A Creator’s Horror Story: Losing Control of Your Work

Lesbian Pirates From Outer Space

Megan Rose Gedris is removing the almost 500 pages of her webcomic I Was Kidnapped By Lesbian Pirates From Outer Space!!! from the web on November 5.

The reason is contractual. Back in 2006, she entered into a deal with Platinum Studios (you know, the group that bought their way onto bestseller lists for Cowboys and Aliens because they wanted more Hollywood interest and destroyed a great free comic website). They aren’t giving her any income or support, so she’s going to stop benefiting them by keeping the series around for them to show off. I can’t blame her — and with so many webcomics just fading away, it’s nice to have a statement of what happened to this one (no matter how horrible the circumstance). Here’s her final section of advice:

Young creators, please know that “getting published” is not the be-all-end-all of doing comics. There are so many people in this industry who will take advantage of your eagerness to be a “real comic artist.” Yes, you DO need a lawyer, I don’t care how much you trust that publisher, how big or small. Every contract, every time. Don’t sell something for what you think is a fair price. Know what the fair price is. Know what your value is. Know what the industry standards are. If you can’t get a good deal, don’t take a bad deal and hope for the best. Don’t take a bad deal and tell yourself it’s better than no deal at all. There are so many other avenues.

There are some really bad contracts out there, sometimes coming from otherwise reputable companies. Remember, you can always negotiate, and unless someone is paying you huge amounts of money, I believe most deals should be of limited duration, with rights reversions unless the work is actively being supported. Once someone activates your “hmmm, something feels wrong here” detector, keep them on a very short leash and be willing to walk away before you lose more than you can afford to.

3 Responses to “A Creator’s Horror Story: Losing Control of Your Work”

  1. Must Read: Megan Rose Gedris on losing her creation to Platinum Studios — The Beat Says:

    […] Via Johanna […]

  2. Ty Templeton Says:

    If the contract was entirely one sided, if the publisher never did their job, never did what you expected, then they are likely in breach of the contract, and they DO NOT retain the rights to your creation under those circumstances. Contracts go both ways, and if the publisher doesn’t do their end, just publicly declare you to believe they are in breach, announce that you are publicly regaining the copyrights and trade marks of your product (it’s quite easy to regain the trade mark if the publisher never “traded” with it. ie: They didn’t do commercial transactions that made money). Copyright law is usually on the side of the creator, and simply announcing you are regaining your rights moving forward makes them have to sue you. If they’ve breached, there’s little chance they’re interested in spending money to retain something they’re not doing anything with. This sort of thing happens all the time, don’t let their laziness and inattention kill YOUR creative idea. Let it kill their business model.

  3. Gedris taking ‘Lesbian Pirates’ offline, offers advice to creators | Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources – Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment Says:

    […] (via Comics Worth Reading) […]




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