Guild Charter

Introduction

The Cosplayers Guild (the “Guild”) is an educational not-for-profit organization devoted to the study and art of costuming. As a costuming group, the Guild provides an environment in which members can recreate and experience various characters and props of any type. We sponsor events such as workshops and craft parties where members can collaborate and work on costuming, photography, skills, etc. For Guild members, any and all fandoms and genres can serve as a source for personal research. However, the further you go from more mainstream reference material, the less you can expect others to share your special interests. The Guild maintains a central membership registry and provides for all official social media profiles. The articles in this charter set forth the workings of the Guild.

Article I: Terms

In this charter, the following terms are used only with the meanings given here:

  • Guild: The entirety of The Cosplayers Guild.
  • Board: The Board of Directors of The Cosplayers Guild.
  • Governing Documents: The Guild Charter, The Articles of Incorporation of the Guild, and any amendments and appendices.
  • Member or Guildee: Membership in the Guild is defined in Article IV of the Guild Charter
  • Officer: A Guild Member serving in an appointed or elected office as defined in Article VI of the Guild Charter, or as an appointed deputy in such an office, at any level of the Guild, or in the role of organizer of a Guild event (commonly referred to as “Coordinator”)
  • Forums: Any tool or site the Guild uses to allow for Guild members to communicate with each other. This includes, but is not limited to, any forums hosted on cosplayersguild.org, any social media group, or any physical or virtual bulletin board type services.
  • IP: Any intellectual property as protected by law including, but not limited to, any copyrights, trademarks, or orginal works.

Article II: Dedication of Assets

The properties and assets of the Guild are irrevocably dedicated to charitable purposes. No part of the net earnings, properties, or assets of this corporation, on dissolution or otherwise, shall inure to the benefit of any private person or individual, or any member, Director or officer of the Guild. On liquidation or dissolution, all properties and assets and obligations shall be distributed and paid over to an organization dedicated to charitable purposes which has established its tax-exempt status under Internal Revenue Service Code Section 501(c)(3).

Article III: Offices

Elected Offices

President

The President serves as the head of The Cosplayers Guild. He/She is responsible for the overall vision and direction of the Guild. The President looks ahead towards the future of the Guild while delegating the details to other officers and members. He/She operates as the top policy maker and administrator for the Guild. The President may appoint deputies to help him/her with any and all aspects of running the Guild. However, these appointments may not supersede the authority of elected positions of the Guild. The President represents the Guild as a whole, formulates policies to be reviewed and approved by the Board, moderates Board meetings, reviews merchandising and branding, and organizes partnerships with outside organizations.

Vice President

The Vice President serves as an adviser and assistant to the President, and helps carry out his/her duties. The vice president may assume all responsibilities of the role of President if the sitting President is unable to be present. The Vice President reports directly to the President on all issues of consequence and can serve as a liaison for the President. In the event of vacancy or an officer can longer perform their functions of their position adequately, the duties and responsibilities of that position fall to the Vice President until the election of a new officer. During such a time, the Vice President may only represent one of the offices when voting in Board meetings.

Sergeant at Arms

The Sergeant at Arms serves to maintain order in the Guild. The Sergeant at Arms is an expert on The Cosplayers Guild Charter and is responsible for updates and amendments to the charter. The Sergeant at Arms makes sure the charter is followed by all members and that officers do not abuse or overreach their authority. For disciplinary actions, the Sergeant at Arms acts as a judge while the remainder of the Board serves as the jury. He/She also ensures the disciplinary action is properly documented, and files a copy of the disciplinary action hearing with the Guild for the purpose of review and any subsequent appeals. The Sergeant at Arms also serves as the Secretary of the Board and must properly document all Board meetings, votes, and decisions. He/She may appoint from the Guild members a Sergeant at Arms Pro Tempore to act and serve, but not vote, on their behalf for a specified period of time not to exceed the remaining term. The Sergeant at Arms must hold no other elected or appointed position within the Guild for the duration of their term.

Approvals Manager

The Approvals Manager serves to review and execute all applications for membership to the Guild and maintains the official roster of Guild membership. He/She must keep an accurate record of the personal contact information for all members and perform an annual census within the first calendar quarter to update all contact information. Additionally, the Approvals Manager reviews and executes all costume approval requests. He/She may appoint deputies to help him/her with any and all aspects of membership and costume approval. The Approvals Manager handles all appeals for denied membership or costumes, and advises the Board on membership or costuming standards issues and changes he/she feels are required.

