8.10.15

About Illumina, once again



I hate to have to come back to this topic, but I have the right to defend and protect myself from the incorrect and false statements that Mr. Val Staples published on October, 6th on the He-Man.org forum.

These statements by Mr. Staples contain subtle and not so subtle accusations to me about Illumina and why she is not available to be made as an action figure in the Masters of the Universe Classics line by Mattel. All of his comments and accusations are meant to simply deflect fan's blame to me, while the only person responsible for Illumina being off the table right now is indeed Mr. Staples himself.

The reason that I am the only owner of the character and her story is simply because I never had a contract with MVCreations and Mr. Staples.

In the world of freelance work, vendors are contracted to execute projects. The art created, and its intellectual property, is immediately transferred to the company. Contracts exist to protect both the vendor and the company, to make sure that everything is agreed on beforehand.
Of course, if I draw a sketch of He-Man, it doesn't mean that I own He-Man, but I still own that sketch. While I can't use it as it still portrays someone else’s IP, its existence does not automatically give the company owning He-Man the rights to use my sketch. To do it, they'd have to pay me and have all the conditions regulated by a contract.
Without a contract specifically stating that the rights to the work done is no longer property of the vendor, but is forever assigned to the company, the vendor will keep ownership of his work and keep rights for any usage that is made of it. Anybody telling you otherwise simply doesn't know what they are talking about.

I worked for Mr. Val Staples for years without a contract. It was his responsibility towards Mattel to put me under a contract, to protect Mattel and make sure that Mattel owned all the art I created for MOTU during my tenure as a freelance artist for MVCreations. Mr. Staples failed to do that, and as a consequence, I still maintain rights to everything I created during that time. He cannot provide any evidence that says otherwise, except for a generic Non-Disclosure Agreement that contains an assignments of rights clause that is too vague to have any effect. Two legal firms went over this and confirmed that MVCreations needed to have a contract specifically stating the assignments of rights for my MOTU work.

This includes the creation of Illumina.
That is not a claim, neither is it something against Mattel. It is just the pure legal consequence of Mr. Staples' lackadaisical business' practices. Despite all this though, I am always willing to work everything out with Mattel, and to make Illumina available to them. That is all there should be to say about this subject, but for those curious about the details, here are Mr. Staples recent posts at He-Man.Org:





Yes, at one time both I and Val Staples gave Mattel our blessing on the forum to use Illumina for an action figure.
But: A: that is not an actual legal binding contract, and; B: at that time I didn't realize the legal status that my work was in, and so I took for granted that I had no control over her.

As Mr. Staples has said, time went on, and inappropriate things were said about Illumina by a former Mattel employee who once managed the Classics toyline. At that point, I expressed my wishes to never see a figure of her, simply because of the misuse that was planned for her that completely twisted the nature of the character.
Once I become aware that I still retained rights to her, I did not make any threats of legal action against Mattel. Far from it. Through my legal representative, I made them aware of the situation, again not created by me, and offered to work things out.
Mr. Staples's practices exposed Mattel to a possible lawsuit for any use of Illumina, which is not a path that I am interested to follow. I want to make things right and make sure everything is resolved for all the parties involved.

By what I can read in his post, Mr. Staples went from claiming to be her creator in April 2015 (something he had to admit to being wrong about when presented with evidence), to consider her a “blight” on his studio's 2002 license. Sadly, a few members of the He-Man.org forum were actually banned for life in 2014 after they questioned the creation of Illumina on his forum.
If I have to speculate, Mr. Staples was probably hoping to make a convention exclusive of this character, and try to get all the glory for creating her. When confronted with the fact that Mattel cannot currently make a figure of her, he changed his tune, and has given the fans the impression that he now hates the character since he cannot claim legal ownership of her.

All his talk about petty drama and nonsense come across as attempts to manipulate the audience in his favor by diminishing my serious and real concerns, while deflecting responsibility for his actions. Mr. Staples created a very bad situation for Mattel by not having me under contract for years, and now he is trying to pass the blame to me. He can’t even bring himself to type out my name as the creator of Illumina in his posts.

Fans should stop saying that I am hurting them with these claims. I am not claiming anything. This is the legal situation, and I have to protect myself as an artist. I want to see an Illumina action figure get made. Especially if she won't have a bio on her package negating what I wanted her to be. Most importantly, I want fans to have an action figure of her too.

There is really nothing in the way of getting Illumina made as an action figure. I am sure that all of the parties involved can come to an agreement at any time to make it happen.

For those of you interested in voting, there is a poll on the He-Man World forum asking fans if they would like to see Illumina made as an action figure.

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