[CUSTOM] not-Hasbro

Posted by RedAleseides 
Prometheum5 Wrote:
>
> Apparently prolific customizer Jin Saotome is
> staunchly anti-3rd party and has been 'rallying
> support' against them, which is funny when all he
> does is profit from Hasbro's efforts by repainting
> figures.

Hahaha wow what an asshole. The creator of the most bland, generic kitbashes and custom figures is opposed to fan products which are being produced on a larger scale than he can. That's beautiful.

> It seems there is growing moral discontent among the
> TF community, which is strongly at odds with the
> people who are simply interested in the best
> product regardless of its source.

If a clampdown on the third-party market is really what Hasbro and Takara-Tomy want, then it's shocking it took them this long to wake up. I had assumed they were perfectly content with these products and their limited presence in the collector market.

Personally, I'm hoping that any chilling effect this announcement results in will lead to these third-party companies producing more ORIGINAL material, instead of endlessly aping the Transformers house style. The first few third-party releases, years ago, were truly exciting, but at this point it's just become monotonous to me. There are impressively designed and engineered products coming out of this market, but there's considerably less originality than there is in the Transformers movie toylines or even the Prime toyline.

That may be why the licensors are suddenly up in arms - it may have become clear to them just how similar the third-party product is to what they're putting out.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
Sanjeev (Admin)
Weird. It still seems to me that it would behoove Has/Tak/Tom/yumudda to continue their tolerance (and even tacit approval) of 3rd party shit because the very minor hit they take in sales MUST be outweighed by the growing participation in the hobby...
I'm sure those iGear jets and upcoming van guys are of top interest if TakaraTomy is seeking to expand the MP line to more G1 jets and cars.
Sanjeev Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Weird. It still seems to me that it would behoove
> Has/Tak/Tom/yumudda to continue their tolerance
> (and even tacit approval) of 3rd party shit
> because the very minor hit they take in sales MUST
> be outweighed by the growing participation in the
> hobby...

No?

Transformers don't moochers who sell high-end toys that prey on nostalgia and toy fetishes to get people into the hobby when they have more toys than the population of several states of the union.
Sanjeev (Admin)
Fair enough...but then on the other hand, why bother wasting the litigation on these 3rd partyers if they are only affecting a tiny portion of their market?
Why is Macross forever barred from 'Murica?

why Sanjeev

why
MSW
Lucasfilm, has regularly shut down tiny one-man garage model kit companies. Heck, they even stopped Hong Kong based Anigrand from producing their 28" long Star Destroyer model.

Hasbro/Tomy has the money to litigate most of the 3rd partyers out of buisness. Just a question if they want to bad enough.
Sanjeev (Admin)
I guess that's just the long and the short of it: big licensors will inevitably fight tooth and nail when their IP is threatened...whether they stand to gain significantly or not from the defense.

But for the record, I don't think the Macross analogy is a good one in this case because doesn't it make sense for Harmony Gold to maintain a stranglehold on Macrossy stuff in the States so that their products are insured top-billing?
Yup, time for iGear et al to start producing their own transforming toys based on their own designs (I remember saying this a year or two ago). TakaraTomyHasbro doesn't have the right to keep them from making those. It's not like they even have a patent on the 5 mm peg either. There are too many really good designers out there making these toys, but I wonder if they couldn't make TF toys any longer if they would just give up the ghost? the thing here is, they have a built-in media tie-in. Making your own doesn't yield that unless you're doing what Don Figuroa is doing. We'll see how far he gets with it.

More serious than thou



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/14/2012 11:41PM by fujikuro.
I don't know. I think some of the 3rd party guys (Fansproject and iGear spring to mind) have enough "market presence" that whatever new design they produced would get some attention without the media tie-in they've used so far. I know I'd be curious to see what they'd do with a totally new design.

Heck, Perfect Effect seems to be chugging along okay with their designs, which are much more geewunish to my eyes. I don't know if Has/Tak would have a case against them or not; seems like they stick with pretty much original designs, especially in the case of stuff like the bat/spear things. Even their cassette bots are pretty different from the Transformer versions.