Head of Marketing

The Head of Marketing serves to coordinate recruitment efforts; prepare and catalog promotional materials; approving new promotional materials; answering questions from the public and the membership; and oversight of guild merchandising. He/She is responsible for ensuring copyrights are not violated and that sources are adequately compensated. The Head of Marketing also maintains a list of vendors and suppliers for all merchandise and promotional materials. He/She will also be responsible for coordinating any and all official appearances of the Guild at events such as conventions and fan festivals.

Appointed Offices

Treasurer

The Treasurer serves to record and monitor all expenditures and fund-raising done for the Guild. He/She must maintain an accurate ledger of all monetary or monetary-equivalent transactions perpetuated by the Guild. The Treasurer will collect, document, and file all relevant receipts (or lack-thereof) for accurate accounting. The Treasurer is also responsible for all IRS and other tax related information gathering and reporting. He/She issues official Guild credit/debit cards to any member approved by the Board to receive such a card. Additionally, the Treasurer will issue reimbursements to members who have accrued charges on a personal account, upon receipt and approval of an appropriate expense report with supporting documentation. The office of Treasurer is nominated by the President of Vice President, but is appointed by and reports to the entirety of the Board.

Graphic Designer

The Graphic Designer serves as the primary content creator for all Guild branding and merchandise. Any designs not originated by the Graphic Designer will need to be approved by the Graphic Designer before submission to the Head of Marketing. He/She may insource or outsource graphics with prior approval of the Board. The Graphic Designer is responsible for the overall look and feel of all outward facing media, collateral, and hardware, including but not limited to, booth design. The office of Graphic Designer is appointed by and reports to the Head of Marketing.

Webmaster

The Webmaster serves as the responsible party for the development and maintenance of the Guild website, repairing bugs, and implementing new features. He/She is also responsible for helping the Hard of Marketing coordinate any and all online presences including, but not limited to, social media. The Webmaster will also work with the Graphic Designer and Head of Marketing to implement any design changes. The Webmaster may appoint deputies to help him/her with any and all duties of this office. The office of Webmaster is appointed by and reports to the Head of Marketing.

Board of Directors

The Board is a body of nine elected Directors. All five elected officers are members of the Board. The remaining four Directors are elected from eligible Guild members. No Guild member may hold a non-officer Director position for more than two terms. The appointed officers and deputy officers do not hold a position on the Board. The Board of Directors advises the Guild officers as well as votes on all Guild matters. Additional details on the duties and responsibilities of the Board can be found in the Article V: Elections and Voting.

Article IV: Membership

The Cosplayers Guild is an inclusive, equal-opportunity costuming group. The Guild does not discriminate based on gender, race, religion, creed, nationality, sexual orientation, age*, or disability. Membership in the Guild is a privilege, not a right. Applications for membership may be denied or current membership may be suspended or revoked for any legal reason including, but not limited to, violation of Article VI: Code of Conduct. * Unfortunately, due to liability reasons, in order to become a full member of The Cosplayers Guild, an applicant must be a legal adult as defined by their local government.

In order to be eligible for membership, an applicant must submit an official application providing all required fields. All information will be kept private pursuant to our Privacy Policy. The Cosplayers Guild may, at its discretion, change the requirements for gaining membership at any time. However, the requirements for maintaining membership can only be changed by amendment to this charter.

All members must meet the minimum activity requirements. The following criteria describe the minimum requirements to maintain Guild member status.

  1. Maintain current and relevant contact information with the Approvals Manager in order to maintain an active listing in the Guild roster.
  2. Be accounted for in the annual census taken each first quarter of the calendar year. If a member has not been accounted for by July 1st, they will be stripped of Guild member status and removed from the Guild roster.
  3. Membership is considered to be “at will” and any member may leave at any time for any reason. Leaving the Guild does not preclude the individual from re-applying at a later date.
  4. The enforcement and flexibility of these requirements is up to the discretion of the Approvals Manager.

Registering as a user on the cosplayersguild.org website, participating in any Guild forum, or owning official Guild merchandise does not grant, imply, or in anyway affect membership in the Guild. The official application is the only way to gain membership to the Guild.

Article V: Elections and Voting

All elections and votes are decided by simple majority/plurality unless otherwise indicated.

General Elections

The Cosplayers Guild utilizes a republic style form of organization. The following is a description of the election and voting procedures to fill these positions.

The sitting, non-officer Directors will form the election committee. The election committee will determine the appropriate method(s) for conducting the nominations, discussion, and voting.

