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From the TOKYOPOP Pilot Program Team, Paul Morrissey & Hope Donovan


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Moomintroll



Joined: 08 Oct 2007
Posts: 1600
Location: Nottingham (UK)
PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 7:48 pm Reply with quote
I note that they don't respond to the widespread criticism that (a) they wrote the contract in a hilariously unprofessional ludicrous down-wit'-tha-kidz style in an effort to make it seem that Tokyopop would never rip you off because Tokyopop is your buddy Rolling Eyes , that (b) they not only expect anyone signing the contract to give up their moral rights but then go on to justify this by suggesting, in a casually racist manner, that moral rights aren't important because, uhm, they're a "fancy" French idea and that (c) their contracts are worse (according to half a dozen different comic artists and journalists) than those of any other company in the comics business.
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BellosTheMighty



Joined: 27 Nov 2007
Posts: 767
PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 7:54 pm Reply with quote
Okay, all other things aside, what the hell is this? It looks like someone at ANN sent a letter off to TokyoPop, got a script-generated form letter back, and then posted it to their front page? What? That's pretty lame reporting, IMHO...
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catanaition



Joined: 23 Jan 2007
Posts: 13
PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 8:24 pm Reply with quote
That contract is absolutely terrible. As an artist I would never sign it and I will be sure to tell all of my artist friends and acquaintances to be more than a little cautious when dealing with Tokyopop.
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Moomintroll



Joined: 08 Oct 2007
Posts: 1600
Location: Nottingham (UK)
PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 8:27 pm Reply with quote
BellosTheMighty wrote:
Okay, all other things aside, what the hell is this? It looks like someone at ANN sent a letter off to TokyoPop, got a script-generated form letter back, and then posted it to their front page? What? That's pretty lame reporting, IMHO...


Eh? Given that news about this crappy joke of a contract has been on pretty much every North American comics industry news website (and God only knows how many blogs) since some time before ANN got hold of it, why would you presume the Tokyopop response is directed at ANN and ANN alone?

And as for "lame reporting" - it's a press release not an editorial.
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BellosTheMighty



Joined: 27 Nov 2007
Posts: 767
PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 8:53 pm Reply with quote
Moomintroll wrote:
BellosTheMighty wrote:
Okay, all other things aside, what the hell is this? It looks like someone at ANN sent a letter off to TokyoPop, got a script-generated form letter back, and then posted it to their front page? What? That's pretty lame reporting, IMHO...


Eh? Given that news about this crappy joke of a contract has been on pretty much every North American comics industry news website (and God only knows how many blogs) since some time before ANN got hold of it, why would you presume the Tokyopop response is directed at ANN and ANN alone?


That's what it sounds like to me. A form letter produced by a script that browses an e-mail for keywords. If it's an official press release, TokyoPop should have a long talk with their PR department...
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Batman3777



Joined: 18 May 2007
Posts: 160
Location: Down the Shore, NJ
PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 9:28 pm Reply with quote
The "pact's" terms are not that bad, it's the immature language that's really causing all of the troubles.

The terms are not perfect, but they are not horrible either... for someone wanting to break into the business, this would not be a bad way to do it... good advice would be to submit something less than your best idea ever. Wink

Take a look at this link for a good, honest breakdown of the terms:

http://www.bradfox.com/blog/2008/05/bryan-lee-omalley-and-case-of-the-tokyopop-pilot-pandemonium/
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The Xenos



Joined: 29 Mar 2004
Posts: 1519
Location: Boston
PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 1:11 am Reply with quote
Wow. I guess this is a press release. It's so full of marketing jargon. I love how they have redubbed people in their regular TokyoPop NewSpeak. Aside from the regular 'everything is manga' talk, it's very interesting that they call these 'pilots'.
Quote:
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.

I think we know what kind of pilots TokyoPop wants and it's from the Japanese words meaning 'Divine Wind'. For the Emperor! Wink
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skyesage



Joined: 20 Feb 2008
Posts: 97
PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 8:33 am Reply with quote
Well that really doesn't make me feel any better. They aren't really responding to very much...

That said, it does sound very generic, and it makes them seem a little unprofessional. Hehe.

Also, Xenos, uh...Laughing
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TJ_Kat



Joined: 11 Jan 2007
Posts: 278
Location: Saskatoon, Canada
PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 10:59 am Reply with quote
However horrible the terms of this contract may or may not be (depends who's talking), I think a very key point is that it's only good for a year. After a year, TP retains the right to continue to publish the material they've paid for, but not to make more material based on that work. If, after the year is up, the creator hasn't negotiated a new long term contract with them, full rights return to the creator to do whatever they want with it.

