Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Rising Stars and Fallen Angels

I can't imagine anyone with the slightest interest in comic creators rights issues will first be hearing about TokyoPop's new scheme to acquire intellectual property at bargain basement prices in my blog, but Heidi McDonald's got a run-down of (overwhelmingly negative) online reaction, as well as her own run at nitpicking it. Along the way, she zeros in on the one line of the contract (which really needs to be read to be believed) that really pissed me off, which follows up an explanation of how the creator won't be credited for their work if it's decided that giving them credit is inconvenient with the comment "You're OK with this."

McDonald seems to have read that the same way I did initially, which is that T-Pop's telling creators not to care about their credit--"Hey man, you aren't gonna harsh our buzz if we decide not to credit you, right?" Giving the company the benefit of the doubt, it's likely they meant to clarify what that particular clause said--"This clause states that you're OK with this". Even so, it's exceptionally bad wording.

I've signed contracts comparable to this in the past, and gotten less from some of them than at least some of the creators T-Pop brings in with this one will. I rationalized signing those contracts the same way these new creators will: I needed to get something out there, and signing over my rights for a pittance at the start of what will hopefully be a long and fruitful career (half right, so far...) is the cost of doing business.

I've gotten more paycheques from comics work than a lot of people who'd like to get such cheques ever will. In retrospect, what I gave up to get some of them was too much. What T-Pop's asking--actually, not asking, but *telling* its Rising Stars creators to give up is too much.

But some creators will still give it up--happily, at least at first--no matter what I or anyone else says. I hope when the dust settles, they're still happy.

Comics is a wonderful medium, but in far too many ways, it's a shitty business.


No comments: