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Lit Disney reported to be refusing to pay royalties to Alan Dean Foster

Discussion in 'Literature' started by fett 4, Nov 18, 2020.

  1. fett 4

    fett 4 Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jan 2, 2000
    Well title says it all. At this time Alan is dealing with Advanced cancer and this couldn't come at a worse time for him and his family.
    While its not a great look for a large Corporation refusing to do this at this time.
    This is a passionate letter from Alan which I hope everyone reads
    https://www.sfwa.org/2020/11/18/disney-must-pay/
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2020
  2. Barriss_Coffee

    Barriss_Coffee Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2003
    So one thing not mentioned in that article is what Alan's deal was with the TFA novelization. He must have negotiated something. I'm on Alan's side, but I'm wondering if something he signed there is preventing him from taking this to the courts?
     
  3. fett 4

    fett 4 Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jan 2, 2000
    Considering Disney's tried to make him sign a non disclosure before even agreeing to just a talks meeting, I wouldn't be surprised

    Sent from my SM-G965F using Tapatalk
     
  4. QuinlanSolo

    QuinlanSolo Jedi Padawan

    Registered:
    Jun 17, 2019
    Not much more information, but here's the link to Foster's press conference:

     
  5. Sinrebirth

    Sinrebirth Mod-Emperor of the EUC, Lit, RPF and SWC star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    Obligatory edit as reported to, as we are not personally involved in the purported dispute.
     
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  6. The Positive Fan

    The Positive Fan Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 19, 2015
    Obviously, ADF should be paid whatever royalties he is entitled to. That goes without saying.

    Three opinions spring to mind as I read the SFWA article, however:

    1. ADF's snarky "Dear Mickey" letter really does his credibility no favors. Releasing that in an unedited form was, unfortunately, a misfire on SFWA's part.

    2. The lack of any mention of his TFA novelization or The Approaching Storm is... interesting. (I haven't watched the video yet so not sure if he mentions the status of those works therein.) Is he receiving royalties for those?

    3. IANAL but there's almost certainly a reason why ADF and SFWA are pursuing the "bad publicity for Disney" route rather than just letting the legal process roll forward. Whether this has to do with ADF's medical condition, or whether ADF and SFWA have less of a case than they claim to have based on whatever contracts were signed back in the day, or whether his contracts were re-negotiated when he did the TFA novelization, I don't know. But that too is interesting. The SFWA president herself calls this "unprecedented."

    Regardless of anything, ADF's writing was an important part of my childhood and I wish him all the best. I hope he receives whatever he is entitled to receive. Also loving that "Alan" shirt, BTW.
     
  7. Charlemagne19

    Charlemagne19 Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Jul 30, 2000
    Well, when you're dying, you gain the right to be snarky.

    Also, you know, the guy who wrote Star Wars: The Novelization.
     
  8. The Positive Fan

    The Positive Fan Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 19, 2015
    Speaking as the guy who started the novelizations's 40th anniversary thread a few years ago, believe me, I'm well aware. That book holds more of a place in my heart than I can easily articulate, as does ADF as its author. As I said, I want to see him receive whatever he should be receiving, it simply looks to me like there's more to the matter than what the SFWA article suggests.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2020
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  9. fett 4

    fett 4 Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jan 2, 2000
    From what the article says, he's got a devolped cancer, which is a polite way to say he could be dying. His wife apparently has huge medical issues at the same time and at the same time as all this the Multi Billion Dollar Corporation are trying to drag it out there dispute because of the obviousness of the above ie to simply out last him . Which is brutal if true.
    Which would explain why he is going public with this.
    I'm just glad I'm in a country where I don't have to worry about pay medical bills.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2020
  10. Vthuil

    Vthuil Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jan 3, 2013
    I've seen this sort of thing before with comics authors, but this hits a little closer to home because I enjoy writing myself - it's gross either way, though.

    My sympathies are entirely with Foster.
     
  11. LAJ_FETT

    LAJ_FETT Tech Admin and Collecting/Lucasfilm Ltd Mod star 10 Staff Member Administrator

    Registered:
    May 25, 2002
    I'm a long-time fan of ADF's books, both SW and non-SW so I'm sorry to see him going through this, especially if he is ill.

    @DarthInternous - I know you probably can't comment on this specific case but is this common in the publishing world?
     
  12. Vialco

    Vialco Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 6, 2007
    I have to wonder if Disney is really refusing to pay an author what he’s owed. That company has a massive revenue stream. I can’t believe that they’d pinch pennies in this way.

    I do find it interesting that no other author has come forward in such a way. If Alan is not receiving his due, then I’m certain this public exposure will convince Disney to pay him what he’s owed. But, I can’t help but think there is something more to this situation than we’ve seen. Royalties are a fairly simple form of contract law and Disney purchased Lucasfilm in 2013. If this has been happening for seven years, why haven’t we heard anything else before now?
     
  13. The Positive Fan

    The Positive Fan Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 19, 2015
    Another question one could ask is what Disney the Evil Multi Billion Dollar Company actually has to do with any of this. Del Rey was not only the original publisher of those novels, but is in fact the current licensee for adult novels and, as far as I'm aware, holds the publishing rights to the novels in question. They, not Disney, are "the publisher" - wouldn't they be the ones issuing the royalty checks? Disney does not own Del Rey.
     
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  14. Soontir-Fel

    Soontir-Fel Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Dec 18, 2001
    ...
    ..
    .
    That's what billion dollar corporations do.
     
