Jump to content
Werthead

Disney breaks contract with STAR WARS and ALIENS writer Alan Dean Foster

Recommended Posts

In a bizarre move, Disney has unilaterally suspended royalty payments to author Alan Dean Foster for his early Star Wars novels and Alien film novelisations. The SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America), the closest thing US SFF authors have to a union, has taken up the case.

Disney's argument is extraordinary: they claim that when they inherited the contractual rights to Foster's previous work (from Lucasfilm in 2012 and Fox in 2019), they inherited the "rights of the contract but not the obligations of the contract." Or in other words, they can continue to sell Foster's Star Wars and Alien books but not pay him royalties for those works. Rather obviously, Foster and the SFWA disagree rather forcefully, and are prepared to take the matter further until they agree to honour the in-place contracts.

Other Star Wars writers have been contacted and they are now querying their own royalty payments to see if anything is amiss. It sounds like the estate of A.C. Crispin is already concerned that they have not received royalty payments either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, Werthead said:

In a bizarre move, Disney has unilaterally suspended royalty payments to author Alan Dean Foster for his early Star Wars novels and Alien film novelisations. The SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America), the closest thing US SFF authors have to a union, has taken up the case.

Disney's argument is extraordinary: they claim that when they inherited the contractual rights to Foster's previous work (from Lucasfilm in 2012 and Fox in 2019), they inherited the "rights of the contract but not the obligations of the contract." Or in other words, they can continue to sell Foster's Star Wars and Alien books but not pay him royalties for those works. Rather obviously, Foster and the SFWA disagree rather forcefully, and are prepared to take the matter further until they agree to honour the in-place contracts.

Other Star Wars writers have been contacted and they are now querying their own royalty payments to see if anything is amiss. It sounds like the estate of A.C. Crispin is already concerned that they have not received royalty payments either.

Well that’s bullshit.  When you take over a contract you take over all obligations, not only the benefits.  They should be slapped up one courtroom and down another.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

Well that’s bullshit.  When you take over a contract you take over all obligations, not only the benefits.  They should be slapped up one courtroom and down another.

One in particular? A certain court that can effectively establish law through interpretation? Maybe a court where they can afford to lose the least reactionary member of the bench to dissent and still change the way contractual obligations work in this country for the next hundred years? Seems awful convenient with the timing.

Edited by Jace, Basilissa

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's just so wrong.   

I loved Splinter of the Mind's Eye, as it fed my Stars Wars hunger (along with the Stars Wars movie novelization) before I  knew they were making more than one movie.  Of course. the Luke and Leia thing heads down the wrong path as Foster and Lucas hadn't known then that they would end up as brother and sister. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
59 minutes ago, Jace, Basilissa said:

One in particular? A certain court that can effectively establish law through interpretation? Maybe a court where they can afford to lose the least reactionary member of the bench to dissent and still change the way contractual obligations work in this country for the next hundred years? Seems awful convenient with the timing.

No.  This is basic black letter contract law.    If you take over a Contract you take over obligations as well as benefits.  You cannot severe a party to the Contract from their benefits without breaching the Contract.  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

No.  This is basic black letter contract law.    If you take over a Contract you take over obligations as well as benefits.  You cannot severe a party to the Contract from their benefits without breaching the Contract.  

 

I don't think Disney would try if it weren't legal. They take care of our entertainment needs, you shouldn't question their judgement.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

No.  This is basic black letter contract law.    If you take over a Contract you take over obligations as well as benefits.  You cannot severe a party to the Contract from their benefits without breaching the Contract.  

 

Like Jace said, why would they do this without a ton of legal vetting? It seems absurd on its face unless they think they can pull a Trump play and just drag it out so long that the authors are forced to settle for a bad deal. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, Tywin et al. said:

Like Jace said, why would they do this without a ton of legal vetting? It seems absurd on its face unless they think they can pull a Trump play and just drag it out so long that the authors are forced to settle for a bad deal. 

Maybe someone over there is just really stupid?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
39 minutes ago, Tywin et al. said:

Like Jace said, why would they do this without a ton of legal vetting? It seems absurd on its face unless they think they can pull a Trump play and just drag it out so long that the authors are forced to settle for a bad deal. 

That’s what I strongly suspect.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, Mr Meeseeks said:

Maybe someone over there is just really stupid?

Nah, the Mouse has an army of elite lawyers. This isn't something that was done without serious consideration. 

10 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

That’s what I strongly suspect.

It's the only thing that makes sense. I would think most 1Ls would know you can't just alter a contract in that way because it changed hands.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are we talking large sums of money? Or is this more likely a test case to take on someone bigger?  Or is there something else about Foster that Disney is concerned over?  Feels like there is something missing in the story...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SFWA should back Foster in a breach of K suit and tag on an “Unfair Trade Practices Claim” pointing out this is a violation of Contract capable of repetition with other writers seeking treble damages and specific performance of the existing Contract.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

SFWA should back Foster in a breach of K suit and tag on an “Unfair Trade Practices Claim” pointing out this is a violation of Contract capable of repetition with other writers seeking treble damages and specific performance of the existing Contract.

Bob Loblaw's Law Blog says what?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, Jace, Basilissa said:

Bob Loblaw's Law Blog says what?

....Scot's last name is Baio?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, pretty sure they want to force royalty holders to take a flat buyout of their royalty rights. I hope that Foster, the SFWA, and various other royalty holder who've been denied their payments (seen reference to a number of artists and writers involved in Dark Horse's Star Wars and Aliens comics also no longer getting royalties when Disney bought the relevant studios) join together in some sort of suit and shake them down for every penny owed and then some.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...