Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Copyright + pinching imagery

An old problem has raised it's head again - people stealing your images and then passing them off as their own work.

One of my colleagues, Andy Davey, has found people 'borrowing' or stealing parts of his drawings for use in their photoshopped internet mash-ups. And they've been appearing on popular internet blog sites, such as Guido Fawkes and Ian Dale's Diary. The latest one turned up on Iain's diary over the weekend.

To be fair to Iain and Guido, both have sort-of apologised for using unattributed images, but there is a serious responsibility to check where artwork is coming from if you are going to publish it on the web.

Old media had to develop a system of employing artists and creators to help decorate their products, it would be nice to think that successful web sites could start to think about doing that too. After all, the visitor benefits are obvious - everybody likes drawings which are rude about politicians.

Perhaps one simple solution would be for all artwork posted to political blog sites like these to be signed - and noted with a URL - that way, we get to know who thinks what. And also, Andy would have some chance to track down the person who 'borrowed' his work.

There is an interesting exchange between my colleague Morten Morland and Iain Dale about this issue at the link below.


Some of Andy Davey's borrowed belongings


Guido Fawkes Esq. said...

As a capitalist I am a believer in property rights.

I do rip off images ftom the BBC website because I regard them as public property.

I do get sent a lot of images by people using photoshop and/or claiming original work. Beau Bo d'Or forinstance used Iain Dale, Recess Monkey and myself to advertise his briliance before he got picked up by the Guardian.

I would not knowingly try to profit from someone else's work unjustly. If you see an unfairly used image on my blog, email and it will be removed.

matt said...


Thanks for your response. I recall you removed some of Andy's and Steve Bell's images from your site last year - and that was the right thing to do.

What do you think about the idea of always attributing images you post on your site to the 'creator' so at least we can always trace somebody who is 'passing things off?'

Guido Fawkes Esq. said...

Errm, some people don't want to be identified. Have learnt to ask questions if same supplier has two radically different styles.

matt said...

Well, that's a good start.

But it must be in your interests as publisher to make sure the name of the creator appears, alongside the work, especially as it's appearing under your masthead.

After all, all publication is potentially libellous.

Curly said...

If creators use Adobe Photoshop then why don't they call up file info and embed in the .jpg their names, addresses, email, websites, telephone numbers etc. Then when work is lifted from one site to be used unattributed on another, it is a simple matter of opening the image in Photoshop to look at the file info to discover the true owner of the piece!

Buenaventura Durruti said...

except that if they really want to pass it off as their own wouldn't they check the file info and delete it - unless they're absolute morons

Matt Buck said...

Here's an a link back to an outbreak of this sort of thing which happened back in February of 2007

Euphrosene said...

Hi Matt - best sign the petition to stop the Orphan Works Bill then.

The petition I've mentioned in this link wants signatory from around the world...


Cheers Euphrosene