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Old 11-25-2020, 11:32 PM   #31
binaryhermit
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But Mickey Mouse and/or Star Wars is a hell of a drug.
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Old 11-27-2020, 12:14 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by Uncle Robin View Post
The price Lucasfilm paid him included the contractual obligation to pay him the agreed upon royalties.
LucasFilms were paying him from the goodness of their heart; the new owner doesn't have to honor the previous contacts with contractors or employees.
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Old 11-27-2020, 12:32 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Sarmat89 View Post
LucasFilms were paying him from the goodness of their heart; the new owner doesn't have to honor the previous contacts with contractors or employees.
Please run that one by me again. Unless Disney picked LucasFilms up from a bankruptcy sale, they purchased the whole company with both it's assets and liabilities. Unless there was a novation agreement, the contract would still be in force.

You did read the linked article? Including a comment by Mary Robinette Kowal:
Quote:
This contract specifically says that it is binding on “successors and assigns” which would be Disney.
It's entirely possible that those royalties were how LucasFilm paid ADF instead of a single upfront payment.

And please don't write sentences suggesting that a company is giving away money from the goodness of their heart when that payment was codified in a written contract. Do you know how painful it is to spray coffee out your nose onto your keyboard?
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Old 11-27-2020, 03:38 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Sarmat89 View Post
LucasFilms were paying him from the goodness of their heart; the new owner doesn't have to honor the previous contacts with contractors or employees.
Since when are royalties based on a written contract "from the goodness of their heart"?
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Old 11-27-2020, 08:28 AM   #35
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Please run that one by me again. Unless Disney picked LucasFilms up from a bankruptcy sale, they purchased the whole company with both it's assets and liabilities. Unless there was a novation agreement, the contract would still be in force.

You did read the linked article? Including a comment by Mary Robinette Kowal:


It's entirely possible that those royalties were how LucasFilm paid ADF instead of a single upfront payment.

And please don't write sentences suggesting that a company is giving away money from the goodness of their heart when that payment was codified in a written contract. Do you know how painful it is to spray coffee out your nose onto your keyboard?
Yea, that does seem a bit odd. It's all about the contracts. My understanding is that most novelizations of movies and many books set in various universes such as Star Wars and Star Trek are works for hire. It purely depends on the contract. One can usually look on the title page of the book and see who has the copyright. Star Wars was copyrighted by George Lucas and Foster is not mentioned (though it was long rumored that he actually wrote it based on the screen play), Splinter is copyrighted by the Star Wars Corp. So both were likely works for hire and covered by the contract rather than by copyright law.
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Old 11-27-2020, 12:23 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by pwalker8 View Post
Yea, that does seem a bit odd. It's all about the contracts. My understanding is that most novelizations of movies and many books set in various universes such as Star Wars and Star Trek are works for hire. It purely depends on the contract. One can usually look on the title page of the book and see who has the copyright. Star Wars was copyrighted by George Lucas and Foster is not mentioned (though it was long rumored that he actually wrote it based on the screen play), Splinter is copyrighted by the Star Wars Corp. So both were likely works for hire and covered by the contract rather than by copyright law.
Does anybody know what kind of contract Mr. Foster engaged in directly with Disney when he did the novelization of "The Black Hole?"
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Old 11-28-2020, 09:58 PM   #37
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If Disney's position is that you can acquire assets without obligations, does that mean it's OK for people to obtain Disney's assets (e.g., movies) without the obligation to pay for them?

What Disney has done, if the report is true, is ethically reprehensible. Disney has zero cause to complain if they are the target of equally reprehensible actions. If a pirate is pirated by another pirate, do I care? While pirating them myself is not on the radar, neither is lifting a finger to discourage others from doing so. You reap what you sow.
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Old 11-29-2020, 08:42 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by haertig View Post
If Disney's position is that you can acquire assets without obligations, does that mean it's OK for people to obtain Disney's assets (e.g., movies) without the obligation to pay for them?

What Disney has done, if the report is true, is ethically reprehensible. Disney has zero cause to complain if they are the target of equally reprehensible actions. If a pirate is pirated by another pirate, do I care? While pirating them myself is not on the radar, neither is lifting a finger to discourage others from doing so. You reap what you sow.
You technically can acquire assets without obligations. Companies do it all the time. Since the works in question are works for hire, we are talking contract rather than copyright. It really comes down to what Disney bought when they bought LucasFilm.

Disney bought LucasFilm in 2012. I's late 2020. I suspect there is something more than meets the eye here. Keep in mind that Foster wrote the novelization for The Force Awakens in 2015. Why has it taken this long for it to become public and why hasn't he filed a law suit?

