We’ve worked very hard to be a show with integrity, and we don’t feel like we should make ourselves liable for lawsuits and criminal prosecution for the sake of letting some dealers sell cheap bootleg items. The safest thing for everybody is to disallow them altogether, without prejudice. So, these are some of the reasons for the across-the-board declaration of NO BOOTLEG ITEMS at A-Kon®.
Vendors found to be selling bootleg items will be asked one time only to remove them from their tables. If these items are put back out for sale at any time during the duration of the convention, the vendor will be removed from the convention immediately, with no refund of table moneys. Please police yourselves and do not make us take action.
Please respect our decision and policies and if you feel you cannot do business without carrying bootleg products, please do not deal at A-Kon®.