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#467605 - 06/05/01 04:55 PM CREATORS RIGHTS
iusetobekb Offline
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Registered: 06/03/01
Posts: 282
Loc: hawaii
Ok,i figure that there are alot of people who talk a good game about this when it envolves you know,earth shattering characters that neil gaiman worked on and owns,But belive it or not other creators have been stolen from. jack kirby,Stan lee,gil kane,steve ditko,joe kubert,lein wein,marv wolfman.we will stop there but please feel free to add to the list.
anyway,i was hoping perhaps some who take such a strong stance on this issue would please write a short post to marvel comics editor and cheif Joe Quesada about the injustice that has been done to these and many other creators and demand that ownership or reasonable compensation see there way to the creators still living and the families of the deceased.
please dont attack one anothers post but keep it related to marvel characters.I feel Joe being the stand up guy he is,might honor the request,if enough of you write in.then when can email a copy to him.

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#467606 - 06/05/01 05:39 PM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
Kayo Offline
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Registered: 01/14/01
Posts: 177
It's best to fight one battle at a time and gain strength and momentum from each victory. I'll tell you what, Kyle, if you put all your energy into helping Neil resecure his rights from TMP I'll be glad to support you when you actually start and spearhead a campaign to redress past injustices.

You might want to be very specific about what you feel was stolen from them, the specifics of how it was stolen, and what agreements were specifically violated. They're probably accessible with a bit of research.

If you don't have the specifics you'll probably be inundated with rude notes and posts from Marvel Zombies demanding to know these specifics and I doubt they'll accept any of this without verified details. Even then there'll probably be a number of extremely short-sighted posters who won't accept that "their" company could ever do anything wrong and that anyone advocating for the rights of others is stupid and should be verbally abused and punished.

So. Are you ready to join the battle already in progress and work towards shaming Todd into making amends for his unethical business practices?

-Kelley O'Hearn

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#467607 - 06/05/01 05:54 PM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
Glenn Barbis Jr Offline
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Registered: 01/09/99
Posts: 765
Loc: Nowhere, Pa.
One thing you need to remember is, that the men you propose to help, knew the deal going in. They knew it was work-for-hire, and nothing they created would acually be theirs.

I agree that they once those characters should the profit potential they had, the creators should have been given some sort of slice.

But regarding Neil & Todd, Todd went everywhere, stating he was for creators rights, he was for people owning what they create for other companies, that Image was formed on this principle, and a dozen other statements that lead one to believe that anything you create for Todd, you have a stake in.

Neil even says he had a hand-shake deal for his Spawn #9 characters. So with all Todd's stated on the subject, and about the sins of the past, one would assume he would give some sort of share of Angela & Cog to Gaiman.

The creators you mentioned were never under any of those impressions. They knew they worked for the big corporation. They knew that their paychecks covered all their work. And we all know now, that it was wrong.

But that's the way it was then. Marvel & DC weren't spouting "creators rights" while ripping off their ideas.

Also...I don't think Joe Quesada could do anything about that. He could offer suggestions, but he doesn't have the power to give characters away. He tried what he could to save Al Milgrom's job, but the higher ups had it in for Milgrom, and Joe couldn't do much about it. Same would go for this situation.

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#467608 - 06/05/01 05:54 PM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
iusetobekb Offline
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Registered: 06/03/01
Posts: 282
Loc: hawaii
Yeah,that'll work.After spawn the movie your gonna try to shame him.good luck,I won't join a lost cause [img]/resources/ubb/smile.gif[/img] I think we have a better shot getting lee and ditko back spiderman.that's why i started this thread.[i'll make it simple,we'll just try to get spidey back.]
you know what, i'll join you,Todd give neil the 50 bucks you owe him so we can move the fuck on.I'm tired of coming off like a todd supporter.

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#467609 - 06/05/01 06:02 PM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
iusetobekb Offline
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Registered: 06/03/01
Posts: 282
Loc: hawaii
wait,i need actual proof they stole from these guys,shit.can't i just make some up and then swear by it?actually i'm to lazy,can some one else make up some facts for me,hunk,flimflam,pete charles...anyone.just involve todd some how and peole will back it up.

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#467610 - 06/05/01 06:15 PM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
Leif Offline
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Registered: 06/05/01
Posts: 54
Loc: wa
Hi, hope you dont mind a new guy hoping in here.
I think the material originally mentioned is whats called a "work for hire". Meaning they did the work and the corp gets to keep the rights. But copyright law did change in 19(89?) so it could be a completly different animal than what it is today.

