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Old 27-05-2008, 10:05 PM   #1
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This ladies and gentlemen is a new "pact" (read contract) by Tokyopop for would be manga-ka. I have to say, I've not read through it for a few reasons a) it's too long and I can't be arsed and b) it seems to think I am a 5 year old...

Looking on LJ, a lot of people seem to have an opinion on this. As such, I just wanted to see what the forummers here think to it. I see it mainly as a way for TP to use people (under 18s especially looking at the language used) for their ideas to get some fat juicy copyrights from them with dubious legal rights to it. I'm pretty much against that but it can be helpful for some people I assume? It seems pretty USA at the moment, but how would this be recieved over her in le UK?
please note - I know jack about contracts.
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Old 27-05-2008, 10:14 PM   #2
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"Please keep in mind that we won’t pay you the Pilot Fee mentioned on page 2 until we’ve received and approved the completed materials you’re creating for the Manga Pilot."

lol so in other words it's the same as all those posts u find in the job sections of sites like DA.
'Hey we're looking for someone to draw comics, but you have to draw the comic first and then we'll only pay people whose work we like"

nuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh

Ok I'm not shocked by this. In fact I'm pretty sure a lot of people saw this coming.

With all the competitions and you know, the few companies who you can sell an actual 'idea' to, I don't see any reason to be on the program unless you have a lot of free time and not a lot of sense
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Old 27-05-2008, 10:26 PM   #3
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hmm, looks interesting. i've heard much about this. i'll have to read up more on it before i pass judgement though.
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Old 27-05-2008, 10:41 PM   #4
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Hmm, I heard about this one a while ago. Having been through a long and agonising pitch process to Tokyopop (which was ultimately shot down by the marketing team despite getting to green light stage and being backed the editors who were involved) back when they did their stuff the old way, I'm not sure if this is a move forward or not.

I think you can see it two ways... cynically or hopefully.

To be cynical, it's underpaying enthusiastic newcomers to produce work for them with minimal engagement from Tokyopop, and emphasis on sales and popularity instead of quality and progressive thinking. Ultimately all they've done is to replace the marketing execs with fans, and neither execs nor fans should be making final decisions when it comes to discerning quality and publishability for a major publishing company.

To be hopeful, it's a very open and previously unheard of way for a publishing company to interact with potential creators, which will help to expand their OEL range, and give more people the chance of a book with Tokyopop. There's also the argument that it might help their OEL gain a bit of popularity and sales, since it's only the proven-popular titles that will get the go-ahead. It also circumnavigates the marketing team, and it's fantastic that the copyright reverts to the pitchers if the process fails for them.

All in all it seems like another well intentioned but frugal gesture from a company who likes the idea of providing a platform for creators, but isn't willing to throw in all their chips to do so.

On a personal note, I recently got an email from TP asking me to repitch and telling me of the changes. To be perfectly honest, after a year's worth of work with them before on a pitch which was *this* close to seeing the light of shelves, I found it a bit demeaning to be asked to climb that ladder again and put in yet more hard work, only so I could have my work voted on by fans.
I guess my bitterness is inevitable, but I can't help but put forward my unguarded point of view so people can make their own decisions about what they think based on as much evidence as possible.
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Old 27-05-2008, 10:49 PM   #5
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Self publish for the win.
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Old 28-05-2008, 09:31 AM   #6
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hehe! i just wrote about this in my LJ this morning! XD

below is a very interesting post which breaks some parts of it down - i wouldn't touch this with a barge pole if i cared anything about the characters or story i was submitting --> http://destroyerzooey.livejournal.com/180842.html
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Old 28-05-2008, 09:43 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by wikivic View Post
hehe! i just wrote about this in my LJ this morning! XD

below is a very interesting post which breaks some parts of it down - i wouldn't touch this with a barge pole if i cared anything about the characters or story i was submitting --> http://destroyerzooey.livejournal.com/180842.html
Some of this breakdown is exaggerated though, I wouldn't take it as a rock solid analysis.
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Old 28-05-2008, 10:29 AM   #8
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Some of this breakdown is exaggerated though, I wouldn't take it as a rock solid analysis.
yeah, but its fantastically damning reading. what areas do you feel are exaggerated?
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Old 28-05-2008, 11:32 AM   #9
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I remember hearing about this, and at first I thought that since you would be paying them to be published, you'd retain at least some rights but no... I serioulsy would not touch this contract if it were made of solid gold. It's as simple as:

"I bust my ass making a comic that you don't even have to take on but you can still keep my characters/idea and do what you want with it."

TP's legal loops are the reason I'm not entering RSoM. Okay, so I won't enter one of my "babies" into it, but I still don't like the idea of there somewhere in their Raiders Of The Lost Ark style warehouse there being a folder with my work in it which they can do whatever they hell they like to without my permission. I don't know how I would feel if I entered, didn't get into the finals or win, but a year later I seen either my work or something very closely resembling my work appear in one of their publications. I know it's not likely to happen, but I'm still giving them the rights to do it by signing the entry form.
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Old 28-05-2008, 01:59 PM   #10
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I do wish that people would try to read and understand the contract before making up crap like 'TP are going to steal all my ideas ZOMGWTFBBQ!!!11' Everything I've seen on LJ so far has suffered from that sort of thing. The worst thing about the contract is the language it uses.

