Otakon and Fan Art

Earlier, there were some rumors going around about huge anime convention Otakon banning fan art from Artists’ Alley (or as they call it, The Alley). Turns out that, according to the official policy, fan art is fine.

it is generally true that at any time, the rightful owner of any particular property can choose to take action and stop you from using their stuff. That’s not only fair, it’s the law. Otakon is choosing to encourage original art, and yet we remain supportive of fan works, to the extent that we can legally do so.

There’s an entire section entitled “General Guidance for Exhibitors in the Alley” that goes into more detail. Handcrafts are allowed, as are artistic variations on existing characters; buttons and t-shirts featuring character pictures aren’t. Original art is allowed; prints aren’t (unless they’re of your characters). These are sensible guidelines that fit in with the usual understanding of copyright law at conventions.

What I don’t understand is where the rumors came from in the first place.

2 Comments

  1. [...] On a tangentially related subject, Comics Worth Reading has links and commentary on Otakon’s new fan art policy. Johanna summarizes: Handcrafts are allowed, as are artistic variations on existing characters; buttons and t-shirts featuring character pictures aren’t. Original art is allowed; prints aren’t (unless they’re of your characters). These are sensible guidelines that fit in with the usual understanding of copyright law at conventions. [...]

  2. Ed Sizemore

    Johanna, The anime community loves gossip and rumours. They are much worst than the comic community or the National Enquirer in this respect. The rumour probably got started because someone on staff mentioned to a friend they were changing the policies regarding artist alley and the friend assumed the worst and posted it on the internet.

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