It appears that this special award was distributed at the convention site to certain Hugo nominees, as well as being displayed and described on stage during the scripted award ceremony. I see these circumstances giving rise to at least two possibilities.
1. Certain Worldcon members may have collaborated in the design, manufacture, and distribution of an unauthorized Worldcon special award bearing a mark registered and protected by law. If this is what happened, the Mark Protection Committee of WSFS has the responsibility to identify and expose all guilty parties.
2. The Worldcon Committee may have known and approved of the use of the Hugo Award mark for the special award, without publicly informing its membership. That possibility is problematic, given the rules under which the Worldcon committee sold voting privileges. The Worldcon rules state:
3.3.17: Additional Category. Not more than one special category may be created by the current Worldcon Committee with nomination and voting to be the same as for the permanent categories.
Here is a very simple question for the Worldcon Committee:
Did you authorize the use of the Worldcon and Hugo Award marks for the "Asterisk" award?
WEDNESDAY'S COMMENT HIGHLIGHTS:
SciFiPundit commenter Calbeck says that there is a Worldcon email stating the Asterisk Awards were in no way part of the Hugos. I'll ask for the email to be forwarded to me.
The lovely Alexandra Erin opines that the Worldcon committee gave out the Asterisk Award as a tongue-in-cheek commemorative item. I don't think they have been proven guilty of giving anything out yet, Alexandra. Keep on trucking!
Jim Wright writes that he is the artist who made the Asterisk, and that he hasn't been paid. I'll email Jim to see who authorized him to use the Hugo and Worldcon marks, and when that authorization was made. Hope it was in writing!
Becky also says the artist hasn't been paid. Doesn't give her source.
Bill Stewart didn't like his Hugo Reader Packet. Sorry about that, Bill.
THURSDAY'S COMMENT HIGHLIGHTS:
The splenetic Gary D said Asterisk Hugo Awards aren't f**king awards because David Gerrold said so.
The philosophical Seth said some books have the phrase "Hugo Award Nominee" on their covers.
Shy Jim said it is not in his best interest to say who authorized the Asterisk awards.
Kevin Standlee writes to vaguely imply that there was some sort of authorization for the Asterisk award by somebody or other at some undisclosed time. I've asked for clarification.
A number of WSFA insiders have written in, but nobody is willing to say who authorized the use of the marks and logo, when it occurred, or how it was documented. Not exactly a big surprise.
I think that's called circling the wagons.