SMASH bans fanart and exposes members

July 11, 2007

SMASH bans fanart

SMASH appear to have presented a dichotomy for their stallholders by banning unauthorised fanart.

In the Artist Pack they acknowledge and promote that Artists can sell their fanart and fan-merchandise.

Fanart and fan-inspired merchandise is allowed.

But what is fanart and fan-merchandise other than an unlicensed representation of someone else’s copyright? Wikipedia has a brief fanart article which seeks to explain how fanart is in a legal grey area.

Here is my brief interpretation:
1. Does fanart and fan-merch infringe on Copyright.
– Answer: Yes.
2. Can you get away with it?
– Answer: Usually, as long as it is on a small scale and not against a company such as Disney.

However SMASH have seemingly ignored these facts and simply banned all ‘unauthorised products’ (aka fanart):

4.1 For the purposes of this contract a product is referred to as ‘bootleg’ when it is unauthorised by the respective intellectual property rights holder.

Stallholder swindle

Artists and vendors will be shelling out much more to attend SMASH than previously promised.

When SMASH launched earlier this year Artists were promised that they would have a table for free. The prices were then increased after several blog posts until finally the real artist pack was released.

Lo and behold a single artist table is now $40, with the half-table option being $20. At the March Animania event an artist table was $70 per half. On the surface this appears that SMASH is good value but Animania can pretty much guarantee an attendance of over 500 for their “small” event and that they have an inner-city venue. In the end the real value is determined by the quality of the event and the exposure (the number of people attending). If SMASH get over 500 attendees then the artists will be laughing.

Speaking of attendees, you may have noticed SMASH now expectations now exceed (mini) Animania’s:

SMASH! estimates our event will attract 1000 to 2000 attendees

There is no reason given for these new numbers (previously a figure of 500 people was given).

Members exposed

Ok that’s enough blabber about the artists, moving on to other information on their site, from the FAQ:

Q: Is SMASH! Non-Profit?
A: Yes. Smash is legally registered and incorporated as a non-profit organisation.

According to the Australian Business Register (using the ABN supplied by SMASH) they are an Unincorporated Entity. In contrast Manifest is incorporated.

I don’t believe this affects their claim of non-profit, however according to the ABR the contract of an unincorporated entity is not legally enforceable (it is basically just a club). Each member of the SMASH committee is personally liable for all the debts of the association to the extent that the association’s assets are insufficient to cover the debts. This includes any debts arising from compensation claims and personal injuries.

To finish off this post, this was in the Vendor pack (enlarged):

I found it amusing, and it wasn’t really wishful thinking. Madman appears to sponsor just about anything that is anime related in Australia. Madman are now listed as a sponsor on the SMASH site, so SMASH’s wishes have come true?

Artist Pack here (pdf).
Vendor Pack here (pdf)


One comment

  1. You’re a tool. SMASH will be awesome fun, and they will definitely get over 500 attendees.

    Do you really want the con scene to die in Australia? That’s what these logs seem to promise.

    And the reason why they had to raise the artist prices was to help cover the costs of the venue, which are NOT cheap.

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