Posts tagged Florida Anime
I have been getting questions regarding the challenges that the team at Wasabi Anime recently ran into regarding coming up with a name for our new 2011 anime convention in Florida. You see, I’ve always been VERY vocal about showing respect to the others in the fan convention community who have been doing this longer than myself and, through their work, set the groundwork for many of today’s fandom events. So when we were working on a new name for our convention, we wanted something that would effectively brand our show without infringing on other local convention names.
It would be an anime convention.
It would be in Florida.
Thus we knew we wanted Florida Anime in the title.
Florida (and nearby in Georgia) had already saturated the market with a variety of event titles, so finding one unique to our region was going to be a challenge. There are dozens of “cons”; there’s a nearby “Festival”; there’s a “Weekend” up the road; for years there was a “Show”; Thus we found ourselves limited. The only two labels that seemed untouched (that we liked) in the Florida region were “Expo” and “Experience.” We never expected the first one to stick… but it never hurts to ask. Here are the facts, in order, of what happened:
- We contacted the SPJA (Society for Promotion of Japanese Animation) in April of this year via email asking permission to use the name “The Florida Anime Expo”
- After not hearing back (and after getting a couple of bounced emails) we tried to resend the email again via alternate email addresses… in case our first one was getting blocked as “spam” from an unusual domain (greenmustard.com)
- After still not hearing back, we contacted Brian Raker from the SPJA asking for help getting our request sent. We found his email address via the ACML (the anime convention managers) mailing list. Brian stated he passed the information along to the SPJA/Anime Expo marketing department.
- A month later (the end of May) we still had not heard anything back. We emailed Brain requesting follow up… and didn’t hear back from him again, either.
- After the summer, we began production work on the new convention. Since we had not heard back via email, we sent a letter via Fedex (with signature confirmation) to the SPJA stating that if we didn’t hear back from them, we were going to assume that they were giving their consent on the name.
- A few days later, I receive an email from Robert Retana, a named partner at Oliver, Sabec & Retana P.C. The attachment in the email was a Cease & Desist stating that Green Mustard Entertainment, Inc. could not use the name “The Florida Anime Expo.”
- I replied back the next day stating we would not use the name and would instead use the name “The Florida Anime Experience.”
- Soon after, I received (via email) ANOTHER Cease & Desist stating that Green Mustard Entertainment, Inc. could not use the name “The Florida Anime Experience” because is was “confusingly similar” to the names and trademarks held by the SPJA.
- I found this somewhat confusing since the Erie Anime Experience has been running successfully since 2007 without (to my knowledge) any protest from the SPJA. I emailed the ACML asking if my perception was off and if anyone else felt that the two names would be in conflict.
- It is interesting to note that one of the replies to my email to the ACML was from Jacqueline Miller, the con chair at Erie Anime Experience. She stated she saw no conflict the “The Florida Anime Experience” and “Erie Anime Experience” both existing. She also stated that when the Erie Anime Experience changed their name in 2007 (from ErieCon), they also tried the name “Erie Anime Expo.” The SPJA contacted them and asked them not to use “Expo” – so they instead used “Experience” and have done so for the past three years.
- Immediately after sending the initial email to the ACML, I emailed Marc Perez, the acting CEO of the SPJA and Chairman of the Board of Directors conveying what his representation was stating about using “The Florida Anime Experience.” In the email, I included my cell phone number.
- That night, I got a call from Marc. He came off as a really nice guy and we discussed anime conventions and fandom for a bit. At the end of the call, Marc said he felt that there wasn’t really a conflict with the names “Anime Expo” and “The Florida Anime Experience”. Since it was Friday night, he planned to talk to the SPJA board over the weekend and he’d try to get an answer back to me in a couple of days. His expectation was that it would be okay, but I would have to sign something from the SPJA’s attorney agreeing to a couple of terms when using the name.
- As of end of business on Monday, I had not heard anything back from Marc – so I contacted him again seeking some follow up.
