Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Cartoon Contests & Cartoonists' Rights

Above: a drawing I did for the National Cartoonists Society to protest the Orphan Works Bill. This is a snapshot I took with my camera when I was finished with the cartoon, resting on a table outside of a Ritz Carlton conference room at the 2008 Reubens. That's why you see Sharpies at the top of it. Here's a link to the Illustrators Partnership's Legislative Action Center.

I want to talk about rights for just a second.

I urge you to go to the above link and, in just a few clicks, send out some emails to your senators and House rep. Let the people in our government know that the Orphan Works Bill is a bad thing.

Oh ... what is the Orphan Works Bill? It's a way that corporations can steal your work legally if this bill becomes law. The proposal is that there will be a national registry of illustrations, cartoons, etc. There may be more than one registry. You may or may not have to register with all of them. Every artist must submit all of their work, properly digitized, to this registry. If they do not, it is considered "orphaned," and anyone may use it. There is no clear plan about these registries. There may be a fee to register. Unless you comply, so says the bill, you will not own the work you create. This will happen automatically. Tom Richmond has more here. Here's an FAQ.

I'll digress for a moment ....

Just saw in today's Editor & Publisher that there's another organization running a cartoon contest.

Cartoon contests are a great way to get known and receive some free press. And there are a number of them.

Sometimes I get asked if I'll help let people know about a cartoon contest. I won't publicize this contest here since the organization that's sponsoring it wants intellectual rights to all submissions, regardless of whether the entry wins or not.

So, any cartoon you send to them becomes their property. All rights. Locked in. Forever. That's not right.

This is becoming the norm.

And what's disappointing is that sometimes pro cartoonists are involved. I hope that some will become aware of the usury nature of these contests and withhold their participation.

Not having rights is what the corporations desire. This way, your work can be used for free. And you will not own it nor get paid.

And here's more about the movement against the 2008 Orphan Works bill.

Related: the State of Maine will pretty much destroy the burgeoning dreams of an aspiring cartoonist by taking all rights.


Gregory Kogan said...

This bill, if passed, would definitely create a lot of issues for us. I used the Illustrators' Partnership site to send an e-mail to congress. Thanks for the links.

Mike Lynch said...

I am so glad to see the NCS take an advocacy position on this. Brad Holland deserves some kind of award for persistence in fighting this. As does the one and only Stu Rees. The NCS is very fortunate to have Mark & Lynn Parisi enthusiastically involved in spearheading the fight.