‘Star Wars’ Novelist Alan Dean Foster Demands Royalties From Disney
Alan Dean Foster, a novelist who has written several "Star Wars" books, says Disney owed him years of royalties for his work, but the company didn't pay more when it acquired Lucasfilm in 2012.
Foster wrote the amendment to the original "Star Wars," which was attributed to George Lucas in 1976. Two years later he wrote "Splinter of the Mind's Eye", a sequel to the book "Star Wars".
Both books are still in publication, and in an open letter published by Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, Foster says his requests for overdue royalties have been ignored and that Disney requires him to sign a nondisclosure agreement before doing so he negotiates with him.
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"All of these books are still very much in print," wrote Foster. “You're still making money. To you. When one company buys another, it acquires both its liabilities and its assets. You will certainly benefit from the advantages of wealth. I would love to share my tiny share (although it's not small for me). I know gigantic companies do this a lot. Ignore queries and inquiries and hope the petitioner just disappears. Or maybe die. But I'm still here and I'm still entitled to what you owe me. "
In his letter, Foster states that he wrote the novels for the first three "Alien" films and that Disney did not pay him any royalties on those books after it acquired 20th Century Fox in 2018.
A representative from Disney told TheWrap that he had spoken to Foster and his agent about the August 2019 "Alien" books and hadn't asked to meet until March 2020, but hadn't heard anything. Disney also says that Foster and his agent never filed a complaint about "Star Wars" novels until his open letter was published this week. The company also clarified that Foster was not sent a formal NDA but was asked for confirmation of confidentiality as they neared the terms of a settlement, which it believes is standard.
Disney eventually said that it has already got back in touch with Foster and the SFWA, but has no further details. Disney had no comment on the amount of royalties owed.
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When Foster's open letter was released, SFWA President Mary Robinette Kowal described the need to publicly portray the dispute as "unprecedented" in her 10 years with the organization. She feared this practice could affect other writers who would later collaborate with Disney.
"Disney argues that they acquired the rights but not the obligations under the contract. In other words, they believe they have the right to publish works, but they are not required to pay the author, no matter what is in the contract, "wrote Robinette Kowal. If we stick to this, it could set a precedent to fundamentally change the way copyright and contracts work in the US. All a publisher would have to do to break a contract would be to sell it to a sibling company. If you do this to Alan Dean Foster, one of the great science fiction writers of our time, what are you going to do with the younger writers who don't know a contract is a contract? "
Disney had no comment on Robinette Kowal's claim.
Read Foster's full open letter here.
The Verge reported the news first.
Read the original story Star Wars novelist Alan Dean Foster requests royalties from Disney At TheWrap
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