Friday, February 10, 2012

I May Be Just a Writer, But This Is Where I Draw The Line

A couple of folks have asked me about the Gary Friedrich matter and my take on it. So here it is.

As most everyone reading this knows, you will not find too many folks more adamant about intellectual property rights than me. And in the strictest sense, Marvel may have a legal case, given work for hire contracts.

But personally, do I think they should be trying to get 17K out of him for Ghost Rider related prints and such at cons? No. First of all, if they ARE going to do such things, they'd damned well better do it equally to every creator at a con who in any way uses the image of one of their properties. And they're not going to do that, because there would be a mutiny among their artists, some of whom make a fair chunk of change from selling artwork and sketches at cons. Secondly, while Gary may not own the rights to the character, I don't think anyone is disputing that he played a part in GR's creation, and that should allow him a certain leeway, even if it's an informal one.
Let me put it this way. There were something like a dozen or more artists involved in the making of Common Grounds #1-6. Those guys are more than welcome to do pics of said characters at conventions if requested, for profit or gratis, as far as Troy Hickman is concerned, and I hope that the good folks at Top Cow feel the same.

Now, yeah, if those pics were being done in the nude (the character, not the guy drawing it), or someone were claiming they created the character when they didn't, or they were creating new stories with the character rather than a pin-up, that might be a different thing. But that doesn't seem to be the case here.

I sat about twenty feet across from Gary at a con not long ago, and he sure didn't seem to me to be doing anything that would bring any harm, financially or otherwise, to the publisher. He just seemed to be doing the same thing that I do at conventions: associating myself with something I created, and hopefully getting more folks interested in the characters.

Either way, I think this is going to be a PR fiasco for the folks involved...

1 comment:

Mike P said...

Nice stuff, as always! You're too reasonable to be part of the comics biz.

Just to clarify, Marvel's issue was not with selling sketches but reproductions. That's applied since day one to artists as well; they're free to sell original works of art but not prints, T-shirts and so on. (Granted, there are some that do, especially godawful ones, but they just haven't been caught yet or are too small to bother with. Gary unfortunately has a much bigger profile with the lawsuit.)

BTW, here's the full legal judgment and filings, which provide more background:

Keep truckin', Troy!