->'''Audience member:''' Will you please shut up?\\
'''Franz Liebkind:''' '''''[[NoYou YOU]]''''' shut up! You are ''the audience!'' I am ''the author!'' I '''OUTRANK''' you!
-->-- ''Film/TheProducers''

So the author of this fictional work is considered to be the ultimate authority of it. Maybe they are the creator, director, or producer of this work. They had the initial idea of this work (or at least this version of it) and most ideas are theirs, not to mention that they are the final authority regarding {{canon}}. They must ''own'' this work, right?

Except not. The main difficulty of creating a work is not always a creative issue. Very often the creator of a work is unable to produce their work the way they want without money. Other times, they want to use characters they don't own. The only way the author is able to produce their work, or using the characters they like but don't own, is by giving all the legal rights of their hard work to some big company [[DealWithTheDevil in exchange for getting their work financed]].

While this removes all the production costs, it can backfire for the author for the following reasons:

#The author is subject to [[ExecutiveMeddling executive meddling]] and can't do anything about it, losing their absolute creative control of the work.
#If "the work" becomes successful thanks to their input, even if the company gains a fortune thanks to it, the author won't be able to become rich themselves or earn more money beyond their salary.
#The author won't be able to use their work independently without executive approval. And even if the author gets permission, the author will most likely be obliged to pay royalties for using their own work/creations.
#The author's WordOfGod can be demoted to [[FanFiction fanfiction]], while the executives can [[ArmedWithCanon arm someone else with canon]] to change the work or [[DependingOnTheWriter "interpret it differently"]].
#[[YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness If the company doesn't want the original author, they simply replace/fire them from the project.]]

On a related note, a creator who's the driving force behind a particular incarnation of a franchise, but was not involved in the original incarnation of same, won't have any of the rights to the franchise.

This can be very painful for the author losing all their "control" of their work despite being the main creative force behind it and the ultimate authority of it. However, [[MyRealDaddy some fans may still consider them]] as "WordOfGod" in spite of this, and even [[OnlyTheCreatorDoesItRight hold them in higher regard]].

Sometimes, a creator may try to TorchTheFranchiseAndRun in response to this situation.

Not to be confused with IDoNotOwn.



* One of the best-known examples in anime is ''Franchise/{{Gundam}}''; after working on the franchise constantly for 14 years, creator Creator/YoshiyukiTomino (suffering from severe CreatorBreakdown at the time) sold the rights to the franchise to Creator/{{Sunrise}} before moving on to other projects. Sunrise would go on to produce the AlternateUniverse shows: ''[[Anime/MobileFighterGGundam G]]'', ''[[Anime/MobileSuitGundamWing Wing]]'', ''[[Anime/AfterWarGundamX X]]'', ''[[Anime/MobileSuitGundamSEED SEED]]'', ''[[Anime/MobileSuitGundamSEEDDestiny SEED Destiny]]'', ''[[Anime/MobileSuitGundam00 00]]'' and ''[[Anime/MobileSuitGundamAGE AGE]]''). For years, legends persisted that Tomino absolutely despised what ''Gundam'' had become without him; in published interviews, he admitted that he was upset at first but mellowed out after realizing that he should be more supportive of up-and-coming directors. Eventually, Tomino gave his indirect blessing with ''Anime/TurnAGundam'', which is supposed to be the GrandFinale of the entire franchise and suggests that all of ''Gundam'' (both his and Sunrise's works) are part of a single, massive timeline.
* Somewhat the case with Masaki Kajishima and TenchiMuyo. He is still the main creative force behind the main continuity (Tenchi Muyo Ryo-ohki and GXP) but he doesn't own the rights to it, so his other media forays don't count as canon and his WordOfGod isn't absolute. He also has no control over the numerous alternate universe spinoffs.

