Thus ends a very messy chapter in what has to be one of the most important phrases to hit the cosplay community in recent years.

On Tuesday, Cosplay Deviants CEO Troy Doerner announced that he legally abandoned the trademark for the phrase “Cosplay is NOT Consent.” In a prepared statement, Doerner addressed his reason for the decision to relinquish the mark.

I would like to reiterate once more that there was never any monetary and/or financial motivation in any way, shape or form in doing this. The decision was a personal one based on my experiences in the pop culture and fandom industry.

Doerner noted that his team registered the “CosplayIsNotConsent.org” domain in 2013 with “the intent of growing the conversation” about the overall treatment of cosplayers. He argues that his decision to file the trademark arose after a con offered to buy the domain and claim copyright for the phrase.

Image Credit: Troy Doerner

He added “I started the process to trademark the phrase itself with the intent to make sure it wasn’t leveraged for profit.”

My motivation to trademark “Cosplay is NOT Consent” was based on the fact that I abhor the harassment of cosplayers. This isn’t just based on my first hand experience witnessing it daily with the models of Cosplay Deviants, but also from my own time as a cosplayer in the spotlight.

Cosplay is supposed to be a fun and an inclusive experience. In the early 2000s, I was subjected to the darker side of fandom and (to this day) it helps drive me to push the agenda of maintaining and promoting a positive cosplay community.

Doerner’s trademark on the phrase went into effect on November 22, 2016, and was active until the date of abandonment.

The term “Cosplay is NOT Consent” arose in the cosplay community in 2011, as a means to address a growing tide of sexual harassment. In recent years, fan conventions have adopted the phrase as part of their general harassment policies.

In his statement on Tuesday, Doerner further explained his reasoning for abandoning the trademark, stating “The attention brought to the Cosplay is NOT Consent movement with this could have been an opportunity to bring the issue to the spotlight again,” he said. “Instead, it got turned into a conversation – not about the movement – but about the opinions about me, my business, and my motivations.”

Doerner noted that he intends to continue to participate in the movement.

Cosplay is supposed to be a fun and an inclusive experience. In the early 2000s, I was subjected to the darker side of fandom and (to this day) it helps drive me to push the agenda of maintaining and promoting a positive cosplay community.

[…]

So here’s the thing: I will continue to work to combat harassment of cosplayers in the fan community hourly, daily, and yearly until I retire from all of this. Cosplay is NOT Consent is a phrase that carries weight, impact, and meaning for those that listen to the message and not just read the words.

I have no intention of stopping my work supporting this vital movement in fandom.

Cosplay Deviants is billed as an “adult entertainment website.” The organization focuses on cosplay, and includes cosplayer blogs and forums.

Sources: Anime News Network, Twitter (TroyDoerner), Google Docs