  15. Vialco

    Vialco Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 6, 2007
    I like to think they don’t. But then, I’ve never worked for one, so my experience is limited.

    Still, I hope the public attention pushes Disney to resolve this in a satisfactory manner for all parties involved.
     
  16. fett 4

    fett 4 Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jan 2, 2000
    Thats the most naive thing Iv ever read. I can tell you now in the last lock down in March Richard Branson at Virgin offered his employees to work 3 months for free or lose there jobs. A few months later after doing that he then asked for a Government bailout even offering to put his own Private Island up for Collateral !

    And even before the Pandemic those nice guys at Amazon when asked by there staff if they could have more time off because of the hours they worked said sure ... but forgot to tell them they were docking there wages to do it :(

    Now maybe you do believe that nonsense about trickle down economics but let me tell you right now, its a scam, it don't work like that in reality
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2020
  17. Daneira

    Daneira Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 30, 2016
    Under US law, a corporation is legally obligated to do everything it can to make as much money as possible. (see Ebay v Newmark) To not try to rip off poor Mr. Foster as he's dying from cancer would be considered corporate malfeasance.
     
  18. The Positive Fan

    The Positive Fan Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 19, 2015
    You're almost right. Under US law, a corporation is legally obligated to do everything it can to legally make as much money as possible, because there are stockholders who have purchased stock and hold a financial stake in the company's success. Breach of contract (i.e. ripping off ADF) isn't a legal way of doing business.

    General hatred of capitalism and corporations aside, it's still not clear to me why anyone (including ADF or the SFWA) thinks Disney has anything at all to do with any of this. Publishers pay royalties, and the publisher is Del Rey, not Disney. Disney owns the IP but I don't see how that puts them in any level of control over the business relationship between the publisher and the author. Maybe Star Wars publishing contracts have weird stuff like that in them, I don't know, but personally I'm going to refrain from pointing fingers until I have a clearer idea of who I should be pointing at.
     
  19. Daneira

    Daneira Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 30, 2016
    Foster claims he stopped being paid after the Disney acquisition of Lucasfilm. SFWA contacted Disney for comment. According to SFWA, "Disney’s argument is that they have purchased the rights but not the obligations of the contract." I don't know how the publishing stuff works either, but if Foster was being paid directly by Del Rey, nothing should have changed after the Disney acquisition because Disney doesn't own Del Rey anyway, and Disney's response to SFWA contacting them should have been "We don't own Del Rey and cannot comment" as opposed to saying anything about the "obligations of the contract."
     
  20. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 19, 2019
    My support and sympathies are with Alan Dean Foster here. If Disney is still selling his books (they are), then he should be entitled to some of the profits. And if as stated in the article, Disney's stance is only 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," then I would consider Disney's position on this to be both illogical and indefensible. If you purchase the rights of a contract, you also must have purchased the obligations of it.

    Alan Dean Foster should be paid what he is owed with interest by Disney.

    This also shows how vulnerable even established writers are to being cheated and crassly exploited by the publication industry. If this is how established writers are treated, then new writers are treated even worse.

    Big corporations do not care about individual welfare. Only profit. As we see here.

    Good luck to Alan Dean Foster and his family in this fight against a massive corporation.
     
  21. Jedi Ben

    Jedi Ben Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Jul 19, 1999
    This is low.
    Judge Cancer is your likely answer.
     
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  22. The Positive Fan

    The Positive Fan Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 19, 2015
    I did forget about that comment in the original SFWA article, but that then introduces a whole new set of questions. If ADF expected Disney to pay his royalties after the acquisition, who was paying him before? Lucasfilm? (With the film's producers desperately trying to get licensing off the ground back in 1976 I guess I could imagine weird stuff like that going on.) And if he stopped receiving royalties after the acquisition, which happened in 2012, why did ADF agree to write another novelization (and an accompanying short story, which I almost forgot about) in 2015? (His cancer diagnosis was in 2016 so that's not it.) I don't know any of the answers, I just know the logic isn't adding up to "bad guy Disney" as cleanly as it should be for me. Again, I love ADF and I do want to see him receive every penny he is owed. But much more clarity is required on the nature of the relationship between ADF, Del Rey and Disney before I can jump on any given bandwagon any further than that.
     
  23. Sinrebirth

    Sinrebirth Mod-Emperor of the EUC, Lit, RPF and SWC star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    Casual reminder that is a discussion about a claim, and whilst I appreciate the discussions of the inconsistencies or practicalities of the situation, it is not an opportunity to attack someone’s worldview.
     
  24. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 19, 2019
    There are some interesting comments on the original article from Hugo winning author Mary Robinette Kowal.

    With regard to TFA book, she says, "DelRey, which has the rights to The Force Awakens novelizations, is different contract. They are correctly submitting regular royalty statements." So, if that is true, it is good to know that Alan Dean Foster is being paid what he is owed for the TFA novelization at least.

    She likewise claims, "In this specific case, Alan’s contract is unambiguous that it is binding on 'the successors and assigns.'" If that is true, it is clear that Disney definitely inherited the obligations of the contract with Alan Dean Foster as they would be a successor.

    I'm inclined to take her word as she is speaking about specifics and what she says makes sense to me.
     
  25. Outsourced

    Outsourced Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2017
    Not surprising. Disney didn't get this big by being nice. Welcome to late stage capitalism.