Nearly 25 years ago Scott McCloud – creator of Zot! and Understanding Comics – composed a draft of a Creators Bill of Rights for comic book artists. In recognition of World Intellectual Property Day we reproduce it here, and ask, have things improved in the quarter century since Scott gathered with other comic book creators in Western Massachusetts to hammer out all these points?
For the survival and health of comics, we recognize that no single system of commerce and no single type of agreement between creator and publisher can or should be instituted. However, the rights and dignity of creators everywhere are equally vital.
Our rights, as we perceive them to be and intend to preserve them, are:
1. The right to full ownership of what we fully create.
2. The right to full control over the creative execution of that which we fully own.
3. The right of approval over the reproduction and format of our creative property.
4. The right of approval over the methods by which our creative property is distributed.
5. The right to free movement of ourselves and our creative property to and from publishers.
6. The right to employ legal counsel in any and all business transactions.
7. The right to offer a proposal to more than one publisher at a time.
8. The right to prompt payment of a fair and equitable share of profits derived from all of our creative work.
9. The right to full and accurate accounting of any and all income and disbursements relative to our work.
10. The right to prompt and complete return of our artwork in its original condition.
11. The right to full control over the licensing of our creative property.
12. The right to promote and the right of approval over any and all promotion of ourselves and our creative property.