Last year, Alan Dean Foster- long-time novelist for various franchises under Disney and Fox- revealed that he was not getting fair royalties for his writing under Disney. In a letter written in collaboration with the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), Foster claimed that he was owed money from Disney for his many pieces of writing over the years and that this royalty money (again, money that he was owed) would help both he and his wife as they undergo a series of health problems.
Though Foster’s books are still in print, he reportedly received nothing for the new editions of his novels that have been released since LucasFilm and Fox were bought by The Walt Disney Company in 2012 and 2019, respectively. This includes several Star Wars and Alien novels.
Since then, a new campaign and hashtag #DisneyMustPay has taken the publishing industry by storm and has prompted several other writers to open up about their struggles working with Disney. This includes Walter Jon Williams (Star Wars: The New Jedi Order- Destiny’s Way) and the widower of writer Ann C. Crispin (Han Solo trilogy) who noticed a new edition of her books in a Barnes & Noble- one that he knew his wife’s estate wasn’t being paid for.
According to Disney, there have been several reasons for these cases. Some have to do with the fine print in the original contracts which states that the “royalties don’t transfer” when published by third parties rather than the original company. Other times, they have claimed that it “sometimes falls through the cracks when there are big corporate takeovers”. Still, Foster and the SFWA have made it a priority to get these writers paid by Disney- and it seems they have had several victories.
On May 1, Alan Dean Foster made a statement on his personal website saying “The issue with Disney regarding back royalties has been resolved”. Other authors, including the writers for the novelizations for The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, have also settled these cases with Disney.
Unfortunately, this hasn’t been true for all. Walter Jon Williams reached out to The DisInsider to inform us that he is one of those that is still waiting for his case to be resolved. It is likely that he is one of many others who have yet to receive what they are owed.
Here’s hoping that Disney will swiftly resolve the remainder of these cases and no more issues like this will crop up in the future.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter