Page 8 of 15 < 1 2 ... 6 7 8 9 10 ... 14 15 >
Topic Options
#559150 - 10/16/09 05:02 PM Re: Bluewater Contracts [Re: techmann]
Joe Lee Offline
Member

Registered: 06/22/01
Posts: 12277
Originally Posted By: techmann
Kerry is absolutely correct about the Bluewater contract. It states a % of profits paid after printing cost. It would be in everyone’s best interest to drop the “fudging” approach. What seems to be going on are some creators whose books sold below that clearly stated line feel that because of the success of the political Biographies that they should therefore be paid something from the success of those books to cover their investment of time and effort.


I understand what you're saying, but I wouldn't agree that there wasn't a potential case to be made. I agree it's a pretty straight-forward contract, and no one was holding a gun to anyone's head to sign, but I can't get past the the fact that it a pretty bad deal. If it was a creator owned book, I could at least see the benefit, but it's all company owned properties that we are talking about right?

I don't know how much different comics are from other publishing but I'm just trying to imagine that contract in other business situations, and it just seems more like a scam than a business model. I mean the potential sales should be fairly predictable with a certain margin of error, given they have published for a few years, and should be keeping track of their sales figures. And the upfront costs should be very, very predictable, you've got printing, distribution, pre-press, creative etc...

It wouldn't be that hard for a publisher to predict a optimal print run if that publisher knows he can keep his costs limited to X minus freelancers, under a certain threshold, and that above that threshold his costs go up significantly to X plus freelancers.

It would work like tax brackets. Your better off selling fewer comics (within a certain window), because if you sell too many you have to pay the artists too.

The publisher has the final say on the print run and distribution etc. If the artist's lawyers could show that the publisher was consistently keeping the print and distribution numbers within the window that maximized profits but minimized costs by not having to pay the freelancers, it might go along way to convincing a judge the whole set-up was designed to work in a way to NOT pay the artists. And I'm no lawyer but my understanding is that if a contract is a bad enough deal, it's enforcement and validity could be brought into question. Creating a way for the artists to sue for a reasonable compensation for their work.

Top
#559156 - 10/16/09 05:55 PM Re: Bluewater Contracts [Re: Monsterverse1]
ChrisW Offline
Member

Registered: 11/25/00
Posts: 10034
Loc: Lincoln, Nebraska USA
Originally Posted By: Monsterverse1
Originally Posted By: Kirth
I think the point we were making with the Bluewater contracts is that they SEEMED to be a contract that laid all the BENEFIT to the Company and all the WORK to the Creator.


But what I'm asking is this: What specifically would you do differently if the details of the contract were up to you? I'm not trying to either defend or criticize Bluewater's contracts. I'm looking for input on what an ideal small press contract should contain that would cover the contributions and risks of both the publisher and the talent in a situation where making a profit from the comic itself is unlikely. Any ideas? Thanks.

Kerry Gammill
www.monsterverse.com


Mr. Gammill, I haven't followed any of the links, or even read further down the thread, so this is all based on what people have said thus far, it sounds like the main issue people are having is with the company owning the property, work-for-hire-style. Coupled with the fact that the creators aren't getting paid up front, there's no basis for giving your creations to someone else, legally or morally.

Is there some actual reason for the company to claim ownership? Legal status, tax reasons, something? Otherwise it sounds the same as telling people 'have any great ideas, give 'em to me, and if they work out, I'll give you a piece of it.'

If there is a genuine reason to make the company the owner of the work, then my suggestion is to have that be a temporary condition. If the property doesn't make any money, then the creator should be able to take back his work without question. If it does make money, then the clause should be temporary, or at the very least subject to further negotiation. Maybe the creator takes full ownership but the company has a larger share of the money, or maybe the property remains exclusively with the company until it goes out of business. These things can be negotiated, and negotiating over successful properties is quite different from negotiating over unsuccessful ones. If you and Pat are respectively happy with your contracts, and if the company wants to keep you happy after the comics make a profit, then we all hope you all find ways to continue being happy.

If there's not a legitimate reason for the company to take ownership, then my suggestion would be to drop the ownership clause. You are creators who are take a chance on your work, as are the publishers, who will pay you once they are able to do so. That is utterly fair.

That said, it is a legitimate question how much the non-creators who work for the publisher are paid, and how many of them there are. As a hypothetical example, if Bluewater publishes thirty books that make just enough money to keep being published, as well as pay for thirty other books that don't make money, they'd need a big staff to handle that much outflow, requiring a lot more cash to start turning a profit, and the creators would still be working for free. Who's willing to go back to working for free because the company just hired two secretaries and an ad man so the book is suddenly unprofitable again?


Edited by ChrisW (10/16/09 06:17 PM)
Edit Reason: edited because I thought of a way to improve the meter
_________________________
If This Be... PayPal!!!

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

Top
#559157 - 10/16/09 06:12 PM Re: Bluewater Contracts [Re: ChrisW]
ChrisW Offline
Member

Registered: 11/25/00
Posts: 10034
Loc: Lincoln, Nebraska USA
Allen, you're being a dick.


