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Forum > Webcomic & Art discussion > Tapas Right of First Refusal
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"Tapas Right of First Refusal", 5 days ago, 3:34 PM #1
shaneoid

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Tapas has squeezed a new thing in through the back door, anyone using their site should be aware of it.

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Put in simple terms

"Basically, it means that if you want to do stuff like: have your comic professionally published by another publisher (this would presumably include Hiveworks, or being a featured creator on Webtoon), or get a movie deal for your comic, or give a company permission to sell T-shirts with your comic printed on them, etc., you have to contact Tapas first and give them a chance to do it instead. They'd have 30 days to come to an agreement with you, and if you don't, you're free to do whatever you want. It's probably not going to impact most people much, but it's just an inappropriate type of agreement for a site that doesn't have a paid contract with most creators. (btw I have no legal experience, so check with a lawyer if this is stuff that you think will actually affect you.)"

Not good...
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5 days ago, 3:40 PM #2
deerwithgoggles

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GARBAGE!

welp taking my seriously outdated mirror down.
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5 days ago, 3:45 PM #3
khkddn
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So if you're gonna contact them about something like this, then write a really long and confusing email so that they never want to respond to it?
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5 days ago, 3:48 PM #4
keiiii

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Copying and pasting a really good post from a thread on their forum:


I got excited when I saw that added to the terms of service. Rights of First Refusal can be a good tool for artists trying to get published. I actually have two written into my contract with my current publisher.

The first one I added, saying that I get the right to decide if I want to work on another book if they decide to continue the series I'm working on before they'd be able to ask another artist/writer. The second is more like what we've got here, which is that my publisher has the right to decide if they'd like to make an offer to publish whatever book I write next.

Tapastic is doing something similar, just with a project you're already working on and posting on their site. This is cool for two reasons:

1. AUTOMATIC EYES ON YOUR WORK. If you're going to start pitching your comic to publishers, Tapastic is asking to be the first to see it and make an offer. It's not guaranteed that they'll make an offer, but at least they'll take a look which is more than some publishers might do if you're sending your comic to them unsolicited.

2. Healthy competition. If you get an offer from another publisher, you can contact Tapastic and let them know, and once again they might make an offer. If they do, this is a bargaining chip for your contract negotiation! You get to tell the interested publisher that there's another "interested party who has made an offer" and give yourself better leverage in negotiating a contract with whoever ends up offering you the best terms, Tapas or the other guy.

Chances are another publisher or host wouldn't want you to also have your comic up on Tapas for free if they're paying you for it, so if you're comic is popular on Tapas they might offer you a good deal to keep it on their site. Or they might offer you better terms when it comes to copyright or something, since they're into creator owned comics. At the very least it would give you things to consider. It's not like a little mermaid thing where you have to agree to whatever terms given to you and Tapas owns your voice now, it's just giving Tapas the chance to negotiate with you and see if you can reach an agreement that works for everyone.

Also, I wouldn't worry too much about the 30 days thing. If you tell your interested party that you have another party with rights of first refusal and you have to contact them (or something even vaguer, you don't HAVE to give them the full dealio) and they freak out and give you a week to make up your mind... that's probably a red flag. In editorial, there are a lot of fast and loose contracts flying around, but in publishing a contract can take a lot of time to get ironed out and professionals know that. There are plenty of predatory publishers out there so you should always take the time to really look over any contract and get a few other sets of eyes on it as well! Especially if this is a comic that you've been putting your heart into for a long time, you're going to want to think long and hard about how much it's worth to you and what things you're willing to be flexible about. I don't currently have an agent, but I was lucky enough to have a few agents offer to look over my contract for free and help me figure out things I should ask for in my terms.


tl;dr it gives us, the creators, more leverage to have more than one party making an offer. That's a plus. The clause is there for Tapas to catch hidden gems that they didn't notice before (I'm guessing they want to expand their premium selection), but it doesn't really do any harm against us other than a bit of an inconvenience. All we owe them is a "hey, someone wants to pay me for this comic I've posted on Tapas; you wanna give me a better deal?" email, if it happens.

That said, it is very unusual thing for a comic platform to have, even if I can understand why/ don't have much against it.
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5 days ago, 3:55 PM #5
shaneoid

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keiiii:

That said, it is very unusual thing for a comic platform to have, even if I can understand why/ don't have much against it.


I'm not going to lie, I don't understand all this stuff and it probably will never apply to me, but a lot of people seem up in arms about it online.
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5 days ago, 4:22 PM #6
Zanreo
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Yeah, I don't think I'll keep using it - especially because I'm a hobbyist, and even if I were to try getting published I don't WANT Tap to be my "publisher" since it's never gonna be by main site, just a mirror to get a few more readers. Even if I'd just have to send them a request for an "offer" I would already have decided to not go through with either way...

Overall I feel this should be more of a thing for premium users (the ones getting paid through Tap already) rather than all users
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5 days ago, 4:47 PM #7
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keiiii:tl;dr it gives us, the creators, more leverage to have more than one party making an offer.

I'm no lawyer either, but I really don't understand how this benefits the creator. They'd still have the possibility to contact Tapas and let them negotiate about their work without this clause, and when the creator is negotiating with somebody else for a contract they can still say "Tapas is also interested" or at least "I also contacted Tapas about it". This only gives Tapas the right to confuse, dodge, and/or ignore you for a month while you may already have made up your mind. Sure, it's nice if Tapas is interested and tries to make a counter offer for your comic, but they don't need a clause to do that; if they want to find the hidden, escaping gems, they can just suggest to people coming to them first, without any obligation. Stopping you from doing what you want with your stuff for 30 days isn't giving you any leverage in most cases, I think; it's just blocking you and giving leverage to Tapas.

Again, I don't know much about all this and I may be missing something in this picture, but I'm really not convinced so far.
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5 days ago, 4:55 PM #8
sketchdoll

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I'm giving Tapas the opportunity to respond to this. With as many people as they seemed to have pissed off, they will surely make some sort of statement soon. I'm only mirroring on Tapas and I barely have much of a following, but I may drop my comic there. I just don't want to jump ship quite yet. Even though I doubt I'll get picked up by a publisher, I still want 100% rights to do with my comic as I want.

The only downside is Tapas is pretty much the only place I've built an audience for my comic, I'm going to have to get creative and learn how to do PR better if I take my comic down :/
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5 days ago, 4:56 PM #9
Travis

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I think the problem may arise when someone accepts a book deal or tv contract without knowing about this, and gets sued by Tapas for not giving them first refusal.
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5 days ago, 5:13 PM #10
killersteak
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This is probably only important to anyone popular enough to make it onto the front page there. I doubt they even recognise creatures with <50 subs like me exist.
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5 days ago, 5:23 PM #11
Mothtrap
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The only thing I'm not too hot on is how exactly right of first refusal works? From what I've read, ROFR would mean you HAVE to take Tapas' offer if it meets the offer that the third party offers you - are you actually allowed to then negotiate with said third party before the 30 day period is up? Say they offer you X amount of money, you say to Tapas 'I've been offered X, will you pay me X?' and they say 'sure, I'll pay you X', can you go back to the third party and ask for more, as long as you tell Tapas the new offer? Or is that not allowed, because Tapas have met your offer and now you must accept? I don't think it'll affect me, just interested!

Anyway. I am not too bothered because I doubt it'll ever affect me and I quite like Tapas besides. It does seem kind of odd to do what they're doing, but I read something recently where it said that Tapas really wants to be a big comics publisher, and I suppose they don't want to accidentally let what could become one of their flagship comics slip away from them. They want the chance to look at anything good enough to be paid for by a third party, because it could mean it's good enough to become one of the comics that makes them a success.

Also when did this get put in, I thought I read all the recent terms updates ^^'
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5 days ago, 5:36 PM #12
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Um, I don't see how this is even legal.

I'm not a published author, nor a lawyer, but I looked into the idea of trying to publish my book at one point, and my research into copyright law indicated that granting publication permission is very specific. That is, you have to sign over specific rights in specific platforms to them. For example, just because you give Random House permission for first hardcover printing rights, does NOT mean they have subsequent HC rights, paperback rights, comic book rights, movie rights, or anything else. Unless you willingly sign those rights over to them -- and by this I mean, specifically -- they cannot come back later and say 'we own that too.' The advice I got was 'only sign over specific rights' such as first hardcover printing, unless you are compensated for each signed-over right. In particular the advice I read said, never sign over rights to other platforms -- so for instance, never sign movie rights over to the print publisher, or print rights over to the movie producer.