But then again, I wonder if Has/Tak could make a case that "transforming robot" is a concept they have some kind of moral right to exclusivity on.

PS I fear that the mention of J** S******'s name will summon him like some unholy spectre. I must flee to the bomb shelter!
Heli88 Wrote:
> I don't know. I think some of the 3rd party guys
> (Fansproject and iGear spring to mind) have enough
> "market presence" that whatever new design they
> produced would get some attention without the
> media tie-in they've used so far.

I agree. I think Transformers news sites would report on anything these companies put out at this point, and the fans would pay attention. Maybe they wouldn't sell as many copies of each toy, but they're producing this stuff in limited quantities for a limited audience anyway - I would hope the creative expression involved, and still capturing the SPIRIT of the Transformers franchise that they presumably love, would be enough to motivate them to put out something genuinely new.

> But then again, I wonder if Has/Tak could make a
> case that "transforming robot" is a concept they
> have some kind of moral right to exclusivity on.

Well, IF they could take that to court, and IF the third-partiers could afford to defend themselves, it should be easy to demonstrate that for decades they've had little to no interest in defending "transforming robot" as intellectual property.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
Sanjeev (Admin)
Yeah, I can't see any legitimate claim Hasbro can make that they own the transforming robot toy concept.

But at the same time, I doubt many 3rd partyers would bother continuing of they couldn't attach their products to the TF franchise. Sure their offerings are quality...but that's not the point. For example, how many people would have bought Fansproject's not-Springer if it were a standalone toy? I'll bet not many. Without the TF connection, it'd be just another word lump of plastic in a very crowded pool of lumps of plastic.
isn't it more of an issue of creating products that greatly resemble someone else's characters? I mean, FASA got fucked for doing what they did with Japanese robots in Battletech.
Sanjeev (Admin)
Exactly. The TF characters are Hasbro's IP...not the concept of transforming toys.
Sanjeev Wrote:
>
> For example, how many people would have bought
> Fansproject's not-Springer if it were a standalone
> toy? I'll bet not many.

But if it wasn't constrained by the need to resemble a character from an existing franchise, they could be designing anything. If it wasn't supposed to be Springer, it could be the most beautiful, intricate transforming helicopter ever. Or it could be the first transforming robot that turns into a tugboat or a rotary telephone or a cupcake.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
It's the beginning of the end:

[www.tfw2005.com]

No 3rd Party Toys at Botcon 2012
Posted on 03-15-2012 at 06:49 AM by Tony_Bacala under Conventions
A quick note to our fans regarding an issue that has been lingering around for a while. This year dealers who signed up for Botcon realized there was some new wording in the contracts related to unofficial product and how it will be handled at the show. The wording is as follows:

"Promoter and its designees, including Hasbro, Inc., each reserves the right to ban or deny display of any item for any reason. Promoter and its designees, including Hasbro, Inc., each reserves the right to confiscate any items that violates these rules and regulations. Exhibitor agrees to permit such confiscation without incident and agrees that all confiscated items shall become the property of Promoter or its designee and may be turned over to the appropriate authorities. Exhibitor herby [sic] waives and all claims against the Promotor [sic] or Hasbro, Inc. with respect to any removal of person or confiscation of items."
Basically - as a dealer, if you bring 3rd party, knock offs, or any other kind of unlicensed product to the show, Hasbro and/or Botcon can take it and throw you out.

This was very loose and could mean different things to different people, and several board members pushed for more clarification.

A Botcon representative posted a note stating the following:

From our understanding, just want to reiterate what you have gotten in email responses from us...

As long as it is official Hasbro OR TakaraTomy product then they are official products. They can also sell officially Licensed TF goods from Hasbro or TT.

If it's either made by Hasbro or TakaraTomy it is officially licensed by Hasbro or TakaraTomy, anything else is a knock off or an unofficially licenced good.

So. To be 100% clear... Licensed Transformers either from Hasbro or Takara Tomy are fine. Licensed Sci-Fi related toys from other companies is fine as well. However, again, anything that violates Hasbro IP should not be brought to BotCon.
And then clarified it further with this:

I am afraid that details will not be provided. There are SO many 3rd party items, no one is going to provide a list of what is acceptable "unlicensed" toys.

