Disney, royalties and copyright law

Disney, royalties and copyright law

A deep dive into #DisneyMustPay

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been working on a story about a major campaign that SFWA put out: #DisneyMustPay. Back in November, SFWA held a press conference that revealed that Alan Dean Foster found that some of his royalties had dried up from his Alien and Star Wars novels, and as they worked to figure out what had happened, they found that it seemed to be linked to Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm and 20th Century Fox.

From the press conference, I started to write and dig into the story, and found that it’s considerably more complicated. Authors who write tie-in fiction don’t own the copyrights to their works and the way contracts dole out rights can be a complicated story. I spoke with a couple of lawyers about contract law for this who helped explain the legal landscape and how it works. Moreover, I was able to find some additional authors who haven’t been paid who were willing to go on the record.

The piece is now up on Polygon, and I’d love for you to read it. It’s been a long route with this particular story, and I’m pretty happy with how it came out. I think it’s an issue that’s well-worth covering, and hopefully, it’ll lead to some good for the authors involved.