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!