Sharing cartoons (the right way)

16 Apr

It’s been a hot-topic issue recently with me (and many more) about how to properly share a cartoon.  You know, like on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, etc.

There’s nothing in the books about what you’re supposed to do, but this is my opinion.

I write this because I’ve seen my work torn to shreds.  I’ve seen my name deleted off of my work.  I’ve seen people add things in my cartoons (that I didn’t).  I’ve seen them cropped beyond recognition, text changed and just about everything.  I guess that’s what I get for having cartoons used via social media, but it irritates me (obviously).  I see it happen with other cartoonists’ work as well.  Again I use my hot dog stand example.  If I owned a hot dog stand, would you steal hotdogs from me and then claim them as your own?  I doubt it, so why do people do it with cartoons (and photos or anything shared online) without proper credit?

Well, first off, I think a lot of it is knowledge.  You have to imagine some 12-year-old kid at his computer, running across a cool cartoon.  He then crops it and changes it around and calls it his own without a second thought.  Yeah, the kid might not know better (sad to say).  Just like how he downloads all that “free” music.

So, my job as a guy that LIKES my cartoons shared across social media and things is to help inform and educate people.  So, I’ll attempt to.

It’s funny because I’ve had quite a few talks this week with numerous people that enjoy using my cartoons.  I’ve asked all of them politely to please add a link to my Facebook page, website – something – when sharing.  And believe it or not, EVERYONE of them agreed and are doing it now (thank you, everyone!).

I mean, I charge to use the things on websites, blogs or anywhere, so social media – without a charge  – there has to be a link.  It’s free and easy to do, if provided.

I’ve had some celebrities share my cartoons and I’ve contacted them about it – with no avail.  I won’t say any names, but let’s just say I’ve been, ahem, well – I’ll let my pal Bearman cover that one (click HERE to find out).

Now listen, I wouldn’t care so much if I drew for a hobby – but this is my living.  And I don’t expect all society to comply with “my” rules, but at least I’m making a dent in my effort to protect my work.  In this day and age where everything is free, people need to realize there’s a person behind those music videos, photos, and – of course – cartoons.  It takes time and money to make these.  It’s not easy – it’s work.  Hard work.

So, the biggest protection I’ve found so far are these three things:

1.  I sign my full name now.  I use to just put ‘N. Fakes’, but now it’s ‘Nate Fakes’, which helps any business, editor, etc. who wants to hire me or use my work.

2.  I put my website address (or Facebook) on each cartoon

3.  I always post a link of where it came from.  Like my Facebook page or website.  Whatever it may be.

Anyhow, some things to consider.  Again, I LOVE it when my cartoons are shared!  I like reading shared cartoons.  But, just make sure they’re properly credited.  I’ve had people tell me, “That was one of YOUR cartoons?  I had no idea.”  “Why?”  I’ll ask while scarfing down a Pop-Tart.  “Well, there was no name on it or anything.”


Ssshhh, here’s a secret:  Yes, my cartoons are honestly not just there to amuse.  They’re little advertisements for me and my work.  Again, I make a living providing cartoons to companies, websites, businesses and other means.  So, when my source or name is off it, people that don’t know my style or who I am are clueless.  Thus, equals less chance of a potential customer or more importantly – a fan.

Just my thought for today and since I’ve had quite the week fighting my cause.  If you’re an artist, musician, etc. and you see a Facebook page, site or whatever that is using your stuff, I suggest politely ask them to remove it or ask for credit.  After all, chances are, their (the person using your work) Facebook page or whatever wouldn’t be successful to begin with without clever material to post (such as your stuff).  You’ll be surprised.  I’ve actually made some friends from sites doing this and they’re cool people.  They just didn’t know.

Remember:  A credited cartoonist is a happy cartoonist. 🙂


6 Responses to “Sharing cartoons (the right way)”

  1. David Hurley April 16, 2013 at 7:44 pm #

    This is a concern of mine too. I’ve been trying to make sure my information is on my work. And also making sure it is on my website if it’s for something else besides one of my comics. I’ve seen my stuff without credit and it is frustrating. Once it gets reposted somewhere you have no idea where it’s going. Good luck with yours Nate.