* For ''[[ComicBook/TheSandman Sandman]]'' there is an interesting semi-exception in a medium (American comics) where it ''is'' very common: DCComics own the work, and can use characters from it without consulting NeilGaiman in any way ... but it wouldn't occur to anyone currently working there to do so, mostly because Gaiman's portrayal of them is so iconic that any appearance by a ''[[ComicBook/TheSandman Sandman]]'' character written by anyone else would be considered CanonDiscontinuity at best.
** To date, due to a reluctance to include characters from the Vertigo line in the 'mainstream' DC universe, the only appearance of a Sandman character in the main [=DC=] line since the original [[ComicBook/TheSandman Sandman]] series concluded was the Daniel version of Dream. They had no need to ask permission but at least gave the courtesy of a heads-up to Creator/NeilGaiman, who looked the dialogue over and thought it was pretty damn good. A reference to the GreenLanternRing as a "wishing ring" is one he wishes he thought of himself.
** Creator/PaulCornell also ran his use of the Endless version of [[TheGrimReaper Death]] during "ComicBook/TheBlackRing" arc by Gaiman and got approved. Generally, the only one of the Endless that is used without Gaiman's permission is Destiny, the only member of the family not created by Gaiman. Destiny predated ''ComicBook/TheSandman'' by many years (and was host of one of DC's horror anthology comics) and was retconned into the Endless by Gaiman. His personality has stayed pretty consistent, so it's not seen as any problem.
* Likewise, no one would use ''Comicbook/{{Starman}}'' characters without at least giving James Robinson a heads-up.
* Pat Mills created a whole bunch of strips for ''ComicBook/TwoThousandAD'', but he owns none of them; however, due to his influence, it's very rare that anyone else is allowed to write any of them. Mills famously blocked the publication of an ''ComicBook/ABCWarriors'' strip by Creator/AlanMoore for decades, and also got pissy at Andy Diggle for commissioning a new ''Satanus'' series from Robbie Morrison, despite the fact that Mills had originally resurrected Satanus in story he wrote for ''ComicBook/JudgeDredd'', for which he came up with the name and nothing else.
* Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the creators of Franchise/{{Superman}}, sold the rights to him early on (for $65, for each of them), but later fought tooth and nail just to get some recognition.
* This was standard practice in comic strips until the 1980s and Bill Watterson's famous fight to prevent ''ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes'' merchandise. Today, creators generally own all rights to their strips, or have a contract that reverts all rights back to them after a certain number of years.
* The creators of ''ComicBook/{{WITCH}}'' were screwed out of their comic only halfway through the first arc, leading the story to go in a very different direction than what was originally intended.
* Creator/RobLiefeld was annoyed that Creator/PeterDavid revealed that Shatterstar (a character Liefeld created for Creator/MarvelComics) was gay, and posted that he couldn't wait to revert it (back to "asexual, and struggling to understand human behavior", not straight). Creator/JoeQuesada responded that Liefeld would have to get permission from the next editor-in-chief, and David has since confirmed Shatterstar's bisexuality. And since then a new Editor in Chief has come, and still no sign of Marvel changing it.
* Another semi-exception exists in the case of ''ComicBook/JudgeDredd''. It was originally conceived by John Wagner (writer) and Carlos Ezquerra (artist), but copyright and publication rights lie with Rebellion (at present). Plenty of other writers regularly write new material, but an unofficial understanding exists that only John Wagner is allowed to alter the status quo.
* Creator/MarvelComics owns all of its characters and there have been many legal battles fought by the likes of Creator/JackKirby, Creator/SteveGerber (creator of ''ComicBook/HowardTheDuck'') and even Creator/StanLee himself over compensation.
* Creator/SteveDitko reportedly left the ''Spider-Man'' franchise because he did not like the directions co-creator Stan Lee was taking with the character.
* One of the reasons for founding ImageComics was that artists and writers working for Marvel and DC wanted to own their own properties, avoiding this very trope.
** A bit ironic when one of Image co-founders, Todd [=McFarlane=], decided he owns characters NeilGaiman created for one issue of ''ComicBook/{{Spawn}}'', most notably Angela, the same way Marvel would own any character created for their comics. Ongoing legal battle over the rights lasted years and ended with Gaiman coming out victorious. He would then take Angela and loan her to no one else but Marvel Comics.
* Creator/AlanMoore has a long history of disliking almost every adaptation of his work. Creator/AlanMoore does not own the ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}'', and man, is he pissed about [[ComicBook/BeforeWatchmen DC's prequels]].
** Which is kind of funny, given [[ComicBook/LostGirls some of the stuff Moore himself has done with characters someone else created]]. Most of his iconic work consists of [[ComicBook/SwampThing radical reinterpretations]] or [[ComicBook/TheKillingJoke shocking storylines]] with other people's characters.
** Watchmen itself, of course, was originally going to involve a radically different take on characters other people had created; the only reason it has original characters instead is because of executive meddling.
* This is why it took so long for ''[[ComicBook/GrooTheWanderer Groo the Wanderer]]'' to be published -- Sergio Aragones did not want Groo to be owned by anyone else but him, but in the late '70s, the default assumption was that comics had to be "work for hire". It was only with ''Destroyer Duck'' and the advent of "creator-owned labels" that sprung up in the wake of Steve gerber's protests over Marvel's ownership of ''Howard the Duck'' that Aragones found an imprint that he could feel comfortable publishing Groo with. (ironically, ''Groo''[='=]s longest-running imprint was actually a subdivision of Marvel, their creator-owned "Epic" imprint).
* The [[ComicBook/NewGods Fourth World]] series by Creator/JackKirby were his distinctive Creator/DCComics creation, but he was never able to tell his stories the way he intended and its concepts and characters like {{Darkseid}} were integrated into the TheDCU completely instead.
* Some people believe Creator/BrianKVaughan killed [[spoiler: Gert]] at the end of his ''ComicBook/{{Runaways}}'' run because he didn't wanted anybody else to write her. There is also an unconfirmed rumor that he made Creator/MarvelComics sign a contract forbidding them from killing, maiming or in any other way harming Molly, whom he based on his younger sister. However, given that he never expressed having any problems with his characters being written by other writers,even in installments loathed by fans, this seems pretty unlikely.
** Apparently, additional material in one of collected editions confirms the Molly rumor, through.

