• Creative Rights (On Eastman & Laird, Siegel & Schuster, Dave Sim, and TokyoPop).

Kevin Mellon and myself recently engaged in a small discussion on creative rights over in the comments section on his blog. I think it’s a subject that anyone who has any interest in creating anything should be talking about.

Here’s an excerpt:

HUDSON: “What is “fair” is not the norm.

It’s like that TokyoPop deal recently… so, they get a bad deal, don’t retain rights and barely get paid… but to a young creator, this doesn’t matter… they just wanna see their work sitting on a shelf next to their heroes. They just want to “break in.” And for them it’s worth it.”

KEVIN: “IT’S NEVER WORTH IT. i actually had to google that, i’ve been out of the loop on reading the news sites and blogs. TP’s contract is exactly like a lot of other contracts i’ve seen, only WAY better worded. if only all contracts were that easy to read. they flat out TELL YOU in plain english exactly how fucked you are if you sign this. i can appreciate that. i had to have a team of lawyers (a favour i called in) do that for me on the arcana and AiT contracts. fuck if i knew what they were saying.

and you know what? the TP deal is utter shit, and NOT WORTH IT. no amount of exposure is worth that sort of ass-raping, even if you consent to it. the fact that TP is being so blunt and up-front is it’s only saving grace. i’ve seen contracts exactly like that from other publishers. NEVER EVER EVER NEVER SIGN ONE. no one will listen, and some idiot will sign one and mouth off all over the ‘net about how he got “fucked”.

the publisher never has your best interests at heart. i like all 3 of the publishers i’m currently dealing with, but at the end of the day, what they care about is THEM. the more you keep that in mind, the better off you’ll be.”

HUDSON: “I’m sure this will get some backlash, but I’m not so sure the Siegel/Schuster case should’ve been a win. I mean, they were trading their rights in order to do what they love. Were they taken advantage of? Yes. But that’s how it worked at the time (and still does). I didn’t really follow the case, so maybe I’m way off, but it’s not like they were promised something and then had it pulled out from under them… they knew what they were getting into, right?”

KEVIN:“oddly, i agree with you on some levels. the superman case is like the miracleman case, it’s an anomaly of business and creative fuckups.

and to be quite frank, no, they didn’t know what they were getting into. NONE OF US DO. that’s part of the whole lesson to be learned. you don’t give up control of your creations because you don’t know if it’s gonna be the next superman, batman, tick, ben10, etc. that’s the moral, that’s the lesson. they didn’t learn it, so we could.”

Read more and add to the conversation here: kevinmellon.com

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