    • w101njf April 17, 2013 at 4:55 am #

      Yeah, I almost got to the point where I almost wasn’t going to share the actual cartoons online – just the link. BUT – it’s the small majority of people that crop the stuff out of cartoons and alter them (you know, the assholes). I’m hoping that soon it will become a common trend for EVERYONE who shares music, cartoons, art, etc. to supply a copyright and source or they’ll hear about it from their friends and family like, “What are you doing?!?”

  2. jennyeverywhere April 17, 2013 at 10:42 am #

    The thing that makes me want to rip my hair out is the appalling ignorance of the people who keep saying “oh, but everything on the Internet is in the public domain, isn’t it?” I’m sorry, but every time someone says that, an alien turns a kitten into a pop-tart (from “Goats”, (c) Jonathan Rosenberg). Just because something is publicly *accessible* does not mean it is publicly *owned*, and that’s what “domain” means. “Public domain” means those things that everybody owns, that no one can lay claim to and put a fence around, usually things that copyrights or trademarks have expired on or were never put on in the first place. But the way the law is written now — and here’s the real brain-breaker — *practically everything you read, hear, or see on the Internet can be assumed to have a copyright*, unless it says somewhere that it *doesn’t*.

    This is because the law was changed a while back, and MOST nations with the Internet at all are signatories to the Berne Convention, a section of international copyright law that says you don’t have to apply for, make notice of, submit, pay a fee, or DO ANYTHING SPECIAL to receive a copyright for your work. Copyright is an intrinsic property of placing a work in a tangible form, not a legal protection you must ask for like a fishing license or a library card. It is a built-in property of the work itself, created when the work itself is created, and the only way to get rid of it is to loudly and sometimes obnoxiously scream that you don’t want it anymore on that particular work. It’s not easy to get rid of anymore.

    You don’t have to put a (C) on your work, you don’t have to send copies to the government, you don’t have to fill out forms, and you especially don’t have to seal up a copy in an envelope and mail it to yourself, certified mail. Those are all myths. WITH ONE CAVEAT.

    If you ever need to protect your work in court, you need to have the origination date registered with whatever the appropriate body is in your country. In the US, it’s the Library of Congress. You do that by filling out a form, sending in $35, and submitting two copies to the Library, unless it’s electronic, then you upload it. This does not get you a copyright. It simply cements the date your work was submitted, so if someone comes along with a copy of the work or a derivative work, and you sue, you can point to this date as a legal milestone. Any “prior art” defense they come up with has to predate that point.

    But be mindful of what *exactly* you’re copyrighting. Copyright is just that, the right to COPY. It protects the “words in a row” you wrote, or the picture you drew, or the lyrics or notes you composed or performed. It does not protect an idea, or a world, or a “universe”. The issue of “derivation” is thorny, but derivation of what? Derivation of just the basic idea is not derivative of the WORK that was copyrighted, because the idea cannot be copyrighted.

    So, in theory, you should be able to create a world that has people in a terraformed star system, with a despotic, decadent government in the inner core worlds, and a more rustic, less tech-developed cowboy-like bunch in the rim worlds. They might sometimes speak English and sometimes Chinese, because that’s the coalition that colonized those worlds. Some might even wear long, brown duster coats, because they’re just downright practical sorts of clothing. So long as you don’t have a buglike ship you call a “Firefly”, or anyone named “Reynolds”, or refer to certain past stories, you might be able to get away with it — again, not making use of prior words-in-a-row. None of the trademarks, either, which probably are legion. JUST the idea.

    I also suggest you don’t sell an orange and green knit hat with ear flaps and call it a “Jayne” hat, or Fox will send you a Cease-and-Desist…spraying the area liberally with Evil Fox Executive repellent. (From “Hijinks Ensue”, (c) Joel Watson)

    (Oh, and IANAL. I just studied copyrights with some so I knew a bit of what I was doing when I started publishing stuff. Consult with one if you want REAL legal advice, this isn’t advice.)

    • w101njf April 17, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

      That’s a lot to take in! But yeah, it’s crazy how much you must go through to protect your work and what people believe is okay. As I mentioned in my post, I think a lot of younger people are very unaware of copyright and that there are actual people behind the stuff they see on YouTube, Facebook, etc. It’s more tempting to steal things online than it is a candy bar.

      I hope a lot of things iron themselves out someday. Hell, maybe – just maybe – someday in schools they’ll start teaching kids about how to properly use the internet and all the material that is scattered around it.


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    […] what brought on my post about how to share a cartoon.  So people would know where it came from since social media is the mega-force for the gag cartoon […]

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