* There is a ''Film/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' [[TheRemake remake]] film under discussion, which is being planned without Creator/JossWhedon's input. None of the TV characters (except Buffy) will appear. Whedon has actually refused to help with it. Creator/AlysonHannigan, Creator/AnthonyStewartHead and others from the show have all said that it's a bad idea and, in the case of Head, that he imagines it will be "quite like watching a car wreck." Fortunately, it appears shelved for now.
* Happened to Creator/GeneRoddenberry with the ''Franchise/StarTrek'' film series. After ''Film/StarTrekTheMotionPicture'' went way over budget and past schedule, [[Creator/{{Paramount}} Paramount Pictures]] had Roddenberry KickedUpstairs to "executive consultant", a position entitling him to make as many suggestions as he liked, and entitling everyone else to ignore these suggestions if they so pleased, and ignore him they did. But TropesAreNotBad. The films that followed are considered some of the best work in the ''Star Trek'' canon. When ''Star Trek'' returned to the small screen with ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'', Roddenberry got to be in charge of that, though he continued to have no control over the ''Trek'' movies. During this time, Roddenberry dispensed some WordOfGod regarding what elements of the films he considered to be non-canon.
* Many of Marvel's [[ComicBook/FantasticFour most popular]] [[ComicBook/XMen characters]] can't be brought into the Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse, due to Fox still having the movie rights to them. This also applied to ComicBook/SpiderMan with his rights owned by Creator/{{Sony}}, until February 2015 when they cut a deal with Marvel to co-produce the Spider-Man films.
** This is interestingly averted for two characters in particular: Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch have been confirmed to take part in both the upcoming [[Film/AvengersAgeOfUltron Avengers movie]], as well as ''Film/XMenDaysOfFuturePast''. The caveat? They will be portrayed by different actors, and the Avengers can't refer to them as mutants while the X-Men can't reference their time with the Avengers.
* Creator/JamesCameron no longer has the rights for the ''Franchise/{{Terminator}}'' franchise. He regretted selling them and made sure not to repeat this mistake with his subsequent films.
* Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich made Film/{{Stargate}} together, intended as the first of a trilogy, but after it became a moderate success Devlin abandoned the plans and sold the rights to MGM, which turned it into a [[Series/StargateSG1 TV series]] (plus sequel shows) without Devlin's and Emmerich's input. But now, after the end of [[Series/StargateUniverse Stargate Universe]], both are working together working with MGM on a rebooted movie trilogy, ignoring the TV series completely.
* ''Franchise/StarWars'' features a notable aversion. When series creator Creator/GeorgeLucas wrote and directed the first film, he offered to take a much lower salary for directing in return for the merchandising rights to the film. At the time, merchandising rights for any movie (let alone a low-budget sleeper movie, as ''Star Wars'' was anticipated to be) were considered worthless, so Creator/TwentiethCenturyFox happily accepted. Those rights wound up making Lucas a billionaire.

