I have been following the Peter S. Beagle vs Granada Media story for a number of years, since I realized the movie was based on a book and read it when I was about seventeen. It’s finally over, says Connor Cochrane, the man who has been helping Peter through all of this and getting his carreer back on track. His most recent newsletter gave details on how it all happened:
“All along, Peter and Connor had known that Granada Media was a subsidiary of a much bigger company — a huge European media conglomerate called ITV. What Connor noticed was that ITV had recently gotten a new CEO, a man named Adam Crozier, who came in from outside the company and had a mandate to pretty much completely clean house: get rid of things that weren’t working, make marginal properties more profitable, etc. To put it bluntly, this new CEO had no reason to cover up for anyone’s past bad judgment or mistakes and every incentive to make good new business happen. So, after some internal discussion, Connor sent a letter directly to Adam Crozier himself. The person at ITV who was tasked with responding was the company’s Group Legal Director and Corporate Secretary, Andrew Garard. Andrew really took the situation seriously. He dug in, did his research, met with Peter and Connor and Richard Mooney in New York City last November, and ultimately came to the conclusion that we were was right — (a) Peter wasn’t getting his due, and (b) if we stopped fighting and started working together, The Last Unicorn could be even more successful than it already was. Settlement details were worked out at a second meeting, this time in Los Angeles, and finally, last August, the settlement paperwork was signed.”
I’m glad things worked out for him. What makes me sad is that for things to work out, what had to happen is some corporate power decided not to be a dick.
The ultimate resolution to the conflict was not the law was upheld (it was, but that’s hardly even matters in the system anymore) it was the people with the boatloads of money stopped manipulating the law to make the little people’s lives miserable. Which means there’s nothing at all stopping this from happening again.
I commend Andrew Gerard for his moral behavior. But this should never have gone on so long that it took a management change to resolve. His predecessors should have been forced to uphold their contract years ago. This doesn’t set precedence in law for corporations to be held accountable for greed and unlawful actions.
This is exactly what the Occupy Wall Street movement is about. Protesting corporate greed, and the way our political systems force the poor and the working class to follow the law, but not corporations, because corporations, when their actions are challenged, will throw so many lawyers at it that will manipulate the system to drag things out so long that no one but another corporation has the money to follow it through.
I’m dealing with the same thing with my husband’s insurance company. He’s been sick and unable to work for three years, but because it’s a Syndrome that has long been marginalized, and some doctors (who all work for the insurance companies) will still claim that it’s psychosomatic (all in his head). While he has a medical diagnosis, and no medical professional involved can understand why he’s being denied the insurance money he’s owed, the insurance company is making us take them to court for it. It’s immoral and illegal, but they’re doing it anyway, because they have so much money they can get away with it, and they don’t want to pay up. They’re hoping we’ll just give up. Now they’re offering us a fraction of what they owe us, and we’re so tired of dealing with it, it’s tempting to take it. Tempting to take the scraps and run away with our tails between our legs. But we couldn’t bring ourselves to do it.
*sigh* We need a revolution.