Bootlegged merchandise can usually be found at almost any convention. Someone thinks that they can bypass a companies trademark in order to make a few bucks off a popular item. What they don't relize is the companies are watching for this. Typically, once discovered and reported, a copyright holder will ask that those selling the merchandise be kicked out of the venue they are selling at. But what happens when that venue ignores this request? What happens when a blind eye is turned to these underhanded dealings? Funimation has shown what happens, you go to court.
Funimation, on February 28, 2013, has filed a lawsuit against Miller Isaiah Timmons and 1 - 10 John Does. Timmons runs a a company called Think Art Media and Animeland. Yes, the very same Animeland that did Animeland Wasabi just this past weekend here in Denver, CO.
Funimation is requesting statutory damages up to $150,000, delivery of all infringing merchandise at Timmons' expense, attorney fees and other associated costs. ANN (where I got the story) reached out to the Funimation legal department and got the following:
Sales of unlicensed and counterfeit goods happen at almost every convention. Sometimes convention management is extremely proactive in preventing this. Other times, we have to get involved and be rather demanding about compliance. With Animeland, even the fans and dealers were reporting infringement to convention staff, but the head of the convention refused to do anything whatsoever to remedy the problem. That's where we have to draw the line.
And there you have it. I hate to see things like this happen, but if we want anime to stay around and not die this is the stance companies have to take. That is why other cons are hard handed when it comes to boot legged items. They are not only protecting themselves, but they are protecting what we love. Our Anime.