And not to start a flaming war here, but is it possible that T McF is just trying to stir up controversy to increase sales? Is it possible that there is an agreement allready existing between all parties and they are waiting for the check? Maybe thats why there is so much silence concerning the issue? Just a thought.
Thanks for your time,
L

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#467611 - 06/05/01 06:21 PM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
iusetobekb Offline
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Registered: 06/03/01
Posts: 282
Loc: hawaii
hey new guy!
nah,they were going on about todd before he showed up.
i think it's funny people will make excuses for marvels ethical lapses but not Todd.His company also runs work for hire,despite what is said.

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#467612 - 06/05/01 06:42 PM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
Mark Evanier Offline
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Registered: 04/06/99
Posts: 382
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Quote:
Originally posted by Glenn Barbis:
One thing you need to remember is, that the men you propose to help, knew the deal going in. They knew it was work-for-hire, and nothing they created would acually be theirs.


ME: Really? Show me one contract, one release form, one letter of agreement, one anything relating to a comic book employment situation with the words "work-for-hire" that was written before 1975.

I've spoken with most of the men mentioned at the outset of this thread. They didn't know what you say they knew.
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#467613 - 06/05/01 06:52 PM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
Leif Offline
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Registered: 06/05/01
Posts: 54
Loc: wa
Quote:
Originally posted by iusetobekb:
hey new guy!
nah,they were going on about todd before he showed up.
i think it's funny people will make excuses for marvels ethical lapses but not Todd.His company also runs work for hire,despite what is said.


Thanks for the greetings! My earlier post wasn't making up excuses for marvels ethical lapses, rather the way copyright is run now.
Dont get me started on Kirby's disrespect. we will be here all day. In my mind DC was far worse: changing golden age to completely different people for the silver age. But I digress......

<
I've spoken with most of the men mentioned at the outset of this thread. They didn't know what you say they knew.>>

I could be wrong here, and I dont know what direction to put you in to see if Im full of shit or not, but I believe that "back in the day" it was written into their contract to begin with. "all works created by ____ is considered to be a work for hire and is as such cosidered as property of_____" or something to that effect.
But as I said earlier, copyright changed dramatically in the mid to late 80's, so Im not sure how accurate Iam.



[This message has been edited by Leif (edited 06-05-2001).]

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#467614 - 06/05/01 06:55 PM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
Glenn Barbis Jr Offline
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Registered: 01/09/99
Posts: 765
Loc: Nowhere, Pa.
I apologize to Mr. Evanier, who I have a great deal of respect for, and I know is a valid "historian" of these things, as it were.

I will concede that I may have "spoken" in haste there. I really didn't mean it to come off like it did. I know there are many pathways around this, and all are very unclear. I was basically trying to make a generalization in that, the times were different, and the companies involved didn't blatantly spout the rhetoric that McFarlane did to cause anyone thinking they would own the characters outright (although, I must say, maybe they did??? Another point I may have misinterprted).

Again, I apologize to Mark for it coming off the way it did.

I think what happened to the men mentioned, was very wrong, and a blight on the industry. I did not mean any slight towards them or their plight.

Please forgive me.

[This message has been edited by Glenn Barbis (edited 06-05-2001).]
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#467615 - 06/05/01 06:59 PM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
Peter David Offline
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Registered: 04/04/01
Posts: 855
Loc: NY, NY
Quote:
Originally posted by Mark Evanier:
ME: Really? Show me one contract, one release form, one letter of agreement, one anything relating to a comic book employment situation with the words "work-for-hire" that was written before 1975.

I've spoken with most of the men mentioned at the outset of this thread. They didn't know what you say they knew.



I'm not disputing what you're saying, Mark: I'm just trying to find out for my own knowledge. What I'd always heard was that before 1975, there were statements rubber stamped on the backs of the checks given to the freelancers which said, in effect, that by cashing the check, they were signing away all rights to their work (whether the words "Work for Hire" were supposedly used, I've no idea). Now frankly, this strikes me as a rather crappy--and possibly illegal--way to do business if that's the case, but in any event, it was ostensibly on that basis that the publishers were claiming they had full ownership of the work.

But it was before my time in the industry, so I don't have first-hand knowledge of the practice. Presumably, you do. So was that indeed the case?

PAD

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#467616 - 06/05/01 07:15 PM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
ChrisW Offline
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Registered: 11/25/00
Posts: 10034
Loc: Lincoln, Nebraska USA
How was it done in the earliest days? S&S signed contracts for Superman, I believe, and Bob Kane did likewise. But did the people in, say, the Simon and Kirby studio, or Eisner/Iger get the stamps on the checks? Timely/Atlas/Marvel? If not, how did the company assume the rights? Did they just behave as though they were owners, to cut contracts with movies or licenses, etc.? If so, by the time the creators got around to thinking they might deserve a slice of pie, the company had already spent so much time assuming complete ownership and paying a pittance that the very process of asking/negotiating wouldn't exist.

