It is a well known fact that if a man becomes famous and wealthy he quickly becomes besieged by dubious persons who attempt to take advantage of him. This was also true for Barks, who often had difficulties dealing with - and dismissing - some of these new 'friends' on a personal level. This led to cases of more or less severe fallouts through time.
But Barks was also entangled with many problems from persons and companies who wished to market Barks and use him in their merchandising for agreed sums of royalties. Some of these ventures were both good and sound such as the marketing of fine figurines, but most were just attempts to have Barks sanction inferior and indifferent products for royalties. His private files speak volumes of his encounters with such charlatans.
Many times Barks had to fight to get his just royalties. Roughly, these persons involved can be divided into two groups - the 'forgetful' debtors and the hardcore cheaters.

The first group generally incorporated persons who may not even have been aware that they owed Barks royalties. For many of his paintings Barks had a clear agreement with the purchasers that if they sold his work the new owner was to pay Barks royalties. This way he would also have a chance to 'follow' his paintings. Of course, there was a downside to such a fairly loose agreement, because a seller would 'forget' to inform the new owner of the arrangement thus cutting the royalty pipeline forever.
The second group comprised of enterprising businessmen who were bent on hit-and-run business ventures, i.e. making a fast buck. They came up with more or less questionable merchandising propositions, in which they would manufacture different Barks related articles if Barks would endorse them. Barks did so in many instances, but in several of these cases he was cheated out of his royalties by persons or companies. Barks' private files contain several folders of correspondence between him and the culprits both as private letters and letters through lawyers.

It has not been the intention to crucify any of the persons who owe Barks his just royalties (their names are known to this website), but merely to underline that the whole line of Royalties can also have its downsides. It surely had for Barks...

Editor of

   Date 2010-09-17