Blog #90: Toy News: Hasbro Bans Third Party Art at Botcon…Or Do They?

As you may recall from one of my recent bogs, Hasbro banned Third Party toys from being sold at the conventions.  Well, apparently, they didn’t stop there.

Earlier this week, they announced that the ban was extended to include fan art as well.  Any art not officially produced by Hasbro could not be sold at Botcon unless it was clearly intended as “parody”.

Now, just a few days later, they’ve changed their tune with this statement:

We’re pleased to announce, per Hasbro, that artist tables will be allowed at BotCon 2012 as we have allowed it in the past, and will be permissible as part of the show. Hasbro sympathizes and understands fans’ discouragement with the previous statements concerning fan art, and while remaining steadfast in the right to protect its IP in regards to unlicensed merchandise, wants to ensure fans can continue to enjoy the BotCon experience which they know is made so great in large part by the fan community.

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think this has anything to do with “fan’s discouragement,” because if they gave a damn what the fans wanted, they would have reversed their third party toy ban.  Here’s what I think (since I’m guessing you wouldn’t be reading this blog if you didn’t want to know what I think).  They’ve got a bunch of artist’s who purchased overpriced tables at Botcon who were just told that they couldn’t sell anything at their table (other than their autograph, of course).  I’ll bet a bunch of them demanded their money back.  I can’t say I’d blame them.  Now, of course, Botcon could issue refunds (or refuse to), but that’s really not the issue.  For many convention goers, the artists are a huge draw, and without them some fans will either not attend or be disappointed and not attend in the future.

So, in my opinion, Hasbro caved, because, let’s face it, Botcon needs us.  Hasbro does too, but to a lesser extent.  Without the fans, Botcon would not exist at all.  They don’t make any real money off all the parents who bring their kids.  That lets them claim huge attendance numbers, but it doesn’t bring in much money for dealers or for them.  They need the fans and couldn’t afford to lose all those who come for the artists.

So, I present this question.  If (as I speculate) artists threatening to pull out forced them to reverse their decision, I wonder what would happen if all the larger dealers pulled out?  They could have a convention without artists, but without a dealer room?  They would have no convention.

Of course, I’m sure this isn’t going to happen.  The larger dealers aren’t going to pull out, and that’s not a slight against them.  They have businesses to run and I can’t blame them for not standing up to this.  Principal is great, but it sometimes has to take a back seat to practicality and the reality of having employees and needing to make a living.

Still, wouldn’t it be nice if they all pulled out?  I’d love to see Hasbro react to that.

On a related note, any sculptors out there want to sculpt some art that just happens to transform?  I’d love to see how Hasbro would handle that.

“Freedom is the right of all sentient beings.” – Optimus Prime

“Sorry, Optimus.  Not anymore.” – Lewis M. Brooks, III

Thanks for reading!


About lmb3

I’m 36 years old, and I work in network tech support for a public school system. I am a huge fan of Star Trek, Transformers, Harry Potter, and Marvel Comics as well as numerous other fandoms. I’m a big sports fan, especially the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots. I collect toys (mostly Transformers but other stuff too), comic books, and Red Sox baseball cards. I watch an obscene amount of television and love going to the movies. I am hopelessly addicted to Wizard Rock and I write Harry Potter Fanfiction, though these days I am working on a couple of different original YA novels.
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3 Responses to Blog #90: Toy News: Hasbro Bans Third Party Art at Botcon…Or Do They?

  1. lmb3 says:

    This comment ended up flagged as spam (go figure) but I allowed it becuase I had to comment on it.

    Dika, are you high? Did you even read the post? I was not talking about any of the other stuff you’re ranting on about. I’ve never claimed that Botcon doesn’t have all that. That was not the point of my post. I was commenting on Hasbro’s policies and Fun Publication’s greed. Just like Hasbro and Fun Publications, you’ve missed the point entirely.

  2. Dika says:

    that you should reropt on what General Admission attendees receive on Fri, Sat, and Sun. I said what REGISTERED ATTENDEES receive. If you didn’t attend the events, fine, but it was all there in the program and online.Furthermore, I have a feeling the thousand plus fans that came as Registered attendees would have a MAJOR issue with you calling them elitists. How much, Tom, do you think it costs the average fan from out of state (or even in state these days) to go to SDCC? Now, before you go and make the statement that SDCC offers A TON of things to do, realize, Registered Attendees are coming for ONE THING to BotCon. Transformers. And for $300 they get:A 5 piece boxed set with a free bonus figureFriday Admission with all eventsFree Autographs (Peter Cullen and other guests)Saturday Night Hall of Fame DinnerSat and Sun Exhibitor HallAll Sat/Sun panels and seminarsHere is the core of the argument, to YOU, BotCon was a trade show. Whatever. But you can’t deny to those who came as attendees, the show is not only a convention, but an awesome fan experience in which Hasbro and other licensees take the time to interact and put it all out there for the fans.Peter Cullen was only available for 9:00-11:00 this year. In years past he usually does two autograph sessions, so walk ins have always had a chance to get his autograph during normal show hours. This year was different. So, taking Cullen out of the equation, and looking at JUST what General Admission receives for $18:- Access to Exhibitor Hall with large Dealer room, Club store, Hasbro showcase with designers doing sketches for free, Activision booth, Autobot Alliance obstacle course and Transformers merchandise from around the world for purchase.- Panels featuring Scott McNeil and Paul Eiding Hasbro Studios IDW Activision Hasbro Marketing TF Collectors’ Club- Life size Bumblebee, Motormaster Truck, other vehicles on hand for pictures. * Additional $25 for Autographs, like MANY shows, with guests: Hideaki Yoke, Bob Budiansky, Paul Eiding, Scott McNeil, Stan Bush. Included Autograph card by Dan Khanna.So for between $18-$43, even the average fan gets a very cool convention experience if that person is in to all things Transformers. WIth all due respect, it is fine that you have your opinions based on your half day at the show, but they do not in any way outweigh the hundreds of positive written responses from those who came as Registered attendees or as walk ins and made a point of taking in the whole show.

  3. Armchair Warrior Needs Food Badly says:

    Bwahahaha! Next Headline: ‘Botcon Bans itself from Convention.’

    “Yea, we were really screwing things up, and we figured, as long as the money kept rolling in, we’d just ban ourselves from the whole thing.”

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