So in answer to your question, I don't know. [img]/resources/ubb/wink.gif[/img]@
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#467617 - 06/05/01 08:18 PM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
iusetobekb Offline
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Registered: 06/03/01
Posts: 282
Loc: hawaii
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Leif:
[B] Thanks for the greetings! My earlier post wasn't making up excuses for marvels ethical lapses, rather the way copyright is run now.
no not you,i was talking about other posters bro,sorry.

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#467618 - 06/05/01 08:24 PM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
iusetobekb Offline
Member

Registered: 06/03/01
Posts: 282
Loc: hawaii
Quote:
Originally posted by Mark Evanier:
ME: Really? Show me one contract, one release form, one letter of agreement, one anything relating to a comic book employment situation with the words "work-for-hire" that was written before 1975.

I've spoken with most of the men mentioned at the outset of this thread. They didn't know what you say they knew.



Thank you sir,it's great how you get peolpe backpeddling like that.Personally i think this is just as important as what happened to neil,with one exception,we know for sure kirby,ditko and the rest mentioned were stolen from.
Some of what gil kane and joe kubert created were done when they were minor's[under 18]we can at least agree that was unfair.

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#467619 - 06/05/01 08:25 PM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
iusetobekb Offline
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Registered: 06/03/01
Posts: 282
Loc: hawaii
now can we start posting to help these creators?

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#467620 - 06/05/01 08:31 PM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
RANDY Offline
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Registered: 05/12/00
Posts: 2343
Loc: U.S.A.
Didn't that stamp on the back of the checks start because of the copyright law revisions in 1975? At least thats the way I always understood it to be. Mark Evanier or one of the older pros might be able to shed some light on this.

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#467621 - 06/05/01 08:50 PM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
Ken Rothstein Offline
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Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 519
Loc: NY, NY USA
Quote:
Originally posted by iusetobekb:
jack kirby,Stan lee,gil kane,steve ditko,joe kubert,lein wein,marv wolfman.we will stop there but please feel free to add to the list.


Ok, How was Stan Lee taken advantage of? He spent all of last year hobknobbing with the Clintons and was described in newspapers as a millionaire (Gossip columnist Cindy Adams said he was a billionaire--go figure).

Bob Kane is someone else who doesn't seem to have been robbed all that much. No, he didn't become the 100% owner of a billion dollar franchise (to quote Entertainment Weekly), but he certanly was well compensated and stayed connected to Batman all the way until his death via one avenue or another.

Creator's rights is something that gets lip service. On the one hand creators insist they want these rights, and then on the other they claim a desire "to play with someone else's toys" as reason enough to abdicate those rights and perpetuate a system they lament.

Where is the comic book writers and artists union guaranteeing a minimum page rate for all? Where is the demands for the publishers to match social security? Why aren't creators asking for some kind of minimum notification for being fired from a book--or equal compensation at least?

Someone correct me if I am wrong, but in the SAG, actors pay dues as a percentage of their paychecks, with presumably Tom Cruise paying more than that struggling actor who got a day job on some film. Well, it seems self evident that a handful of writers and artists get more than their share of the work, so how come the comic book writers didn't set up a fund where all writers are protected by an agency funded by a percentage of writers earnings?

Perhaps if every writer and artist from Alan Moore and Frank Miller on down said they will not work in comics until all writers and artists are guaranteed ___, and then they and Kurt Busiek and whoever told Marvel and DC "Sorry, it's pay to play here", those publishers would be forced to act differently to people like Herb Trimpe or those writers and artists who begin work on projects that get scuttled before payment.

Also, some sort of union might have protected Marvel artists from shenanigans like Marvel cutting page rates or eliminating colorists altogether. It might have even protected someone like Mark Waid or Alan Moore from having their work tinkered with beyond the threshold of normal editing. It might even expose a royalty systenm which pays bonuses for sales numbers almost no book achieves (and thus a near pointless royalty system) as a sham.

This business of creators wanting rights but their concern stops with themselves ensures that they can and will be immediately replaced and that others will struggle in perpetuity. At least actors are guaranteed $xxx a day for their work. Hell, the screenwriters union threatened to strike over profits from the approaching day when films will be easily downloaded. And comic writers are doing what to see to it they get a fair piece of the pie from TPBs?

