ja said… (…)
Jim, I would love to know your insight on this possible real-world scenario: Disney might one day revoke Marvel’s policy on art returns, as they (significantly more than Warner Bros.) have been so vociferously protective of their properties & characters, that everyone who works on anything Mickey, simply are not allowed to keep the originals they produce.
Originals (storyboards, previsualization development work, prop designs, statues, etc.) are, by contract and policy, literally the property of Disney.
What happens when or if Disney puts a halt to this policy at Marvel, leading the way for Warner Bros. and everyone else? I believe this will send damaging ripples throughout the industry, greatly affecting business at conventions. Great or greater damage to a number of the artists themselves, who depend on that extra income to supplement their livelihoods, could be wrought.
That’s a bomb that I would hate to see go off in this industry. It’s one I can easily imagine happening, though. If or when that would happen, I suspect it would be only the beginning of the various kinds of policy changes by Those In Charge that could cripple the comics industry as a whole.
Those In Charge tend to do such things, wantonly.
Jim, do you think this would or could ever happen? Have you heard any talk from significantly higher-ups from any companies about such a thing?
It’s a butt-clenching, sphincter-tightening possibility that a lot of people would shudder to think about. September 15, 2011 8:06 PM
Category: 17 Freelance and Consulting
The notes and various artifacts that should accompany this post are in one of the boxes yet to be liberated from the storage space and sorted. I think the story is worth telling anyway. I’ll provide some exhibits later, as soon as I can.
A Real Mickey Mouse Operation
Sometime in late 1988 I got a call from a man named Michael Lynton who said he worked for the Walt Disney Company and was interested in possibly hiring me as a consultant.
1988 had been a lean year. I’d spent most of it in an attempt to buy the Marvel Entertainment Group from New World Entertainment, and that is an epic tale for later. My team, the Marvel Acquisition Partners, along with financial adviser/debt provider Chase N.A. and equity partner Shenkman Capital actually won the auction and for one glorious week, we thought we owned Marvel. But, Ronald O. Perelman, who was an insider at New World, managed to snake it out from under us. All that effort, all that time for naught.
There is an unbelievable amount of work involved in attempting such an acquisition. During the many months our attempt took I wasn’t able to fit in much paying work. Didn’t matter. Nobody was offering me work in those days anyway. I think I made $18,000 that year.
I needed a gig.
I met Michael Lynton for lunch somewhere near the Disney offices, which were just off of Park Avenue in the fifties. It was an interview, more or less.
Lynton was the head of marketing for Disney’s consumer products division (the other two being the film and parks divisions). I don’t recall his exact title, but he was a major cheese in the House of the Mouse.
Turned out that Lynton, too, had been interested in acquiring Marvel. He’d tried to talk Disney’s upper management into it, and when that proved to be a no-go, he’d considered making an attempt on his own.
Sometime back in 2006, Denise V. Wohl called me.
I could tell you the exact date if I had the time to dig through my logs. Boxes and boxes of notebooks. From the end of VALIANT, around the end of June, 1992, until some point in 2007 I kept a log of every phone call made or received, every significant communication of other varieties and the noteworthy occurrences of every day. I could tell you exactly when the squirrel up on the telly pole took a bad step, got electrocuted and blacked out the neighborhood.
Those logs helped me out several times in court. Not the squirrel part.
And I also have all my old e-mails going back to 1997 when I first got a computer. Interesting story about that, first getting a computer. I’ll tell you sometime. But, those e-mails are on disks in boxes in a storage space, at least as difficult to find as the logs. Sigh. If I win the lottery, I swear I’m going to take a couple of months off, sort through everything and put it all in easy-to-find order.
Cory Doctorow opposes technology that limits what one can do with digital content and laws that criminalize people for alleged copyright infringements that he believes are harmless, or even beneficial. I think that’s an accurate assessment. If not, I hope Cory will correct me.
In any case, don’t take my word for it. Check out his position statements for yourself. They’re entertaining reads. The guy writes like the Silver Surfer surfs. Here are the links again:
Cory Doctorow sent me a couple of nice e-mails recently. He said he liked the last three posts, which discussed issues he raised about copyright, DRM and SOPA.You probably noticed from the dates on Cory’s articles and essays I cited (if you followed the links) that some were written a while ago. Cory said that he’s currently working on an updated, comprehensive book on the “big, synthesized whole” of intellectual property in the digital age. He sent me a sneak peek at the work in progress and gloriosky, it’s great. It’s not just for people in the biz or those fascinated by legal issues. Draconian digital copyright protection measures currently in use or being contemplated can affect ordinary, innocuous communications and be used in nefarious—make that really evilways—that never occurred to me. Some of the things Cory brings to light are deeply disturbing.