Wednesday, September 22

DisneyMustPay: The authors form a task force to fight for late payments | Books


A task force comprised of sci-fi and fantasy, romance, crime and horror authors has been formed in an attempt to persuade Disney to pay authors outstanding royalties for novelizations and comics related to their properties, including Star Wars, Alien and Indiana Jones.

The call DisneyMustPay Joint Task Force includes leading writers Neil Gaiman, Tess Gerritsen, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Chuck Wendig among its members. It has been formed by Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America in association with the Author’s Guild, Horror Writers Association, National Writers Union, Novelists, Inc., Romance Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime.

Alan Dean Foster also wrote Alien novelizations.
Alan Dean Foster also wrote Alien novelizations. Photography: Titan Books

The authors’ organizations came together after the SFWA got involved in author Alan Dean Foster’s battle to get Disney to pay him royalties for his best-selling Star Wars and Alien novels. George Lucas himself asked Foster to write his novelization of Star Wars: A New Hope, which was published in 1976. When Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2012, it bought the rights to the Star Wars novel, while the acquisition of 20th Century Fox by Disney 2019 meant that it also bought the rights to Foster’s novelizations of Alien, Aliens, and Alien 3.

But even though the books are still in print, Foster claimed that Disney was not paying him royalties for them and that he had to go public after the company ignored multiple inquiries from its agents, legal representatives and the SFWA. The latter claimed that Disney had alleged that it had bought the rights, but not the obligations of the contract.

Foster said he needed the royalties, citing his wife’s “serious medical problems” and her diagnosis of an advanced form of cancer in 2016. Foster’s story sparked massive outrage, with the hashtag #DisneyMustPay trending on Twitter.

“When a company buys another, it acquires both its liabilities and its assets. You are certainly reaping the benefits of the assets. I would very much like my tiny (though not small for me) part, ”Foster said in November.

Foster recently hinted that a resolution was near, writing on his website last month that “the irritating mess with Disney … is rapidly moving toward a mutually acceptable conclusion.” In its founding statement, the task force says that Foster’s case “has been resolved,” but that it has since been contacted by “a dozen” authors who are “equally missing royalty and payment statements dating back to years “owned or controlled by Disney. companies.

The task force is calling for more authors to come forward who they believe are affected and says it has received “verified reports” from authors not having royalties for works related to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Spider-Man. , Stargate, Angel and Predator.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer ... dispute over comics.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer … dispute over comics. Photograph: 20th Century Fox TV / Kobal / REX / Shutterstock

In an example, the task force alleges that the author of a Buffy comic had contacted Boom! Comics about their royalties. Fox had initially licensed the rights to the Dark Horse comics, but when Disney bought Fox, the rights were taken from Dark Horse and given to Boom! Comic books. The writer said Boom! Comics that “royalties are not transferred.”

“Since Disney has refused to cooperate with the task force to identify the affected perpetrators, Joint Task Force #DisneyMustPay you need help communicating with all the people who may be affected. The members of the joint task need writers, readers and fans to alert authors who may be affected, ”the task force says in its announcement.

“Writers must be paid or given missing royalty statements; these contracts must be honored, ”said Mary Robinette Kowal, author and president of SFWA. “We urge all authors to review their statements to make sure they are in order.”

The task force asks Disney to honor its contracts and for the media giant to provide royalty and payment statements to all affected authors.

SFWA you want to create a cooperative relationship with Disney, but the corporation steadfastly refuses to work with us, ”Kowal said. “They say they are committed to paying the authors, but their actions make it clear that Disney is placing the responsibility to pay on the authors, while at the same time trying to isolate authors from receiving advice from their professional authors organization.”

A Disney spokesperson told The Guardian that they were working with the perpetrators and agents to resolve the cases that have been raised so far. “We are carefully reviewing whether royalty payments may have been missed as a result of the acquisition integration and will take appropriate corrective action if that is the case,” they said.


www.theguardian.com

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