Let's talk about bootlegs. What are your opinions on them? Do you support them? Hate them? Why?
I feel as if we've got a double edged sword here. It's hard to deny the popularity of the bootlegs. Most are more show accurate than anything official on the market right now. People who cant afford custom plushes can afford the bootlegs. I can see the appeal in purchasing one. Most articles and discussions I've seen have offered nothing but praise for them.
I'm not writing this to tell anyone that they should not buy a bootleg. Each individual has the right to choose for him/herself whether to buy one or not. But I do want to encourage people to think about what they may be supporting when they buy from the bootleg market.
It's no big secret that some bootlegs are complete ripoffs of individual plush artist's designs.
What bothers me the most is the blatant and intentional ripoff of an artist's design. These are just a couple examples. Other artists have had their designs mimicked as well. In the case of these two, both are original concept characters. It's one thing for bootleg companies to produce their own unique pattern and strive for show accuracy just as us plush artists do, and an entirely different scenario when they're intentionally copying an individual's design. They don't have permission and most certainly do not have the rights. The plush artists receive no royalties from sales and were not contracted to make the pattern for mass production.
The above plushes were successful sellers and the bootleg market wanted to cash in. I think it might be easily assumed that since the knockoff manufacturers are making show accurate plushes, that they're on 'our side' - that they're catering to the adult pony fandom because the official plush market is not. That isn't true at all. These manufacturers hold no love for the show, no love for the characters. They're only doing it because of money. It's easy to cash in on the pony plush market because of its popularity and lack of quality show accurate products. That is the only reason why there are so many bootleg plushes in production.
These plushes are not rare. They are mass produced
. It may seem like there's a limited quantity since there's only one or two auctions on ebay, but I'm willing to bet that the manufacturers have boxes upon boxes of the plushes in their warehouses, ready to be sold for distribution. If there's a limited number of auctions on ebay for the character, they're likely testing the waters. If the plush sells well and for a high price, then more will be coming soon. The manufacturers can make these in high quantity whenever they want. A high price should never be paid for a mass produced bootleg.
Again, I'm not trying to tell people not to buy a bootleg. I'm doing my best to take a neutral stance, but I do encourage you to think about what you may be supporting, instead of immediately gushing over and glorifying bootleg plushes. It could be terrible working conditions, child labor, crime, or drugs. It could possibly affect the official plush market as well. If the money is going toward the purchase of bootlegs, then there's no money, support, or demand for official plushes. I highly encourage people to buy from official plush companies such as Aurora and 4DE.
Anyway, I would love to hear your opinions. Please refrain from name calling and hostility in the comment section. This is meant to be a discussion, not a place to attack others. Differing opinions are welcome.