You are browsing the archive for copyright for cartoonists.

Copyright with laughs

November 7, 2012 in Comment, General, Links

This was spotted by member Tim Harries. It features on the Paper Wings Podcast, which says:

This video is a real world, straight-shootin’ explanation of copyright law given at San Diego Comic Con earlier this year. Josh Wattles is the adviser-in-chief to deviantART and is a funny lawyer (imagine that) who describes the nature of fandom candidly – both its benefits to the copyright holder and the problems.

A look at the notoriously tricky subject of copyright law with laughs? Sounds good to us. Read more on this here.

What copyright means for cartoonists

January 9, 2012 in Comment, General

Many people buying cartoons do not know how copyright law works, and in the digital age, more that ever, it is important for cartoonists to let clients know where they stand.

Copyright can seem complex but it is actually fairly straightforward. When selling a cartoon for publication, copyright law means that as long as you have signed no agreement to the contrary, you always retain copyright in your material.

Typically, a cartoonist will sell exclusive first rights for an image within a defined area (ie the UK) or for a defined purpose (website publication and archiving) to the publisher.

If, however, you receive a communication from a publisher requiring all rights in return for payment and the publication of your cartoon, you must write back to clarify your terms. Refusal to communicate isn’t wise because silence may legally be regarded as agreement to the publishers terms. A reply and a statement of your rights allows the cartoonist to retain rights.

In recent years, some unscrupulous publishers have issued contracts which acknowledge that you own your copyright, but go on to demand an all-encompassing range of licensed rights, for little or no extra payment. Bloghorn believes this is like them saying “We were asking for the freehold to your house for the price of a month’s rent, but now we just want a 999-year lease.”

Again, it is wise to respond to such contracts, in writing to clarify which rights the publisher actually wants and needs, immediately. Discuss how much will be paid for anything more than first use in the publication that commissioned you (that is, if it’s in the UK, First British Serial Rights). It is wise to leave open the opportunity to renegotiate should further licences be required.

It is clearly accepted by the Copyright Act that freelance cartoonists and illustrators who are paid by the day own their pictures.

In summary, communication is the key. Cartoonists must let clients know what rights they are buying, and the artist should strive to retain ownership of the drawings.

Bloghorn would like to hear your stories about looking after business in the comments or here.


Drawing out your copyright

October 6, 2011 in News

The Bloghorn is always interested in drawing that makes the presentation of knowledge more fun.

Our friends at The Comics Grid hit both of these nails when they asked Emily Goodhand, copyright and compliance officer at the University of Reading, to review a graphic novel on a subject that can make grown cartoonists scream.

Emily told us:

Copyright is not an easy subject to convey via any medium, given that it deals with intangible (unseen) property rights. So what about using drawing to help people learn about copyright?

Well, we live in a visual world; a picture often says more than a paragraph of text. And the simpler aspects of copyright translate well to images.

It is unlikely though that copyright education could ever be delivered by images alone, but it’s certainly an avenue worth exploring further — especially as it’s high time copyright broke free of its rather dull stereotype.

The Bloghorn says: go read Emily’s review of Bound by Law.

Bloghorn - Bound by the Law Copyright Comic

Attributed to Keith Aoki, James Boyle and Jennifer Jenkins under a Creatie Commons Sharealike License

Does anyone want to make a UK version, following the recent Hargreaves review of copyright which we noted here?

You can downaload the full comic from here.

The Bloghorn is made on behalf of the UK Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation