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Author Topic: Alan Dean Foster  (Read 850 times)

AlexF

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Alan Dean Foster
« on: 25 November, 2020, 09:08:31 AM »
Speaking of much-loved creators being screwed over by corporate overlords*, have you guys seen this:
https://www.sfwa.org/2020/11/18/disney-must-pay/?

Proper outrageous!



*without wishing to turn this into another thread about Mills vs Big 1 again.

CalHab

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Re: Alan Dean Foster
« Reply #1 on: 25 November, 2020, 09:53:31 AM »
Yes, I've seen a few SF writers commenting on this.

If Disney's argument is correct, then any publisher could break an agreement with an author simply by selling the rights to another party. This seems transparently wrong, but Disney have had great success in bending copyright law to their will, so maybe they think they can do this too?

CalHab

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Re: Alan Dean Foster
« Reply #2 on: 25 November, 2020, 09:56:36 AM »
The SFWA have put that point far more clearly and eloquently in their post:
Quote from: SFWA
The larger problem has the potential to affect every writer. Disney’s argument is that they have purchased the rights but not the obligations of the contract. In other words, they believe they have the right to publish work, but are not obligated to pay the writer no matter what the contract says. If we let this stand, it could set precedent to fundamentally alter the way copyright and contracts operate in the United States. All a publisher would have to do to break a contract would be to sell it to a sibling company.

broodblik

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Re: Alan Dean Foster
« Reply #3 on: 25 November, 2020, 10:01:07 AM »
Then writers must amend their contracts to stipulate that the company can not sell their catalog without a writers permission.
When I die, I want to die like my grandfather who died peacefully in his sleep. Not screaming like all the passengers in his car.

Old age is the Lord’s way of telling us to step aside for something new. Death’s in case we didn’t take the hint.

Colin YNWA

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Re: Alan Dean Foster
« Reply #4 on: 25 November, 2020, 10:03:42 AM »
The SFWA have put that point far more clearly and eloquently in their post:

Disney’s argument is that they have purchased the rights but not the obligations of the contract.

So without knowing a jot about US law and so from a point of utter ignorance this is the bit that I find staggering. That in buying the rights you don't by default take the obligations with you. I find that astonishing. Is it maybe a case of Disney assuming they can just say that and lawyer any challenge to death?

CalHab

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Re: Alan Dean Foster
« Reply #5 on: 25 November, 2020, 10:06:39 AM »
Then writers must amend their contracts to stipulate that the company can not sell their catalog without a writers permission.

A major publisher would never accept this. They could effectively be held to ransom by their authors if they wanted to sell/merge.

I'm not a lawyer, but this is not how I understand contract law works in any other field. You can't simply shed the responsibilities of a contract. It would be a free-for-all if this was the case.
« Last Edit: 25 November, 2020, 10:13:21 AM by CalHab »

broodblik

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Re: Alan Dean Foster
« Reply #6 on: 25 November, 2020, 10:07:11 AM »
So all a company have to do is have a sister company and then sell the property to the sister company and no obligations.
When I die, I want to die like my grandfather who died peacefully in his sleep. Not screaming like all the passengers in his car.

Old age is the Lord’s way of telling us to step aside for something new. Death’s in case we didn’t take the hint.

TordelBack

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Re: Alan Dean Foster
« Reply #7 on: 25 November, 2020, 10:16:24 AM »
 Some previous board discussion of this awfulness here, but probably wise to continue in this thread, away from Mandalorian spoilers.

Jim_Campbell

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Re: Alan Dean Foster
« Reply #8 on: 25 November, 2020, 10:46:37 AM »
probably wise to continue in this thread, away from Mandalorian spoilers.

Good idea. In which case, I'll re-post this link to Disney's contact page. If you scroll down a bit, you'll find an option for their "Corporate Social Responsibility" team, which I'd encourage people to use to let Mickey and his friends know what you think of this behaviour.

I think it's worth mentioning that this subject gets touched on for a few minutes early-ish in this entertaining but spoiler-filled podcast discussion of S2E04 between Dan Moren and Antony Johnston. Johnston specifically notes that the SFWA wouldn't have taken up the case and come out swinging for Foster in quite the way they have if Foster's contract didn't have a watertight royalty clause.*

Bottom line: this sounds like Disney cynically looking to break a contract and relying on the fact that they can make any legal action so ruinously expensive that Foster wouldn't be able to pursue it and/or so protracted that he dies before it gets resolved.

*Not all royalties are royalties. Sometimes a company will make ex gratia payments on WFH beyond the stipulations of the original contract but these have no legal force (I was once assured, for example, by an editor at a company that rhymes with Lames Jerkshop, that such a thing might be forthcoming for further exploitations of a WFH job, but not one penny ever materialised). It appears that this isn't the case in Foster's contract.
« Last Edit: 25 November, 2020, 10:49:20 AM by Jim_Campbell »
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Professor Bear

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Re: Alan Dean Foster
« Reply #9 on: 25 November, 2020, 12:15:02 PM »
What if Disney specifically screwed ADF because they are banking on him dying soon?
There is zero chance a company with their Orwellian marketing machine doesn't know what the optics on this are like, yet they did it anyway.  One has to wonder how they thought they'd come out ahead.

sheridan

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Re: Alan Dean Foster
« Reply #10 on: 25 November, 2020, 02:34:11 PM »
What if Disney specifically screwed ADF because they are banking on him dying soon?
There is zero chance a company with their Orwellian marketing machine doesn't know what the optics on this are like, yet they did it anyway.  One has to wonder how they thought they'd come out ahead.

And applying it to the Star Wars (previously Lucasfilm) and Aliens (previously Fox) IP - two completely different routes by which they've acquired the publishing rights...

O Lucky Stevie!

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Re: Alan Dean Foster
« Reply #11 on: 25 November, 2020, 03:34:48 PM »
What if Disney specifically screwed ADF because they are banking on him dying soon?
There is zero chance a company with their Orwellian marketing machine doesn't know what the optics on this are like, yet they did it anyway.  One has to wonder how they thought they'd come out ahead.

I would imagine that the late Vonda McIntyre would have found her Star Wars royalties useful in her final years. Timothy Zahn isn't getting any younger either...
"We'll send all these nasty words to Aunt Jane. Don't you think that would be fun?"

TordelBack

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Re: Alan Dean Foster
« Reply #12 on: 25 November, 2020, 03:43:04 PM »
Zahn is an interesting one,  in that he still writes for them. His novels would be split across Bantam/Spectra (for the more popular early ones, and a few others) and Dell Rey (for all the 21st C stuff, including, I believe, the current license) . I wonder how that works.