Saturday, December 18, 2004

Tokyopop's unethical handling of American creators? 

I thought I should liberate these comments from a post on the Beat.

From stacy:
Tokyopop's unethical way of handling new creators will be big news in 2005 too if they don't change their policies. They force noobs to sign a schedule before they sign a contract, then try to stick them with a contract with a $50,000 payment cap if their story ever becomes a movie. The contract gives them no say in development deals. Tokyopop pays the lowest advance ($15,000) with an unachievable $2,000 incentive to finish faster than humanly possible (typically 4 months for a 176 page book). That advance is per book, not per creator. Your contract typically states that you will be making a "150 page book plus extras" and those extras that you make for free are usually the rest of the entire 176 page book. The royalty is 10 to 15 % net with ambiguous wording over whether or not advertising cost will count against the royalty, and they divide up the payment of the advance over $1,000 mile-stones that each take over a month to get paid on. There's your news story. Tokyopop is just mining cheap labor for made-for-TV movies and cheap cartoons. And that's the creator-owned stuff. Their work-for-hire contracts make political prisoners giggle.

Then Manga Widow:

Insert applause. :)

Only thing I'd add is that they actually try to wrestle that "generous" advance as low as $10,000, and/or try to set royalty percentages sometimes even lower than that 10-15% you mentioned. :/

Not to mention that those paychecks, delayed by a month, are not paid monthly...in some cases the pay period itself is significantly longer than a month.

I've been glad to see Tokyopop giving opportunities to upcoming creators, but if they're using their position to take advantage, that curbs my enthusiasm quite a bit. Anyone else have any experiences they might want to share, additional comments, or any other discussions that might be going on in other locations online?

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