Given this, it's hard to see how Tapas could claim 'right of first refusal' on, say, Keiii making a Heart of Keol coffee mug and selling it. Unless Keiii has already sold 'coffee mug rights' over to Tapas, Keiii retains those rights. They cannot be considered to have been 'signed over' by omission (i.e., Keiii does not have to specifically say 'I retain coffee mug rights', but rather, would have to specifically grant Tapas those rights).

This ROFR statement appears to be them attempting to circumvent this legal situation by claiming that they hold any and all unspecified rights to your intellectual property unless they willingly pass on it. I do not see how this would stand up in court.

There is no way I would host my IP on a site with such a rule. They get the rights I signed over to them, and no more. I'd be willing to sign over 'exclusive weekly webcomic update rights' or something to Comic Fury, for instance. And then just use our site for that (I do that anyway). But they're not getting print rights, eBook rights, PDF rights, movie rights, cartoon rights, or any other stuff. If they want those rights they need to make me an offer. (I'll say right now if Kyo wants to offer me a couple mil for the movie rights to LL, I would probably sell... ahem.)
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5 days ago, 5:42 PM #13
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Despite my love/hate relationship with Tapas. Love cuz my readers there are interactive, and I just hit 700 subs, hate cuz the site is kinda ugly, reader and creator notifications are smooshed together with no option to turn anything off, and it's near impossible to get noticed without getting a boost early on. I don't plan on selling unless people end up liking the finished product enough that they want me to self-publish a few books, so it's not my problem.
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5 days ago, 5:50 PM #14
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Its probably there to counter webtoons from featuring comics and forcing mirrors to be deleted. If a comic is good then they will want to match or beat the existing offer from webtoons.
This seems to be a counter measure against other hosts poaching that's more loosely worded to apply to more threats.
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5 days ago, 5:51 PM #15
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I'm not on Tapas so I don't know, but do they have a licence user agreement when you sign up? Because if they do then you've forfeited some rights to your work. Guaranteed there's something buried under the legalise. This new addendum here looks to me like a reactionary move more than anything else. Pherhaps a few of their most prolific creators were making money from outside sources and now Tapas wants to ensure at least they get the offer of a piece of the pie first.
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5 days ago, 5:59 PM #16
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Okay so I'm busy as heck juggling work and this conversation absolutely blowing up on twitter but here's my thoughts on it

THIS IS LIKELY A MISTAKE. THEY PROBABLY MEANT FOR IT TO APPLY TO PREMIUM SERIES.

Wait to see their response to this before jumping ship.
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5 days ago, 6:13 PM #17
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Well, I went ahead and deleted my mirror, I'll probably delete my account there too. I'm not sure if that actually helps or not though. Is deleting your comic enough to get out of the terms and conditions? I figure probably not, I don't think that's how terms and conditions work. But regardless, this whole thing makes me uncomfortable and I don't think I'm ever going to be using that website again.

On the plus side, maybe some more people will migrate to Comic Fury now?
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5 days ago, 6:18 PM #18
Respheal
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What do I need to do now?

If you are ok with the changes, there's no action needed – you can simply continue to use the Tapas website and mobile apps as you did before. If you're not ok with the changes, let us know, or you can choose to close your account by logging in to your profile and clicking "delete account" on your settings page.


So yes, if you don't agree with their changes, you can delete your account to void the contract.
https://help.tapas.io/hc/en-us/articles/115005324708-Updated-Terms-Policies-and-Guidelines
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5 days ago, 6:29 PM #19
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A lawyer commented on this on Twitter and basically all you need to do is email Tapas about it and (unless they offer like 6 figures) turn down their offer or wait 30 days and you're free of it.

Tapas is my most active mirror so this isn't enough for me to remove my comic from there. What I AM concerned about is what other little additions they might try to sneak in in the future.
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5 days ago, 6:34 PM #20
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Keiii:tl;dr it gives us, the creators, more leverage to have more than one party making an offer. That's a plus

I'm going to have to disagree with that. It seems more like an opportunity cash in on popular creators before anyone else can.
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Forum > Webcomic & Art discussion > Tapas Right of First Refusal
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