Show #019c – The 2006 Otakon Artist’s Alley Debacle and Thoughts on the Issue of “Fanart”, Part 3

Show #019c Direct Download:

Music: “Young, Dumb & Ugly” by Weird Al, from the 1993 album “Alapalooza”. You can get the whole song and album in the iTunes store. Alapalooza was one of the first CDs I ever owned. Many of the songs parodied on the album will probably fly right over the heads of our youngest listeners. There’s a very funny clip of this song and Akira in AMV Hell 3

Vocab:    Sycophants, Sycophantic

Special Note: I am so sick of this episode by now. It no longer even seems relevant. According to this ANN poll, most people don’t even care about Artist’s Alley at all. In fact, it’s a depressing poll, where the majority of people answering it haven’t been to cons, and most people taking the survey preferred meeting American voice actors to meeting Japanese creators, or even Japanese voice actors!

Here’s the first ever Fan Art me and Noah got of ourselves by Zelda Girl 4:

Alison still has not drawn Vash the Stampede and InuYasha riding a Chocobo. I’m encouraging all of our listeners to draw it, and we’ll put up a gallery later. Maybe I’ll make a mini-comic of just sketches of Vash and Inuyasha riding a Chocobo. Under current Otakon rules that would be allowed in unlimited quantity, if it was a booklet. Putting it on T-shirts or buttons wouldn’t fly, but we could sell 25 posters of it.


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8 Responses to Show #019c – The 2006 Otakon Artist’s Alley Debacle and Thoughts on the Issue of “Fanart”, Part 3

  1. I think this conversation would’ve been better served by putting out a longer show instead of more frequent shorter segments. I think the multi-part nature of it makes the arguments seem a little less compelling, because even though I know it was probably recorded all at once, the perception is that it’s something that took forever to be said. I can see the audience wondering “All right geez, haven’t you guys gotten over this yet?”

    That being said, that poll is indeed depressing. I want to punch people who prefer American voice actors to Japanese voice actors or creators. It’s probably because they listen mostly to dubs or watch anime on Cartoon Network.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, Pretty Much

    I have to agree with the above poster. Having this discussion stretch out for three or four posts, my overall response was, “All right, I get it. You made your point.” I’m a relatively new listener, and I have to say that, while I understand fan art is obviously a passionate topic for you, the end result was exceptionally, well, shrill and a tad juvenile. It went around in circles, with the same things being said over and over. Your opinion would have been better served by a single 20 minute segment and a more structured, orderly approach to expressing your thoughts. As it is, you sounded even less coherent and more hysterical than the woman who was making you so mad, and that made the show(s) difficult to finish.

    But I have listened to several back episodes that were much more enjoyable. I look forward to this whole Artist Alley rant being being wrapped up. Sorry if this whole post seem sort of dickish.

    • Re: Yeah, Pretty Much

      Pfft… that wasn’t much of a rant!

      But yeah, I’m sick of this discussion, too. There was more, but I’m just going to scrap it. You’ve only had to listen to the episodes once… I’ve had to listen to them several times each to edit them, and I also read all of the forum threads pertaining to the conversation already, too… yeesh.

      Still, it’s not our worst set of episodes. Also you didn’t have to invent a word to describe how annoyed you were, like a commenter a couple of episodes ago.

  3. cchan5000 says:

    Yay for disjointed ramblings.

    InuYasha, Vash and a Chocobo. %*$#@! brilliance. That section had me rolling while I was listening on the train yesterday. Did you all actually draw the picture? Go for the acetate version! Do it! If I thought that I could get a decent picture done in time for AB I’d draw one for you. I may just do it anyways. We’ll just have to wait for this silly little annoyance called school to finish up first.

    When I go to a con my big draw is creators (mainly Japanese, but also American companies) and live bands. I’m not big into the cosplay or American VA worship. There are a few small American doujin creators out there, so whenever I see them I normally buy a copy of their book in artists alley, and I think that is a good thing to do. At the last con I went to (Anime Destiny) I picked up three. One original, one mixed-bag type, and one Gundam Seed. They are out there, but it is no where near the level of the Japanese market (obviously). Why? That is is a good question. Lack of time (my problem) or ambition??

    As far as show lengths go…perhaps keep one thread down to a max of two 40 minute shows? I know how it is to look at/listen to one thing over and over again so I feel your pain Erin. It gets a little annoying even if you absolutely love it. Anywho, keep up the good fight.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Enough, but not without value

    Hey, to ninjas and ninja friends alike.

