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NEWS: Anime Expo on Bootlegs


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LordRobin



Joined: 25 Feb 2003
Posts: 354
Location: Akron, OH

PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2004 4:30 pm Reply with quote
"Anime Expo, the world's largest anime/manga convention"...

Please tell me I'm not the only one @#$%ing sick and tired of the constant d**k-measuring contest between AX and Otakon.

Last year's crowing by Otakon made me want to puke. ("Look at us! We got more attendees than AX! And we didn't fudge our numbers like those nasty stinky yuckos out west! We're the bestest most goodest con ever! Hooray for us!")

And now here's AX, not mentioning Otakon by name, but clearly trying to get "backsies" while appearing above it all. And you just know that with attendence being revised upward to that oh-so-convenient round number of 25,000, that Otakon's going start in with their "liar liar pants on fire" act again.

Why can't they drop the "largest" adjective, and go with something more vague, like "premiere". Anything to stop the annual sniping. Sigh...

------RM
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Tempest
ANN Publisher & CEO


Joined: 29 Dec 2001
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2004 4:36 pm Reply with quote
Hense "The Internet's most trusted anime news source" Smile
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Joe Mello



Joined: 31 May 2004
Posts: 1824
Location: Tekkoshocon

PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2004 8:50 pm Reply with quote
LordRobin wrote:
*complaints about superlatives*

Wow, that was amazing how you could be so far from the point of the article and yet still be technically on-topic.

Anyway, it's only natural that AX formally joins the recently-declared War On Piracy. My question is this: Why now? Why not earlier? (Okay, so I have more than one question. Sue me.) And does this have anything to do with [This URL is a known Fansub Distribution website] going down? (Before you lambaste me, I know how and why it went down. I just want to know whether it's coincedence or not.)

-Joe Mello, the biggest and bestest sonuvagun this side of his eyeglasses.
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xxmiyuxx



Joined: 08 Jun 2004
Posts: 109
Location: Bordentown, NJ

PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2004 10:38 pm Reply with quote
LordRobin wrote:
Please tell me I'm not the only one @#$%ing sick and tired of the constant d**k-measuring contest between AX and Otakon.


As a supporter/attendee/gofer of Otakon, I say...let them have their fun. If they got it, flaunt it. It's not hurting anyone...

But if it were MY con, I wouldn't give them the opportunity to take the bootlegged stuff off the shelves. Aren't they supposed to sign a contract saying they won't do that? Breach of contract should be confronted with severe immediate punishment (i.e. Get out now).
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jmays
ANN Associate Editor


Joined: 29 Jul 2002
Posts: 1390
Location: St. Louis, MO

PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2004 10:54 pm Reply with quote
Bah, I don't see any harm in them fighting to be #1, especially if it brings more attention to the bootleg problem. Nothing wrong with competition, as long as it doesn't get too mean-spirited.
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Abel



Joined: 26 Apr 2003
Posts: 143
Location: AnimeTen.com

PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2004 2:49 am Reply with quote
xxmiyuxx wrote:

But if it were MY con, I wouldn't give them the opportunity to take the bootlegged stuff off the shelves. Aren't they supposed to sign a contract saying they won't do that? Breach of contract should be confronted with severe immediate punishment (i.e. Get out now).


AX has always allowed bootleg items to be sold at their show. The only warning they have had in the contract is if a copyright holder complained about the items that they would comply. This however did not happen IIRC about two years ago. I remember reading on the Anime on DVD forum an ADV rep and a Toynami rep complain that when they asked AX to have some vendors remove items that were bootleg the convention refused to do anything.

All I can say is FINALLY. AX was the largest anime event to not have a bootleg policy. I have always admired Otakon for enforcing one.

I am still weary though if they will enforce it, or know how to enforce it. Just cause an event has a bootleg policy does not mean the staff know how to tell the difference between a legitimate item and a fake.

