Debate and Discussion

What happens if Platnium Studios files for bankruptcy?
DungeonmasterJim at 9:21AM, Oct. 19, 2008
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I've been following a thread at another website called DigitalWebbing.com.

http://www.digitalwebbing.com/forums/showthread.php?t=131272

A number of these guys seem to really know their stuff. Lately there's a thread there talking about what happens if Platnium Studio files for bankruptcy. It had a link to Steve Grant who I believe has worked in comics for some time. In one of his statements, although he warns he is NOT a lawyer, that if Platnium files, a bankruptcy judge could potentially award the comics on Drunkduck tp Platnium as company assests.
Someone
I would strongly suggest anyone who has their stuff on there, get it off!

If Platinum goes Bankrupt, you properties could be tied up in bankruptcy court.

Read the comics related part of Steven Grant's latest column….

http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=18456

Someone
Bankruptcy exists in its own little legal hell. A bankruptcy judge is unlikely to be a copyright and trademark expert, though I'm sure there are some, but he doesn't need to be. His interest is squeezing as many proceeds from a company's assets to pay off as much as possible of the company's debts. To some extent, bankruptcy law isn't bound by other law, and bankruptcy judges can alter some contract terms. A judge can decide that creator-owned property of yours really is a company asset after all. How likely that is depends on the judge, while the odds on you, one creditor among likely many, seeing any money a publisher may owe you is pretty minimal, and dependent on how great a percentage of the overall debt yours is.

This doesn't mean a judge will make those decisions, or that they can't be appealed. But it's possible. So the optimal action for talent if the publisher of their creator-owned comic seems headed down a fiscal dead end road is get out now. Even then a judge might view that as an attempt to hide assets and negate the departure. Publisher bankruptcy is a mess, and it's best to avoid it, if possible. But avoiding it's usually next to impossible, especially if your contract specifies that non-payment doesn't void the entire contract. But if non-payment isn't grounds for voiding a contract, what should be?

Does anyone have views on this? I'd hate to leave Drunkduck but I'm not a fan of potentially losing my comic. Another reason I'm considering leaving is because I received an e-mail from a Platnium Studio assoicate asking me about my comic and what's happening with it. I'm by no means saying they are trying to steal my product but again, I would hate to have my creation trapped in the thralls of bankruptcy through no other reason than by posting it here.

Thanks for any potential clarity that people can provide.

DM Jim
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:18PM
Ronson at 10:24AM, Oct. 19, 2008
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Neither Drunk Duck or Platinum claim any ownership of your comics. They only claim the right to advertise (in banners and such) wherever you post your comics on their site.

If you've entered into a contract with Platinum - something along the lines of “Hero By Night”, then that's exactly the sort of tie-ups that happen with books that they do have a claim on.

I have an option agreement with Platinum for my comic, so I believe that if they file for bankruptcy that anyone who wanted to make a movie or tv show out of “The Gods of Arr-Kelaan” would have to go into that bankruptcy morass … but that's just a guess. My comic would not be affected since my option agreement specifically stated that Platinum claims no ownership of it, nor would anything else I've posted on Drunk Duck.

If they did claim ownership to anything that was posted here - and they do not - then they'd also be liable for any illegal comic posting - copyright infractions and obscenity materials. They don't want that because then they'd be getting sued everytime someone posted something that broke a law somewhere.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:10PM
ipokino at 2:13AM, Oct. 20, 2008
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Sounds to me like another case of the screaming meemies. Quick! The sky is falling! Pull all your money out of the bank cause a bank failed somewhere and we are all DOOMED…DOOMED I tell ya! Which of course causes a simple bank failure to become financial ruin for a nation and even a world!
Okay, in this case…our beloved Drunk Duck–but you get my point! Platinum Studios makes its revenue mostly with advertizing. The advertizer buy adverts with PS because Drunk Duck has such a huge user base. If we all, willie nilly yank our stuff in baseless panic–we destroy the very foundation that PS is counting on to hold itself–and by correlatio–Drunk Duck together.
In every issue of Robot Wars there is a Copyright block that lists the comic as MY sole property–well, that and Miren Publishing–which is MY Publishing Group. No Bankruptcy Judge can step over that!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:02PM
BffSatan at 3:09AM, Oct. 20, 2008
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ipokino
In every issue of Robot Wars there is a Copyright block that lists the comic as MY sole property–well, that and Miren Publishing–which is MY Publishing Group. No Bankruptcy Judge can step over that!!!

