- Posted by Johanna on January 2, 2007 at 4:45 pm
- Category: LinkBlogging
If you read comic news sites, you’ve probably already heard about the problems with Rick Olney and his Tightlip Entertainment commissioning work from a variety of people (including established professionals), not paying them, and then threatening them with legal action when they speak out about it. Apparently Olney feels that everyone is bound by some kind of non-disclosure agreement, even if they never signed one; I guess that’s why he picked that publisher name.
If you haven’t heard about this history, go search Lying in the Gutters, and you’ll find plenty about it. Alternately, check out this 95-page (!) thread (at the time of posting) on Gail Simone’s message board.
Here’s one high point: God bless Mark Waid!
if you want to file a claim against the man but can’t afford the expense, I will cover you out of my own pocket. No joke. I don’t care if Olney owes you ninety bucks or nine thousand, if you’re willing to put together your case but reclamation costs, filing fees, and professional legal consultation are standing between you and your day in court, I will personally foot those bills. Contact me and we’ll work out the details.
That is an amazingly impressive thing to do. Too many publishers (and wannabes) depend on creators being too desperate to take legal action against them. Waid just loaded that weapon for all those stiffed by Olney.
Kurt Busiek has another practical suggestion:
Get the various contributors to these books together and sell the stories to someone else. If a writer, penciler, inker, letterer, and colorist all worked on something and none of you got paid, shop it around. Change any details that came from Tightlip and get paid by someone else.
He has no grounds to sue. The contract is void. For those of you who have contracts, satisfy the “Notices” section (if there even is one) by sending a registered letter saying that he’s got 30 days to pay or you’re selling the story elsewhere. When he doesn’t pay, sell it elsewhere.
There’s no need to feel held hostage — what he doesn’t pay for, he doesn’t own any rights to. Basic contract law. Heck, the publicity involved in bringing together screwed creators to publish DEADBEAT COMICS would bring in a lot of readers wanting to support you guys.
Olney reappears later on (after vowing to leave, he didn’t last long) to sling around more insults and legal threats. Even after being warned that he was either opening himself up to more grounds for suit or damaging his own case, he couldn’t stay away. The boy doesn’t know when to quit!
Update: As of 9 AM 1/4/07, the thread is up to 121 pages, and Olney does seem to have disappeared. The discussion has turned into consolation and in-jokes, with a few old self-publishing names showing up that I haven’t thought about in years, like Joanne Ellen Mutch (Rummblestrips). They all have Olney horror stories, unsurprisingly.
Update 2: 10 AM 1/5/07, 138 pages. There’s a new thread for the anthology coming out of all this. Its working title is “Unscrewed!” and it appears that proceeds are intended to benefit the creators due money from Olney’s unscrupulous business practices and outright theft of services.
Also, Gail Simone requests that the many others who haven’t yet spoken out do so. Given Olney’s long history of lies (that particular one is from 2000 about faking an organization’s tax-deductible status), there’s no benefit to keeping quiet.