Authors push Disney to pay royalties after Alan Dean Foster claims

Leia and Luke are stalked by Vader on the original Splinter of the Mind's Eye cover by Alan Dean Foster.

Leia and Luke are stalked by Vader on the original cover of Shard of the Spirit’s Eye by Alan Dean Foster.
Picture: Ralph McQuarrie / Lucasfilm

At the end of last year, Alan Dean Foster – the novelist who wrote the first Star wars novels, the romanization written by ghosts New hope and its direct sequence, Shard of the Spirit’s Eye –has made public its difficulties negotiating a royalty deal for its work since Disney took ownership of Lucasfilm. Although Foster’s fight is drawing to a close, more and more writers are asking the company to honor the contracts for the studios they have purchased.

The Guardian reports that several authors have teamed up with Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and several other writers’ guilds to create the “DisneyMustPay Joint Taskforce,” so named after the Twitter hashtag that formed when Foster’s fate went public in November 2019. Neil Gaiman, Chuck Wendig (who himself has written several Star wars books for Disney), Tess Gerritsen and Mary Robinette Kowal.

The problem with Foster’s work was that, as the author claimed, Disney no longer honored the royalty contracts the writer had received for decades through his work on Star wars and Extraterrestrial romanizations when the mega-corporation acquired Lucasfilm so what 20th Century Fox in 2012 and 2019, respectively, despite the fact that his work was still reprinted and sold in various forms. Since his royalty claim was made public, Foster has come to an out-of-court decision with Disney. “The irritating disruption with Disney, which you may have read, is rapidly moving towards a mutually acceptable conclusion. An official statement will be released shortly, ”Foster wrote in early April on its official website. A recently released follow-up note simply added, “The issue with Disney regarding royalty arrears has been resolved. Further news relating to this issue will be made public shortly. “

The SFWA recognizes in its Press release announcing to the task force that Foster’s case could be resolved. However, the group has been approached by several writers through licensed novels and related comics – licenses such as Star wars, Buffy the vampire slayer and angel, Indiana Jones, Spider Man, and the Extraterrestrial and Predator franchises—Who all believe that the royalty negotiations for the work on these franchises prior to their acquisition by Disney have ended. The task force says that someone who has already written Buffy of the comics while ownership was granted to Dark Horse – who has produced them since 1998 – contacted Disney after the rights were removed from Dark Horse and given to Boom Studios after the acquisition of Fox. “When a Buffy author contacted Boom Regarding the missing royalties, they were told that “the royalties are not transferred”, ”the statement added.

“The #DisneyMustPay Joint Working Group ensures that working conditions for writers are fair and safe, but individual negotiations are, and rightly so, between authors, their agents and the rights holder. Therefore, the Disney task force is looking at structural and systemic issues, ”the statement continued. “One of those concerns is identifying authors whose royalty payments may have been missed as a result of the acquisition integration. Working with the task force would have made it easier to identify these authors for Disney – since we have current contact details for our various members – and Disney knows when acquisitions took place and for which properties. “

As part of its campaign, SFWA and the task force are asking writers who believe they are entitled to royalties for past work on franchises now owned by Disney parcel these days) to contact via the official website of the group. But the alleged lack of cooperation – and his decision to resolve the very public situation with Foster in private; no official word has yet been released by the company despite Foster’s own comments that statements are forthcoming – talks about the complicated situation that accompanies a studio as large as it acquires other studios in its quest to become a dominant force of capital In popular culture.

For years now, Disney has reaped the financial gain of his management of the tastes of Star wars and the Marvel Comics universe. At the very least, he should be prepared to help some of the people who have helped bring these universes to life in new mediums, especially in a world where the business is still profiting from the sales of this work.


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