* Tying into the below-mentioned Tabletop Games, R.A. Salvatore doesn't own the rights to the stuff he's written based off ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''. He tried to end ''TheLegendOfDrizzt'', but backed down after being told that a different writer would continue the story. It's suspected by some that the series's recent decline in quality is an attempt to TorchTheFranchiseAndRun, but another theory is that he's simply out of ideas (which, of course, would explain why he tried to end it in the first place.)
* L J Smith was fired from writing ''TheVampireDiaries'' by the company that owns the rights, allegedly because she disagreed with them about who the heroine should be romantically paired with at the end. The company intends to get someone else in to write it the way they want.

[[folder: Live Action TV]]
* Happened with TerryNation on ''{{Series/Survivors}}'': He envisaged a dark, action-adventure political thriller about the breakdown of social order, producer Terence Dudley wanted a far more optimistic and character-based series about rebuilding society. Early episodes about a lawless society and self-appointed dictators carving up the country gave way to the heroes having a safe, self-sufficient base camp where external threats were fairly easily repelled. Nation finally quit after the first season when his ideas were ignored and his intended lead couple Abby Grant and Jimmy Garland were dropped to make self-sufficiency expert Charles Vaughan, created by Dudley's preferred main writer Jack Ronder, the lead character, with Nation writing a novel showing where he wanted the storyline to go instead. The third season, with Martin Worth as head writer, returned the sense of lawlessness but its endings of the heroes setting up a benevolent central government and restoring electrical power was far from what Nation originally intended.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' hasn't been owned by its original creators in well over twenty years, ever since Gary Gygax had control of [=TSR=] wrested from him in the mid-1980's. Strangely enough, despite being the TropeCodifier for the entire [=RPG=] concept, Gygax has had very little effect on advancing the game's canon since it was first created. He created the original ''TabletopGame/{{Greyhawk}}'' setting, but was involved very little with it afterwards before eventually leaving the company because of massive ExecutiveMeddling. Very few gamers would actively prefer Gygax's game mechanics to what is produced today, though there is a certain flavor in classic adventures like ''Temple of Elemental Evil'' and the ''Tomb of Horrors'' made during his tenure that make for fun throwbacks.
** Likewise, Ed Greenwood had originally created the ForgottenRealms setting through a series of articles published in [=TSR's=] ''Dragon'' magazine in the late 80's. [=TSR=] eventually bought the rights to the setting outright, publishing it in a comprehensive campaign boxed set. Since then, it had been a playground for authors like [=R.A. Salvatore=] to publish mostly original novels based in the setting's backdrop, almost turning it into an ExpandedUniverse. As for the setting itself, Greenwood continued to have some gradually decreasing input, or at least the right to complain, all the way until the release of 4th Edition, where the Spellplague and other interdimensional weirdness caused TheEndOFTheWorldAsWeKnowIt against his [[ExecutiveMeddling explicit objections]].
** {{Dragonlance}} is currently owned by WizardsOfTheCoast, and not by Tracy Hickman, MargaretWeis, or Jeff Grubb, all three of whom (among many) who contributed greatly to the setting.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Bungie Studios: The creator of the ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'' franchise. After they were bought by Microsoft, all the legal rights of their franchise is now were owned by Microsoft. This is despite the fact that Bungie is the ultimate authority of the franchise, and created the UniverseBible and all the important elements of the franchise itself. Now that they are independent, all their work after their separation now belongs to the studio. By all accounts, this is a rare amicable example, as Bungie simply decided they had definitively wrapped up the franchise for themselves, and wanted to do something different after 10 years, and so Microsoft created a new studio called 343 Industries (based on the ArcNumber styling of the series) that would be the ones in charge of the ''Halo'' property.