    I agree that the discussion no longer feels timely, but I enjoyed listening to this episode, and felt that it was an attempt to further articulate a set of values or principles that have been bubbling up since the first episode: the theme of the importance of community and some ill effects (attributable to short-sightedness) on that community, or on the art forms that served as the original impetus for the creation of that community.

    Fansubbing had a multi-part show, and this issue can be analyzed along some similar lines, e.g. copyright law in the US is not aligned with healthy market behavior (fan products tend to foster interest in the community, which is essentially market-building behavior), but the “Artist’s Alley” episode raised additional dimensions for analysis, which were included in this episode (appropriate community behavior, particularly of community leaders) that have been a mainstay of the show.

    One way or the other, keep the episodes coming.

    • Re: Enough, but not without value

      Good lord, that’s much more articulate than our average feedback! Thanks for the support!

      This set of shows was among the most-hated set of episodes we’ve done, but I have heard feedback from a lot of people that was positive – they hadn’t really considered the value of Artist Alley or had never been to one before – but still found our argument interesting, at least for the first hour or so.

      Our next show is going to be about the new season of anime, and what we’re currently watching.

      • Anonymous says:

        Re: Enough, but not without value

        Plagiarism and fan art are more or less lumped together by US copyright laws, which isn’t really fair. At the same time, “the artists don’t mind” has become a null argument because, unfortunately, it’s usually not up to the artist. When you create a professional work, unless you are exceptionally powerful (and very very few artists are), that work becomes the property of whoever paid you to create it. Thus, what happens with it legally doesn’t have anything to do with the wishes of the artists. This happens with music all the time, among other things.

        I think the underlying premise of the Ninja Consultants stance — which, if I understand correctly, isn’t even about “should there be fan art aloud” as much as it was a grievance about the wishy-washy and unclear statement of the policy, followed by a somewhat petulant back-pedaling and defense on the part of the PR folks — is valid. Not being a con attendee (except on very rare occasions) and having no interest in fan art, fan fic, cosplay, etc — it’ snot really a topic near and dear to my heart. Otakon should have stated plainly, “This will not be allowed,” and when people complained and asked why, they should have answered honestly: we don’t want Toho to sue us (or whoever).

        Trying to make it an issue of artist feelings smacked of dishonesty not unlike when American newspapers said they weren’t running controversial Mohommed cartoons “due to sensitivity for our Muslim readers,” when the honest reason was, “We’re afraid someone will kill us.” There are certain studios with storied records of sending reps to conventions, taking note of the licensing violations, and then suing the offending vendor and the con organizers (Toho, again, is pretty notorious for this). I think any con that admits freely, “Look, these people have deep pockets, we don’t and we really don’t want to get sued for a couple million dollars,” would be in an understandable position for most people. And this suing happens even when the original artist is standing on the sidelines shouting, “I don’t mind that they’re using my characters!”

        My own personal opinion is that in a nice world, you really wouldn’t be allowed to use the characters and creations of another artist for your own commercial or financial gain except in those instances when there is a verifiable public record of the artist saying, “No really, it’s cool with me.” On the flip side, I don’t consider it much of an issue, because it’s not like the people who buy fan art creations are buying them INSTEAD of something original. From what I’ve seen, people who buy bootleg shirts or paintings or comic books or whatever are equally committed to purchasing licensed products. Anime fans are nothing if not voracious consumers, and this is what makes the whole fan art debate different than, say, bootleg DVDs or fan subs, where there is a greater chance that purchasing a bootleg negatively impacts your likelihood of buying the legit release.

        It’s also different from plagiarism in that I doubt anyone in an artist alley is trying to pull something like, “Oh yes, this is my original creation. I call him Naruto.” As a writer who has seen his work plagiarized, I can recognize the huge gulf between using someone else’s work and “using” someone else’s work. It’s not like the average fan artist is trying to “steal” ownership of a particular character. It’s not comparable to erasing an author’s name from a piece and putting your own in its place.

        Maybe the best way to handle this is simply to offer fan art of fan artists.

        So yeah, not much point to this, but I just had the thoughts in my head. Now back to writing my Overfiend-Love Hina crossover story…

  5. Re: wtf?

    Um… No?

    It was recorded at the same time as the other parts of the same discussion. So no, no one was drunk.

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