If it is unlicensed, assume it is unacceptable. Just about every 3rd party piece somehow draws on Hasbro IP, so, if you think it may in any way infringe on Hasbro's IP odds are they DO consider it an infringement.

The language they provided for our contract is the warning. Just don't bring the stuff to the show.

BotCon has had amazing Exhibitor Halls for almost 20 years, MANY of those LONG before all of these IP infringing items hit the market. I am sure it will still be an amazing Hall this year and for many years to come!
So, it looks like there is a hard push to keep 3rd party and unlicensed toys / product out of the dealer room and the convention as a whole this year. We thought you guys should know and plan accordingly.

--------------------------
I want YOU for Moé Sucks Army
Do you think more of the party of three toys will get bootlegged like we saw with City Commander and Scouting Force

now that they are hunted
Scopedog Wrote:
> Exhibitor herby [sic] waives and all claims against
> the Promotor or Hasbro, Inc. with respect to any
> removal of person or confiscation of items."

So it's all going to be left up to this Herby guy?!
He had better at least transform into a VW Beetle.


Seriously though, wow, that's pretty broad language. It sounds like it would apply to all forms of fanart, not just manufactured toys.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
Sanjeev (Admin)
Damn. Thank god I sold out and passed the Unicron stand buck before the heat came down! ;P


asterphage Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> ...it could be the most
> beautiful, intricate transforming helicopter ever.
> Or it could be the first transforming robot that
> turns into a tugboat or a rotary telephone or a
> cupcake.


Hey, I'm *all* for the unfettering of the artistic spirit. But I'm also aware of the "adult collectibles" market and how saturated it is. I think we ALL are. While you and I would LOVE a phonograph that turned into a robot (that didn't look like Soundwave), we'd likely be the only ones on Earth who'd buy one!
Well, we'll see about that! There are a couple of original transforming robot lines on the way right now - Armarauders and Acid Rain.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
Sanjeev (Admin)
I certainly hope you're right! I'm just now learning about these Armarauders...could be cool, but even though the toys are being made in China, it's purely an American thing, right (it being a brainchild of Don Figueroa)? And Acid Rain is basically just an ape of Ashley Wood...just with more toy functionality.

I guess all I'm saying is that I'm not sure these manufacturers would be doing not-Transformers if it weren't for the projects they're involved in now...

But your point stands, obviously...and I also hope more original stuff is on the way.
Scopedog Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
<snip>
> If it's either made by Hasbro or TakaraTomy it is
> officially licensed by Hasbro or TakaraTomy,
> anything else is a knock off or an unofficially
> licenced good.
>
> So. To be 100% clear... Licensed Transformers
> either from Hasbro or Takara Tomy are fine.
> Licensed Sci-Fi related toys from other companies
> is fine as well. However, again, anything that
> violates Hasbro IP should not be brought to
> BotCon.
> And then clarified it further with this:
>
Doesn't this open a (negative) loophole for toys by other companies that use a trademark that is *now* owned by HasTak but wasn't in the past?

Basically, if the wording above is followed, a Gobot toy would be illegal because the name "Gobot" is owned by HasTak these days.

The Super Gobot Bugbite would be triply illegal (Gobot, named Bugbite, transforming VW beetle). It also sounds completely unenforceable if someone would go to court.

Fanart is illegal. Fanmade repaints of Hasbro toys are illegal. Fanfics are illegal. Fanmade videos using toys are illegal. That's not a convention, that's an embellished single-company toyshow. They better rename it Bo(yco)tCon.

I guess they will have to clarify it further unless they want their convention to die off pretty quickly.
MSW
How the FUCK does a contract between Hasbro/Tomy and dealers for a convention, make any kind of fanart illegal?

Breathe people, breathe!
They'll only allow the official fanfics from IDW.
MSW Wrote:
> How the FUCK does a contract between Hasbro/Tomy
> and dealers for a convention, make any kind of
> fanart illegal?

Since I don't go to Botcon, I don't know how they break up art and merchandise sales, or what people selling fan goods are required to sign. Could you enlighten us in that regard?

