Hakuōki, Time Travel Girl Director Osamu Yamasaki Complains of Lack of Royalties in Anime Industry
posted on by Kim Morrissy
Hakuōki and Time Travel Girl director Osamu Yamasaki posted a tweet thread on Tuesday about royalties (or lack thereof) in the anime industry. He wrote: "Lately, labor standards have toughened, and there are more companies that say they want to sign a contract with you. But when you read through the contract, all the terms are in the favor of the company. In particular, you have to cede the rights to your work... or you can't work at another company in the same industry for a year after you've quit... There's no need to agree to a contract like that."
最近、アニメ業界も労基の厳格化が進み、契約書を交わしたいと言ってくる会社が増えてきた。— ヤマサキオサム (@LeeYamakun) March 12, 2019
Yamasaki went on: "Of course, if people are happy with those terms, then they should go ahead and sign it. But directors and designers are the original creators of the scripts, storyboards, and designs they make. I think that the current asking price is far too low to consider selling off the authorship rights.
"Script writers earn royalties on their scripts. Storyboard artists at Toei Animation earn royalties. I'm not familiar with design, but I see no problem with designers earning royalties when their designs are turned into products and sold, as long as they don't cede their rights.
"Before, it was obvious to publishers that illustrators have creative rights, but I've heard of cases in anime where the same work gets paid a flat commission fee and the creative rights are sold away. Different companies have different ways of doing things in this industry, but I feel that we anime people need to brush up on our knowledge of intellectual property rights."
In a later tweet thread, Yamasaki recalled an experience he had over ten years ago, where a large company threw a popular anime film project at its child company, which scraped up a team of freelance staff. When that anime became a hit, the large company threw a party and gave a bonus to its employees, even though it was actually the freelancers that had made the anime. Yamasaki wrote, "I felt as if I had glimpsed the dark side of the anime industry."
Yamasaki concluded by saying that he believes that employing animators and giving them a stable wage is one way to ensure their rights.