Just when you think we, as a geeky, nerdy culture have started making some strides in raising awareness about Cosplay not equaling Consent, this pops up its ugly head. At this year’s AnimeNext convention some Internet popular Cosplayers got a shocking surprise when they and their friends walking around the dealer’s room found 2 Image Solutions selling full body pillows with Cosplayers likenesses on the front and back.
One side with the front picture seen above and the other side with . . . their backsides. If you haven’t read about these “Body pillows” it’s one of those Japanese things that borders the line between everyone’s personal freedom to do what you want with that creepy overtly sexual thing someone is doing with a pillow featuring the likeness of a sexy anime character. Some guy actually tried to marry one of these things.
Imagine how you would feel finding your image on one of these pillows or some other borderline sexual item. I’d hope you were as outraged as many of those Cosplayers whose image was used without their express permission.
The Superman cosplayer pictured above, Dustin Dorough, went on record on Facebook to say:
“Whoa… I DEFINITELY did not give permission for this.”
“I never signed any sort of release for any products or prints. I’ve only done photoshoots with 4 photographers and never in this suit. This pillow is a random convention candid from Dragon*Con.”
Another of those involved, Marie Grey, who Cosplays Phoenix pictured above, wrote about her experience over the weekend in her new blog, The Grey Point. It’s an interesting read worth clicking over to read the entire post. The short story is that after some discussion and back and forth between the Cosplayers, AnimeNEXT Officials, and 2 Image Solutions, the following solution was determined.
EDIT 8:02 PM: At this time, 2 Image Solutions has agreed to change their policy and will no longer be selling posters, prints, pillows, stickers and other materials of cosplayers unless the individual cosplayer requests the products themselves. Thank you, Eric, for listening to us and following our wishes! For a reference to his new policy, please go here.
Now this is just one case that ended well. The bad news in this story is that pillows were already sold with Cosplayers images and can’t be gotten back. As we all know there are shady dealers at every convention. Just check for a video or DVD booth and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Some art print dealers and “artists” have also been discovered selling pirated copies of comic book artists work to which they have secured no legal rights to.
Vigilance is needed by all of us to stamp out this before it becomes a trend. My main concern is that those selling these images should have the Cosplayers permission or signed rights. If you as the Cosplayer are OK with it then fine, but no one should use your image in such a manner without your consent.