Oh man, this is just appalling.

From Lea Hernandez’ journal comes word of Tokyopop’s new contracts, in which they get you to give up all of your moral rights and remove the ability for you to claim that the work that you did is even yours. Plus? Delightful racism!


“Moral rights” is a fancy term (the French thought it up) that basically has to do with having your name attached to your creation (your credit!) and the right to approve or disapprove certain changes to your creation. Of course, we want you to get credit for your creation, and we want to work with you in case there are changes, but we want to do so under the terms in this pact instead of under fancy French idea. So, in order for us to adapt the Manga Pilot for different media, and to determine how we should include your credit in tough situations, you agree to give up any “moral rights” you might have.” [Emphasis Lea's]

Lea: There you have it, folks: Moral Rights are dumb because the French thought of them, so give them up.

I can’t even begin to explain how terrible all this is. Fuuuuuuuuuuuuck. WHAT ARE YOU DOING TOKYOPOP?! I WANT TO LIKE YOU BUT YOU’RE MAKING IT IMPOSSIBLE. I may no longer want to like you.

More later, I’m knee-deep in the fucking Previews right now.

UPDATE #1: According to this Livejournal, the original payment for your 36 page pitch document that they never have to pay you for again is a whopping $750 (that figure was removed from later versions of the PDF). That’s an OUTSTANDING $20 a page.

UPDATE #2: Bryan Lee O’Malley breaks this all the way down for you. Kids: Don’t Sign Up. http://destroyerzooey.livejournal.com/180842.html

- Chris


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  1. Put down that pen! « Precocious Curmudgeon says:

    [...] Put down that pen! Filed under: Uncategorized — davidpwelsh @ 3:29 pm I’m sputtering with indignant disbelief at the moment, so I’ll leave it to Lea Hernandez, Hope Larson, and Christopher Butcher to discuss Tokyopop’s Manga Pilots Pact. [...]

  2. a geek by any other name » Blog Archive » Creators Beware: TOKYOPOP’s Manga Pilot ‘Pact’ says:

    [...] Chris Butcher also has some word on the payment front– apparently the PDF originally noted that payment for a manga pilot project was $750, which works out to about $20 a page for a 36-page pilot. On the one hand, that’s not a lot…but on the other hand, I wonder how many of these actually sell much at all? [...]

  3. Comics Should Be Good! » Manga Before Flowers — News Flash: Corporations Suck! says:

    [...] Okay, so the fact corporations suck is not surprising…but since I just spent this morning giving both fans and U.S. media corpations a fair shake, as it were, in my column, I’m feeling rather chagrined when I blog-hop this afternoon and find that Lea Hernandez is reporting on the latest (& truly hideous) Tokyopop contract with creators here.  Christopher Butcher weighs in here, and Bryan Lee O’Malley takes a stand here. [...]

  4. Tokyopop in Trouble: Manga Pilots » Comics Worth Reading says:

    [...] The biggest stumbling block for most people is the moral rights clause, which uses a racist approach to get creators to give up the right to have their own name on their work. [...]

  5. Digital Strips: The Webcomics Podcast says:

    [...] Well, Tokyopop introduced their Manga Pilot program this week, and the internet lost no time in opening up a can of whoopass on it. First blood goes to Lea Hernandez, who points to a major problem with the contract: It requires creators to sign away their droit moral, the crazy notion that creators can retain control of their works. Lea has been critical of Tokyopop’s global manga contracts in the past, but Tokyopop really left themselves open to this by not only posting their contract online but also attempting to put it in user-friendly language, while retaining several blatantly user-unfriendly clauses. At his LJ, Bryan Lee O’Malley picks up the cudgels and pretty much finishes this contract off. At Comics Worth Reading, Johanna Draper Carlson wonders if she’ll even bother with Tokyopop books from now on. Also weighing in: Christopher Butcher, Niki Smith (who was considering sending in a story and has reconsidered), Gia Manry, Jen Wang, and Hope Larson. [...]

  6. Derek Halliday says:

    HA HA HA! I hope Eric Kim read this… that’s fucking TERRIBLE.

  7. Reader says:

  8. Mikhail Koulikov says:

    You know, have you thought about how many kids out there would gladly do this for free, just in order to get a publishing credit on their resume? The whole project is not ever meant to attract established writers/artists, and for new creators, who have no idea where to even start, it’s a really good first step. And hey, the $750, compared to the zero they would get for putting a comic up online or in the college paper, is a nice bonus.

  9. Hugh Stewart says:

    I would gladly take zero dollars over $750 in order to continue to own my ideas. Saying ‘it’s for the kids’ doesn’t excuse a terrible contract.

  10. Blog@Newsarama » More on that horrible, horrible, horrible Tokyopop contract says:

    [...] Chris Butcher: WHAT ARE YOU DOING TOKYOPOP?! I WANT TO LIKE YOU BUT YOU’RE MAKING IT IMPOSSIBLE. I may no longer want to like you. [...]

  11. Zach Worton says:

    No one in their right mind would sign that contract! If you’re totally getting bent over prison style, then by all means…soap up.
    A slap in the face to creators.

  12. Zach Worton says:

    sorry…”totally INTO getting…”

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