** It should be noted that 343i has a number of former Bungie employees in its employ, alongside those who worked with the late Pandemic Studios. That means that Bungie as a studio may no longer be involved with the franchise but most of the mainstays of 343 are people who have years of Halo development experience anyway.
* It happened to the creators of the ''[[VideoGame/FirstEncounterAssaultRecon F.E.A.R.]]'' series. It got to the point where another company made a sequel to their series, while they had to rename their own canon sequel for legal purposes. When they got the ''F.E.A.R.'' name back, they immediately put the other games into CanonDiscontinuity.
* This happened to Al Lowe when the post-Williams Creator/{{Sierra}} decided to create new ''VideoGame/LeisureSuitLarry'' games without consulting him. He doesn't care for either of them and considers them canon discontinuity.
* Also happened to Toys for Bob with ''[[VideoGame/StarControl Star Control 3]]'', although unusually for this circumstance, Toys for Bob ''do'' retain the rights to the setting itself, just not the right to create ''Star Control'' branded games.
* This happened to Toby Gard with ''Franchise/TombRaider'' when he objected to making Lara Croft [[FanServicePack bustier]] and ended up leaving during the development of ''Tomb Raider II''. He came back as a consultant after ''[[VideoGame/TombRaiderAngelOfDarkness The Angel of Darkness]]'' tanked, but Eidos Interactive (and its parent company Creator/SquareEnix) still holds the rights to Lara.
* This is a big aspect of the fiasco involved with the ''Franchise/CallOfDuty'' series and the fighting between Treyarch and Infinity Ward over proper royalties.
* Happened to Keiji Inafune with ''VideoGame/MegaManX''. Inafune wanted the series to end at ''[=X5=]'', and indeed the end of that game suggests a solid conclusion to the ''X'' story arc. But then Creator/{{Capcom}}, insistent on milking the [[CashCowFranchise cash cow]] for all that it was worth, [[ExecutiveMeddling proceeded to make]] ''[=X6=]'' behind Inafune's back, thus explaining why much of the backstory of the ''[[VideoGame/MegaManZero Zero]]'' series only makes sense if you ignore all of the ''X'' games past ''[=X5=]''.
* ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts'': While the series is often considered to be a Square Enix series with Disney characters, Tetsuya Nomura has made clear that it's still owned by Disney and that all the original characters qualify as Disney characters.
* Every ''Franchise/FireEmblem'' game since the GBA entries had been developed by Intelligent Systems without the involvement of original creator Shozo Kaga, who quit the company after ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemJugdral Fire Emblem Thracia 776]]'' and went on to work on his ''Fire Emblem'' clone for the [=PS=] titled ''VideoGame/TearRingSaga''.
* Creator/HidekiKamiya has expressed regrets that he never got to develop his planned sequel to ''VideoGame/{{Okami}}'' after Capcom announced ''Ōkamiden'' for the {{Nintendo DS}}, which the company produced after Kamiya's departure. Likewise, the company started development of ''[[VideoGame/DevilMayCry Devil May Cry 2]]'' without Kamiya's knowledge when he was just finishing working on localizing the original game for the Western market.
* During the early years of the Franchise/MetalGear series, Creator/HideoKojima was just a lowly game designer who didn't have the same influence on the franchise that he later gained after the original ''MetalGearSolid'' was released. As a result, Konami commissioned the development of the NES ''VideoGame/MetalGear'' and its sequel to ''VideoGame/SnakesRevenge'' without Kojima's involvement. In contrast, the more recent side-works in the series, such as ''MetalGearAcid'' and ''MetalGearRisingRevengeance'', were produced with his approval.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Creator/LaurenFaust's control over ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' decreased over time, and she eventually left the show entirely after season 2, putting the show into the hands of new showrunners. Certain purist fans claim that even though she's not involved anymore, Faust's word is the only word. It should be noted that Faust was originally commissioned by Hasbro to "breathe new life" into the already established brand.