Actually they could, just because you wrote it there doesn't mean you have legal rights to it, it's like writing your name on someone elses wall. I'm no expert on law, but it's my understanding that a judge could easily decide that drunk duck owns the comics posted on it. However, they would only own the comics already posted not the idea behind it, that is ownded by the creator of the comic. So if drunk duck does go bankrupt your comics could be claimed as company assets but you can keep making the comic elsewhere.

Anyway I'm no expert on law, and the law will always be a little hazy around this area, ecspecially when dealing with the internet. I don't think anything like that has ever happened before so if drunk duck did go bankrupt maybe it will result is some new laws regarding ownership of things posted on the internet witch would aply for things like newgrounds and youtube.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:20AM
ozoneocean at 3:49AM, Oct. 20, 2008
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BffSatan
Anyway I'm no expert on law…
:) You're right there. ;)

Copyright law is clear in this regard man. DD and Platinum has nothing what so ever to do with your work legally. At all.

What? You think if Youtube went bankrupt then they could use all the TV shows and movies people upload to pay off their debts? lol!

Nope.

These services function in a similar way to ISPs, legally speaking, they're simply “hosts”, the medium through which you access your content. They have no claim on the content itself, their responsibilities have more to do with making sure minors can't access “inappropriate” content, and not knowingly providing access to “illegal” content, but that's about all.

Anyone claiming this stuff about DD seizing you work is so far out of their depth, drowning is a very real possibility. Copyright law isn't that amazingly complex, you can look it all up and read about it yourself, especially the newer stuff about digital work.-Always remember that laws are subject to legal precedents and so change and evolve in the aplication but what's there should set you right ;)
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:32PM
DAJB at 7:50AM, Oct. 20, 2008
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I think part of the confusion has arisen because the article talks about a bankruptcy judge being able to decide certain properties are owned by a publisher even though the contract describes those properties as “creator-owned”.

The differences here are:

(i) as Ozone said, DD is not the “publisher” of the comics on DD (except for those in respect of which the creators have actually signed a separate publishing contract, obviously); and

(ii) the circumstances in which a judge might decide to do something like that (i.e. where, in spite of the properties being described as “creator-owned”, the contract effectively assigns to the publisher all rights that would normally be associated with ownership) do not apply. I suspect the ZUDA contracts could very easily be caught under this if DC were to wind that up but that's another story!
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:03PM
lothar at 9:39AM, Oct. 21, 2008
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i have a question . if platinum goes bust what happens to DD ? is it gunna go 404 again for , what, the third time ? im kinda scared of that more than all this legal crap.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:45PM
NickGuy at 11:51AM, Oct. 21, 2008
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word, man. I never read anything on platinum studios anyway.

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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:15PM
Ironscarfs Ghost at 3:30PM, Oct. 21, 2008
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Lothar
i have a question . if platinum goes bust what happens to DD ? is it gunna go 404 again for , what, the third time ? im kinda scared of that more than all this legal crap.

Man the lifeboats!
Er……..boo!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:03PM
Hawk at 3:55PM, Oct. 21, 2008
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My opinion? In the worst case scenario, have a new host in mind in case DD goes down. However, when things got rough concerning Hero By Night, Platinum seemed like they wanted to graciously give him back the rights to his comic… at least until went public about Platinum's problems. Then things got a bit sticky.

The thing is, even if Platinum goes down and kindly gives up DD, I don't know who exactly they would give DD to. It's not like Volte6 is here anymore.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:46PM
Ronson at 5:06PM, Oct. 21, 2008
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In the unlikely event of a complete bankruptcy, Platinum would have to sell Drunk Duck to pay off debts. I would think that the comic authors would then have to decide whether or not to remove their accounts before the new ownership comes in.

… at least, that's what I would expect.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:10PM

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