Heck the newer bootleg merchandise has copyright information and to some point it is dead on accurate. The name of the Japanese producer is even on some however the merchandise coding is completely incorrect. How many dealer liason can tell if an item number is correct or not?

00747 00900-0002 1002B is a correct number.

00747 00900-0002 1AB11 is not.

Now who here knows what the numbers mean? (GodaiStudios do not answer cause I know you know.)

Bear in mind this is only one manufacturer. Different companies have different coding.

Artbooks that are copied and produced in Korea have the exact ISBN number and Japanese price on them. Most people can not tell the difference unless they have seen the original or pay attention to how "clear" the images and text is on the book. Heck some even have the country of origin sticker "made in Korea" on them when they are sold.

Bootlegging has gotten to the point that everything you think you know about spotting them is quickly outdated. I'm lucky I have been working with goods for years. I still get fooled myself! You really have to know your stuff in order to enforce it.
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Godaistudios



Joined: 12 Jun 2003
Posts: 2028
Location: Albuquerque, NM (the land of entrapment)

PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2004 2:52 am Reply with quote
Indeed, I do know the numbers... far too well.

Any good collector should, especially of import items.
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Abel



Joined: 26 Apr 2003
Posts: 143
Location: AnimeTen.com

PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2004 2:58 am Reply with quote
Godaistudios wrote:
Indeed, I do know the numbers... far too well.

Any good collector should, especially of import items.


However as I said not every item shares the same references. One big change was that addition of a UPC code to every item. Shops are evolving to hand scanners (over the next few years) and most new items will have a UPC code where before they did not. Japanese import items all items must now have the tax in price listed due to the new law that took effect in April. Seeing two prices preprinted on goods now is very common.
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Godaistudios



Joined: 12 Jun 2003
Posts: 2028
Location: Albuquerque, NM (the land of entrapment)

PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2004 3:01 am Reply with quote
Oh, no disagreement from me there. After having run a panel on ...

Well, I know well enough that codes aren't the end all and be all, but they are still very useful. (and I even know the primary manufacturer of those codes too.)
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cyrax777



Joined: 05 Mar 2003
Posts: 1824
Location: the desert

PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2004 7:39 am Reply with quote
Joe Mello wrote:
LordRobin wrote:
*complaints about superlatives*

[This is a known fansub bittorrent site] going down? (Before you lambaste me, I know how and why it went down. .
if its the one im thinking of its back up just on a diffrent site.

*cough* K instead of C in address*cough*

but yeah AX makes me wonder because in 2k2 and 2k3 there were a boatload of bootleg dvds and cds floating around.

This year was so much better no SM's or HK's in site(well except that one booth selling Live Action movies) "yeah its r2 or r3" Umm whys this cover look fuzzy edges to me. one of my con roomates bought some stuff from then that turned out to be bootleg was labeled as r2 but was reallly r0. some samurai flick don't remember the name but it was good
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xxmiyuxx



Joined: 08 Jun 2004
Posts: 109
Location: Bordentown, NJ

PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2004 8:36 am Reply with quote
Abel wrote:
I am still weary though if they will enforce it, or know how to enforce it. Just cause an event has a bootleg policy does not mean the staff know how to tell the difference between a legitimate item and a fake.

Last year Otakon sent a dealer packing because he was selling bootleg stuff. It was this whole big deal where the con chair was having dinner with his folks and had to be pulled out to deal with the dealer. Apparently he was pretty pissed and just strait kicked the guy out. That's the kind of affirmative action I like to see. But as far as them not knowing what is bootlegg and what is not....did you read the thread in regards to the proffesor in TX who taught anime, and in her article they unknowingly used a pic of bootleg. Someone was quick to spot that as a bootleg.....I'm sure in a dealers room full of die hards SOMEONE is going to notice and report it to the proper authorities.
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Joe Foering



Joined: 15 Jul 2004
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2004 1:40 pm Reply with quote
Actually, I was quite calm throughout the whole thing. The dealer in question had ben caught breaking the rules and told not to do it again. Less than half an hour later he did, and they called me. I made the call right there to boot the dealer, but he insisted on talking to me in person, so I went down and, flanked by senior staffers from Special Ops (our term for Security), I calmly explained the rules and the consequences for breaking them.