All elected positions have a term end date of April 30th (11:59pm ET), regardless of when the officer took the position. All candidates for any office must announce and file their candidacy for the position April 1st (12:00am ET) through April 7th (11:59pm ET). Discussion of platforms will be conducted from April 8th (12:00am ET) through April 15th (11:59pm ET). Polls will be open from April 16th (12:00am ET) through April 23rd (11:59pm ET).  The new administration takes office May 1st (12:00am ET).

Only Guild members as of April 1st (12:00am ET) may be nominated for positions. Members may nominate themselves. Any member that is nominated must confirm their willingness to assume office before the close of the nomination period. Standing officers must announce their desire to seek another term before the close of the nomination period. If no nominations are made for a particular position by the close of the nomination period, then the duties of this position will fall to the Vice President. If there are no nominations for the Vice President, the standing Vice President may name their successor.

In the event of a tie for any position, the election committee will break the tie internally. If the election committee is unable to come to a decision internally, a special runoff election must be held running from April 24th (12:00am ET) to April 30th (11:59pm ET). If a tie remains, the position will be selected from the tied candidates by random number generator.

Board Voting Procedures

Issues concerning Guild policy and procedure may be voted upon by the Board. A call to vote will require any three Board members to request the vote. Following this, the Board members will have one week to cast their votes through a method determined by the Sergeant at Arms. All decisions regarding budgeting are automatically called to vote and do not require Board members to request the vote. Any purchase made on behalf of the Guild must be approved by the board prior to execution. The only exception to this is that elected officers may spend up to 1% of the Guild’s operating budget per year without requiring prior board approval.

Calls to vote can be on any topic including removing but not the immediate replacement of office-holders. In the event of the removal of an officer, the Sergeant at Arms will hold a special election within 6 weeks to fill the position. The Sergeant at Arms will be the sole member of the election committee. In the event the Sergeant at Arms has been removed, the non-officer Directors will hold the special election. The rules for a special election are the same as general elections, except for the changes in dates.

When a transfer of power occurs to new elected officials, regardless of position, any materials physical, virtual, or otherwise that are related to that position will be transferred to the new administration. If these materials are not transferred within one month of the new administration taking office, any and all legal methods of reparations will be taken.

Charter Amendment

Any member of the Guild may submit proposals for changes to the Guild charter. Proposals may be submitted in writing to the President at any time of the year, excluding the month of April. Proposals must include the reason(s) why it is thought to be needed and/or how it will improve the Guild overall. Each proposal should be as well written and thought out as the member can make it. Members are responsible for seeking assistance in drafting the proposal.

The President will share all proposals with the Board to discuss and propose revisions for up to thirty days. At any time during this discussion, the Board may end the discussion period and immediately ratify the amendment by unanimous vote. If the discussion period remains open for the full thirty days, the Sergeant at Arms will hold a standard Board vote as to whether or not the proposal will be sent to the Guild membership to ratify. The Board may deny proposals for any reason.

Approved proposals will be sent to the Guild for a ratification vote, conducted by the Sergeant at Arms. Rejected proposals can be revived by Guild members through submission of a petition representing at least 10% of the Guild membership delivered to the Sergeant at Arms within thirty days of the rejection. Any proposal may be re-proposed no sooner than one year after its most recent rejection.

Article VI: Code of Conduct

The Cosplayers Guild recognizes that its costumes represent characters from a variety of fandoms and even original works. All members are expected to portray those characters in a tasteful and professional manner any time they are in costume. Membership is a privilege, not a right. Members are expected to be courteous and respectful towards their fellow members, the costuming community at large, and the general public. Guild members are also expected to show respect for all users/visitors to the website and comply with policies and procedures. Failure to do so may lead to ejection from the Guild.

  1. Members must maintain a sense of decorum appropriate to the event or situation while representing the Guild and in view of the public.
  2. Members must not use Guild membership or affiliation as a means for personal profit. This includes, but is not limited to, advertising yourself as a Guild member for paid appearance and selling photographs or prints containing the Guild logo, name, or any other identifying marks.
  3. Members must never maliciously disparage any other organization or their members on any public media. This includes, but is not limited to, social media and the cosplayersguild.org website.
  4. Members must not deliberately or maliciously cause ill will that may endanger the Guild’s reputation and working relationship with any other organization.
  5. Members must always show respect and appreciation to those who wear real uniforms for the public good: military, police, fire fighters, paramedics, etc.
  6. The Guild will not tolerate harassment of any type. Please refer to our Harassment Policy.
  7. Members representing the Guild in any manner must obey all international and local laws.
  8. Members who use any Guild Website, forum, or mailing list will obey the rules and regulations set forth by the site administrators.This includes, but is not limited to:
    1. Members must not post private emails, private messages or other members personal information without their consent outside of disciplinary hearings.
    2. Members must not share passwords or login IDs.
    3. Members must not share information from private forums with users not in the closed group.
    4. Members must not use the Guild Website and/or forums for personal conflicts.
    5. The Guild website, forums, and mass email system are to be used for items of Guild business.
    6. Members with moderator privileges are expected to use those privileges courteously and only as needed to keep the website and forums family friendly, up to date, and organized.

