Friday, May 22, 2009

Internet Catch-22

Recently, I donated this original digital caricature of our U.S. Vice President to a charitable cause, the American Lung Association, to be auctioned off at a gala fundraiser (where I was hired to draw the guests, btw). This was accomplished, and it felt great to know that my contribution helped a little-bitty-bit. A copy was actually sent by the ALA to Joe Biden himself to sign, but hey--what with being second in charge after Obama, he's a busy guy. Maybe someday...
So I figured that was the end of the story, but my blog has led to another chapter.
A fellow member of ISCA and friend, Bob East, somehow found that my image was being used on a Balkan political cartoon website... and without my permission. This is the catch-22 of posting any original images/content on the is there for anyone to use however they want, despite the fact that all my posted art consists of small, lo-res images, and most are clearly marked with my website address. (That's another can of worms--the "Orphan Works Act"). This website's creator, to his credit, did not remove my website address from the painting and actually attributed it to me. And perhaps he would have sought my permission, but doesn't speak there is not really anything I can do. I've known of far worse instances of colleagues being ripped off; their work attributed to someone else, their work being used for someone else's financial gain, even used on foreign stamps, etc.
My blog serves a huge purpose in that it and my website generate interest in my work. Although I am passionate about caricature, I am also pragmatic about making a living from my passion. That means marketing and not hiding my lamp under a bushel.
So I will go on posting my work, but perhaps at smaller sizes.
Some artists feel it's a compliment when their work is used without permission, because someone likes the work enough to want it. I feel that, if someone likes it enough to use it for their own purposes, the artist should be compensated.


  1. I like them! You're going places!
    (Is that expression right or am I just making it up?)

  2. I TOTALLY AGREE WITH YOU!! PUNKS!!!! ;( In a twisted way.. be flattered though! I so sorry just the same ;( It's not OK.. gah :(
    BUT HEY.. you're a great artist!!! ;) heh :)

  3. An inescapable problem of websites and blogs, particularly our sort, a caricature blog with no caricatures wouldn't help much !
    It's a 'sort of' compliment BUT not the type we're after.
    Nice work though Emily !

  4. Yes, Marion, that's the expression-(and thanks for thinking so!) I know it's true for you.

    Maria, you bowl me over, thanks!!

    Tel, with your stellar work, has such pilfering happened to you?