Disney breaks contract with Alan Dean Foster, refuses to pay royalties on older STAR WARS books

Rodders

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That is horrible news. Is is only ADF, or all of the older SW writers? How much can they realistically be saving?

Much more news like this and I may decide not to collect Star Wars any more. :cautious:
 

BAYLOR

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That is horrible news. Is is only ADF, or all of the older SW writers? How much can they realistically be saving?

Much more news like this and I may decide not to collect Star Wars any more. :cautious:
I find myself losing interest in seeing the Mandelorian and other Disney shows and movies .
 

Werthead

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I thought that was standard hollywood practice for getting around paying royalties and even outright theft of work by buying the company that negotiated the contracts and then saying only the property was bought not the original rights which became null and void. Several years ago I had read an article on the web that a new author whose work had been submitted, accepted and contracted for a movie to be made but the company went out of business and the author lost all rights to their work when another company bought the assets. I had always thought it was a cautionary tale not to send anything to hollywood without a high priced lawyer attached to it. Perhaps it was just urban legend.
Under modern tie-in contracts, you might create a non-royalty clause so you don't pay royalties, you pay a one-off fee. But that fee would need to be quite large to make up for the loss. I believe most Star Wars fiction has been published under that rule since the 1990s.

However, Foster's work was contracted in the 1970s when tie-in fiction on that scale did not exist, and his contract signed with Lucasfilm when it was just a tiny little production company gives him royalties. He got a similar deal for the Alien novels a few years later.

Companies can argue when they buy the assets of a failed, bankrupt company that they are not taking on the liabilities (although that in itself is dubious) but Fox and Lucasfilm were going, profit-making concerns when Disney bought them. There's also a problem that Disney appeared to pay ADF his royalties from 2012 to 2015 before stopping, which indicates that they believe they had to pay him at one point and then abruptly changed their mind for no obvious reason. That will be a weakness in their case.
 

tinkerdan

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I've always been in wonder over the flimsy nature of Copyrights.
An author can register those; however having the funds to go to court to protect those rights is only one part of the puzzle because it is more an entry point before you begin the process of proof and you still have to rely on a judgement that may or may not go your way.

However owning Copyrights at this point seems to be important; because it gives that measure of leverage.

The question might be: who owns Copyright with books produced from a movie?

I can almost picture the convoluted reasoning that they might give for not paying royalties.
Besides saying they don't feel they need to honor the contracts, they might reason that they bought rights to these properties and they might put a value based on money invested on each piece of property and reason that by the contract they can withhold the 15% or whatever until that percentage pays that amount that they will somehow reason to be the same as that initial lump sum payment for the work and right to publish.

In all honesty though; the usual percentage for those royalties is not that much compared to profit that they take for themselves and even if they were selling at a very small margin of profit(which doesn't seem likely)they still should pay the royalties.

As consumers; I think we need to consider what we would do if we found out a manufacturer was abusing and exploiting their employees, and we should act accordingly.
 

Vince W

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This thread makes me glad I never bought into Disney+. I think I'll keep my money in my pocket and just watch the few Disney films I have on dvd.
 

Werthead

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I've always been in wonder over the flimsy nature of Copyrights.
An author can register those; however having the funds to go to court to protect those rights is only one part of the puzzle because it is more an entry point before you begin the process of proof and you still have to rely on a judgement that may or may not go your way.

However owning Copyrights at this point seems to be important; because it gives that measure of leverage.
Under work-for-hire, the employing company owns all characters, copyrights and trademarks created by the author.

They still have to pay the author though.
 

Teresa Edgerton

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Work-for-hire contracts, I've been told, can have some rather awful clauses in them. That might be the case here, and Disney could have a legal right to withhold the money. Or at least think they are in a position to present a compelling legal argument that they do.

Either way, it looks like a public relations disaster to me. They might lose more money by this and the resulting ill-will among fans and others, than the royalties would ever have amounted to.
 

Bick

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Work-for-hire contracts, I've been told, can have some rather awful clauses in them. That might be the case here
No, I don’t think so. He was paid royalties for decades before Disney bought the publishing rights and then suddenly stopped paying with no change in contract and no explanation.
 

Ursa major

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I thought that was standard hollywood practice for getting around paying royalties
It may have worked (and still works) because those big Hollywood studios had/have deep pockets when it came to hiring lawyers (lawyers that they'd need for all sorts of contractual issues that arise when making films).

But as we're not talking about films and their scripts, but books, I wonder.... A few years back, there was a lot of consolidation in the book world. So imagine big Publishing Company A took over slightly smaller, but still quite big, Publishing Company B. Did the authors whose rights were held by Publishing Company B suddenly stop receiving their royalties? It seems unlikely, if only because I'm sure we'd have heard about this happening, given how many books and authors would have been involved.
 
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