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Author Topic: 'Walking Dead' War: Creator Robert Kirkman Sued By Tony Moore  (Read 4688 times)
G:The Last Man
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« on: February 11, 2012, 01:44:21 PM »

Robert Kirkman, the famed comic book writer who helped create AMC's hit zombie series The Walking Dead, has been sued by a childhood friend and collaborator who claims he is entitled to as much as half the proceeds from the lucrative franchise.

Michael Anthony ("Tony") Moore, a fellow comic book artist, filed suit Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court. In the complaint, a copy of which was obtained by THR, Moore says he was duped into assigning his interest in the material over to Kirkman, who has since gone on to fame and fortune. Moore, on the other hand, has received very little compensation and has not be able to access profit statements from properties including Walking Dead, he says.
"Each of these works was prepared by [Moore] and Kirkman with the intention that their contributions be merged into inseparable or independent parts of a unitary whole," the complaint states. "[Moore] and Kirkman were thus joint authors and co-owners of the copyrights in these works."

Kirkman and Moore were apparently good friends and collaborators for many years before Kirkman became a big-time name as a creator and writer of Walking Dead, which has become the highest-rated series on cable TV.
Moore claims that in 2005, Kirkman and his agents devised a scheme to fraudulently induce him to assign his copyright interests over to Kirkman's company. Moore, who grew up with Kirkman and worked together on several projects, claims he signed a deal granting him 60 percent of "Comic Publishing Net Proceeds" in connection with Walking Dead and another project called Brit; 20 percent of "motion picture net proceeds" in connection with Walking Dead and Brit; and 50 percent of "motion picture net proceeds" from another project called Battle Pope.

But Moore says he hasn't received much revenue nor any profit statements from Kirkman or his company, despite the success of his projects. "Indeed, they have not issued a single statement or allowed access to their books and records in accordance with the reporting obligations of the agreement," the complaint alleges.

Moore claims he was told in 2005 by Kirkman that a big TV deal was on the table but "that Kirkman would not be able to complete the deal unless [Moore] assigned all of his interest in the Walking Dead and other works to Kirkman," according to the complaint. Thinking the deal would fall apart, Moore signed the contract, he says, allowing Kirkman to "swindle" him out of his 50 percent interest in the copyright and never intending to pay him his share of royalties.

Walking Dead premiered on AMC on Halloween 2010 and has since become basic cable's highest-rated series, drawing as many as 7.3 million viewers.

The suit, filed by Devin McRae, William Wright and Mary Gordon at LA's Early Sullivan Wright Gizer McRae firm, alleges causes of action for promissory fraud, breach of written contract, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, money had an received and accounting.

Kirkman's attorney Allen Grodzky tells THR that the case is "totally frivolous. Mr. Moore is owed no money at all. And Mr. Moore's contract has an attorneys' fees clause in it so we will be going after him to collect attorneys' fees. We are taking this matter very seriously."
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G:The Last Man
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« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2012, 01:50:47 PM »

My initial reaction is that Tony Moore deserves his share, even though it was only 6 issues and some odd covers.  He still helped laid the groundwork for this series.  Sucks that success of the Walking Dead is tearing up a childhood friendship.

Interestingly enough, here's a link to the actual copy of the lawsuit...

http://www-deadline-com.vimg.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/bc478730-1__120210030341.pdf

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Perry
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« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2012, 03:18:01 PM »

But didn't he get his share? They both had lawyers, Tony is still getting payments from the Vol 1 stuff and he is getting paid for the show ... although, yes, probably not a lot, but how much SHOULD he get?
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Jeff
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« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2012, 11:08:52 PM »

Depends.  If their agreement for creating was to split everything 50/50 then he should get that. the question is, did Kirkman deceive him in order to take his half of the copy right.  I guess we'll find out in court.
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“If I could go back in time and like tell 11 year old me that like not only do you get to go to Comic Con but you go every year.  So much so that you get greeted by Stan Lee when you show up.  And 11 year old me would be like - How did we get so fat?”- Kevin Smith
Perry
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« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2012, 11:47:23 PM »

Depends.  If their agreement for creating was to split everything 50/50 then he should get that.
But only to a point. Yes, he should get 50/50 split, if that was the original agreement, of the first 6 issues he did, but in no-way does he deserve 50/50 of everything. If he gets 2% of tv and other he should be happy
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\\\"I do not have OCD. I know. I\\\'ve checked. Three or four hundred times and I definitely don\\\'t. I stopped myself from catching it by washing my hands an even number of times\\\"<br />David Mitchell
Jeff
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« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2012, 11:23:25 PM »

I disagree.  If the product was owned by him from the get go then whether he worked on anything else is irrelevant.  If they agreed to split everything the product makes then that's the agreement and he should get his half.  If Kirkman wants to buy him out of the agreement that is certainly fair.

I don't have a dog in this fight, but what someone "deserves" doesn't really play into what they legally should receive.
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“If I could go back in time and like tell 11 year old me that like not only do you get to go to Comic Con but you go every year.  So much so that you get greeted by Stan Lee when you show up.  And 11 year old me would be like - How did we get so fat?”- Kevin Smith
Perry
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« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2012, 01:48:45 AM »

No, he and his legal team agreed to the terms of the separation. You can't come back years, later and claim you want more money or a greater portion because they developed a successful TV show. That's like saying your ex-wife of 4 years can come get more money after the divorce papers were agreed to because you just hit the lottery

What sense is that?

If the initial agreement, upon first making the comic, was a 50/50 split, and then you bail (or are forced out) after 6 issues, than yes, you are entitled to the full percentage that you had agreed to UP TO that point, but you don't get to ride the full percentage of everything that follows. Not the full percentage, when you already agreed to take a certain amount. He is getting a percentage of all the property works (tv, comic, trade ... and merchandising if that was included) but not the full percentage as though he remained on the property.



 
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\\\"I do not have OCD. I know. I\\\'ve checked. Three or four hundred times and I definitely don\\\'t. I stopped myself from catching it by washing my hands an even number of times\\\"<br />David Mitchell
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