While separate and individual websites are allowed, they are not a venue for members to violate the Guild charter or policies. This charter in full or part, and all Guild policies must still be upheld in all separate and individual unit websites. Any members who violate the Guild charter or policies on individual websites will be subject to ejection from the Guild.

The Guild has strict Privacy Policy. Any Guild Officer or member may not solicit or give out another members’ personal information without express consent from that member.

Article VIII: Event Standards

Guild members participate in a wide variety of events and venues all over the world. For this reason, Guild events must adhere to a set of standards in addition to the Guild Code of Conduct. Different events may call for different standards. Determining and communicating these standards are the responsibility of the Event Representative and/or Coordinator. Additionally, The Cosplayers Guild recognizes that this hobby is also for fun and creativity, so the Guild makes allowances as appropriate to ensure events remain enjoyable for all those involved.

Event Terminology

  • Official Guild Event: Any event in which the attendees of an event are considered to be official representatives of the Guild and will be expected to act professionally and courteously.
  • Event Representative: The person representing an organization, business, or convention that the Guild is working with for an event. If present, this person holds the highest authority at an event.
  • Event Coordinator: The Guild member who is in charge of the Guild’s involvement at a given event.
  • Designated Area: Any table, floor, or multi-use space allotted by the venue for use by the Guild.
  • Handlers: Individuals not in costume that help members during an event.

General Event Standards

  1. All decisions regarding costume requirements and/or dress code are up to the Event Representative, Event Coordinator, the Head of Marketing, and the Board.
  2. Whenever possible, there should be only one person portraying a specific character at a time per location.
  3. At events where members may bring their children, they are the sole responsibility of the member who is their parent/guardian and not that of the Guild. Allowing members to bring their children is at the discretion of the Event Representative and/or Coordinator.
  4. Guild members are not to solicit the holding of children or pets due to health and safety concerns. However, if a parent/guardian or animal owner request the member hold a child or animal, it is up to the member’s discretion to identify whether they can do so in a safe manner.
  5. Attending certain events may require the Guild to provide a venue or Event Representative with attendees’ contact information. Any such event will be clearly communicated to members prior to the Guild releasing such information.

Types of Events

Board Sanctioned Events

A Board sanctioned event is defined as a gathering of two or more members with a specific goal that has been approved by the Board. This is an official Guild event that is usually organized for the execution of a major Guild outing or the promotion of a Guild partner or sponsor. A Guild approved costume is the usual requirement unless otherwise indicated.

Guild Sanctioned Events

A Guild sanctioned event is defined as a gathering of two or more members with a specific goal that has been approved by at least one elected officer. This is an official Guild event that is usually organized for the execution of a minor Guild outing or charitable activity. A Guild approved costume or Guild branded clothing is the usual requirement unless otherwise indicated.

Member Coordinated Events

A member coordinated event is defined as a gathering of two or more members with a specific goal that has not been approved by any officer or Board. This is an official Guild event that is usually organized with the purpose of fun and entertainment. While member coordinated events do not require approval of an officer, at least one officer must be aware of the event. Additionally, an officer may, at their discretion, cancel a member coordinated event for any reason, but must clearly communicate and document that reason to any prospective attendees of the event.

Casual Events

A casual event is defined as a gathering of two or more members for camaraderie and fun. This is an unofficial Guild event including, but not limited to, conventions or parades with no official Guild presence. Members may identify themselves as Guild members among themselves and to the public at large, but should not indicate that they are representing the Guild in an official fashion.

Article IX: Visibility and Accountability

The Cosplayers Guild approach to transparency is based on the overarching principle that it will strive to disclose documents and information on a timely basis unless strong and specific reasons argue against such disclosure. Any and all information requests made to the officers or Board by a Guild member must be fulfilled within two weeks excepting very specific cases. The officers and Board will not be required to disclose any information that is deemed to unnecessarily violate the confidentiality proffered to an individual, including, but not limited to, the confidentiality of harassment claims. Any and all actions taken by officers of the Guild in accordance with the duties of their office are not considered confidential unless revealing such action would violate the confidentiality proffered to a non-officer. Additionally, the Board may choose to refuse any request for information by a three-fourths (3/4) majority vote. The Sergeant at Arms is responsible for ensuring the prompt and timely delivery of the information. Any officer or Board member found to be concealing any information for any reason not indicated in this Article will be considered derelict in their duty and shall be immediately removed from their position.