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#467622 - 06/05/01 09:13 PM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
Mark Evanier Offline
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Registered: 04/06/99
Posts: 382
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Quote:
Originally posted by Leif:
I could be wrong here, and I dont know what direction to put you in to see if Im full of shit or not, but I believe that "back in the day" it was written into their contract to begin with. "all works created by ____ is considered to be a work for hire and is as such cosidered as property of_____" or something to that effect.


ME: Well, your first mistake is to assume there was always a contract. You'd be amazed how often, before around 1970, there was no contract, at least in writing. There in some cases were verbal contracts but the details of these are generally lost and/or disputed.

As far as I know, the words "work-for-hire" never appeared in any contract in the comic book industry before the seventies.
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#467623 - 06/05/01 09:28 PM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
NatGertler Offline
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Registered: 07/10/99
Posts: 4618
Quote:
I could be wrong here, and I dont know what direction to put you in to see if Im full of

Leif, trust me. I don't know who you are, but I don't think that there's a chance in a million that you know more about this stuff than Evanier. You may not know who he is: he is a comics writer with decades of experience, and a comics historian who has shown a special interest in the matter of creators rights.

If something you think you heard on the matter conflicts with something that Evanier is telling you in this matter, you can assume that you either misheard or are remembering incorrectly.

(And if you want to read up on some comics history, stop by Mark's site: www.evanier.com )

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#467624 - 06/05/01 09:31 PM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
Mark Evanier Offline
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Registered: 04/06/99
Posts: 382
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Quote:
Originally posted by Peter David:
What I'd always heard was that before 1975, there were statements rubber stamped on the backs of the checks given to the freelancers which said, in effect, that by cashing the check, they were signing away all rights to their work (whether the words "Work for Hire" were supposedly used, I've no idea).


ME: I've seen a pretty extensive sampling of paperwork and contracts throughout comic book history. There isn't a lot. There are whole companies that never committed any terms of employment to paper -- in some cases, probably deliberately, figuring they could later claim whatever wordage best suited their needs. As I said, I've never seen the words "work-for-hire" on any document before the seventies.

My guess would be that, if you could magically examine every check written to a comic book artist or writer before around 1977, when copyright laws changed and the companies got a little more mature in their business dealings, you'd find that 75% had nothing printed on the back at all.

Whether any back-of-the-check statements have any legal validity at all is a question you'd have to put to a lawyer, particularly a New York lawyer. I know there was some decision once that said they did not and another decision that reversed that, at least in part. And then at some point, it went back and forth for a while but by that time, publishers had pretty much abandoned the practice because they realized it was, at best, a pretty sloppy way to secure rights.
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#467625 - 06/05/01 09:31 PM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
iusetobekb Offline
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Registered: 06/03/01
Posts: 282
Loc: hawaii
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Ken Rothstein:
[B] Ok, How was Stan Lee taken advantage of? He spent all of last year hobknobbing with the Clintons and was described in newspapers as a millionaire (Gossip columnist Cindy Adams said he was a billionaire--go figure).

Bob Kane is someone else who doesn't seem to have been robbed all that much. No, he didn't become the 100% owner of a billion dollar franchise (to quote Entertainment Weekly), but he certanly was well compensated and stayed connected to Batman all the way until his death via one avenue or another.

two guys who got a % of what they were intitled to,they were stolen from,gil kane lived from paycheck to paycheck and he should'nt have had to.steve ditko,jack kirby,the life blood of this industry what did they get?
i see the pattern of thought you people have though,as long as we think there rich than fuck em,right?Gil kane,not rich steve ditko,marv wolvman,jack kirby,not rich.
Neil gaiman,he was doing comics during the most lucritve time for creators,he's rich,so let it go.These men deserve some respect.show some.

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#467626 - 06/05/01 09:44 PM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
iusetobekb Offline
Member

Registered: 06/03/01
Posts: 282
Loc: hawaii
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Ken Rothstein:


Creator's rights is something that gets lip service. On the one hand creators insist they want these rights, and then on the other they claim a desire "to play with someone else's toys" as reason enough to abdicate those rights and perpetuate a system they lament.




The men mentioned did'nt play with some one elses toys,they created them along with the room they play in.

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#467627 - 06/05/01 10:10 PM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
brent Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 11
Hey iusetobekb,

You forgot Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, who created the original. Nice of you to not mention them. Let's not forget they ended up near broke near the end. A court recently awared some kind of rights to Siegel's family. Let's see more traditions like this.

OH, don't forget Bob Finger, who was an important creator of many of the Batman mythos. Heck, even now people think of Bob Kane as the sole creator and that is truly sad.