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
I think it'd be fair to say that if you don't need Chinese labor to produce your product in a modest quantity, you won't get in trouble.
I don't think that's a reasonable assumption at all, without knowing what contracts fan artists are signing in order to secure a table at the show. Disney and Marvel have been cracking down on fan artists who sell at conventions.

Given that other licensors consider it in their best interests to exercise their ownership of their brands and stifle fan artists' presumed freedom to do whatever they want, it wouldn't be surprising if these actions by Hasbro are a step in that direction.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/16/2012 02:58PM by asterphage.
Okay, so, if Hasbro is going to protect their Transformers IP so fiercely, then the third-parties should just move on to producing products like this:

[www.toplessrobot.com]

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 03/16/2012 02:59PM by asterphage.
Attachments:
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Perhaps Hasbro just wants the third-party producers not to rub their face in it? Last year at Botcon, iGear was selling its obviously infringing seekers an arm's reach away from Hasbro's own booth. Hasbro's reps could not help but see the infringing items, which makes it hard to pretend that the infringement didn't occur. Like CBS/Paramount with Star Trek, Hasbro has been pretty tolerant of fan use of their IP, and have even offered safe harbors to third party producers (make accessories for characters instead of the characters themselves, don't sell more than a thousand units, etc.). Seems to me that the Hasbro TF team wants plausible deniability. If they were really evil, why not have a crack squad of IP attorneys standing by at Botcon, ready to pounce in a target-rich environment?

Or am I just naive? I can never tell.

Best, Ken-A
Ken-A Wrote:
> If they were really evil, why not have a crack squad
> of IP attorneys standing by at Botcon, ready to
> pounce in a target-rich environment?

This hasn't happened yet, but in the wake of Marvel's lawsuit against Ghost Rider creator Gary Friedrich, comics artist Stephen Bissette recently argued on his Facebook page that it was a huge turning point in terms of corporate IP enforcement against convention artists.

Granted, Marvel is owned by litigation-happy Disney now. Granted, that case was against the creator of a character, who was trying to assert his legal right of ownership over that character in addition to selling sketches at conventions. But the point is that the ramifications are trickling down.

Plenty of conventions have altered their policies with regard to fanart sales in recent years - we can pray they don't alter them any further, but the changes are happening right now.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
asterphage Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> Plenty of conventions have altered their policies
> with regard to fanart sales in recent years - we
> can pray they don't alter them any further, but
> the changes are happening right now.



STOP FUCKING WITH MY COLT 45!
One could look at the third-party Transformers market as a "smuggler" of sorts, illicitly transporting Hasbro's intellectual property from the minds of the fandom to the physical reality of new toys. These actions by Hasbro could possibly kill our metaphorical smuggler, and I believe most fans would agree that he's no good to us dead.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
Sometimes I wish we could just wish away all these inhibitions stopping legal production of the things we want.

But my loyalty is to the free market, to democracy.
I've been to Botcon twice. The first being 2006 and the other in 2008. Both conventions were handled the same except for one detail. In 2008 Hasbro had mandated that 90% (iirc) of all dealer merchandise had to be HasTak. The dealer room was table after table of the same stuff. A mega letdown. BBTS the year before had tons of SOC and Cms corp stuff; that year very little of it,
servbot30 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I've been to Botcon twice. The first being 2006
> and the other in 2008. Both conventions were
> handled the same except for one detail. In 2008
> Hasbro had mandated that 90% (iirc) of all dealer
> merchandise had to be HasTak. The dealer room was
> table after table of the same stuff. A mega
> letdown. BBTS the year before had tons of SOC and
> Cms corp stuff; that year very little of it,

Oh yes, one of two sure-fire ways to kill a convention on the long run: Mandate what dealers can sell and limit it to only a small range of products.

