Whaat? by Dave Gibbons fires first on the vexed question of the artist Roy Lichtenstein and his use, or abuse, of comic imagery for the purposes of fine art.
There’s a flight of similar pieces that coincide with the Lichtenstein retrospective at Tate Modern in London. We particularly commend a learned piece by the comics historian Paul Gravett.
Down under, the Adelaide Advertiser cartoonist Jos Valdeman found himself ejected from the upper house of the South Australian parliament for sketching the president of the legislative council John Gazzola. It’s an interesting dogfight in the Aussie journalism wars, which are not unlike our own arguments about the media after the Leveson inquiry.
To demonstrate that ages past were no more civilised than today, whatever the state of the law, comes a retrospective exhibition of Henry Bunbury, the 18th century gentleman caricaturist. Read all about it at the East Anglian Daily Times.
Following on from our recent post about copyright, here‘s some straightforward advice from Silvia Baumgart, Programme Manager at Own-it, about how a cartoonist (or any other kind of artist) can protect their work online and elsewhere:
Sadly, it is practically impossible to ensure that work appearing on the internet is not being downloaded, copied or amended without permission. Own-it strongly recommends that any images of your work are uploaded at low resolution (typically 72 dpi) and watermarked, both of which will make it harder for someone to misappropriate your work.
If you’re happy for your work to be used by others in limited circumstances, you can use Creative Commons licences. This non-profit service enables creative work to be shared, with the copyright holder deciding how it is used and for what purpose.
Silvia describes Creative Commons as a legally simple and flexible licensing system, but also sounds a note of caution. Disadvantages can include the fact that the licences it grants are perpetual and irrevocable (so you cannot change your mind at a later date). If you allow other users to make “derivatives” of your work, you have no control over the extent to which they modify it, and there is also a grey area when it comes to what is classed as commercial or non-commercial use. Find out more before making a decision.
Social-networking sites have created another potential minefield for artists. Twitter, Facebook and the rest all have their own particular terms and conditions, but in general, by sharing your work on these sites you indemnify all service providers against any claims brought against them by third parties in relation to the content you post.
When it comes to social networks, Own-it recommends that you only post your own work, unless you have permission from the copyright holder. If you don’t have permission but are confident that you are sharing the work in order to promote it, you should always credit the author, with a link to their website, and ideally let them know you have posted it.
If pitching for a job and sharing your designs with a potential client, Silvia recommends that you ask the client to sign a non-disclosure agreement in advance, use Creative Barcode (as above), or send an email ahead to say that anything discussed or shared will be treated as confidential.
Copyright also gives a cartoonist or illustrator the moral right to object to a publisher cropping or editing their images. In reality this is rarely done for fear of losing repeat business – but it is important to note that, in principle, the copyright holder has the right to expect their work to be used as originally supplied.
Own-it provides free legal advice to help artists solve intellectual property issues. Our thanks to Silvia for allowing us to share some of her advice on the blog.
Our colleagues in the Cartoonists’ Club of Great Britain (CCGB) have produced The Little Red Nose-E-Book Of Cartoons in aid of Comic Relief. It features 101 cartoons by CCGB members, including the gag above by Colin Whittock, who is also a Procartoonists.org member. The e-book costs just £1.59 (with all proceeds going to the charity) and can be downloaded here.
Also to coincide with Comic Relief, Forbidden Planet asks comics professionals to pick their favourite humorous strips. The list includes the dark and desolate Viz strip, Drunken Bakers, drawn by Procartoonists.org member Lee Healey. Read the full article here and see if you agree with the selections.
Ralph Steadman, the world-renowned cartoonist and yet another of our members, is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at London’s Cartoon Museum. Steadman at 77 opens on 1 May. and runs until 21 July. Find more details here.
Ian Hislop and his frequent collaborator, the cartoonist Nick Newman, have written a new film for BBC Two that focuses on a First World War forerunner to Private Eye. Read more here.
Finally, the illustrator Alex Mathers explains how he found himself drawing Google Doodles — arguably the most widely seen drawings in the world on any given day — and draws some useful conclusions. Read it here.
Our man Rob Murray attended a recent talk by Silvia Baumgart of Own-it, based at the University of the Arts London (UAL). Own-it advises creative practitioners and small businesses on intellectual property matters.
Over to Rob:
The session focused in particular on copyright and the increasing need for artists and illustrators to protect their work in the online era.
