Neil Gaiman Calls Out Disney For Failing To Pay Royalties To Writers And Artists

Ever read a "Star Wars" novel, a "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" graphic novel, or a "Spider-Man" comic? These different IPs have at least two things in common — they are owned by Disney, and Disney has stopped paying royalties to some of the writers and artists who created them.

This has been an ongoing issue, and one that the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) has been campaigning about for months, at first for author Alan Dean Foster's "Star Wars" and "Alien" novelizations. Disney ultimately reached a settlement with Foster, but there are still several writers and artists out there that Disney has simply stopped paying.

The situation is ridiculously unfair — Disney's stance is that even though they've purchased the rights to these various properties through its various acquisitions, it did not acquire the contractual obligation to pay royalties.

I'm happily not a lawyer, but I believe the legal term for Disney's stance here is that they kinda suck. Neil Gaiman of "Good Omens" and "Sandman" fame doesn't seem too pleased by the situation either. "If you're wondering whether @Disney have stepped up and paid the royalties they owe to to [sic] authors, illustrators & comics artists for books & GNs they have published or relicensed, the answer's NO," he tweeted a few days ago.

Disney Must Pay

That's not to say that Disney isn't doing anything — they're just doing the least amount possible; something that's frustrating especially given the size of the corporation and its deep pockets. As this Writer Beware post explains, while Disney has paid some high-profile writers who complained, it's doing nothing to reach out or rectify the situation with other creators who might have been affected.

The good news is that SFWA along with WGA East and WGA West have formed a Task Force to help authors get Disney to pay them the money they're due. If you're a creator and think you may be affected, check out the post here that has a form you can fill out with the necessary information.

If you're a fan and want to support these creators, you can be like Neil Gaiman and head to social media and share your feelings about it under the hashtag #DisneyMustPay. The post linked above also has information on what to say. It's also worth noting that the Task Force is not asking for a boycott, as that would just hurt these creators even more.