Stan Lee got screwed? Gee, I guess making millions from your creations and a big ol' "Stan Lee Presents" at the top of every Marvel book, AND narrating characters for a Saturday morning tv show just isn't enough. Jack Kirby got screwed not once (Marvel), but twice (DC and the fourth world--which is a hell of a lot worse than what Marvel did to him.) I'll accept him in your list well before Stan the man.

What Marvel did to Marv Wolfman re: Nova is a complete disgrace, and what the courts said about it is worse. This character was made before Marv worked for Marvel. That is just a travesty.

Let's not forget Dan DeCarlo and Archie.

If you want to help these creators, send them money so they can sue for their rights. The time for talking to the corps is over.

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#467628 - 06/05/01 11:23 PM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
Ken Rothstein Offline
Member

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 519
Loc: NY, NY USA
Quote:
Originally posted by iusetobekb:


two guys who got a % of what they were intitled to,they were stolen from,gil kane lived from paycheck to paycheck and he should'nt have had to.steve ditko,jack kirby,the life blood of this industry what did they get?
i see the pattern of thought you people have though,as long as we think there rich than fuck em,right?Gil kane,not rich steve ditko,marv wolvman,jack kirby,not rich.
Neil gaiman,he was doing comics during the most lucritve time for creators,he's rich,so let it go.These men deserve some respect.show some.


I think you misread me. I didn't say that these others got their share or more than their fair share, I said those two men specifically--Stan Lee especially--were not robbed.

Stan is a wealthy man. He is not entitled to 100% or even 50% of Spiderman or whatever because in every business venture the money man is entitled to a cut for being the one who took the risk in the first place. Stan was well compensated and is in no way struggling. The same with Bob Kane who had a deal with DC all the way up until 1968 and went on to be attached in some way to the Batman films in later years. He was not poor and Batman facilitated a comfortable life for him.

The others were not justly compensated in hindsight.

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#467629 - 06/06/01 12:23 AM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
pureghetto Offline
Member

Registered: 06/04/01
Posts: 87
Stan Lee? what about Jim Lee? his artistic abilities outshine anything alive and thus he is entitled to all of marvel.

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#467630 - 06/06/01 01:13 AM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
iusetobekb Offline
Member

Registered: 06/03/01
Posts: 282
Loc: hawaii
i left out alot of people.I wanted to see how quick you freaks would turn this into another excuse to bash todd,to your credit you did'nt,no,most of you just pissed on some of the most talented men in the history of popular culture.I'm impressed.

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#467631 - 06/06/01 01:53 AM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
Leif Offline
Member

Registered: 06/05/01
Posts: 54
Loc: wa
Quote:
Originally posted by NatGertler:
[B] [QUOTE]I could be wrong here, and I dont know what direction to put you in to see if Im full of

Leif, trust me. I don't know who you are, but I don't think that there's a chance in a million that you know more about this stuff than Evanier. You may not know who he is: he is a comics writer with decades of experience, and a comics historian who has shown a special interest in the matter of creators rights.

If something you think you heard on the matter conflicts with something that Evanier is telling you in this matter, you can assume that you either misheard or are remembering incorrectly.

If I remember correctly I did say "I think" and "not sure" (not to mention "what direction to put you in to see if Im full of shit or not"). Im not disputing Mr Evanier's post at all. In fact I posted a question on another board to see if I could get a definitive answer. Since Mark has the answer, great! Thanks for the tip on his site, I'll check it out. And Mark thanks for the reply.
Dont worry Nat, Im not anyone important. Just want to learn more about the bis and get a chance to talk to folks in the know.

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#467632 - 06/06/01 04:22 AM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
pureghetto Offline
Member

Registered: 06/04/01
Posts: 87
Quote:
Stan Lee? what about Jim Lee? his artistic abilities outshine anything alive and thus he is entitled to all of marvel.


whoever said that was a genius. As for creator rights, since all fictional characters become the property of whoever bought it, I hardly think that the creator (unless it is still the guy who owns it) has any rights whatsoever.

Ie: I rent a house and I change it into a mansion. I created the house, do I get to control it?

ok, bad example, here's another one

[This message has been edited by Pikachu (Edited 04-01-1999).]

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#467633 - 06/06/01 07:13 AM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
brent Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 11
pureghetto:
"As for creator rights, since all fictional characters become the property of whoever bought it, I hardly think that the creator (unless it is still the guy who owns it) has any rights whatsoever."

Really? Well, can you show us the contract that shows where DC bought Superman? Hey, how about that contract that Kirby signed re: the Marvel characters? Oh, yes, Marv Wolfman giving Nova over to Marvel? You got that one?

