Like a cartoon? Always ask before taking

August 27, 2010 in Comment

Daryl Cagle altered cartoon
A cartoon by Daryl Cagle which was re-labelled by the user

Any professional cartoonist will tell you it’s annoying when they hear that one of their cartoons has been used without permission, but it’s doubly annoying when the person doing the taking has made ‘‘amendments’’.

So it must have been, er, triply annoying when this happened to US cartoonist Daryl Cagle because the person doing the amending was not some clichéd copyright-infringing college kid, but was retired Air Force Lieutenant General James R. Clapper Jr. He is President Barack Obama’s Director of National Intelligence.

He used the cartoon above in a presentation to staff and added his own caption to the car and labelled Uncle Sam, the visual archetype for the United States, with his own name.

The Washington Post has the story here, and Daryl Cagle vents his spleen here. See the latter for some staggeringly ill-informed comments in relation to copyright law and the licensing of images, which is how reproductions of drawings are traditionally sold.

Bloghorn admires the fact that Lieutenant General James R. Clapper Jr. knows that cartoons are a great addition to any presentation, but does think he might have asked permission first.

If you like a cartoon, you should always ask before using it. There may, or may not, be a fee, depending on the use, but it’s only polite to ask. And as for ‘‘amendments’’, let the cartoonist do those!

6 responses to Like a cartoon? Always ask before taking

  1. That car must be going like the clappers!

  2. Bad Lieutenant!
    Then again, I expect he’s used to riding roughshod over other people.

  3. That’s Bad Lieutenant (Retired).

  4. Director of National Intelligence. In America. [sigh]

  5. Cartoons are an artform like any other, and therefore are actually a copyrighted image which is initially owned by the creator of that work. If someone uses it in a presentation without contacting the creator of the artwork or cartoon in question, that is definitely a copyright violation, no question asked. The violator could be setting him/herself up for a copyright infringement suit on behalf of the owner of the cartoon in question. Please, just to reiterate, contact the cartoonist BEFORE you use the image….whetehr it’s on a web page, in a powerpoint, a book or whereever, it is imperative to get permission from the artist and to negotiate a “usage” fee. Most fees to use cartoons in a PowerPoint for example are not that costly (as opposed to hiring a lawyer in a copyright infringement case) which usually range from $25 to $50 or more depending on how an image is used. Thanks for profiling this case, it was great to see in the forefront and keep a close eye open to copyright violators! If you see a fellow cartoonist’s work somewhere, let them know about it….they may not even be aware!

  6. I’m still mavelling at Mr Cagle’s website. Its a whole governing body in itself. I wonder how many people it takes to keep it functioning. That Sailor Capper chose the wrong one to offend is obvious, but his ignorance is common because “they’re only cartoons”. This very evening I had a request to copy somebody else’s cartoon. My refusal elicited, “Why not ? I’ll pay you. Its only a cartoon”

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