Listed here are ten key facts about copyright that might either be news to you, or a useful refresher.
Copyright is automatic – it does not need to be applied for or registered – and protects a creative work until 70 years after the creator’s year of death.
You cannot copyright an idea – only the way in which that idea is expressed.
Moral rights, which come with copyright and give the creator the right to be credited as the author of a work, cannot be assigned to another party. But the creator can waive moral rights in writing. If assigning (selling) copyright to someone else, a creator should assert their moral rights.
If a magazine “buys” a cartoon to appear in its pages, unless otherwise stated in writing it is buying a licence to be the first to publish it. This does not prevent the cartoonist selling the cartoon elsewhere at a later date, or using it for any other purpose.
When a freelancer is commissioned to produce a cartoon or illustration, he or she automatically holds the copyright unless otherwise agreed in writing.
By contrast, if work is created during the course of your employment, your employer holds the copyright and you have no moral rights over the work.
Design work is treated differently, and falls under design right rather than copyright. When a designer is commissioned to develop or create a product, the commissioner owns the unregistered design right in the UK — which protects the appearance of the product (excluding surface decoration) for 15 years from creation or ten years from first sale. As with copyright, it is automatic.
An image being easily accessible — for example on the internet — is often taken to mean that it is in the public domain, but this is often not the case, even when the creator’s name is missing. An artwork is only “public domain” if the creator (or copyright holder) has declared so, or if the copyright has expired.
Selling a physical object you have created (for example, the original artwork for a cartoon) does not mean you are permitting reproduction or dissemination. Unless formally agreed, the buyer does not have the right to reproduce or distribute the image (with the exception of advertising the resale of the artwork).
As a general rule, the decision to assign all rights to a client should not be taken lightly, and the creator should agree a substantially larger fee than they would for granting a licence. Once intellectual property rights are sold, they cannot be taken back and the creator will never again be able to profit from licensing that piece of work.
Own-it offers free legal advice to help artists solve intellectual property issues. Visit the blog again soon for a look at some of Silvia’s recommendations for how to protect your work online and elsewhere.
Procartoonists member Clive Goddard is helping comic Miranda Hartwith her Comic Relief challenges this week. He will be drawing each of her tasks in turn and we will feature some below over the course of the week.
You can of course also follow the course of events by following the #mirandasmarch hashtag.
Clive Goddard Miranda Hart cartoons at Procartoonists.org
Updated 12th March: You can see Clive’s first cartoon about Miranda and the underarm waxing here.
Updated 15th March: An exclusive! The sneak preview of Miranda’s marriage for Day Five of #mirandasmarch. Hats tipped to our best man Clive Goddard .
Above: an animation by Procartoonists.org member Paul Baker, commissioned for (and projected at) the launch of the new InterContinental London Westminster hotel. Inspired by its location, the hotel is politically themed and features a gallery of cartoons by Gerald Scarfe alongside other political caricatures.
Fellow PCO member Ian Baker is one of a number of international cartoonists who have contributed artwork to a new book about 007. Ian has also written a foreword for James Bond: 50 Years in Caricatures. The book is seeking crowd-funded contributions in order to be released in special-edition hardcover format. Click here to look inside the book and pledge your support.
Finally, cartoonist and illustrator Stephen Collins has produced a series of designs for the Time to Change campaign to end mental health discrimination. Some of the work can be seen here, and several of his designs can be sent as e-cards by clicking here. Collins comments on the campaign here.
The exhibitions start just under a month from now, on 22 March, and the main weekend of events is 19-21 April. But before it all gets going, we thought we’d mark the occasion with a brief look back at Shrewsburys past, to give you a flavour of the event.
Caricaturists, live drawing, workshops and exhibitions at Shrewsbury 2012 @Procartoonists.org
Here is a video from the festival made by Procartoonists members in 2010 (when this site was called the Bloghorn).
So if you haven’t been to the festival before, come along and tell us what you think …
We will be publishing details of the itinerary over the next few weeks ahead of the festival’s first events. The main weekend for the live cartooning and other public events is 19-21 April. Get it into your diaries!
Disclaimer: Any opinion expressed here is that of the named individual and not that of the UK Professional Cartoonists' Organisation unless explicitly stated. Artwork attributed to a named author or publication on this diary should be noted by anyone linking to us from any other site. Thank you. If you wish to reproduce an image please contact the artist from here.