As far as I can understand it, the contract says this:

You have to finish your comic before you get paid (oh wait, doesn't this happen with pro comics anyway? How about all those royalty deals where you see nothing until you sell 1000 copies or more?)

They assign you an editor, and you have to work with them and on schedule to get paid. Which is fair enough, I think. If you have an editor, it shows that they're not leaving you to grasp around in the dark or going to let you waste your time finishing something that they don't want. The reasons they list for rejecting comics are all to do with ignoring the editor, violating copyright, or slander.

The contract is only valid for the year that your work is in the pilot program. If your pitch fails for whatever reason, the contract is void also. Within this year they will:

Make sure your comic is published online as part of their program.

Have exclusive worldwide publishing rights for your comic. This is very different from copyright, as it only covers the right for them to reproduce your work. It does not mean that they own your characters. The only objectional part is that there is no royalty in the eventuality that the pilot is sold in a book or somesuch, but if you've already been paid, then is it so bad? Royalties do not come with every job.

They can resize your comic to fit the interweb or mobile phones. This is similar to the agreement you have for uploading images to deviantart and things.

Give up your moral rights. This is actually the part of the contract which is dodgy. You should not give up your moral right (right to be credited), and in fact as long as you hold copyright for your work (which you do gathering from what the contract says) your rights are non-transferable. Even if you do give up copyright, often you are still entitled to moral rights (there are probably some exceptions to this, like working for Disney or whatever where you get paid a salary to work on properties which you don't own)

This is what the Berne Convention says on moral rights:

Quote:
(1) Independently of the author's economic rights, and even after the transfer of the said rights, the author shall have the right to claim authorship of the work and to object to any distortion, mutilation or other modification of, or other derogatory action in relation to, the said work, which would be prejudicial to his honor or reputation.

(2) The rights granted to the author in accordance with the preceding paragraph shall, after his death, be maintained, at least until the expiry of the economic rights, and shall be exercisable by the persons or institutions authorized by the legislation of the country where protection is claimed. However, those countries whose legislation, at the moment of their ratification of or accession to this Act, does not provide for the protection after the death of the author of all the rights set out in the preceding paragraph may provide that some of these rights may, after his death, cease to be maintained.

(3) The means of redress for safeguarding the rights granted by this Article shall be governed by the legislation of the country where protection is claimed.
Anyway~

For the year that the contract lasts, it asks you to not negotiate with other publishers. This is negotiations on creating your series, ownership of copyright, and rights for derivative works (merchandise and stuff). This is only asking you not to negotiate any terms with other publishers, and not saying that you automatically give these rights to Tokyopop by entering into their program.

If you can't agree on terms with Tokyopop, you can look for other publishing deals at the end of the year. Your comic is yours! But if you find another publisher, then TP would reserve the right to match their offer. This seems to include not only matching monetarily, but also the terms of the contract.

After the year ends, they have non-exclusive rights to publish your pilot comic. This means that you can publish it too, wherever you want. I can see that people may find objection to this as there's once again no royalties... And perhaps it could make things difficult when looking for other publishers, depending on how they are about publishing rights.



At least, this is what I gather the contract says.

I should mention actually, that the contract is very patronising to anyone but the most green of teenagers. I would find it very hard to take this seriously if someone handed it to me and expected me to sign it. I see that the intention is to make it accessable, but I think in doing so, has unfortunately caused more drama than a good ol' stiffly worded contract would have done.

Last edited by Buuu : 28-05-2008 at 02:12 PM.
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Old 28-05-2008, 02:24 PM   #11
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I'm pretty sure being payed after completion isn't really anything new. ^^;;

I hear TP have sent out some mail requesting collabs over a month ago~ I think they'll really put a lot of effort into this one. Hopefully they'll renivate the site to accomodate it for the program. If they did i'm sure it'd recieve alot more faith.
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Old 28-05-2008, 02:30 PM   #12
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Self publish for the win.
hear hear!

i mean why work for a mega-super publishing company for free, when you can work for yourself for free!
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Old 28-05-2008, 03:28 PM   #13
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The contract seems to primarily protect Tokyopop and not the artist (what a shocker) but the main problem have with this is what it does to your work.

When I first heard of this scheme, my first thought was 'Shit, another popularity contest.' Let me add pointless. Perhaps I have just a very low view of my fellow manga reader and those in the land of America, but tell me which will get the votes: 1) a slow-moving, but deep study of character, behaviour and human nature which, whilst developing slowly, makes you really care for the characters, or 2) Bishie-fest where they all fancy each other and sleep with each other.

Perhaps the first would appeal to editors, but not a group of 13 year ols fangirls.

I know, sales sales sales.

