Media mogul and social media platform Amino Social Networks is offering to pay out $1 billion to settle lawsuits filed by dozens of comics artists and publishers who allege the company stole their work.
The settlement was first reported by Deadline Hollywood and confirmed by a company spokesperson on Thursday.
“In 2018, Amino acquired the rights to all of the world’s comics, including the world record books and comic books owned by comic creators,” the company said in a statement.
“This is a massive scam and one of the biggest scammers in the history of publishing.”
The company also said it would pay up to $250,000 in damages to each of the plaintiffs.
“The Amino settlement is a landmark settlement that addresses a broad range of claims in all 50 states and the District of Columbia,” said attorney Mark Gertner of Gertners law firm.
“All of the claims in the complaint are serious and merit an investigation.”
In addition to the suits against Amino, the artists allege that the company also stole work from other publishers and created fake news articles, including claims that a cartoonist from the late 2000s named Adam West stole from comic book artist Mike Mignola.
Those claims were denied by Mignolas lawyer.
“There are no facts to support these allegations,” said his lawyer.
In addition, the suit alleges that Amino paid artists millions of dollars to keep their stories from appearing in comic books.
“While the Amino platform has offered to pay millions of artists a small sum to make sure their works do not appear in comic book publications, the company has not complied with these requests,” said the company’s spokesperson.
In a statement, Mignols attorney, Scott Lively, called the claims “nonsense.”
“The artists are entitled to receive a portion of their profits from Amino,” Lively said.
“However, it is a scam that will only encourage more writers and artists to leave comics, as they will have no recourse if they are harmed by the fraud.”
Mignos attorney, Paul Carr, also said the settlement is for nothing.
“Amino is offering a $1.5 billion settlement to settle these frivolous lawsuits, and they’re not getting paid a dime,” Carr said in an email.
“Amino’s actions and their brazen attempts to make up for lost revenue through fraudulent means are an insult to comic book creators who deserve justice.”
The lawsuits filed against Amano by the artists, as well as other creators, include claims that the platform violated copyright law by allowing the company to take a large share of the revenue for selling their books.
Amino is also accused of illegally offering to publish comics, even though those books were sold in multiple formats and not on its own platform.
In an emailed statement, Amano’s CEO, Jeff Kravitz, said he was “disappointed” by the allegations.
“We’ve been aggressively fighting this issue for years, and we’ve been in a very strong position to prevail, given the vast majority of comics creators are copyright holders, and Amino has never infringed upon their copyright,” he said.