Neal Adams Talks Gerry Conway, DC Comics And Who Owns What

Neal-AdamsNeal Adams got in touch with Bleeding Cool to talk about Gerry Conway's recent allegations concerning DC Comics' changes to their "creator equity participation" program.

He writes,

I have seen the Gerry Conway notes, and of course Gerry is completely correct.

The trouble is this,..D.C. and Marvel, the companies, have NEVER created anything!  Like publishers of "real" books,…novels, they are a business. A non-creative business. Their freelance contractors – AUTHORS create everything they Publish,…and they (D.C and Marvel)  know it!

BUT they WANT to have created all of it,….so they can OWN IT, and SELL IT, and License it, and there-by get rich-er!  But they Didn't create it,.any of it!   SO, because they printed it, and they HIRED Freelance Contractors to CREATE ,….stuff,….they "SAY"  and even "think" they own it and "created" it! (Book Publishers 'know' this isn't so, and don't understand all of this, because book Publishers have and negotiate "contracts' with Authors and their Agents for everything they Publish.)

But,…and so, D.C. and Marvel  are wrong, and have always been wrong!   They "COULD" have created it and own it,.. if they had hired  their creatives to be EMPLOYEES………but they NEVER DID!

Employees 'belong' (In effect)  to their employers for the time of their employment, because they work on the employers premises.

Use the tools provided by the employer, work according to the employers hours and completely under the employers direction, so whatever they produce belongs to their employers.

The employer also collects and removes  the Federal  and State taxes  from the employees 'salary' to send to the government as well  Social Security payments and unemployment payments.

BUT,…over the years,…Since so many of these employers did NOT want to provide these incentives and benefits, yet , perhaps incredibly, wanted the rights to these FREELANCE CONTRACTORS  CREATIONS and input,…these employers convinced the Congress to corrupt the new copyright law  of 1978 to include a NEW CATEGORY.

One in which a freelance contractor may be treated as an employee, in spite of the FACT that he,..or she, is given absolutely no benefits of actually BEING an employee.

He-She, in this re-application  of the law, under the "work made for hire" provision of the law receives NONE of the benefits of being either EMPLOYEE or FREELANCE CONTRACTOR,…and ALL of the negative aspects of BOTH!  He-She gets no employee benefits, YET has NO RIGHTS that he has sacrificed for to be  an "independent contractor".

And THIS, gentle souls, is why Marvel , I propose, settled with the Kirby family, for,….some speculate,… tens of millions of dollars. Incredibly, the case was  actually headed for the Supreme Court, who had agreed to hear it,.. (Incredible, huh?) and the Supreme Court could have simply have thrown "work made for hire". out!    Can you imagine that? Do you have any idea what that would mean to every creative person in America,…from now on.

And "Work for hire" is the only thing that stands between Publishers and the true meaning of "Creator's Right"

Fellow Creators. Here's a little insight for you. Look at your contracts. You will see they are Work-for-Hire contracts,…..but, You will also see, that the companies are so worried that the courts will chuck out "Work-for-Hire" completely as being unethical and contradictory to the intent of the law, THAT, they actually say that ,……just in case,…. "Work-for-Hire" is discarded from the law,..then you are surrendering the following rights!

The Lawyers actually EXPECT the courts to throw out "Work-for-Hire"  any day, and can't believe it hasn't already been done.

Yes, Gerry is right, spades.

My considered advice to DC and Marvel.   Learn to be fair and treat your creatives RIGHT. In that way you will get rich together, like Publishers and Authors,…. or, well, suffer the courts' decrees.

Best Regards for ALL!

Thank you Neal, and best regards to you too…

About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.

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