No, I’m talking about the Walt Disney Company, whose most famous mascot is a cartoon mouse. Why aren’t I showing a Mickey Mouse image on the blog? The character’s not in the public domain. Despite Mickey having been created almost a century ago, WDC keeps pressuring Congress to extend their copyright protections well past what the law originally intended. Congress being… well, Congress… is only too happy to help their big money donors as long as the big money keeps flowing from palm to palm.
Which doesn’t give me the warm fuzzies about either of these two groups, but what are you gonna do? It’s not right, but it’s not technically evil. You know what does seem to be an act of evil? The way big money Walt Disney decided to withhold royalties from little money authors. Allegedly.
This first came to my attention when the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) posted this notice. If you don’t care to read the entire thing, it comes down to this: The Disney Company purchased LucasFilms and, with it, Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, an Alan Dean Foster novel. Then, gobbling everything in sight, WDC picked up 20th Century Fox and the rights to three other novels that Foster had written. According to the writer, a gentleman who lives in my community, the company appeared to have taken the stance that they had the right to profit from the sales of the novels, but they were no longer obligated to pay the guy who wrote those novels. Because… they’re Disney. With Congress in their pocket, they weren’t too concerned that a small-town author had the muscle to go up against them.
Fighting an aggressive form of cancer and caring for a medically-fragile wife, Foster had a lot on his plate. He’s also a fighter, so he went public with his situation. The SFWA helped spread the word. Glynn and I decided, until WDC met their legal obligations to him, we were done with those shysters. No Disney+, no Disney movies, no Disney toys. We formed a two-person boycott and shared the news pretty openly. We were pleased recently when, many months after the royalty statements stopped coming, Foster posted on his website this May that all was well. “The issue with Disney regarding back royalties has been resolved.”
Just in time, too, because Disney+ will be releasing the Loki television series in June. I really want to see the Loki television series. Tom Hiddleston as a megalomaniacal Trickster God? Yes, please.
Except *sigh* it appears that there was worse to come. According to Publisher’s Weekly, multiple writing organizations are now saying that the Mickey Mouse organization has shafted lots of other writers. Some of them for years. Romance writers, mystery writers, science fiction writers, horror writers… the WDC has been an equal-opportunity offender. The hashtag #DisneyMustPay has been established, so keep an eye out for it. And if you, by chance, are one of the casualties, the SFWA wants your information. You can contact them here.
Oh, and I’d like to share a little advice with Tom Hiddleston ‘cause I know he’s checking this out. Tom, get your money upfront.