Tokyopop’s Contract Response
I sent a query to Tokyopop’s PR contact asking “Does Tokyopop have a response [to the Manga Pilots uproar]? Are any changes in the contract planned?” In return, I got this back, described as the official TP statement from the Pilot Program team, Paul Morrissey and Hope Donovan:
The Pilot Program represents an exciting new stage in the development of original manga for TOKYOPOP, and one of the things we’re most excited about is having a brief, accessible contract–and being able to post it online.
We’ve made the contracts generic, to include as many creators as possible, and what you see is the same deal extended to everyone. We’re proud to be able to present these contracts as they are, so that love it or hate it, we’ve empowered potential manga creators to understand the terms long before they propose a project.
Making the contracts available to all is just the first positive step for TOKYOPOP that the Pilot Program represents. Of course we want our Pilots to be successful, and we want to work with Pilot creators to develop their Pilots into other media. And if we do so, an entirely new contract is drafted for that particular project–whether it be a full-length book deal, a film/TV deal, etc. However, TOKYOPOP realizes that some Pilots will not develop beyond their initial stage. And that’s why the Pilot Program is also progressive in returning rights to creators. For any Pilot that doesn’t pan out, the rights to the project are returned to the creator after the one-year Exclusive Period ends. After that, the creator is free to take that exact chapter created for us as well as the property anywhere they like–whether that’s self-publishing, publishing with another company or putting it on the back burner. At this point, for example, if the creator were to land a film/TV deal based on their Pilot property, TOKYOPOP would have no stake in that venture.
We cannot dictate the future of your project after the Exclusive Period ends. We only retain rights to those pages that were created for us, and have the right to adapt those existing pages as cell phone manga, imanga or other print publications. We do not have the right to create more material. We can’t add to your story or create new chapters–it belongs to you. We can only reprint the material you created for us.
We hope that the discussion generated from putting the contracts online helps potential creators to understand the deals that we offer. We urge you to talk about them, that’s right there in the contract. The deals may not be for everyone, but we’re glad that everyone can read and consider for themselves.
So the answer would be, they stand behind what they put out there, and they’re aggressively pushing the positive. At least this statement is in more standard, less “hip” language.