According to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, author Alan Dean Foster is in a copyright dispute with Disney. Disney seems to be making the rather bold claim that they only purchased the rights to distribute the works in the Star Wars universe, not the liability of paying royalties to authors.
This is a rather bold claim, and while I am not an attorney, I can at least imagine that royalties are severable from the right to publish. In principle, you can sell your copyright to someone else without getting any royalties whatsoever. But in this case, Foster was getting royalties and now is not, so if Disney is somehow found to genuinely not be liable, then wouldn’t that liability still be placed upon the previous copyright owner? That would be a crazy result, but at least in principle, it seems that someone owes Foster money, and if that person or corporation isn’t Disney, then perhaps that liable party needs to seek compensation from Disney after they pay Foster what he is owed.
I’ve been planning on re-reading Splinter of the Mind’s Eye [Amazon link], but I haven’t quite got around to it yet. Maybe I’ll hold off until Foster gets what he is owed.