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  1.  (2393.1)
    Just in case anyone here hasn't seen this yet, found via Spurgeon.

    Bryan Lee O'Malley tears into Tokyopop's horrifying new contract for their "Manga Pilot" program, which appears to be designed to basically fleece young people ignorant of the ways of the world of any good ideas they may have.

    The obvious money quote from this heinous document (which is written entirely in a loose "hey, dude" voice):


    “Moral rights” is a fancy term (the French thought it up) that basically has to do with having your name attached to your creation (your credit!) and the right to approve or disapprove certain changes to your creation. Of course, we want you to get credit for your creation, and we want to work with you in case there are changes, but we want to do so under the terms in this pact instead of under fancy French idea. So, in order for us to adapt the Manga Pilot for different media, and to determine how we should include your credit in tough situations, you agree to give up any "moral rights" you might have.


    There is sooooo much more. Take a look.
  2.  (2393.2)
    To be fair, their are no Moral Rights laws for work in the US except for fine art under VARA.
    •  
      CommentAuthorzoem
    • CommentTimeMay 27th 2008
     (2393.3)
    Wow. What sleaze. I guess they want use an American Idol style farce for comics. Nice scam - getting creators to work their asses off making a submission, and getting web readers to sift through their slush pile.

    I think they're actually worse than the "print-on-demand" houses that fuck people over all the time. At least they don't ask for a deposit for their trouble of reviewing your submission, or promise to put you in some vanity press compilation (for the fee of the purcahse price of the compilation of course). Instead, they actually steal your work and rights. For a payment of $___.

    Have to wonder how many other publishers are trying to take advantage of the vast pool of naive talent out there. Probably lots.
    • CommentAuthorchris g
    • CommentTimeMay 28th 2008
     (2393.4)
    Geez. Pure evil right there. All the more reason for dreamers like myself to go it alone.
  3.  (2393.5)
    Gah, I've had more than enough of Tokyopop for a lifetime. After winning Rising Stars UK 1, I pitched to them for over a year, working pretty hard on developing the pitch Re: their needs (without any compensation), only to have the pitch shot down by marketing execs after I'd been all but promised a contract and green-lighted by the editors involved. Then suddenly I was 'welcome to pitch again but unlikely to get a project with them'. You can understand I was bitter, but I knew things like this happened in publishing, and I just moved on with little complaint and a vow to steer clear of Tokyopop.

    Well, I got wind of this amazing new pitching stunt they're pulling when I was contacted a few months ago, apologised to in a round about way for the way that they handled my previous pitch, and then asked to pitch again... through the pilot scheme! After spending a year working closely with them on a pitch for no money and no return, I was not only flabbergasted by the pilot scheme, but insulted that they wanted me to do yet more work for a token payment only to have my pitch judged by.... their internet fan base!?

    And you know the ironic thing... after going through their other pitch process, this is actually a bloody improvement.
    • CommentAuthorCaBil
    • CommentTimeMay 28th 2008
     (2393.6)
    Okay, let me put me head into the lion's mouth here.

    I signed one of these deals. Not because it is a great deal but because I am writer and they are finding the artist to bring my manuscript to the page. For a hyphenate, this deal probably sucks, but for a writer who needs something finished to show editors, well, how many companies find artists for writers?
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      CommentAuthorlordmitz
    • CommentTimeMay 28th 2008
     (2393.7)
    while the contract itself is a many-head hateful beast born of greed and thunder, i do appreciate that at least it's honest and it spells it (mostly) out like it is. it'd be far worse if someone signed up not knowing the deal and then got the proverbial ass-shafting later.
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      CommentAuthorthom_wong
    • CommentTimeMay 28th 2008
     (2393.8)
    How good is the line "the French thought it up"?

    Based on this small excerpt there is absolutely no need for the creator to waive his or her moral rights. They can adapt the hell out of something if they want to and are given permission. In fact, it's very interesting that they didn't simply ask for the right to modify the work rather than the waiver. Waiving moral rights means that after a certain time they just don't want to attribute the work anymore.
  4.  (2393.9)
    Speaking as a writer, technical not creative, if someone who wanted to hire me handed me a contract with that in it I'd take it as a personal and professional insult, leave the room and send them a fucking invoice for my time.

    Why not just have creators tack their names to a fucking dartboard?
  5.  (2393.10)
    , how many companies find artists for writers?

    All of them except Image Central.
  6.  (2393.11)
    Christ, they're all at it. Raises my heckles cause it reminds me of all the 'Design Competition' sites like this. This deal from Tokyopop seems to be much worse though. Poor fuckers.
  7.  (2393.12)
    Heck, even my company will find an artist for a writer, if we like the pitch enough. We've done it before.

    Paul, I hope that when we open for submissions next Spring you send us something. I love your work on FreakAngels.
    • CommentAuthorCaBil
    • CommentTimeMay 28th 2008
     (2393.13)
    Warren, forgive me, but from the perspective of a new writer, it doesn't seem like that. And looking at most company's submission policies, it doesn't seem like that either.

