A short summary
I'm Michael Jantze, the creator of The Norm comic strip and professor. I am asking for help to pay for legal representation to fight a frivolous lawsuit.
In a scenario all too common to creators, I am being forced to defend myself in a frivolous and abusive lawsuit. The legal fees could total more than my yearly salary as a professor.
"I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore."
-- Network, written by Paddy Chayefsky, directed by Sidney Lumet
As artists, who hasn’t been asked to wait for payment? Draw for free? Write for a future percentage? Take a reduced salary? Create intellectual property in a work-for-hire case?
Skip this part if you don't like reading
I can’t speak of the actual courtcase details since it’s still pending, but I’ll do my best to shed some light on what’s in the public documents.
As an director and animation consultant, I was asked by this person to do a great many things for the benefit of his business, which, in his claim, he flips and says he was helping me. My counterclaim states those differences in argument and fact.
As a professor, I stayed involved in this project for the benefit of placing my students in industry jobs. Even though the outcome for me has been this lawsuit, my previous contacts with the studio execs in Atlanta and Los Angeles have placed more than five students in full time positions in the last two months. In that regard I’ve been successful.
As an animation studio, I brought more than US$10,000 of equipment and books and furniture into his office, all of which this person still has possession of. Fair? Equitable? Not my right to use my own equipment?
As a creator this person was trying to get a hold of my comic strip “The Norm” and other film script treatments and intellectual property, to possibly try to “help me sell them”. When I declined, the trouble began.
This fight began because this person felt that I promised them investment income, which in a court of law will be proven false. Hopefully, my counter claims will be proven true and this person will return my possessions, etc.
So as a CREATOR WITH RIGHTS, one who’s not just a cartoonist but also a writer and director and a working studio, one with decades of contacts in publishing, animation and comics, I feel my rights of been trampled on egregiously and this lawsuit is frivolous and mean spirited. It’s meant to put me back in my proper “creator” place.
Of course that’s my opinion and one can agree or disagree at will, I don’t seek to convince people of my side of all this but only raise money so that I can prove this in a court of law, which, as we all know, is prohibitively expensive but, ultimately, the proper way to handle this.
My strength in this matter is dependent on you — your sharing/broadcasting of this campaign to raise money for my fight and your donations. Any amount counts and any amount of friends and family you share this with counts.
I will do the same for any other creator in distress one day.
I am confident I will win this case, but I suspect this person is hoping to outspend me. Trust me, that’s already happened. I’ve found a great lawyer who’s countered this adversary in the past, now I need to find the money to fund this fight.
Where are they? Well, I didn't set up this campaign like many on Indiegogo, so there aren't any fabulous prizes. This lawsuit is already taking up most of my time. But I have turned on free ebooks for your Amazon Kindle, Kindle app and iBooks app for iPad. The links are here:
- KINDLE BOOKS: http://bit.ly/U6U8CO
Please keep an eye on my gallery (see tab at the top of the page) to see some new "The Norm" comics and videos. Go look now,I've already posted some new work! Also look for updates and new art added throughout this campaign.
Other ways to help
And when it's over, I'll go back to making happiness as a professor, and speaker and NEVER work for free again. And I promise to create more comics and cartoons for you all.
Thank you for your attention and I look forward getting through this; I'll keep you updated via this page as the story unwinds.