Article X: Costume Approval

The Cosplayers Guild celebrates creating, owning, and wearing the costumes of a wide variety of fandoms and original works.. To capture the magic of these characters, our goal will always be recognizable portrayals of these characters. Any and all costumes are eligible to be submitted for Guild approval. The Approvals Manager, or his/her deputy or deputies, will rank all costumes along two criteria: Audience Appropriateness and Costume Variation. Individual Guild events will require different levels of these criteria in order for costumed attendance.

Audience Appropriateness

There are 6 ratings for Audience Appropriateness:

  • G – General: Appropriate for all ages. Costume and source character can contain nothing that would offend parents for viewing by or interacting with children.
  • Y – Youth: Generally appropriate for all ages. Costume and source character can contain infrequent use, reference, or illusions of “mild”/cartoon violence. 
  • Y+ – Youth Plus: Appropriate for mature youths and older. Costume and source character can contain infrequent use, reference, or illusions of non-graphic violence, mild language, crude humor, or suggestive content.
  • T – Teen: Appropriate for those aged 13 years and older. Costume and source character can contain moderate use, reference, or illusions of violence (including small amounts of blood), strong language, crude humor, or suggestive content.
  • M – Mature: Appropriate for those aged 16 years and older. Costume and source character can contain frequent use, reference, or illusions of violence (such as blood, gore, mutilation, and depictions of death), stronger sexual themes and content, partial nudity, and  strong language.
  • A – Adult: Appropriate for those aged 18 years and older. Costume and source character can contain unlimited use, reference, or illusions of violence, nudity, and language.

Costume Variation:

There are 5 classifications of Costume Variation:

  • Representative: The costume is easily recognizable as the source character. The character itself does not need to be recognizable, but if shown source material the general audience should be able to recognize the costume as representing the character.
  • Artistic Interpretation: The costume is an artistic interpretation of the source character. One example of an artistic interpretation is creating a scale-mail based version of a character that does not utilize scale-mail.
  • Mashup: The costume is a mashup of two or more source characters. The source characters do not have to be from the same source or share any commonality whatsoever.
  • Motif Based: The costume is a variation of the source character utilizing a consistent motif. A common motif based variation is Steampunk versions of characters.
  • Gender Bent: The costume is a variation of the source character that modifies the character’s gender.
  • Parody: The costume is a parody of the source character.
  • Original Work: The costume is an original work of art and does not represent any source character.

Process:

All costume approval requests must be submitted through the Costume Submission form. All submissions must include:

  • The name of the character.
  • The name of the source material for the character. Use “Original Work” for any Original Work submissions.
  • The name of the person or organization owning the rights to the character. Use “Self” for any Original Work submissions.
  • Two or more images showing the front and back, head to toe, of the costume to be approved.
  • One or more images showing the majority of the source character. Ideally, submit two or more images showing the front and back, head to toe, of the source character. Fan-art submissions are acceptable given they are representative of the original character (this is especially useful in the case of book based characters).  Optional for Original Works.
  • A suggestion for the Audience Appropriateness of the costume/character.
  • A suggestion for the Costume Variation of the costume.

The suggestions for Audience Appropriateness and Costume Variation are subject to be modified or adjusted by the Approvals Manager at their discretion. All disputes regarding Audience Appropriateness and Costume Variation between applicants and the Approvals Manager is to be evaluated and handled by the Sergeant at Arms. If an Applicant has probably cause to question the Sergeant’s decision, he/she can request a review of this decision by the Board. Applicants must present evidence supporting their reason for the dispute. Decisions by the Board are final. If the Approvals Manager believes a previously approved costume no longer matches its current classifications, they may reclassify the costume and must contact the member with specific reasons for reclassifying the costume.

Currently, the only grounds for rejecting a costume is submitting plagiarized work as an Original Work. In regards to submitting and maintaining Original Works, it is the sole responsibility of the member to ensure they are not violating any IP protections.

Removing Costumes:

Costumes can be removed from the website under the following conditions:

  1. Member requests that costume be removed.
  2. Member submits updated/new picture of costume and old picture is removed.
  3. It is discovered that the member does not actually own a costume but borrowed or rented one.

Amendments

All amendments have already been incorporated into the Guild charter above. The amendments listed below are the individual amendments for reference and documentation.

Amendment I | Amendment II | Amendment III