Edited by ChrisW (10/16/09 06:15 PM)
Edit Reason: No, this one was fine the way it was
_________________________
If This Be... PayPal!!!

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

Top
#559161 - 10/16/09 06:36 PM Re: Bluewater Contracts [Re: ChrisW]
Joe Lee Offline
Member

Registered: 06/22/01
Posts: 12277
Originally Posted By: ChrisW
Who's willing to go back to working for free because the company just hired two secretaries and an ad man so the book is suddenly unprofitable again?


Wouldn't the ad sales guy be commission only? Maybe a draw that he works off, but I can't imagine he gets a better contract than the artists.

Top
#559166 - 10/16/09 08:45 PM Re: Bluewater Contracts [Re: techmann]
Jesse Hamm Offline
Member

Registered: 09/24/01
Posts: 682
Loc: Portland, USA
Originally Posted By: techmann
the Bluewater contract. It states a % of profits paid after printing cost.


Really? The royalty is a percentage after printing cost? If so, I think that would clear Bluewater of the appearance of dishonesty.

But this is the first indication I've seen that the contract lays things out so clearly. I've read that creators got a percentage of "profits," but nothing that clearly defined how profits were determined.
_________________________
http://jessehamm.blogspot.com

Top
#559170 - 10/16/09 09:38 PM Re: Bluewater Contracts [Re: Joe Lee]
ChrisW Offline
Member

Registered: 11/25/00
Posts: 10034
Loc: Lincoln, Nebraska USA
Originally Posted By: Joe Lee
Originally Posted By: ChrisW
Who's willing to go back to working for free because the company just hired two secretaries and an ad man so the book is suddenly unprofitable again?


Wouldn't the ad sales guy be commission only? Maybe a draw that he works off, but I can't imagine he gets a better contract than the artists.


It's a hypothetical example. Still relevant though. If hiring those people means the difference between making a profit or not making a profit for a company, what is the company doing to convince people to work with them? At least, what is it offering that they couldn't get if they kept the ownership rights to their work? I still haven't followed any of the links, but what's been said on this thread looks like a good way to screw the creators of a successful property after the fact, and this stuff is only relevant after a property is successful. If Superman or Marvel had bombed, no one would give a shit about Siegel, Shuster or Kirby's creative rights. If Pat and Kerry are happy with their deals, it's their choice, I respect that, I hope they continue to be happy, and I reserve the right to point and laugh and say "I told you so" if they wind up getting screwed if their productions are successful for the company.

Using the two most available names, which is better, Pat being currently happy with his deal, it becomes a success and he's not able to get out of it, or Kerry being currently happy with his deal, it isn't as successful, and he can get out of it?

The important thing is that they and the company they work with all remain happy, because they'll look out for each other's interests that way. It's when either side doesn't do that where problems begin.
_________________________
If This Be... PayPal!!!

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

Top
#559172 - 10/17/09 02:17 AM Re: Bluewater Contracts [Re: ChrisW]
Monsterverse1 Offline
Junior member

Registered: 10/14/09
Posts: 15
To clear up one point, in this case I am not the freelancer, I'm the publisher. I have never considered for a moment asking people to work for free but give me ownership of what they create. So far we have been doing things on a creator-owned basis, but we are trying to design other agreements for different cases. My thanks to everyone for their opinions.
_________________________
Kerry Gammill
www.monsterverse.com

Top
#559173 - 10/17/09 03:26 AM Re: Bluewater Contracts [Re: Monsterverse1]
Kirth Offline
Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 1176
Loc: Chicago, Illinois
..

It's a tough business to be in, no doubt. Dark Horse did a great job marketing properties for movies. Perhaps that is the new business model.

Publishing floppies, esp through a new company, seems a hard road.

Creating Europeon-style, sci-fi/fantasy HCs for distribution through bookstores is probably more cost effective, since your material can be held for a much longer period than floppies.

..
_________________________
It does not have to be that way. You do not have to act that way. You are hurting people. Please stop.


Top
#559175 - 10/17/09 03:57 AM Re: Bluewater Contracts [Re: Monsterverse1]
Joe Lee Offline
Member

Registered: 06/22/01
Posts: 12277
Originally Posted By: Monsterverse1
My thanks to everyone for their opinions.

Thank you for participating in the discussion.

Top
#559176 - 10/17/09 04:27 AM Re: Bluewater Contracts [Re: Joe Lee]
Joe Lee Offline
Member

Registered: 06/22/01
Posts: 12277
Originally Posted By: Kirth
...Creating Europeon-style, sci-fi/fantasy HCs for distribution through bookstores is probably more cost effective, since your material can be held for a much longer period than floppies.


I agree. That seems to be the new business model for a lot of people who are self-publishing, selling over a longer time, doing more of their own promotion and marketing, taking advantage of the flexibility of using PODs. And for comics even if you don't make any money, you have a great portfolio piece and at least you didn't work on somebody else's comic for free.


Edited by Joe Lee (10/17/09 09:10 AM)

Top
Page 8 of 15 < 1 2 ... 6 7 8 9 10 ... 14 15 >


Moderator:  Rick Veitch, Steve Conley