Was I ticked off at being pulled away from lunch? A little. But I never let that interfere with my reponsibilities.

And as for LordRobin's reaction to our "crowing" after last year's figures... Needless to say I don't agree with such colorful characterizations, but Robin is certainly entitled to an opinion. I would ask Robin, however, not to jump to conclusions and take the "crowings" af a small number of vocal and justifiably proud Staffers as the official position of Otakon. I for one certainly didn't jump from board to board "crowing" about our figures, and as the guy in charge I suppose I'd be the one most entitled to do so.

As far as I'm concerned, AX can claim whatever numbers they like. For that matter, Otakon can claim whatever numbers we like. Even before I was Con Chair I always made it a point to care more about quality over quantity. No matter how many more people AX draws over us, I feel that we've been a *better* convention than they for years. "Bigger" is a slight feather in one's cap, but that's all -- and I certainly don't lose any sleep over who has the longer... registration line.

Joe Foering
Otakon 2003 Con Chair

PS: I have more *important* things to lose sleep over, like getting ready for Otakon 2004. Very Happy
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beelzebozo



Joined: 11 Jun 2004
Posts: 308
Location: Aurora, Colorado

PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2004 2:06 pm Reply with quote
Nan Desu Kan has always had a very strict anti-bootleg policy, thanks in no small part to some very stanch anti-bootleg supporters on staff. Not only are bootlegging vendors not allowed in the dealer's room, one shop owner was barred from attending even as an individual because he was known to deliver bootlegs to people at the con, including a video room head who was booted out for showing bootleg copies rather than licensed discs. She was given several chances to clean up, but in the end because of that (and other things) she was let go.

NDK's policy is one of the big reasons that Denver shops are mostly clean (except the blantent bootleg shop). The con is our Xmas in September and we'd lose alot of money and support if we went the bootleg route. I think if other conventions went the same way, we'd see many more vendors clean up rather than lose the money they make from conventions.

DVDs, CDs & Wallscrolls are the easiest stuff to spot and there is the possiblilty that some better reproductions will get through, but we should make it easy for them, right?
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bnewhall



Joined: 04 Sep 2003
Posts: 110
Location: USA

PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2004 5:47 pm Reply with quote
Regarding the difficulty of telling bootlegs from the real thing: Yes, many modern bootlegs look very similar to the real thing. But how often does one see a dealer selling tons of legitimate merchandise and one or two excellent bootlegs? More often, the dealer's selling all (or most) bootlegs, and many of them are obviously fake.

As a result, it's not difficult to enforce this policy. Vigilance in booting out those who are clearly selling bootlegs will take care of the vast majority of the problem.
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Abel



Joined: 26 Apr 2003
Posts: 143
Location: AnimeTen.com

PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2004 11:54 pm Reply with quote
xxmiyuxx wrote:
I'm sure in a dealers room full of die hards SOMEONE is going to notice and report it to the proper authorities.


From personal experience I can say that many cons have had staff that have no idea how to tell the difference.

Years ago I exhibited at Katuson because of their bootleg policy. However while the contract stated that "wall scrolls" were not to be displayed a few vendors had hung up copies and I saw other vendors display bootleg items. When I complained to the dealer liason he said that he was not going to do anything about it. I then complained to the con chair. He presumed I had been yelling at this staff and we got into a heated argument over the whole thing. He then went and told his liason to start the bootleg sweep. The Liason simply nodded. The con chair then apologized to me for the misunderstanding. What ended up happening though was that the scrolls stayed up and I got questioned on our clear posters. The staff informed me that I could not sell them there believing they were bootleg. I had to show them that they were licensed. The staff was very polite and friendly. I am glad that they learned that clear plastic posters are not the same as laminated copies sold as posters (the items had just evolved from "art crystals"). The over all impression the liason gave me though was that he was weak on enforcing the contract and would have done nothing if not instructed to. As I stated before... the bootleg scrolls were allowed to be displayed and I saw fans with them as well.