- On Tuesday morning, I got an email from Marc stating that we could go ahead and use “The Florida Anime Experience” as the event’s name. He would have his attorney send a document for me to sign with three stipulations. I emailed him stating concern with one of the stipulations and the fact that I was under a time constraint to reply to his attorney by the end of the day (per the earlier Cease & Desist).
- I got a voice mail (I missed the call) soon after from Marc. In it he pointed out that I shouldn’t worry about the time constraint with replying to the attorney since he had copied the attorney on the email that he (Marc) had sent me. I went back to look at my inbox and, sure enough, Mr. Retana was cc’d. Marc also stated (in the message) that he would call me later that day to talk about it more.
- The phone call never came… instead, I received an email from the attorney stating that I should not have contacted Marc directly and that he was reviewing the emails he and I had exchanged. The email from Mr. Retana also stated I had another 48 hours to reply to the Cease & Desist.
- A couple of days later, I received the third Cease & Desist. This one made it abundantly clear that Mr. Retana and the SPJA still felt that “The Florida Anime Experience” was “confusingly similar” to “Anime Expo”. Thus, we were suddenly NOT allowed to use it again.
- I replied back stating that we did not agree with the alleged “confusing similarity” in names, but we would comply in good faith and not use “The Florida Anime Experience.” We also stated in the letter that we would be watching events with similar names to ours that we proposed with interest. The intent of doing this was to see how consistent the firm would be in the application of its enforcement.
- Thus the event was dubbed “Florida Anime” – not our favorite choice for a name, but a viable one just the same.
- A week later, an email showed up in my inbox via the ACML from Jacqueline Miller from the Erie Anime Experience. Immediately, I thought of the something I conveyed to Marc in one of our emails…
The PR issue you’re dealing with is the fact that Anime Expo has stepped into a slippery slope. If I/Green Mustard Entertainment, Inc. have to sign a document stating we can use a name with your consent based on stipulations, are you going to do this to ALL the other similarly named events?
- It seemed that the SJPA’s law firm had touched their skis to the slope, and things were sliding fast. A number of anime convention chairs, managers and owners were now being very vocal about the situation – some to the point of belligerence. A story about it even showed up on The Convention Fans blog.
- With the pressure building, cooler heads began to prevail. A couple of days later, another email from Jacqueline showed up stating that she had spoken to Marc and the SPJA’s attorney’s stating they could continue to use their name: Erie Anime Experience.
- I can only assume that Marc had spoken to the SPJA’s law firm and conveyed that the good of aggressively projecting AX’s name was being outweighed by the negative effects on the the SPJA/AX’s relationships with the other fan conventions and the anime fan community as a whole.
The final result? I got an email late Friday night from Brooke Oliver, the senior named parter at Oliver, Sabec & Retana P.C. In the letter, the firm conceded that they “may have been overly restrictive with respect to use of the term EXPERIENCE.” Thus, our event will be known as (again) The Florida Anime Experience.
Are the lawyers “evil” for sending all of the C&D letters? I don’t think so. I tend to be a “glass if half full” kind of guy. Their actions, though, reminded me a quote from Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity. I’ve paraphrased it a bit to apply to this circumstance:
[A Lawyer, when representing us,] is our immune system. If it overreacts to everything, we eventually get sicker.
In closing: I’d like it known that there is NO ILL WILL towards the firm, the SJPA, Anime Expo and Marc Perez. My friend Joey Snackpants regularly reminds me that everyone can make a mistake… but it’s the intent behind the mistake that defines the people making them. I feel safe in saying that Marc and the AX staff didn’t intend make things more difficult for other anime conventions and the folks who run them; and their actions in the end have (in my eyes) proven that they really want to help “promote Japanese animation.”
Wow… Fujikoma’s “Halo Fourteen” (aka DigitalShin) locked the “Wasabi Anime” topic in their forum while I was halfway done writing the response to Dade’s sacrificial rantings. Thank God I copy and paste before I post.
Okay… lightning round. Short answers to things said:
You’ve won, Tom. I won’t be coming to AFO.
No, Dade… you’ve lost. Your limiting yourself to not going to events because I’m not there is foolish and sad. You SHOULD be a part of Florida Anime. You SHOULD come to AFO. Your prejudices are ruining your life… not me.