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Old 28-05-2008, 04:12 PM   #14
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Quote:
On a personal note, I recently got an email from TP asking me to repitch and telling me of the changes. To be perfectly honest, after a year's worth of work with them before on a pitch which was *this* close to seeing the light of shelves, I found it a bit demeaning to be asked to climb that ladder again and put in yet more hard work, only so I could have my work voted on by fans.
Guuh. Yeah, same here. My Pitch was greenlit but had to be sidelined because I was up to my eyeballs in other work. Then this happened.

I've decided to haul in my Tokyopop related bile recently (with moderate success), but I disagree with the fan voting stuff on so many levels.
It assumes fans know what they want, which is nonsense. You tell them what they want. That's how any offbeat, interesting or groundbreaking story is told. In any medium. Ever.
~John~
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Old 28-05-2008, 04:28 PM   #15
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is it just me, or has the racist moral rights thing been deleted from the contract?

i cant seem to find it on there.
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Old 28-05-2008, 04:29 PM   #16
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It assumes fans know what they want, which is nonsense. You tell them what they want. That's how any offbeat, interesting or groundbreaking story is told. In any medium. Ever.
~John~
That's true, most stories I've read I have liked or disliked through sheer luck usually. When you don't know what's out there you've got to take a gamble. Look at a shelf and pick if possible volume one of a random series. Some stories were ace others sucked.

Fans know what they want to some extend but these ideals change over time. Sometimes a book they love one year would be like stupid and cheesy the next. It's about what strikes a chord with them the most at the time.

As for the contract idea, proper and concise definitions would have been better. Doing it in a more simplistic and friendly way could leave room for other interpretations. That being said though you can see the benefit of a Tokyopop contract. For one they have the marketing muscle and production capacity and you do at least get paid. You may have to sacrifice something for their investment. Even if they can afford to give people a bit more, it's still a business and there is still the bottom line to consider.

If you self publish then you've got it all to do yourself, I believe it is totally possible to self publish on a large scale. But you've got to get books into shops, online, and in the streets. Promote and market all by yourself, you'd be sorting out the production of the comics too. You'd have to invest a huge amount of money and time and not everyone can do that, and you'd have have the comic to draw yourself as well. A group could would have an easier time of it.

You only get paid once you start selling. With the TP idea you get something even if the comic doesn't sell. I suppose it all depends on what sits best with the individual artist.
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Old 28-05-2008, 05:03 PM   #17
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TP's legal loops are the reason I'm not entering RSoM... I don't know how I would feel if I entered, didn't get into the finals or win, but a year later I seen either my work or something very closely resembling my work appear in one of their publications. I know it's not likely to happen, but I'm still giving them the rights to do it by signing the entry form.
Whu~? This "Shining Stars" contract is NOT the same as "Rising Stars of Manga" contracts. Unless they decide to reword the RSoM contracts for this year, what you sign and send along with entries do NOT ask you to waive your moral rights. You also retain rights to your characters and storyline IIRC. They get first refusal should you decide to go further and pitch your work regards RSoM.

Correct me if I am wrong with my details. But IMO it is important people realise that a pitch under this "Shining Stars" program and entering RSoM are two entirely different things with two seperate contracts, worded completely differently.
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Old 28-05-2008, 05:45 PM   #18
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Quote:
Whu~? This "Shining Stars" contract is NOT the same as "Rising Stars of Manga" contracts. Unless they decide to reword the RSoM contracts for this year, what you sign and send along with entries do NOT ask you to waive your moral rights. You also retain rights to your characters and storyline IIRC. They get first refusal should you decide to go further and pitch your work regards RSoM.

Correct me if I am wrong with my details. But IMO it is important people realise that a pitch under this "Shining Stars" program and entering RSoM are two entirely different things with two seperate contracts, worded completely differently.
However if you win Rising Stars I'm pretty sure this will be the contract you'll be presented with if you want to pitch to Tokyopop.
~John~
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Old 28-05-2008, 05:47 PM   #19
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True true, I was just thinking about RSoM submission rights only.

So this is standard across the TP board, then - for unsolicited submissions as well as via acquiring an editor via winning a place in a RSoM comp. Hmm.
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Old 28-05-2008, 06:10 PM   #20
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At the end of the day, i think this illustrates the market we are in, and it is a market saturated with a lot of very talented individuals, in which a contract that essentially asks the dogs at the animal shelter to peform the best trick inorder to be taken home is acceptable. And yeah, thats pretty much the case. There are 20-30 people on this forum alone that would probably have netted contracts had they been born and raised in japan. The current western industry simply is not big enough to sustain the vast array of talent in the gene pool, and a contract like this is the result.

Tokyopop is in a position where it can take the pick of the litter. That says nothing about tokyopop bar the fact its a smart business. It says a lot about the level of talent thats going. Companies like lulu are the only step between you and an isbn ready book being shipped out to amazon. If you are not confidently in the top 1 percent of the people who apply to tokyopop in these things, self publish or consider other publishers.

And the people voting. DONT GET ME STARTED ON THAT. It did wonders for eurovision.
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