Friday, March 21, 2008

What's In a Name?

If you're Tom Clancy, somewhere over $31 million:


Morrisville, N.C. — Tom Clancy doesn't own his brand any more.

Back in August of 2000, French videogame publisher Ubisoft purchased Tom Clancy's Morrisville-based game studio, Red Storm Entertainment, which gave them the rights to hit game franchises, including "Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six," "Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell," "Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter" and the upcoming "Tom Clancy's EndWar."

Thursday, the publisher bought the Tom Clancy name outright, which eliminates the royalty for each game that the company previously paid the best-selling author.

Ubisoft has acquired all intellectual property rights to the Tom Clancy name, on a perpetual basis and free of all related future royalty payments, for use in videogames and ancillary products including related books, movies and merchandising products. That includes Ryan, the hero of best-sellers Clancy wrote including "Hunt for Red October," "Patriot Games" and "Clear and Present Danger."

Although terms of the deal were not disclosed, Ubisoft did say that that it expects to have a net cash position of 130 million euros ($201 million) at the end of fiscal 2007-2008, versus 150 million euros ($232 million) prior to the deal. Ubisoft will also make payments to Clancy in fiscal 2008-2009 and 2009-2010.

So does this apply to books, too? Can they just slap the Clancy name on any piece of poorly written dreck and sell it as a Tom Clancy book?

Oh, wait, they already do.

Understand, I mean no disrespect to Mr. Clancy's writing, since I'm a huge fan of his work, especially his early Jack Ryan stuff. For example, I learned a lot about building suspense using multiple viewpoints from reading THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER.

Which is why I was distressed a few years ago to find that the books written by others and put out under his name ("Tom Clancy's [fill in the blank]") are, I'm sorry, just not good. I once described one of the Op-Center books as "written for people who don't like reading."

How much would you sell your name for if you had no control over what was done with it?


wcg said...

I wouldn't, no matter how much was offered. Besides, my uncle Bill might object, since it's his name too.

Stacey Cochran said...

Some weeks, when my wife and I are struggling to find money to put diapers on our baby, I think I'd consider selling my name for about twenty bucks.

Mark Terry said...

Honestly, I'm not entirely sure, if the money were high enough (and hell, that wouldn't have to go to $200 million, nowhere near that high), I might cash the check and never look back.

Other days, well... wait, did we say $200 million? Dollars? Upfront?


Anonymous said...

We're waiting for the May "tax rebate" check so we can pay the attorney fees for a chapter 7, so at this point it wouldn't require much of an offer. (The attorney absolutely deserves to be paid, but if I had a spare $1200-1800 laying around, I wouldn't need to declare bankruptcy.)

Jon The Crime Spree Guy said...

Cashing in on my name?

Hell yes I would.

for the right price you cna even change your name to something else really cool.
Like Wolfgang Blitzer.