[ACML] So...Otakon.

S. Monroe otaku3lf at gmail.com
Wed Aug 20 11:48:47 EDT 2008

On 8/20/08, Julie Lindsey <jurijuri at gmail.com> wrote:
> I was unable to attend (sob!) but I do have a question about some
> reports coming out of Otakon.
> Allegedly, a pair of artists in the alley were using underhanded
> tactics to secure more than a dozen tables around the area to sell
> their art - each staffed with the "original" artist.
> http://tanqexe.deviantart.com/journal/19894132/
> The Alley crowd is pretty upset with Otakon's response to the
> situation, so I'd love to hear your take on it.
> Thanks!
> -Julie L

Actually, I'm involved in the discussion, so I can answer.

Otakon Artist Alley staff were notified At Con that a single artist
had arranged for friends and family to reserve the maximum amount of
tables in their own names, but selling that artists' material.
Actually, it was more that an accusation was leveled.

Otakon staff examined the art work, and the artist had not duplicated
any of their works throughout the four areas, meaning that you didn't
find the exact same art at all four sets of tables.  They were in the
same style, but at the time it wasn't enough to justify closing the
three tables, or banning the person.  This was discussed with the
Otakorp, Inc. lawyer at the time, who was concerned mostly with

The majority of the "evidence" for most of the con was the artist's
style and subject matter, and that they had done this at other

We've made it a policy that we do not penalize people for their
behavior at other conventions, therefore "this person did that at such
and such con" is not grounds for their immediate removal from our
convention or the BCC premises.  For example, we find a dealer selling
bootlegs at another convention, we don't go back to Otakon and say,
"We can't sell a DR table to *him*, because that dealer may be obeying
our rules at our convention.  We would let the DR staff of that
convention know, however, so that they could work within *their* rules
to deal with it.

In effect, the artist used a loophole.  We are in the process of closing it.

This was part of a long and very offended discussion on the Otakon BBS
on the part of the Artist Alley residents.  The problem is that as
much as we'd like to say "That's Terrible!  You're right!  We should
Ban this Evildoer!  Immediately!" it's not as simple as that.  And we
at Otakon tend to examine our options so that we can make a decision
that will be a lasting one, and prevent abuses like this in the long
term, instead of immediately in the short run hitting someone with the
clown hammer.

We've told people that we'll give them our decision when we have
anything actually concrete to tell them.  But we want to put the
experiences of our senior (and junior) staff on this and come up with
a solution that is workable, and that won't come back to haunt us in
the future.  I don't know about you, but when rules become really
arcane, then more rules lawyers tend to show up just to try to bust
their way through.  We are taking the suggestions from the Artist
Alley population into account.

So... the mills of Otakon do grind slowly, but they do also grind
exceedingly fine.  We will come up with a way to deal with this, and
*not* penalize other artists who might have similar art styles who
might get caught up in flying accusations.

Cousin Sue
aka S. Monroe
Otakon OSS 2008

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