* Zigzagged with ''WesternAnimation/FelixTheCat''; while the character is now known to be created by Creator/OttoMessmer, he never owned the rights to his own creation, and was never once recognized as his creator until very late in his life, with Felix being considered and marketed as Pat Sullivan's character--and even though Pat Sullivan claimed before his death that Otto is the owner of Felix, Sullivan's estate secured the rights to the character while Otto worked on the comics. Eventually, Otto's assistant and friend Joe Oriolo would inherit the franchise, and the franchise today is owned by his son, Don Oriolo.
* Creator/GregWeisman, despite being the creator of ''WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}}'', doesn't own anything of all the stuff he made. Disney owns all of it. First he, along with all his team, were replaced by other crew. When his show got cancelled, he tried to continue it via comic books, but was unable to pay the high royalties to Disney.
* It happened to Weisman again with ''WesternAnimation/TheSpectacularSpiderMan''. When Disney bought Marvel, the former gave ''Spectacular'' producer Sony the choice of keeping the TV rights or the [[Film/SpiderMan film rights]]. Sony decided that the movies print more money than ''Spectacular'', and so it got axed.
* Regardless of whether you believe Creator/JohnKricfalusi was fired from it for [[WhatDoYouMeanItsForKids constantly conflicting with]] Creator/{{Nickelodeon}} BS&P or [[ScheduleSlip repeated failure to meet deadlines]], ''WesternAnimation/TheRenAndStimpyShow'' is likely the most triumphant example. Bob Camp and much of the original team from the first two seasons would stay with Nick to work on ''Ren & Stimpy'', which created major schisms between former animator friends that last to this day.
* Of all people, it happened to Creator/WaltDisney himself. In 1928, he lost the rights to his first hit character WesternAnimation/OswaldTheLuckyRabbit after contract negotiations broke down with his distributor [[{{Creator/Universal}} Universal Studios]], who proceeded to sign away most of his animators to a new in-house studio under the control of his former boss Charles Mintz. Disney was so shaken by the incident that he vowed to never lose the rights to any of his characters again. This might explain why The Walt Disney Company [[FreudianExcuse so jealously guards their own intellectual property.]]
* Creator/DonBluth never really owned the rights to any movie he made (save for perhaps ''WesternAnimation/BanjoTheWoodpileCat''), resulting in both the {{sequelitis}} of his more profitable films, and the executive meddling of his films in the '90s (which were made LighterAndSofter and played FollowTheLeader with Disney). Bluth still gets MisBlamed for it.
** BrokenBase in regards that not one, not two but three of his franchises would go on to become long running franchises only after Bluth's influences were removed. But then again if Don Bluth had a style, it always was good movies with really questionable choices made in the creative process. This is the guy who interjects magic into the story of genetically enhanced rodents and uses cute dinosaur characters to tell a dark depressing purgatory story, he probably instilled a lot of fear and confusion in the marketing departments.
* Creator/{{Pixar}} originally didn't plan on making ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory2'', and only began to work on the film after Disney told the studio that they were planning on making a sequel to [[WesternAnimation/ToyStory the original film]], and would make it with or without them.[[note]]Disney owned the rights to the ''Toy Story'' franchise, but Pixar had the right of first refusal to work on any future ''Toy Story'' material before Disney offered it to someone else.[[/note]]
* [[http://peterlairdstmntblog.blogspot.com The banner]] atop the blog of ''Franchise/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles'' co-creator Peter Laird makes it clear that the franchise is now owned by Viacom, who made [[WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles2012 a new cartoon in 2012]] and plans [[Film/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles2014 a new movie]]. Laird's company Mirage still does [[ComicBook/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtlesMirage the original comics]] [[ScheduleSlip every now and then]].