Dude, the point is those rights were never given, they were stolen! The creators lost out on millions of dollars because of greedy and near-illegal business practices. The only way they could have fought was in a court of law, but guess what? They had no money thanks to the same corps that screwed them in the first place. As I said before, if you want to help these people, send 'em money.

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#467634 - 06/06/01 09:49 AM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
Kayo Offline
Member

Registered: 01/14/01
Posts: 177
Quote:
Originally posted by iusetobekb:
i left out alot of people.I wanted to see how quick you freaks would turn this into another excuse to bash todd,to your credit you did'nt,no,most of you just pissed on some of the most talented men in the history of popular culture.I'm impressed.


So this means that you don't really care about the rights of these creators and that you were just posting this as a way to provoke more Todd talk?

You really should feel ashamed of yourself.

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#467635 - 06/06/01 10:22 AM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
Jamie Coville Offline
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Registered: 01/23/99
Posts: 660
Another thing about those 'contracts' stamped on the back of the cheques. Many freelancers didn't agree to it, so they scribbled over it, making the 'contract' null and void and then signed the cheque to get their money.




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#467636 - 06/06/01 12:05 PM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
ScottChantler Offline
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Registered: 08/07/00
Posts: 675
Loc: Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Let me see if I can shed some light on the whole "rights" things for those of you who are having trouble understanding it.

Legally, anytime you create an original artistic work, you own it. There are lots of things you can do to help legally protect this right, such as having it "officially" copyrighted or trademarked. But the fact is that by the simple act of creating it, you are the legal copyright owner of the work.

The only exception to this is if you happen to be employed by a company. In this case, whatever you create under the terms of your employment belongs to the company. This is what is meant by "work for hire". Under such an agreement, you are not the creator of a work, the company is.

Most comic books creators, past and present, are freelancers. They are NOT employees, in the eyes of the law, because they do not have a salary, draw a pension or health benefits, nor do they work at the company's place of business.

Many companies (comic book publishers in particular) abuse freelancers by offering them work-for-hire contracts, which is not outright illegal, but is certainly unethical, because it considers freelancers employees for the purpose of copyright only. They're giving up their rights of authorship without any of the benefits, pension, salary, etc., that should go along with it.

Now naturally, if you get an assignment to draw Batman, DC Comics is going to want that be done under a work-for-hire agreement, because after all, they own Batman, not you. And that's fine, but creators should be aware of what they're giving up by such an arrangement and charge big bucks for that kind of work.

Mr. Evanier has pointed out during other times that this topic has popped up, that it IS possible to work out work-for-hire agreements that are fair to both parties: where the creator is guaranteed name credit, royalties, a degree of creative control, and other perks associated with authorship. Creators should make certain that these things ARE in their contract, though, because without them, the company isn't required to so much as acknowledge that you exist.

The important thing to remember about rights is that they can only be sold or given away by a written agreement. As others have said, I wonder how many of the industry's pioneers had contracts that explicitly signed over the rights to the characters they had created? My guess is probably not many.

------------------
Scott Chantler
www.scottchantler.com

"We are here on Earth to fart around. Don't let anybody tell you any different!"
- Kurt Vonnegut, Timequake
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Scott Chantler
www.scottchantler.com

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- Arthur C. Clarke

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#467637 - 06/06/01 12:48 PM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
D Eric Carpenter Offline
Member

Registered: 12/24/98
Posts: 55
Loc: indianapolis, IN, USA
Once again copyright rears its head and I'm called forth. I really have other interests! Honest! Someday I'll post on some other subject.

I just have two issues I want to cover: the work-for-hire status prior to 1976, and the stamping of checks.

Prior to 1976, Work-For-Hire acted in the opposite method it does today. If a company hires you to create something for them, they would have owned the creation completely, regardless of whether or not a contract said so. So any time a comic company hired you to create something, they would own it. While I'm no expert on the history, with Stan Lee acting as Editor in Chief of a comic company, anything he created for the company would have been owned by the company. It may not have been fair to the creators, but it was the law.

After 1976, the requirement changed. The default position was that, absent an agreement, a creation was NOT a work-for-hire and would therefore be owned by the person who did the creating.

As for stamping the checks in the post '76 days--it's just not good contract law. You can't add additional requirements to a contract after a party has completed their side of the agreement. If you mow my lawn for $25, I owe you the $25. I can't write you a check and put on the back 'by signing this check you also agree to pave my driveway.' There's no additional consideration for the additional work. I can't be certain, but I'd be willing to bet that any court cases regarding the back of a check would have been struck down on contract law rather than copyright or any other issue.

