Page 2 of 5 < 1 2 3 4 5 >
Topic Options
#467615 - 06/05/01 06:59 PM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
Peter David Offline
Member

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

Top
#467616 - 06/05/01 07:15 PM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
ChrisW Offline
Member

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]@
_________________________
If This Be... PayPal!!!

"I think ChrisW is the funniest man in entertainment still alive..."
-- the perceptive Tom Spurgeon

Top
#467617 - 06/05/01 08:18 PM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
iusetobekb Offline
Member

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.

Top
#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.

Top
#467619 - 06/05/01 08:25 PM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
iusetobekb Offline
Member

Registered: 06/03/01
Posts: 282
Loc: hawaii
now can we start posting to help these creators?

Top
#467620 - 06/05/01 08:31 PM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
RANDY Offline
Member

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.

Top
#467621 - 06/05/01 08:50 PM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
Ken Rothstein Offline
Member

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?

Top
#467622 - 06/05/01 09:13 PM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
Mark Evanier Offline
Member

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.
_________________________
Mark Evanier's daily weblog is at http://www.newsfromme.com and his not-daily weblog is at http://www.POVonline.com.

Top
#467623 - 06/05/01 09:28 PM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
NatGertler Offline
Member

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 )

Top
#467624 - 06/05/01 09:31 PM Re: CREATORS RIGHTS
Mark Evanier Offline
Member

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.
_________________________
Mark Evanier's daily weblog is at http://www.newsfromme.com and his not-daily weblog is at http://www.POVonline.com.

Top
Page 2 of 5 < 1 2 3 4 5 >