Animazement I had a similar experience in that they had a bootleg policy but the liason had no idea how to identify bootleg items. Thankfully the con chair for NDK was there and showed him examples of legitimate items and pirated ones. I had one of the best experiences there however. I was sadly having to defend the price differences of licensed and unlicensed items and one cosplayer shot back "Who cares if it's licensed." and went off to the Saito-sensei & Ikuhara-san signing. Shortly after the signing began there was a mad rush to the dealer room for legit Utena goods. Ikuhara and Saito refused to sign any bootleg items. Since Ikuhara owns merchandise licensing rights on anyting for the Utena anime he knows what is real or not. I could not help but laugh. I wonder what the cosplayer thought after that.

The worst experience I had was with a con I loved dearly. When a vendor rightfully question the dealer liason of Fanimecon on their old message boards why they had a bootleg policy and still permited bootleg models to be sold at the show the liason admitted to not knowing how to identify any items and stated that Fanime would be dropping the ban. This caused other vendors who sold bootleg to sign up for Fanime. While Fanime officially kept the bootleg ban on the contract it never did enforce it. I asked as I signed the contract there on the first day if they were going to enforce it and I was told "No.". I never got an answer as to why I had to sign a contact that was not going to be enforced. Needless to say it was the worst Fanime I as a vendor ever experienced. Another blow to me was that I had recommended the show to Anime Jungle and Hoteiya LV due to their bootleg policy and AJ had decided to split up their items since it conflicted with Sakuracon. What ended up happening was that several of the vendors who sold legitimate items got together and complained and the con chair addressed the issue. He admitted the mistake and said that it would be resolved the next day (Sunday, the last day of the show). He also stated that he was a fan and would be shopping with us in the morning when he stopped by to see the progress in the room before it opened. For the record he was there Sunday and walked out empty handed. My feeling was that he was just saying what we vendors wanted to hear. The damage was already done. There would be no point if they decided to have the drama of kicking out vendors for bootleg on the last day. If I was one of the bootleg vendors I would leave happly since I had already made the sales the previous two days. I figured nothing would be done about the situation and when Sunday came around I was proven correct.

It has been three years since I have been to Fanime. From my friends on staff I hear that they have good knowledgeable people running the dealer room now. I am pleased that the staff who ran it that one tragic year are no longer there (they were also dealer staff at AXNY and AX around the same time). If all goes well with this new company I am with, it is my hope to return to Fanime next year.

I usually have angered some vendors when I discuss bootlegs at cons since I tend to point them out to the dealer staff with hopes that they be told to remove them. Certain cons are very good about bootlegs. Sakuracon's dealer liason made a great impression on me when I first attended the event. There were bootleg items but since he did not know them to be bootleg he had permited them. When I complained to him he asked me to show him the differences so he could prevent this from happening again. This was about 4 years ago. This year I finally was able to return to Sakuracon and to be honest... I had nothing to complain about. The show room was great. I really wish some other cons would be the same way.

Don't get me wrong. I love being at A-kon, Otakon and NDK. Those events I have nothing to complain about. All have good solid enforcement again bootleg.

I normally do not wish to exhibit at shows that permit bootleg with the exception of AX. It seems dumb however to not attend AX since it is 30 minutes from us and quite honestly... the fans. A lot of experienced fans attend AX. Not as many as some of the smaller shows and that is where I have the absolute best interaction. Fans at AX know their stuff and ask for really obscure series. For example. I had someone ask for anything from Shiawase Sou no Okojo-san. Granted the series ended its run a while ago and goods have not been produced for it for well over a year... but it was so nice to be asked! I would suspect the only other show where I would be asked for such obscure items would be Otakon.

Sadly... being a new company I doubt we have a chance to exhibit at A-kon or Otakon anytime soon though. -_-
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