Thursday, June 16, 2011

Be Very Careful What you Publish Online

That's a given; right? I mean we all looked over the twitpic copyright announcement where they seemed to be claiming the rights to the "photos" (including artwork), posted onto their site.

And we are all aware that despite insisting that their own online material is copyright protected, newspapers and magazines have published drawings they "found" online claiming they thought the work was "in the public domain".

But there is another area you have to be wary off, that's the area of creative license. Be sure about what rights you are giving away, and be clear in your own mind what rights you are keeping. The reason I bring this up is because publications like the "United Kingdom Comics Creator Introduction..." exist, without you knowing anything about them:

The "Publisher's" Synopsis

Editorial Reviews - United Kingdom Comics Creator Introduction From the Publisher
Purchase includes free access to book updates online and a free trial membership in the publisher's book club where you can select from more than a million books without charge. Chapters: Colin Macneil, Leah Moore, Arthur Wyatt, Eric Bradbury, Emma Vieceli, Dave Follows, Chris Bunting, Steven Appleby, Charles Peattie, Robin Smith, Mick Anglo, Joe Berger, Robert Nixon, David Law, Lee O'connor, Michael Molcher, Larry, Davy Francis, Scott Goodall, Richard Piers Rayner, Graham Higgins, Rod Mckie, Pete Loveday, Tom Kerr, Tom Frame, Gina Hart, Scott Gray, Hunt Emerson, Daniel Vallely, Tom Gauld, Mike Pearse, Reg Parlett, Simone Lia, Bob Lynch, Phil Hall, Ken H. Harrison, Reg Bunn, Timothy Birdsall, Russell Taylor, Henry Matthew Talintyre, Lawrence Goldsmith, Pete Nash, David Austin, John Dallas, Eric Stephens, Henry Seabright, Kenneth Norman Lilly. Excerpt: Colin MacNeil is a British comics artist, best known for his work on 2000 AD and in particular on Judge Dredd and other stories within his world like Shimura and Devlin Waugh. ... More:

This print-on-demand publication, by US company Books LLC, gathers information from the internet, from sources like Wikipedia, and makes that information available to subscribers:

The Metro actually did a piece on this practise earlier in the year, but it kind of slipped under the wire:

Now there will be some people who think this is okay because it's "exposure". It's not okay. If you didn't intend your information to be harvested in a list, or a book, it shouldn't be. Also, if you post illustrations and these people publish them, particularly in the US, you will technically be in breach of contract if you subsequently sell the "First North American Rights" after that happens.


Royston Robertson said...

Yes, it's an area of concern in the digital age. I usually put a URL, and often a watermark too, on images I post online these days. Doesn't stop people pinching them for blogs etc but it would hopefully deter a profit-making business like a newspaper or magazine.

I get a fair number of requests to re-use images people have found online, and I'm sure there would be fewer if the URL wasn't there as a warning (and a way of contacting me). And people are often happy to pay (though not always of course!)

Rod McKie said...

Hey Royston.

This cobbling things together wasn't totally new to me because I remember some character in Hong Kong pulled a lot of indie stuff off the web (including blogs)and made an art book - which was shocking enough, but not totally unexpected. A US company doing it though, is an unexpected and unwelcome development that is making my cartoon-sense tingle.

I think I will follow your example with the url, something I've avoided until now. I think the sooner we batton down the hatches the better.

spleenal said...

Sometimes i put a drawing up on the net and it ends up in a bunch of different places.
For me that's kind of what the net's for.
I do wonder about these places that claim ownership of everything though. What if I upload a picture of the mona lisa? That belongs to them now does it?