The alleged contract writer for the Netflix One Piece series revealed that most Hollywood contracts supposedly contain a clause that allow them to “alter the original work as they see fit”.
If such a thing is the case, it would explain why a lot of Hollywood-produced adaptations are low quality or used as a vehicle for political statements as opposed to sticking to the source material, such as the case with the Cowboy Bebop live action series.
Fukui Kensaku (a lawyer for Japan and New York) brought up the matter by replying to an individual wanting Hollywood to more closely work with original creators, as such an unheard of idea led to many liking the One Piece live action:
“I happened to notice this. I was in charge of the One Piece contract so I can’t comment, but since it’s an important matter, I’ll write about it. Everything depends on the contract. Almost 100% of all Hollywood-type contracts contain a clause stating that they ‘are at liberty to alter the original content, and that the author’s personal rights cannot be exercised’, and it doesn’t end with just this.”
Kensaku elaborated further:
Close communication is of course important, but the point is to be able to include conditions called quality control. 1) Making available the setting, design, script drafts, etc. at every stage, as well as guaranteeing ‘meaningful discussions’ regarding comments. 2) There are more easily accepted methods, such as designating key factors and requiring approval from the original author for changes.
The lawyer concluded:
After experiencing not being supported by the fans due to such film adaptations that denied the worldview of the original works, there was now more room for negotiation to sell these conditions. It’s not necessarily impossible unless the original work is strong, but please give the challenge a try. (Of course, it is not my intent at all to deny ventures and developments in film production.)
Of course, the live action One Piece series did race-swap some minor characters, so it feels inevitable that even some Western “influences” can still manage to work their way into live action adaptations that are being closely monitored by the original creator.
The Netflix One Piece series is now premiering exclusively via their platform.