American author Alan Dean Foster, the man behind the critically acclaimed Star Wars novelisations, has accused Disney of failing to pay the bestselling novelist owed royalties.
Foster gained immense popularity for his novelisation of the original Star Wars film, and he has also contributed to the novelisations of the Aliens trilogy.
In a letter published by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) titled ‘Disney Must Pay’, it is revealed by Foster himself that Disney has ‘never paid royalties on [novelisations of Star Wars and the Aliens trilogy], or even issued royalty statements for them.’ Foster states:
‘You continue to ignore requests from my agents. You continue to ignore queries from SFWA, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. You continue to ignore my legal representatives.’(source)
The author also claims that Disney has requested Foster to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) prior to the commencement of any talks between both parties.
‘I’ve signed a lot of NDAs in my 50-year career,’ Foster writes, ‘Never once did anyone ever ask me to sign one prior to negotiations. For the obvious reason that once you sign, you can no longer talk about the matter at hand. Every one of my representatives in this matter, with many, many decades of experience in such business, echo my bewilderment.’
According to news sources, Disney bought the rights to the Star Wars novel when the company purchased Lucasfilm in 2012. Subsequently, Disney also acquired the rights to the Aliens trilogy novels when the company bought 20th Century Fox in 2019. As a result Disney came into possession of the rights to Foster’s written works, including STAR WARS, SPLINTER OF THE MIND’S EYE, ALIEN, ALIENS and ALIEN 3. (source)
Foster insists that Disney paying his royalties is ‘not charity: just what I’m owed.’
Mary Robinette Kowal, the President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, has shown her support for Foster by prompting Disney to respond to SFWA’s calls to resolve Foster’s royalties payments.
‘If they are doing this to Alan Dean Foster, one of the great science fiction writers of our time,’ Kowal says, ‘then what are they doing to the younger writers who do not know that a contract is a contract?’
In a harrowing statement, Foster sheds light on the grim facets of the publishing industry and reveals his determination to challenge Disney on the matter until its final resolve. He says:
‘I know this is what gargantuan corporations often do. Ignore requests and inquiries hoping the petitioner will simply go away. Or possibly die. But I’m still here, and I am still entitled to what you owe me. Including not to be ignored, just because I am one lone writer. How many other writers and artists out there are you similarly ignoring?’
Disney has yet to respond to Foster nor SFWA’s statements.
We are proud of our 28 years of professional experience in all matters Intellectual Property. Together we can protect what is rightfully yours. Get in touch today to protect your best assets.