With that one clause alone, the creator loses nothing in this deal. After a year, you can walk away with everything you had to begin with, do whatever you want with it, plus gain exposure to TP's audience which you can hopefully exploit no matter what direction you decide to go in.
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Batman3777



Joined: 18 May 2007
Posts: 160
Location: Down the Shore, NJ
PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 11:53 am Reply with quote
The Xenos wrote:

I think we know what kind of pilots TokyoPop wants and it's from the Japanese words meaning 'Divine Wind'. For the Emperor! Wink


Ha! Well said, I like that one! Laughing
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Batman3777



Joined: 18 May 2007
Posts: 160
Location: Down the Shore, NJ
PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 12:00 pm Reply with quote
TJ_Kat wrote:
However horrible the terms of this contract may or may not be (depends who's talking), I think a very key point is that it's only good for a year. After a year, TP retains the right to continue to publish the material they've paid for, but not to make more material based on that work. If, after the year is up, the creator hasn't negotiated a new long term contract with them, full rights return to the creator to do whatever they want with it.

With that one clause alone, the creator loses nothing in this deal. After a year, you can walk away with everything you had to begin with, do whatever you want with it, plus gain exposure to TP's audience which you can hopefully exploit no matter what direction you decide to go in.


Nonexclusively, by the way. That's NON exclusive rights to continue to publish the work after the first year. Which means you can take that work and republish it or expand upon it with any other publisher, or yourself just the same. Just wanted to add that clarification, because a lot of people seem to miss that point. Again, it's that 12 year old's language they used that's causing a lot of problems. So you are definitely right, the creater is not losing nearly as much as people think.
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Animastryfe



Joined: 15 Dec 2007
Posts: 152
Location: Vancouver
PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 12:17 pm Reply with quote
Have they actually said anything that we didn't know or was useful?
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Aaron White
Old Regular


Joined: 23 Aug 2002
Posts: 1365
Location: Birmingham, Alabama
PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 1:24 pm Reply with quote
Tom Spurgeon comments. Tom's been covering the comics biz for a long time, and has some harsh words for this contract.
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BrothersElric



Joined: 06 Dec 2006
Posts: 1996
PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 3:21 pm Reply with quote
Well I personally don't like the sound of this contract at all, but not only does this sound if anything a little bit better than the one before, but in all honesty I guess if you're aware of this contract beforehand then I think some of you actually have a good point in it just being a good way to get a starting feel for being a manga artist before you go out into the big world of it as if not to feel overwhelmed when you do. I think the only thing that'd be in question is what exactly are Tokyopop's true intentions themselves? Are they doing this for that particular reason or do they just want their paycheck? I guess it's all up to the artist in the end what they want to take this as but if they just want their money, then in all honesty I'd have uncomfortable feelings about having my series published by a company like that.

Of course I'm not interested in putting my series into Tokyopop in the first place. It's always been my dream to do a series for Weekly Shounen Jump, but for now I think my best chances are to take advantage of Viz's upcoming original manga magazine.
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jvowles
Otakon Representative


Joined: 23 Nov 2004
Posts: 219
Location: Maryland
PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 5:31 pm Reply with quote
This isn't meant to downplay peoples' concerns or their dislike of the contract in question. But consider this: TP is one of the few legit companies that is actually willing to give unproven talent a shot. It's no surprise that it comes with conditions.

From what I've seen, their contracts, however lopsided, aren't too different from various writing contests I used to see pitched when I was in college nearly 20 years ago. They are designed for two reasons: for the newbie creator, it could be your big break (and if so, itll happen more quickly than it would through most other methods), and for the company, it's a way to harvest useful intellectual property that they can profit from.

And the reality is most titles suck, and most amateurs are not going to be able to succeed. Tokyopop, or whoever, has to cover that failure rate with their successes....so the hits pay for the losses. That's where the traditional idea comes from, that 80% of stuff sucks and is paid for by the 20% that is good.

I don't think it's particularly sinister -- they're reasonably up front about their motives, and for people awaiting their big break, it may be worthwhile.

If the terms aren't reasonable to you, don't go that route; pitch your work through the more routine channels. It's just going to take more work -- and you usually won't see the contract terms beforehand.
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