I am one of the promoters of Vulkon Conventions, and wanted
to take a moment to
clear up a lot of confusion caused by Paramount's recent actions at our recent
These are the facts as they happened: A Lawyer from Paramount,
along with a
Cleveland Police detail, came to our convention on Saturday April 27th at about 1 PM
with several Search Warrants in hand. They were primarily looking for unlicensed
photos, props, and other items they felt might be in violation of their copyrights
and being sold in our vendors room, and to make sure that Vulkon was selling
licensed photos as well. The stories of a massive amount of seized items was
exaggerated, as they left with very little, as Vulkon runs a pretty "clean" show,
and do not knowingly allow the sale of any un-licensed items.
The rumors of them seizing props from patrons was totally
unfounded, as the one
patron who lost a few props, had them for sale at a vendors booth (where he was
hired to help out at for the weekend). Paramount only seized the props because they
were out FOR SALE at that vendors booth. There is absolutely no reason to believe
that Paramount will be confiscating anything a Fan is wearing at any convention, as
long as that item is not offered for sale.
The most disturbing aspects of this "raid" for us (Vulkon), was-
One: the timing of the raid, as it interrupted business
for all the vendors in the vendors room for
almost 3 hours, and according to at least one of our vendors- some of our patrons
were rudely asked to leave the immediate vicinity of the vendors table that was
being "searched" at that time. We (Vulkon) felt that the raid, while totally legal
and within Paramounts legal rights, was badly timed and should have been carried out
before we opened to the public.
Two: the seizure of autographed photos. These
autographed photos although technically un-licensed, were for the most part obtained
directly from the actors themselves over the course of the last 30 years. The most
Ironic thing about this was that the actors were supplied with these images for
years by Paramount itself ! Now Paramount claims that the actors were not supposed
to sell the photos, while the actors all claim that the photos were never sold, they
we're given away free with the autograph. (That makes sense when you remember that the
actors always said that the photo was free with the autograph, and that they did not
give a discount if you supplied your own photo or item to be autographed, as they
said what they were selling was the autograph.)
And Three: This raid (and all the rumors that are going
around about it), has caused a great number of fans to panic, in fear of
having their personal costumes or props confiscated at a convention, as
they had heard about the Cleveland incident and the Fan that had props taken away by
Paramount. This fear has spread quickly and may affect attendance at ALL future
conventions if patrons are in fear of legal action by Paramount, (just for dressing
up as their favorite character),even if the fears are unfounded. Paramount should
know by now, that the Fans would never tolerate having their personal items taken,
and are quick to voice their disaproval. And that the Fans feel that copyrig!
hts or not - Star Trek is their show, and is Paramounts proverbial "Cash Cow" only
because the Fans made it possible (and profitable).
Lastly, we are still left with the dilemma of what to
do about the autographed photo
problem. It seems to me that Paramount needs to really leave this issue alone, as
they have never enforced it before, and should not do so now. They need to instead
establish a rule, where they enforce everything starting at "Enterprise" and
"Nemesis" (to include autographed and non-autographed photos and un-licensed
materials), as that is something recent and easy to police and enforce, and will
thus not potentially alienate thousands upon thousands of fans, and cause financial
hardships for hundreds of vendors and actors.
That's basically it. No More, No less. And be aware that
Paramount plans to do this
again at a long list of upcoming conventions.
This is insane. Paramount sucks! - Ed.