After a report published by Outhouse contributor Linwood Earl Knight went viral this morning, everyone has been talking about the cosplay pillows being sold at AnimeNext last weekend and whether or not the pillow were being sold with the consent of the cosplayers pictured on them. We recieved an email from Eric of 2 Image Solutions explaining his side of the story, and we have obtained permission to reprint his email (with some names removed) below. Eric believes he is both legally and morally in the right, and refutes rumors that the pillows are "sex pillows," claiming that they are 12" x 8" and do not picture the cosplayers in overtly sexual positions. Eric says that he successfully resolved one of three known complaints by agreeing to remove the pillows for a particular cosplayer from sale, though he asked us to redact that cosplayer's name from the email.
In addition, The Outhouse has been provided with copies of 93 signed releases, and although we will not publish those because they contain the signatures, photos, and email addresses of various cosplayers, we will say that the digital package contained a signed release from the cosplayer mentioned above, though it did not include releases from the other two mentioned in the first article (though it was not presented as a complete package of all releases). We will print the text of the release at the bottom of this article so that our readers can make their own judgment.
These sounds like a great chance to explain any confusion might have occurred. If I may explain as I understand the disagreements. Cosplays which I have photographed were upset about their images being reproduced upon pillows. They believed that I do not have the reproduction right or they felt uncomfortable about have their image upon a pillow. This can be viewed in two ways, legally and morally. With that being said, I will provide my model releases for AnimeNext 2012. I request you contact them if you wish to use their name in any future stories.
Legally, I do have the right to reproduction right. Please download this attachment.() The first paragraph states “For Consideration herein acknowledged as received, and by signing this release I hereby give the Photographer / Filmmaker and Assigns my permission to license the Content and to use the Content in any Media for any purpose (except pornographic or defamatory) which may include, among others, advertising, promotion, marketing and packaging for any product or service.” And then they sign. I even try to communicate that it is a model release and provide examples like I would like to post it to Deviantart or other products. I try to communicate the information but I have very few seconds. Most of the time, people are not listen to me and sign no matter how hard I try to communicate the information. I am rather sorry that they insist that I am legally overstepping my bounds.
Morally, this is a slippery slope but one that I do not think I have done anything wrong or immoral. I understand cosplayers are concern with the art form as not being taken seriously. I do take the art form more serious than most. I want to showcase their designs in ways never thought possible with the 3D 360 degree pictorials. I provide a completely free of charge cool product and they sign a model release. I understand the concern with what people are doing with the pillows after going home but I am not making love pillows. I am making small keepsakes so that the concept of real life superheroes can be propagated outside the convention complex. I will fully admit that I did not understand the backlash of trying to push the art form to the next level. I thought the cosplayer would be honored to have their images on prints and pillows. I mean they pose for photos from numerous photographer and they do it for fun and to get their image/ name out there in the world. I never try to associate their real name with any products to try to protect them from any backlash they may perceive but they should be celebrated. Any and all monetary gain goes to just make a location so that I can provide free 3D 360 degree photos for convention attendees (dress or not).
I was aware of three possible cosplayers which were not happy. I can only speak of one resolved issue at this time. I met with [NAME REDACTED] and I guess her boyfriend at AnimeNext. He contested that I did not have reproduction right and wanted to see the contact. I personally welcomed him into my booth and showed him the model release. [NAME REDACTED] fully admitted to signing the release. As further proof, please see page 38 AnimeNext Releases. After talking a bit longer, I understood that she was uncomfortable with her image on a pillow but was OK with her image on an 8-view print. I told her that I understood and would remove her pillows and she seemed satisfied with the outcome. I even provided her with one of her own pillows which she seemed please.
I was rather hoping to communicate with the other cosplayers to find out if they truly had an issue and how I might resolve it. Give the fact, that it has not been 24 hours, I have not had a chance to contact them.
Please keep in mind, these pillows are 12 by 8 inches with two to three inches of stuffing. These are designed for pretty keepsakes from the convention and do not show any cosplayer in any compromising position(s) or any awkward/ overly sexualized positions. In comparison to other photographers, these are quite tame.
I will not be returning to AnimeNext next year which you may have heard. I would like to take a moment to address that. As you may contact AnimeNext dealers to confirm these fact and I highly encourage you to do the background checking. AnimeNext contacted me with concerns that I was selling images without model releases. I provide proof of model releases which satisfied their interested. There is a separate issue that needed addressing. Not known to me nor the AnimeNext dealers, another photographer had signed a multiyear noncompeting exclusive agreement with AnimeNext for photographing right. I understood and acquiesced to not attend next year. The cosplay photography contract dispute and this cosplay rights issue are not related events.
I am rather hoping you will look into these statements and provide a fair report. I do not wish to exploit cosplayer but rather with to help them and bring favorable light to their cause.
Here is the text of the release that Eric claims all cosplayers sign before he photographs them. We were provided with 93 of these, though only one of the cosplayers named in the original article was included in this packet. That being said, the packet was not promoted as being all-encompassing. The releases in the packet appeared to be from about a year ago.
2 Image Solutions
For Consideration herein acknowledged as received, and by signing this release I hereby give the Photographer / Filmmaker and Assigns my permission to license the Content and to use the Content in any Media for any purpose (except pornographic or defamatory) which may include, among others, advertising, promotion, marketing and packaging for any product or service. I agree that the Content may be combined with other images, text, graphics, film, audio, audio- visual works; and may be cropped, altered or modified. I acknowledge and agree that I have consented to publication of my ethnicity(ies) as indicated below, but understand that other ethnicities may be associated with me by the Photographer / Filmmaker and / or Assigns for descriptive purposes.
I agree that I have no rights to the Content, and all rights to the Content belong to the Photographer / Filmmaker and Assigns. I acknowledge and agree that I have no further right to additional consideration or accounting, and that I will make no further claim for any reason to Photographer / Filmmaker and / or Assigns. I acknowledge and agree that this release is binding upon my heirs and assigns. I agree that this release is irrevocable, worldwide and perpetual, and will be governed by the laws (excluding the law of conflicts) of the country/state from the following list that is nearest to the address of the Model (or Parent*) given opposite: New York, Alberta, England, Australia and New Zealand.
It is agreed that my personal information will not be made publicly available but may only be used directly in relation to the licensing of the Content where necessary (e.g. to defend claims, protect rights or notify trade unions) and may be retained as long as necessary to fulfill this purpose, including by being shared with sub-licensees / assignees of the Photographer / Filmmaker and transferred to countries with differing data protection and privacy laws where it may be stored, accessed and used. I represent and warrant that I am at least 18 years of age and have the full legal capacity to execute this release.
Definitions: “ASSIGNS” means a person or any company to whom Photographer/Filmmaker has assigned or licensed rights under this release as well as the licensees of any such person or company. “CONSIDERATION” means $1 or something else of value I have received in exchange for the rights granted by me in this release. “CONTENT” means all photographs, film, audio, or other recording, still or moving, taken of me as part of the Shoot. “MEDIA” means all media including digital, electronic, print, television, film, radio and other media now known or to be invented. “MODEL” means me and includes my appearance, likeness and voice. “PARENT” means the parent and/or legal guardian of the Model. Parent and Model are referred to together as “I” and “me” in this release, as the context dictates. “PHOTOGRAPHER / FILMMAKER” means photographer, illustrator, filmmaker or cinematographer, or any other person or entity photographing or recording me. “SHOOT” means the photographic, film or recording session described in this form.
We will continue to report on this story as more facts become available. If you have any information you would like to contribute, please contact us on our Facebook Page.
UPDATE: 2 Images has since decided to pull the pillows.