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#467638 - 06/06/01 01:03 PM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
Dirk Deppey Offline
Member

Registered: 12/10/99
Posts: 524
Loc: Seattle, WA, USA
I can assure you that Marvel was still trying to pass off those "contract on the back where you endorse them" checks as late as the mid-80s. I was friendly with a comics shop owner who'd written a graphic novel during that period, and she had to fight with the company to get paid after they'd sent her just such a check; eventually she got an apology and was told that they were just old leftover checks, but the copyright date on the Spiderman logo on the front of the check read for the current year....
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#467639 - 06/06/01 02:00 PM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
pureghetto Offline
Member

Registered: 06/04/01
Posts: 87
Quote:
I said:
"As for creator rights, since all fictional characters become the property of whoever bought it, I hardly think that the creator (unless it is still the guy who owns it) has any rights whatsoever."

you said:
Really? Well, can you show us the contract that shows where DC bought Superman? Hey, how about that contract that Kirby signed re: the Marvel characters? Oh, yes, Marv Wolfman giving Nova over to Marvel? You got that one?

Dude, the point is those rights were never given, they were stolen! The creators lost out on millions of dollars because of greedy and near-illegal business practices. The only way they could have fought was in a court of law, but guess what? They had no money thanks to the same corps that screwed them in the first place. As I said before, if you want to help these people, send 'em money.


oh, so I was under the impression that since DC funded the cash to make Superman, they owned Superman. Is this more accurate...if at all slightly?

Or was it like this:

"I drawed a superman"
"Okay, we publish"
"ok"
two years later
"I want make change"
"no. my superman"
"no, my superman. I drawed it"
---lawsuit---

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#467640 - 06/06/01 02:23 PM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
snoid Offline
Member

Registered: 02/26/99
Posts: 2205
I know I'm going to come off like the bad guy here by posting this,but I really can't believe that someone like Jack Kirby did'nt know what he was doing in the sixty's.In the begining,sure he had no ideal how the companies worked,but by the sixty's he was an old pro.He had to have known anything he created for Marvel would become their sole proterty.This does not excuse Marvel or any other company for screwing over people, and Jack got screwed over more then most.It just never sat right with me that all the old artist who built DC and Marvel, did'nt know what was happening, how could they not?
Terry
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#467641 - 06/06/01 02:27 PM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
NatGertler Offline
Member

Registered: 07/10/99
Posts: 4618
DC did not fund the creation of Superman. Superman was created then offered to what-is-now-DC to publish.

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#467642 - 06/06/01 03:45 PM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
Aether Paladin Offline
Member

Registered: 04/20/01
Posts: 79
Loc: Brooklyn, NY, USA
Quote:
Originally posted by D Eric Carpenter:
As for stamping the checks in the post '76 days--it's just not good contract law. You can't add additional requirements to a contract after a party has completed their side of the agreement.


Actually, the legality varies from state to state. In states where it's held to be legal, I believe the theory is if the receiving party finds the new/addtional terms unacceptable, they have the courts as adequate relief.

Now I admit I'm -only- referring to small scale stuff - this loophole can be used to hoodwink someone by writing "PAID IN FULL" on an installment payment check, and I've seen such a case upheld in California, in small claims court - and if you know law as well as you seem to, you =know= this kind of thing can change at the drop of a hat - but AFAIK, it's not an automatic disqualification legalwise.

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#467643 - 06/06/01 04:19 PM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
Aether Paladin Offline
Member

Registered: 04/20/01
Posts: 79
Loc: Brooklyn, NY, USA
Quote:
Originally posted by snoid:
I know I'm going to come off like the bad guy here by posting this,but I really can't believe that someone like Jack Kirby did'nt know what he was doing in the sixty's.It just never sat right with me that all the old artist who built DC and Marvel, did'nt know what was happening, how could they not?
Terry


I think in a conversation like this, the worst you come across as is uninformed; asl ong as you admnit you don't know/aren't sure, there's nothing "bad" about that.

The problem is companies and repsresentatives have away of smokescreening, doubletalking, and outright lying about what the creator's getting in terms of consideration.

I heard Nadine Messner-Loebs (wife of Bill) go on publically at length about the fact that First Comics essentially lied through their teeth about creator's rights, promising full ownership to creators and even crowing about buying E-Man from Charlton to give it to Cuti and Staton while they secretly owned everything from the getgo, and nobody knew it until years after they had secured ownership for the company (according to Ms. Messner-Loebs, it was the TV deal for JON SABLE, FREELANCE that tipped people off).

