Perhaps the most tedious jobs of being editor at Cartoon Movement is tracking down and following up on the unauthorized use of our cartoons by other media. We try to take action in every case of copyright infringement, because we feel it’s important to point out that cartoons are made by professionals and thus aren’t free.
One of the current trends in media is to publish slideshows of cartoons when a world-shocking event has taken place (most recently, the attack in Nice). Most media get around the issue of copyright by embedding cartoons from the Twitter feed of the respective artists. Because they’re not physically hosting the cartoon on their site, there’s no need to pay the artist or ask for permission to feature the work. Examples (including one of our cartoons) can be found on the websites of the International Business Times, the Huffington Post, Newsweek and many, many more.
There’s not much we can do about this. For artists (and websites such as ours), it’s a catch 22: one the hand hand, we want to share work with our fans, but in doing so we give media a free pass to use our work.
A lot of media also feature cartoons without using the embed method and therefore should ask the artists for their permission (and offer a reasonable republication fee). The majority of media does this, but we also encounter a lot of instances where our cartoons are used without any permission or compensation.
In addition to following up on these cases, we also want to showcase these in a new monthly feature on our blog. Here’s a list of recent cases:
1) Tagesspiegel, a German newspaper, used no less than 13 of our cartoons in a slideshow about the attempted coup in Turkey.
2) Le Figaro, a major French newspaper, published a slideshow of cartoons responding the attack in Nice, including one of ours.
4) Ukrainian news portal eurointegration.com.ua used one of our cartoons.
This is not a complete list; these are the instances we were able to track down. The list only features the sites that clearly identify themselves as 'media' and should know better than to use images without permission, in effect stealing them. We have contacted all of the organizations in the list; we have yet to receive a response from any of them. Next month we'll give an update and its very likely we will have a new list.