The other option being "make it a bureaucratic hell to attend due to all kinds of idiotic limitations imposed on the visitors that are enforced by immediate expulsion", e.g.:
- No pictures allowed whatsoever unless you give us all your personal information and can prove you are part of an official news agency and hand over all the rights to your pictures to us (local anime convention).
- Emailing us with a request for more information must mean you wish to participate. Not replying to our reply will thus mean you are not playing by our undisclosed rules and therefore are banned from this and subsequent conventions (local TF convention).
It seems to me that this has less to do with IP rights than it has with Hasbro/Takara just not getting a piece of the profits from these 3rd part companies. For the most part 3rd company products fill a hole left by Hasbro/Takara so why not "sell" them a license to make it? It seems to me if Hasbro/Takara could get a cut of the profits or some sort of monetary compensation they would have zero problems with 3rd party companies. I know it would cost quite a bit but these companies aren't going away, there haver already been attempts to sue "bootleg" companies based in China and they have failed. So why not work with them instead of trying to get rid of them, in the end the only winner would be Hasbro/Takara while fans would have to go without excellent Transformers and be subjugated to Hasbro/Takara's product development team. If they don't make what we want we will basically have to wait till they do or just go without.

Maybe it's just the fact that some of these 3rd party companies make better Transformers than Hasbro/Takara does.
chen Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

>
> Maybe it's just the fact that some of these 3rd
> party companies make better Transformers than
> Hasbro/Takara does.


No they just make the ones you want
I've been thinking that safety laws and liability probably play a role in all of this. Hasbro can't guarantee that third party toys are manufactured to the same standards as theirs so if they put their name or official approval on them in any way they are exposed to litigation if a child is injured by a third party toy or if a consumer feels unsatisfied or misled by the third party product. I think turning a blind eye to third party toys probably also leaves them uncomfortably exposed to frivolous litigation. I also have a feeling that not much will change at this year's Botcon and the only third party stuff you might not see will be the iGear MP planes and G1 knockoffs sold as originals. I'm pretty convinced that Hasbro can't win and knows they can't win in court over third party original designs that pay homage to Hasbro IP as long as they aren't labeled with Hasbro-owned names (Warbot Defender for example).

--------------------------
I want YOU for Moé Sucks Army



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 03/17/2012 01:00PM by Scopedog.
thomas Wrote:
>
> The other option being "make it a bureaucratic
> hell to attend due to all kinds of idiotic
> limitations imposed on the visitors that are
> enforced by immediate expulsion", e.g.:

damn, your Nederlander fanlords have some serious control issues.

-Paul Segal

"Oh, the anger is never far, never far." -SteveH
Scopedog Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I've been thinking that safety laws and liability
> probably play a role in all of this. Hasbro can't
> guarantee that third party toys are manufactured
> to the same standards as theirs so if they put
> their name or official approval on them in any way
> they are exposed to litigation if a child is
> injured by a third party toy or if a consumer
> feels unsatisfied or misled by the third party
> product. I think turning a blind eye to third
> party toys probably also leaves them uncomfortably
> exposed to frivolous litigation. I also have a
> feeling that not much will change at this year's
> Botcon and the only third party stuff you might
> not see will be the iGear MP planes and G1
> knockoffs sold as originals. I'm pretty convinced
> that Hasbro can't win and knows they can't win in
> court over third party original designs that pay
> homage to Hasbro IP as long as they aren't labeled
> with Hasbro-owned names (Warbot Defender for
> example).

Well personally I think the idea of Hasbro/Takara "sub-contracting" various Transformers lines and properties could work. Obviously Hasbro has to look at the various 3rd party companies and choose the ones that have proven to make quality products. It would also be up to that company to qualify for all safety and QC qualifications or Hasbro could have the power to stop the release or revoke the Transformers license. It's not like Hasbro hasn't let other companies use the Transformers license to make all kinds of different products.

Let's face it 3rd party companies aren't going anywhere so if you can't beat them you might as well put them to work for you. Licensing out Transformers is a great way to let certain companies have freedom to create products for lines no longer in Hasbro's future development plans or in smaller numbers which don't make sense for Hasbro/Takara while satisfying fans plus letting that company cover the development, safety, and production costs while you just take a piece of the profits or charge a annual re-licensing fee. But at the same time it would also limit what they could produce by saying they could work on say G1 or whatever but stay away from the Prime and Movie lines and that all release must meet a standard set by Hasbro/Takara or there will be reprecussions.

I think what most fans want are 3rd party toys made by Takara with Hasbro prices.
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