    I wrote two full scripts for a DC editor at their request that never got read. I wrote a pitch document for a Marvel editor at their request that hasn't been read (it may still happen, it only has been six months), and when the editor suggested I contact some of his colleagues using the editor's name as reference, I got no replies. I have sent either full scripts or pitches to Titan, 2000 AD Future Shock, Moonstone, Game Workshop (when they had a comic anthology) and even Avatar Press (back when they were still publishing Threshold) and never have gotten a reply from any.

    I've been published in the tabletop gaming industry and I've hit my deadlines, so I at least have some references and am not completely incompetent.

    So who did I miss? Who did I overlook that is willing to look at a new comic writer's work? Because tell me who they are, and I'll write something specifically for them. I was (and still am) not wild about the TokyoPop contract, but I signed it, wrote the manuscript on time and cashed the check they sent me for my work because they were the only ones that seemed to be willing to give a writer without a published comic credit a chance.

    Does that make any sense at all?
    • CommentAuthorCaBil
    • CommentTimeMay 28th 2008
     (2393.14)
    No offense Scott, how are people going to know that if this is what is on the Big Head Press site?

    We are also looking for creative teams -- we aren't offering a writer/artist matching service.
  8.  (2393.15)
    CaBil:

    He wrote.

    Heck, even my company will find an artist for a writer, if we like the pitch enough. We've done it before.

    Good work will find an outlet if you're persistent.

    I just turned away lots of people for an assistant writing gig at my firm who were very qualified on paper, had good references, hit deadlines and all that but they just didn't have the style we wanted. But we bent over backwards for an a designer from out of state who had just the right look and was in our field. We do a lot of green design work, the guy sending us writing samples from his blog or comedy sketches he wrote while doing second city...not so much.

    Sorry if it's apples and oranges here, but if you've got good work to push, keep pushing, be aware of who the audience is (and what the publishers are putting out) and you should find work.
    •  
      CommentAuthorWordWill
    • CommentTimeMay 28th 2008
     (2393.16)
    @CaBil:

    I can understand how a contract like this might not, on its face, look so bad to someone who's used to the gaming business's work-for-hire contracts, but look at it like this: When you do work-for-hire for a game company that already owns their own property, it's work-for-hire because you're playing with their toys. You couldn't write and sell a Warhammer book without Games Workshop, 'cause that stuff is theirs already. But TokyoPop is taking co-ownership of the copyright of your comic, so you're working for-hire on your own material in exchange for the privilege of putting that work into their public slush pile. You're giving them your work in the hopes that they'll let you work on it.

    Note the part in the comments where O'Malley points out that TP seeks "the right to co-own with you the worldwide copyrights in the Project and manga books and online manga based on the Project, and the exclusive worldwide copyright administration rights."

    Like you, I'm eager to make more progress on the transition from one writer's market into another, but I really don't think this is any way to do it.
  9.  (2393.17)
    CaBil:
    Well, I guess the point is, you've got the contract with Tokyopop now. Just be aware that your work is now at the whim of the most fickle fanbase I know of, and of them only those that participate in the deviantart-style 'Tokyopop Online' site will be voting on it. If you want to get another perspective, head on over to the discussion at sweatdrop, the UK's biggest manga collective.
    • CommentAuthorCaBil
    • CommentTimeMay 28th 2008
     (2393.18)
    Word, the version that I signed at least, didn't give up copyright. I suspect that they would want it if I signed a Original Property Agreement to write a full manga volume, but before then I would have something that I can show to editors and artists. I can walk away at that point with the Pilot finished. Would I be dancing in the streets? No, but I would have something real at least...
  10.  (2393.19)
    I wrote two full scripts for a DC editor at their request that never got read. I wrote a pitch document for a Marvel editor at their request that hasn't been read (it may still happen, it only has been six months), and when the editor suggested I contact some of his colleagues using the editor's name as reference, I got no replies. I have sent either full scripts or pitches to Titan, 2000 AD Future Shock, Moonstone, Game Workshop (when they had a comic anthology) and even Avatar Press (back when they were still publishing Threshold) and never have gotten a reply from any.

    Well, if Titan were ever doing anything other than repackaging material, I missed it. As far as the other stuff goes -- hell, I don't know, man. Maybe they just didn't like your shit. Did you keep sending stuff to them?

    I've been published in the tabletop gaming industry and I've hit my deadlines, so I at least have some references and am not completely incompetent.

    Worthless references in terms of the comics industry, though. Not much better than having a note from your mum.

    So who did I miss?


    Off the top of my head? Dark Horse, Archaia, Slave Labor, Antarctic, Top Cow, Dynamite, IDW....
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      CommentAuthorWordWill
    • CommentTimeMay 28th 2008
     (2393.20)
    @CaBil: From the contract:

    AFTER THE EXCLUSIVE PERIOD OF THIS PACT ENDS
    Once the Exclusive Period ends and even if you and we haven’t entered into an Original Property Agreement, we’ll still have the worldwide right, continuing forever, to publish the Manga Pilot on a non-exclusive basis.


    You'll have something real that is effectively dead. My bet—and I ain't nobody—is that no one's going to want to look seriously at a property that is still linked to TokyoPop by a right of first refusal. Or something for which the Pilot is still able to be published and sold by another company. So what you've got is a portfolio piece, I guess. If you get further than that, and don't feel screwed, then more power to you.

    @Warren & @CaBil:

    I think Top Shelf still looks at submissions, though they like to see art.