…will the good times I have at AFO offset the amount of grief that you and your friends are gonna give me and my friends?
All imagined as usual. You were the one complaining about Wasabi Anime and made threats to folks: “…if you know that you’re not one of my favorite people, stay out of my way at AFO. I will completely and utterly bury you. “
Regardless of that, no one intends to give anyone grief. We don’t “blacklist” people for being friends with other people that don’t get along. That was yours and Fred’s policy during you regime at AGA… hence why I stepped away.
You’re posting here as Wasabi Anime and your LJ is Wasabi Guy. And in your super secret emergency meeting the other night, YOU called the shots.
I founded Wasabi Anime… hence I use the screen name and moniker for forums.
I used “Wasabi Guy” because Shannon picked “Wasabi Girl.”
“Super Secret Emergency Meeting?!” Ha! It was no secret… but it WAS an emergency! We had gotten confirmation on events back from AFO4 (which is a week and a half out) and had to finalize plans for YasumiCon this weekend (which we are also hosting events for.) I called the meeting because I had gotten the e-mail from AGA. Had Ryan (the Wasabi President) or Ken (one of the advisors) gotten the info first, they would have called the meeting before me. The goal of Wasabi Anime was never to be “my club.” It was to create a club run by Florida’s anime fans to help improve the community. Though I am instrumental in every decision to date, I’ve been working myself more and more out of the equation for this purpose.
I DO know what I’m talking about because as a founder of AFO I had way more power…
And yet, you did so little while there… That was the difference, Dade. For you it was “power.” For me, it was about putting on a damn good event.
what a friend you are to willingly sacrifice your own friends for your own cause.
Again… you miss the point. As much of an asshole as I can be from time to time, the people (and friends) who stood up to your remarks were doing so because of what you said about Wasabi Anime. It’s a great organization and will continue to be so. I feel VERY confident in saying that if someone had talked shit about FUJIKOMA and it got back here, the exact same thing would happen. It’s belief in an idea and support of friends, Dade – not “sacrifice.”
Shojo Jojo… Sorry, I know you wanted to use that as an ace up your sleeve, but you’ll have to do better.
Nope. Never brought it up. Never was going to bring it up. Never knew you two had issues. You really are dizzying at times…
Don’t be so suprised that I know about all of your secret meetings and actions at Metrocon.
You and this X-Files mentality?!!! I don’t get it! There were no SECRET MEETINGS Mulder. 100% public. We’ve had meetings with EVERY convention group! JACON, Anime Express, FITCON… you name it. There is no “Wasabi Conspiracy” (though what the hell is the “Cosplay Conspiracy?”)
You see, little boy…
Dade, quit with the old man shit. We’re less than nine months apart.
I have friends watching your moves when you think you’re most secure in your inner circle.
JESUS CHRIST! You really DO think that this is the X-Files. I am always secure in my inner circle Dade… simply put because I, and Wasabi Anime, have nothing to hide. No alterior motive. No secret agenda. Nada. Keep digging all you want; we’re not hiding any UFOs or aliens.
I will be able to hug Nicole as I once did…
I’ll pass on the sentiment when I see her.
pat Ken Ken on the back as I once did…
Oh, Shit… I know he’s going to see that quote. (Gonna have to start calling him “Ken Ken.” He’ll love that.
(you even had Lindsay convinced Fred was some kind of evil mastermind for a while, but she was too smart for you)
Fred has a two face issue with me. I don’t hate him… I just disrespect him for his poor decisions and poor decision making ability. Budget? Anyone?
So this is another reason why I won’t be attending AFO. I don’t want these guys to have to be put on the firing line because of me.
No… you’re not attending AFO for the same reason you won’t be a part of Florida Anime. Prejudice. Not fear for friends (which is just paranoid dillusion).
If you’re still with me, and I doubt that you are, because I have a felling that you’re reading this in a manner that allows you to respond sentance by sentance
Still here. I read things close enough as to not misquote people (ahem.) And to avoid misspellings like “felling”. (Though I’m positive that my reply is riddled with typos, too.)