Last edited by pwalker8; 11-29-2020 at 08:52 AM.
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Old 11-29-2020, 11:37 AM   #39
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Costs money to file a law suit and likely to fail even if you are in the right, if you are fighting a huge USA Corporation.
Also it's about royalties not paid on earlier works and it oddly took a while to discover that Disney was the problem. It's all on the original link, read the comments too.
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Old 11-30-2020, 04:56 PM   #40
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Costs money to file a law suit and likely to fail even if you are in the right, if you are fighting a huge USA Corporation.
Also it's about royalties not paid on earlier works and it oddly took a while to discover that Disney was the problem. It's all on the original link, read the comments too.
Eight years? That's a long time. Also, there are ways to recover money that don't take a lot of money. Frequently in civil suits, the loser pays if it's as slam dunk as you assume.

I'm no more fond of the Mouse and their corporate antics as anyone who dislikes long term copyright, but I'm pretty sure that without looking at the contracts involved (i.e. Foster's contract with the StarWars Corp and Disney's contract with Lucas to buy his properties) one has no way of knowing one way or the other if Disney actually legally owes Foster money. This can just as easily be a situation of trying to shame a corporation into giving an author who is running into money issues some extra bucks. From the outside looking in, there is no real way to know.
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Old 11-30-2020, 06:41 PM   #41
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But Mickey Mouse and/or Star Wars is a hell of a drug.
And the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
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Old 12-01-2020, 02:47 AM   #42
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This can just as easily be a situation of trying to shame a corporation into giving an author who is running into money issues some extra bucks. From the outside looking in, there is no real way to know.
The SFWA would not be involved if that were the case.
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Old 12-01-2020, 07:52 AM   #43
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The SFWA would not be involved if that were the case.
He isn't the only one being stiffed: he is simply the first to go public.
(Most of the others seem to still think quiet pleads can get them tbeir money.)

He also isn't dependent on his work-for-hire royalties as he has an extensive catalog of his own that includes classic series still selling like his FLINX/Humanx Commonwealth SF and his SPELLSINGER fantasies.

He was one of the more prolific authors of his cohort who was good enough and fast enough to take on movie tie-ins and novelizations in between his own books, probably because in those days publishers didn't like to see "too many" original books (one or two, usually) by the same author in the same year "competing with each other".

If he were starting out these days he could easily put out 4-6 or more good books a year on the strength of his name, without establishment help. But at 74 he probably isn't that active.

FWIW, in Disney's "defense", a lot (most?) corporate work for hire books today are contracted as flat fees instead of traditional advance+royalty contracts. The low level idiot inheriting the LUCASFILM books probably wasn't even aware of the financial liabilities that came in the merger.

The whole thing could have been settled ages ago by a simple call to accounting but that would require *finding* the contract and especially competence. The latter is not something to be commonly found in the bowels of big corporate bureaucracies.

Just the usual incompetence substituting for malice.
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Old 12-01-2020, 08:58 AM   #44
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He isn't the only one being stiffed: he is simply the first to go public.
(Most of the others seem to still think quiet pleads can get them tbeir money.)

He also isn't dependent on his work-for-hire royalties as he has an extensive catalog of his own that includes classic series still selling like his FLINX/Humanx Commonwealth SF and his SPELLSINGER fantasies.

He was one of the more prolific authors of his cohort who was good enough and fast enough to take on movie tie-ins and novelizations in between his own books, probably because in those days publishers didn't like to see "too many" original books (one or two, usually) by the same author in the same year "competing with each other".

If he were starting out these days he could easily put out 4-6 or more good books a year on the strength of his name, without establishment help. But at 74 he probably isn't that active.

FWIW, in Disney's "defense", a lot (most?) corporate work for hire books today are contracted as flat fees instead of traditional advance+royalty contracts. The low level idiot inheriting the LUCASFILM books probably wasn't even aware of the financial liabilities that came in the merger.

The whole thing could have been settled ages ago by a simple call to accounting but that would require *finding* the contract and especially competence. The latter is not something to be commonly found in the bowels of big corporate bureaucracies.

Just the usual incompetence substituting for malice.
You hurl yourself at an assumption with zero proof. Yea, I know it matches your personal prejudices, Mouse bad, Amazon good. Lawyers who don't read the contracts don't last long in the professional world. I would guess that after 8 years, someone at Disney has actually read the contract.
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Old 12-01-2020, 09:09 AM   #45
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The SFWA would not be involved if that were the case.
Why do you assume that? Other professional associations and unions get involved in cases that are at best shaky legally.

I'm not saying that Disney doesn't owe him, I'm simply saying that in the case of a work for hire, it's not obvious that they do and I find it very strange that over the course of 8 years, he hasn't initiated legal action.
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