I've seen Ivan Velez jr. say Milestone Media did the same thing to him on BLOOD SYNDICATE, promising him "considerations" the contract didn't live up to. I've heard similar charges leveled at Malibu and its ancillary imprints, though not as publicly as the examples I've offered.

Also, companies like to offer "incentives", "promises" of payments that are actually only promises of
-intention- to pay under certain circumstances, circumstances they'll never have to face(like sales over 3,000,000) or clauses by which they can opt out with a minimal payment.

All I'm saying is, there's basically an infinite number of ways Marvel may have offered Kirby something that was nothing and pretended it was something, even while making it clear they would hold ownership of the works, amd if Kirby's "many years of experience" weren't "many years of experience as a =lawyer=", he'd never know the difference.

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#467644 - 06/06/01 04:35 PM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
iusetobekb Offline
Member

Registered: 06/03/01
Posts: 282
Loc: hawaii
Quote:
Originally posted by Kayo:
So this means that you don't really care about the rights of these creators and that you were just posting this as a way to provoke more Todd talk?

You really should feel ashamed of yourself.



Don't think so.I did'nt bother typing a 20 page list because you people TURN EVERYTHING in to a gaiman/ mcfarlane issue.I'm surprise d this did'nt.Instead it turned into every wannbe comicbook creator showing contempt for 2 people who got a little money,unless you think cindy adams is a good source for the happenings of comics,then stanlee made more than marvel itself.

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#467645 - 06/06/01 05:56 PM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
Kayo Offline
Member

Registered: 01/14/01
Posts: 177
To the person who initially claimed his name was KYLEBAKER-

Yes, you should be ashamed of your behavior here and elsewhere on this board. You used the problems of these earlier creators just to try and provoke other posters into making comments about Todd which you could then deride. You've posted "How does this relate to todd?" on several threads that had absolutely nothing to do with Todd or the issues surrounding him.

Of course it's obvious that posters who post for the primary purpose of upsetting other people who post on this board won't feel any shame, their real satisfaction only comes from other people's discomfort. But they really SHOULD feel ashamed.

-Kelley O'Hearn

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#467646 - 06/06/01 09:06 PM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
iusetobekb Offline
Member

Registered: 06/03/01
Posts: 282
Loc: hawaii
Quote:
Originally posted by Kayo:
To the person who initially claimed his name was KYLEBAKER-

Yes, you should be ashamed of your behavior here and elsewhere on this board. You used the problems of these earlier creators just to try and provoke other posters into making comments about Todd which you could then deride. You've posted "How does this relate to todd?" on several threads that had absolutely nothing to do with Todd or the issues surrounding him.

Of course it's obvious that posters who post for the primary purpose of upsetting other people who post on this board won't feel any shame, their real satisfaction only comes from other people's discomfort. But they really SHOULD feel ashamed.

-Kelley O'Hearn


kelly ,my name is Kyle Baker,i made no claims to be the comic book writer Kyle Baker.I've said the opposite in many posts.I changed my name because of the confusion,nobody made me,so don't say i claim to be any one.
Yes i've said what does this have to do with todd? in many forums with a little [img]/resources/ubb/smile.gif[/img] behind them all.people ignore them because it is a joke.look around the message board,I've had most of my topics turned into a todd bashing forum,including the creators rights one on By the first poster.
I havent used the problems on gil and jack and the others to provoke todd talk,you jerk.But like every other thing on this board i expected it to turn to todd bashing so why waste my time typing every fucking person to get ripped off by marvel and DC,none of you care anyway,stan lee he's rich so fuck him and the artists who's backs he rode on.right?cause that's what i've been reading.
I have more respect for these comic book artists and writers "i have used to start Todd Bashing" If i want to do that i'll go to another topic.
And i hope you are real uncomfortable,you should be,the men addressed in this topic were really stolen from,they don't just claim to have been,like neil gaiman.This should make you very uncomfortable seeing them talked about like garbage by posters in this topic.


[This message has been edited by iusetobekb (edited 06-06-2001).]

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#467647 - 06/11/01 06:14 PM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
iusetobekb Offline
Member

Registered: 06/03/01
Posts: 282
Loc: hawaii
Please a request to all people jealous of todd mcfarlane,all who pretend to be intrested in todd ripping off gaiman just so they can insult a millionare and make themselves feel important.Please write something to marvel and dc comics.ask them to give spiderman back to ditko so he can reap the profits from the movie,as mark eaviner suggested,the method used to secure rights to many characters were sloppy at best,illegal most likely.or something to that effect,but you already read his posts,if you go this far.

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