Sporadic Sequential
Friday, May 30, 2008
Making a Mountain out of a Manhole Molehill

This may be a moot issue by now, but I have a process question spinning out of the whole Tokyopop kerfuffle for other bloggers: How do you handle corrections to factual errors in your posts? Perhaps I'm worrying about this too much, but I'm concerned that leaving statements such as these [all emphasis added] out there could continue to give the wrong impression about Tokyopop's Manga Pilot contract:
  • "Contracts like this one that secure all rights to a property in exchange for some modest amount of cash..." (Tom Spurgeon)
  • "As is typical of their efforts, they’re counting on starry-eyed kids not paying attention to the details and winding up signing away all their rights." (Johanna Draper Carlson)
  • "...it disgustingly strips you of the right to your creations..." (Heidi MacDonald)
Maybe I'm the only one who was confused by those statements, but to me they suggested that the Manga Pilot contracts gave Tokyopop complete ownership over a creator's entire intellectual property. However, as Brigid Alverson noted,
The Manga Pilot contract may be deeply flawed, but it only applies to the Manga Pilot. As people are starting to realize, Tokyopop isn’t taking all future development rights with this contract. All subsequent projects, such as a full-length manga series or a movie, are negotiated separately, presumably with your lawyer and agent looking over all the legalese.
As Lea Hernadez and Bryan Lee O’Malley have detailed, there are plenty of reasons why the contract as it specifically relates to the Manga Pilot alone could give a creator pause (ties up your property for one to two years even if Tokyopop doesn't actually own the rights; costs associated with arbitration and/or defending your work against possible legal action could be prohibitive; etc.), but I think some commentators have amplified Lea's and Bryan's concerns beyond what is actually at stake in the Manga Pilot contract. One reason I think this could be problematic is because someone considering the Manga Pilot program could look at all the warnings out there, see that some detail is inaccurate, and then dismiss the whole discussion as mistaken.

Again, this might all be a moot point. As Johanna notes, people seem to have moved on (or at least slowed down) in their discussion about this, so perhaps there's nothing to be gained by making the changes now. But I'm still curious to hear from other bloggers (and readers) about how they think matters like this should be handled. Should the details in the original posts be corrected? Should a separate correction be issued? Is it something that you don't really think matters one way or the other, especially once the controversy seems to have died down?

(For my own part, when I realize I've made a mistake, my policy is to strike out the original, incorrect text but still leave it in place to be read and then issue a correction or retraction of some sort, either in the original entry or a separate post.)

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