• Comments like "it fell through the cracks" and "oops. we thought we owned it" seem to have driven Willingham to do this. He has to fight for royalties he is owed. He can't sue them because he doesn't have their billions. 

    I'm not a lawyer, but I'm pretty sure that the only legal implication of this is that (like Sherlock Holmes and Dracula) anyone can write and sell their own Fables stories. Some will be great and some won't be.

    Alan Moore should keep his eyes open and make sure that DC is keeping Sandman in print so he doesn't get control of it.

  • I get the gist of what Willingham is trying to say, but I'm not sure it will work.

    He's peeved at DC for not honoring their commitments -- or, at least, not honoring them in full -- leaving him only the choice to sue. And in the land of the free, the person with the deepest pockets and the most amount of time usually wins lawsuits. His complaints, boiled down:

    • They shorted him on payments, and were late with them;
    • He was supposed to be consulted on artist choices, covers, etc., and was not; and
    • They tried to trick him into giving up ownership in the last contract.

    Those were the big ones, but from Willingham's perspective every encounter with DC was one where they were trying to leverage him out of something. I imagine that's exhausting, especially when it's David vs. Goliath every time. 

    His solution is to say "You win, I'm not keeping it. But you can't have it either." So he's declaring it public domain.

    I don't know how well that will work -- for one, by contract he (Willingham) can't make any Fables comics with anyone but DC, and there are doubtless similar riders elsewhere about but use of the property (not ownership, which isn't in dispute). And DC has already declared Willingham's legal maneuver null and void, which I'm sure they're going to back up with a flurry of legal motions.

    But it is another example, if any are needed, that you don't work for DC without an agent, a law firm, and a loaded gun. Gaiman's Sandman rights still aren't safe, and we all know the sad story of Alan Moore and Watchmen




  • From The Comics Beat, an article on this by Heidi MacDonald.

    The Article

    Bill Willingham makes Fables public domain after fighting with DC Comics
    In a bombshell statement, Bill Willingham is declaring Fables to be in the public domain, in protest of his treatment by DC Comics
  • Here's today's Beat follow-up:

    Not surprisingly, DC is publicly declaring its copyright ownership.

    DC Comics releases statement on Fables: it is "not in the public domain"
    DC Comics has released a strong statement declaring that Fables is not in the public domain, no matter what Bill Willingham thinks.
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