log in or register to remove this ad

 

Star Wars Star Wars, Alien, etc. novelization dispute

Ryujin

Hero
According to this post by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America guild, it would appear that The House of Mouse feels that when your contracted screenplay novelization writer is fighting stage 4 cancer, that's a perfect time to not pay him. Alan Dean Foster has written a ton of such novelizations and sparked the Star Wars Extended Universe with "Splinter of the Minds Eye." Elsewhere I've heard that their alleged reasoning is they purchased the rights to, but not the obligations for, said novelizations. They're running the production companies as wholly owned subsidiaries and have not just purchased specific properties, so I don't understand that reasoning.

 

log in or register to remove this ad


Ryujin

Hero
It’s not good reasoning, that’s why you don’t understand it. And hopefully something will be done about it.

When you purchase a company, as Disney did with Lucasfilm, you purchase its assets and liabilities. You don’t get to ignore the latter.
Indeed. If the companies in question had been hacked up and sold off, their reasoning might hold some water. Not likely, but perhaps, based on the wording of contracts that no one has seen. I would guess that there was some sort of 'changing of the guard' at Disney around the time that (correction) 20th Century Studios was acquired, as that seems to be the trigger to cutting off the royalties for both the Universal properties, and the Star Wars properties.

That Disney would require a NDA prior to even beginning negotiations is also... confusing.
 
Last edited:

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Indeed. If the companies in question had been hacked up and sold off, their reasoning might hold some water.

If that'd happened, they'd be able to tell you exactly who held the liability. If you break up responsibility for contracts, you have to document this as part of the purchase agreement.

I am sure the House of Mouse knows darned sure that the argument is bogus. I suspect it is a delaying tactic - hold off the liabilities now, so the books look a little better. Either there will be no court case, or it will take forever, and the liability can hit the books later, when the company isn't taking such a big economic drubbing.

That Disney would require a NDA prior to even beginning negotiations is also... confusing.

"Confusing" is not the right word. It should be entirely understandable - if a company wants to give someone the shaft, it is really better if nobody talks about it, right?

Disney likely feels it has enough lawyers to hold off any legal assault, and they guess that few enough people care about Mr. Foster (and any other creators they are also similarly shafting), that the incredibly bad optics of pauperizing a creator with cancer and a terminally ill wife won't be a big deal.
 
Last edited:

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Disney likely feels it has enough lawyers to hold off any legal assault, and they guess that few enough people care about Mr. Foster (and any other creators they are also similarly shafting), that the incredibly bad optics of pauperizing a creator with cancer and a terminally ill-wife won't be a big deal.
It probably isn't, to them. Most people aren't going to boycott Disney, even if they claim they will.
 


Retreater

Legend
I wonder how much Foster's royalties are on a 40+ year old book? I would expect that to be a drop in the bucket compared to what Lucasfilm makes off the sale of Baby Yoda Funko Pops. Just give the man his money.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
If that'd happened, they'd be able to tell you exactly who held the liability. If you break up responsibility for contracts, you have to document this as part of the purchase agreement.

I am sure the House of Mouse knows darned sure that the argument is bogus. I suspect it is a delaying tactic - hold off the liabilities now, so the books look a little better. Either there will be no court case, or it will take forever, and the liability can hit the books later, when the company isn't taking such a big economic drubbing.
I doubt it. They weren't paying ADF during fatter years, trying to justify not paying him in a lean year shouldn't fly. More likely they though they think they can get away with it and grind out anybody's ability to sue.
 

Ryujin

Hero
I wonder how much Foster's royalties are on a 40+ year old book? I would expect that to be a drop in the bucket compared to what Lucasfilm makes off the sale of Baby Yoda Funko Pops. Just give the man his money.
Some will still sell and, given the sheer volume of such novelizations, it should make for a reasonable living. Keep in mind that he also did the novelization for "The Force Awakens" and "Alien: Covenant." It's not all in the distant past.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I doubt it. They weren't paying ADF during fatter years, trying to justify not paying him in a lean year shouldn't fly. More likely they though they think they can get away with it and grind out anybody's ability to sue.

I don't mean this as a lean/fat year thing. Just in general - putting off liabilities for as log as possible is a common enough tactic. And it doesn't have to be a top-level strategy. Whatever divisions these royalties fall into make be putting things off to make their specific numbers look better. Maybe it'll coem due, maybe it won't.
 

Ryujin

Hero
I don't mean this as a lean/fat year thing. Just in general - putting off liabilities for as log as possible is a common enough tactic. And it doesn't have to be a top-level strategy. Whatever divisions these royalties fall into make be putting things off to make their specific numbers look better. Maybe it'll coem due, maybe it won't.
And maybe, just maybe they can put it off for long enough that it's not found out until the managers in question have already moved on.

... unless someone at HoM reads the news.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
And maybe, just maybe they can put it off for long enough that it's not found out until the managers in question have already moved on.

... unless someone at HoM reads the news.

Well, as has been noted, this looks crummy, but...nobody's going to boycott Disney over it, so hardly a real issue to the bottom line. I don't know that the House of Mouse actually cares.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Well anyone paying attention to Disney should know they're not a nice corporation and haven't been since basically forever.

Their labour practices alone fall on the exploitive side of things.
 


GreyLord

Hero
Remembered this thread after seeing an article on further developments of this.

It's not just Alan Dean Foster, other authors have jumped into the boat on this including

Donald Glut, a writer who novelized 1980’s “The Empire Strikes Back,” and James Kahn, who adapted the third film of the original trilogy, “Return of the Jedi,” both have said they are missing royalty checks, too.

If a resolution isn’t reached, the writers association could take further action, said Ms. Kowal, including putting Disney on a list of publishers it tells its members to avoid. The term given to such a designation: “Writer Beware.”

 

Remembered this thread after seeing an article on further developments of this.

It's not just Alan Dean Foster, other authors have jumped into the boat on this including

Cases like this are the ones that remind me of why all the artists guilds (actors, writers, whatever) are so important. No individual has the power to threaten Disney in these cases.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Cases like this are the ones that remind me of why all the artists guilds (actors, writers, whatever) are so important. No individual has the power to threaten Disney in these cases.
Sadly, probably neither does any union. Disney is an international megacorporation. Even governments struggle to handle companies of that size.
 

Sadly, probably neither does any union. Disney is an international megacorporation. Even governments struggle to handle companies of that size.
The Writer's Guild strike in 2007-2008 was pretty effective at moving mountains bigger than Disney. And while Disney as a whole is doing good, a lot of divisions (the movies and parks, mostly) are struggling. Having a threat of boycott/strike from all the writings teams on the news shows they just announced would put them in a precarious situation.

I'm not saying it would be easy or that it's likely to happen. But I do think it's possible. And that gives me hope.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
The Writer's Guild strike in 2007-2008 was pretty effective at moving mountains bigger than Disney. And while Disney as a whole is doing good, a lot of divisions (the movies and parks, mostly) are struggling. Having a threat of boycott/strike from all the writings teams on the news shows they just announced would put them in a precarious situation.

I'm not saying it would be easy or that it's likely to happen. But I do think it's possible. And that gives me hope.
Genuine question - what stops them just hiring writers not in America?
 


Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top