But what would be the point… Can you please be at least that much of a gentleman?
That whole paragraph needs the worlds smalled violin playing to it. You’re no martyr Dade, so quit trying to act like one. No one’s “targeting” anyone.
I stepped foot in here to ask why I was being banned from a party that I hadn’t even heard about to begin with.
I’m not fond of hateful actions for “hate”‘s sake. If Fujikoma had the intention of keeping me out of a party (again, which I really didn’t even know about or had planned to go to) based on heresy and rumour… then that’s just sad. I’ve never spoken ill of your group, and I’ve made sure that Wasabi Anime has always followed suite.
DADE: If you don’t go to AFO then you’re not just hurting yourself with your stupidity, but also hurting your friends who (as you have stated) are coming so far for the convention. The same exact way you’ve hurt the folks at Florida Anime…
GROW PAST YOUR INSECURITIES AND PREJUDICES.
Dade has now deleted ALL the posts he put up in an attempt to “move on” from this all. I would respect that more if there weren’t a couple of missing and mis-used elements to it all. Three things:
1. An apology for his harsh words about Wasabi Anime of Florida should be in his post somewhere. (I could care less what he thinks of me, but attacking a group without proper provocation is just sad.)
2. His attempts to misquote things he has deleted to attempt to make himself seem to look better. Here’s the facts, folks, pure and simple:
*** EXHIBIT A ***
DADE: “I mean, Tom is actually telling me I’m Hitler because I drive a VW! Now, really, people, you’ve gotta admit that was a pretty funny line that’ll have you scratching your head. Yes, even you, Tom!”
Actual Tom quote that Dade deleted:
“…INCLUDING the resurrection of Florida Anime which is a wonderful online community. It’s sad that you won’t be a part of them Dade because I was part of bringing them back. They speak highly of you… Maybe you should stop driving a Volkswagen since HITLER started the company. Same logic.”
Hmmm… never called you Hitler. Statement seems clear enough. Only one scratching their head in this circumstance is anyone reading this and is wondering how you could have misconstrued that so grotesquely.
*** EXHIBIT B ***
DADE: “I mean honestly, people, now that it’s a new day, don’t any of you feel the slightest bit silly for chasing around someone who was supposedly washed up and a has-been while blindly defending your friend?”
(Too much stuff to quote on this one. See my last entry for the complete deleted conversation… thanks Heather)
Actually, most of them were defending your harsh words about Wasabi Anime of Florida, Dade, not me. Those that DID come to my defense are an amazing breed of people that we normal folk call “friends.”
So should the fans feel silly for defending Wasabi, and should my friends feel silly for defending me? ABSOLUTELY NOT. Gary (being good people, and a friend of yours) did no less for you the situation.
*** EXHIBIT C ***
DADE: “I maintain that you would all probably like me in real life, because that’s how it always is.”
How could they not with such charming comments as:
DADE: “I am bouncer, enforced by Mappy himself when we talked on the phone a couple days ago, so I will make sure that at least ONE portion of anime in FL will be sans Tom Croom.”
DADE: “And if anyone of you even DARES to defend TOM’s shit, I’ll flatten you.”
DADE: “Then shut the fuck up!”
DADE: “And while I’m on the subject, if you know that you’re not one of my favorite people, stay out of my way at AFO. I will completely and utterly bury you.”
…just to name a few. I’m sure that many people WOULD have gotten along with you in the Wasabi circles. They are great people, and when you’re not being so pigheaded, you have some valid views on anime and the genre. The problem is you can never admit to a mistake and be a man about it. You couldn’t do it at AFO2, and your trying to obscure the facts now to worm out of it this time.
3. This comment:
DADE: To my credit, you can’t accuse me of being full of myself if *I* didn’t think anybody would read this outside of my friends. In a sense, I have to thank you all for making me feel kind of important. Because it showed me that even after leaving fandom, apparently people *do* still pay attention to what I say and I haven’t been relegated to ignore status.
Dade still didn’t get it… this wasn’t about you. It was about the club you chastised. You really aren’t that important.
Thus we close the curtain on the show, boys and girls.
Look at the clock: