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August 8 - August 10, 2014
Baltimore Convention Center
Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Home  //  Dealers & Industry  //  Dealers Room: Policies
Dealers Room: Policies

Otakon Dealer's Room Policies

Adult Materials Policy

Otakon is a family event; therefore we ask that exhibitors, particularly those with adult merchandise, please keep this in mind when setting up. The acceptability of displays of adult material is at the sole discretion of the Dealer's Room Coordinators; failure to comply with warnings may result in removal from the Dealer's Room and forfeiture of all fees.

Any materials that are sexually explicit, extremely graphically violent, or otherwise unsuitable for children MUST be displayed in a manner that keeps kids from seeing them. If we see it out in the open, or receive complaints, we will remind you about our adult materials policy ONCE. If you sell inappropriate materials to minors, we will evict you.

Weapons Sales Policy

Otakorp, Inc. neither condones nor prohibits sales of weapons. However, attendees must comply with the weapons policy posted on our website, which prohibits them from carrying live steel, functional guns, or other dangerous items including nunchaku. If it is illegal in the city of Baltimore and/or the state of Maryland it is illegal inside the BCC. Illegal weapons will be reported to the appropriate authorities. We do ask that dealers selling these items take extra care in the design and positioning of their displays to ensure there is no mishandling of merchandise. The Dealer's Room Coordinators may require items be removed from sale if there is an apparent danger to attendees, dealers, or merchandise.

Upon selling any weapon, dealers are required to package it securely and advise the purchaser that opening the package within the BCC is prohibited and advise individual purchasers at the time of purchase to deposit their purchase in their hotel room or other secure location off the convention premises as soon as possible. Any violation of this rule will be followed by a SINGLE warning.

Any dealer selling weapons is required to post these rules in no less than three visible locations in the booth including point of sale:

  1. All purchased weapons must be packaged in a box that is securely taped shut at the time of purchase.
  2. Individuals purchasing weapons must be advised by the dealer at the time of purchase to deposit their purchases in their hotel room or other secure location off the convention premises as soon as possible.
  3. You can find the Otakon Weapons Policy on Otakon's website: http://www.otakon.com/policies. asp#weapons

Airsoft guns may be sold in the Dealer's Room in accordance with applicable laws as well as the following Otakorp, Inc. policies:

  1. All purchased Airsoft guns must be packaged in a box that is securely taped shut at the time of purchase.
  2. Individuals purchasing Airsoft guns must be advised by the dealer at the time of purchase to deposit their purchases in their hotel room or other secure location off the convention premises as soon as possible.
  3. Airsoft guns that are plastic and have an orange tip are subject to Rule 2 of the Otakon Weapons Policy – if they comply with those rules, they may be kept on convention premises.
  4. All Airsoft guns must be clearly identifiable by the PAINTED neon orange tip. Taping of the gun tip is not allowed and any offending dealer(s) will receive ONE warning to remove the item(s) in question. Further violation will result in removal from the Dealer's Room and forfeiture of all fees.
  5. No dealer may sell projectiles, ammunition, or air canisters for Airsoft or other gas-powered guns in the Dealer's Room. Violation of this policy may result in expulsion from Otakon and forfeiture of dealer fees.
  6. Any dealer wishing to sell Airsoft guns must print out and clearly post these rules at no less than three visible locations in the booth including point of sale.
  7. The standard Weapons Sales Policy applies to Airsoft gun sales.

Bootleg/Piracy Policy

Otakorp, Inc. does not allow the sale of bootleg merchandise such as fansubs, Son May CDs, unlicensed wall scrolls or similar items. Some dealers have made it a practice to distribute flyers promoting the sale of such bootleg merchandise at their stores, so that attendees could purchase items not carried at the convention. Others have offered "shuttle" service to their stores for this purpose.

Otakorp, Inc. disallows the advertising of bootleg or knockoff products/services, and "shuttle" service to other locations for the purchase of such products or services. Any violation will come with a single warning, at which time the exhibitor will be asked to remove the offending advertising. Failure to comply or a subsequent violation may result in removal from the convention and forfeiture of all fees. Conversely, advertising legitimate products and services is both allowed and encouraged.

Policy for Events Requiring Crowd Control

Any event which attracts large crowds or involves audience participation—such as a t-shirt toss, the sale of limited-edition tickets, or a giveaway of free items—has special requirements. We request that you notify us well in advance of any plans for such audience participation events. The Dealer's Room Coordinators must be notified at least 60 minutes before any such event to ensure the coordination of event attendees; we may request that you reschedule for safety reasons. Events may be moved or stopped if there are significant crowding or safety issues.

Furthermore, wholesale distribution of any promotional materials (including but not limited to leaflets, DVD sample disks, catalogs, and coupons) must take place at least twenty feet from the entrances and exits of the Dealer's Room.

ABSOLUTE RULES

Items that MAY NOT be sold in the Dealer's Room include:

  • "Knockoff" or bootleg merchandise (for example, Son May CDs).
  • Bootleg videos (this includes bootlegged videos recorded on blank videotapes with printed labels; "homemade" DVDs, pirated copies of any titles that have been released commercially in the United States, Japan, or elsewhere; titles taped off the air in Japan-- and any and all fansubs).
  • Any posters, idol cards, etc., which read "Kodak", "Fuji", etc. on the back.
  • Unlicensed reproductions of any products actually released by an American company.
  • Food, snacks or beverages. Centerplate holds an exclusive catering and concession contract with the BCC. Centerplate states that exhibitors may not sell food and compete with their contract.

Any violation will come with a warning, at which time you will be asked to remove the offending merchandise from the Dealer's Room. The Dealer's Room Coordinators reserves the right to request the removal of any item that he/she believes to be of questionable nature from the dealer's table until its authenticity can be verified. Failure to comply, or a subsequent violation, is cause for removal from the convention and forfeiture of all fees.

Items that MAY be sold in the Dealer's Room include:

  • Any products featuring your own creations.
  • Any legitimately licensed imported merchandise.
  • Any properly licensed US products.
  • Commissioned and hand-drawn works. *
  • Unique, individual, hand-made items. *
  • Doujinshi, fanzines, and similar items. *

* These items fall under the rules for The Alley and Art Show regarding "fan art" and similar items; please see those rules for additional guidance. We remind you that it is your responsibility to determine whether you are in compliance with various intellectual property laws and statutes.

Maryland State Sales Tax Information

Maryland State Law requires that all dealers charge 6% Maryland sales tax separate from the amount of the sale. Dealers are required to receive a state Tax ID from the Comptroller of the Treasury either before or after the convention, and send in the collected sales tax. Eight weeks prior to the convention, the Dealer's Room Coordinators will send a list of all dealers signed up by that date to the Maryland Comptroller's office, and they will mail out tax forms from there. Dealers with current Maryland Tax IDs may use their current numbers. There is no fee associated with this application.

If you have any questions about the Maryland State Sales Tax, contact:

Maryland State Comptroller's Office
(410) 767-1544

Maryland State Licensing Information

Out of state vendors who do business three times or less per calendar year in the State of Maryland are not required to obtain a Trader's License. Vendors who fall under this category will need to fill out a copy of the Exhibitor's Affidavit found on the last page of the Exhibitor's packet.

Dealers that exhibit more than 3 times a year in the State of Maryland are required to apply for a Maryland Trader's License in order to do business at the Baltimore Convention Center. Trader's Licenses are issued beginning in May of each year and are valid until the end of April of the following year.

Along with the Maryland Trader's License application, there is a Maryland License Fee based on the projected dollar amount of inventory brought to the convention. Please contact the Maryland State Comptroller's Office for the latest License Fee table.

Maryland dealers may use a photocopy of their present Trader's Licenses and do not need to apply for another one just for Otakon. The Clerk of Courts office does not send out renewal notices, so dealers must re-apply each year for a new Trader's License.

Either a Trader's License or Exhibitor's Affidavit must be presented to the Dealer's Room Coordinators upon your arrival at the Baltimore Convention Center. These licenses must be displayed at your booth(s) during the convention. NO DEALER WILL BE PERMITTED TO SET UP WITHOUT A MARYLAND TRADER'S LICENSE OR AN EXHIBITOR'S AFFADAVIT.

THIS IS A BCC REQUIREMENT

Dealers with an Exhibitor's Affidavit are required to forward the affidavit back to the Comptroller of the Treasury office within 7 days after conclusion of the event. Please send the affidavit to the following address:

Comptroller of the Treasury
Compliance Division, State License Bureau
301 West Preston Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201-2305

If you have any questions about Maryland Trader's Licenses, contact:

Baltimore City Clerk of Courts Office
(410) 333-3790

Advance Shipping

The Baltimore Convention Center does not receive packages before the convention. Dealers may wish to ship merchandise ahead of time to the hotels where they are staying or to the decorating company. You must contact the decorating company directly for more information and a schedule of fees. You will be responsible for any and all fees if you take advantage of this service.

Many hotels will accept advance shipments. Contact individual hotels to determine if a hotel accepts advance shipments, and what special instructions must be followed in order for the hotel to receive advance shipments. You will be responsible for any and all fees if your hotel charges for this service.

Suggested Procedures for Dealers' Protection of Valuables

Otakorp, Inc. will continue its tradition of providing as secure a Dealer's Room as possible. The number of attendees and the venue make it impossible for us to offer bag check in the Dealer's Room, but convention staff will continue to monitor the room during all public hours and provide paid security overnight. Please take extra precautions in the placement of your merchandise and cash to guard against the possibility of theft. Dealers are responsible for their own property, merchandise and money. Otakorp, Inc. and its personnel assume no liability for loss or damage including but not limited to merchandise, equipment, or revenue.

Suggestions for First Time Dealers

Do's

  • Try to carry things that people can't find at home.
  • Carry a range of items: some inexpensive and some more expensive items.
  • Bring a handcart to run your goods in from your vehicle. The Baltimore Convention Center, Freeman Decorating, and Otakon cannot provide handcarts.
  • Bring a calculator or cash register and change. One and five dollar bills go fast, and Otakorp, Inc. does not supply change.
  • Hand out flyers or mail-order catalogs and/or get an advertisement in the Program Book. It helps people find your store or Web site after the con.
  • Bring a drop cloth to cover your table at night.
  • Hand out receipts for what you sell. It helps security with potential shoplifters.
  • Make cash deposits/drops on a regular basis. Hotels have safe deposit boxes for guests and there are many banks in the downtown Baltimore area.
  • Have at least two people working your booth(s). You'll need to get away from the booth at some point, guaranteed.
  • Bring bottled water. There is no air conditioning during setup, and the exhibit halls tend to get a little hot. While water fountains are available, most people prefer to bring their own supply of water.

Don'ts

  • Don't raise your prices because it's a convention. You'll probably be competing against other dealers for prices.
  • Don't show up and sell only videotapes. Unless you sell at a discount, cons aren't great places to clear out those old tapes that weren't moving back home.
  • Don't show up and sell only comics. Especially superhero comics.
  • Don't sell merchandise from your hotel room. It violates Maryland state law and the hotels' policies to sell merchandise from your hotel room.
  • Don't sell prohibited merchandise "under the table" or "take orders" for the same that are filled at a later date. If we catch you, we will evict you.

Otakorp, Inc.'s Service to Dealers

If there's anything else we can help you with, before or during the con, please let us know. We will do our best to honor all reasonable requests and we hope to meet or exceed all of your expectations. Any concerns should be taken up with the Dealer's Room Coordinators: Nadine Miller (nmiller@otakorp.org), Ruby Lembach (rlembach@otakorp.org).

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