Copy Right, Mr Dale…

When visiting the blog of Iain Dale today, I came across a cartoon that looked anything but kosher. The characters where blatantly the work of cartoonist Andy Davey, but the rest of the cartoon so obviously not. A quick look at Andy’s web page confirmed that the caricatures were lifted from this cartoon and this one. The page has clear instructions that all artwork is copyright-protected, although you’d think that’d be obvious.

When challenged about it, Iain answers thus:

Poldraw, I was sent this by one of my readers. They didn’t want a credit. I was unaware of the faces being taken from another cartoon. Not quite sure what to do not (sic), to be honest…

Unaware of the faces being taken from another cartoon?!’ I find that exceedingly hard to believe.

The ‘maker’ of this incredibly poor cut-and-paste cartoon, is obviously the guilty party with regards to the actual stealing of copyright-protected artwork. But to my mind the responsibility lies firmly with Iain Dale for publishing it. He himself has spent considerable time and effort trying to argue that blogs like his own are serious players in modern media. Yet he is not prepared to accept the responsibility this involves… Anyone else caught publishing uncredidet, stolen work to tens of thousands of people, would have to own up and pay up. Iain Dale however says he’s “not sure what to do.” (!?!) Well, he could start by removing the cartoon and publish an apology! Then possibly, unprompted by threats of legal action, follow up by compensating the real cartoonist.

Tribune cartoonist Matt “Hack” Buck informs me that Andy Davey was involved in a similar incident with Guido last year. However, unlike Dale, Guido immediately removed the cartoon when notified about it.

Blogs like that of Iain Dale are money making ventures. They are serious publishing tools, and so they should be regarded as such. Most cartoonists would be more than happy to let their work appear on a blog if asked – or at least credited! Indeed someone like Beau Bo D’Or has carved out a cartooning career for himself by lending his work to blogs in the exchange for proper credits.
Why not even commission orginal work? There are plenty of cartoonists out there that would be willing to do work for a sensible fee and the chance to be showcased to that many readers. The approach taken by Iain Dale and other leading bloggers is incredibly backwards. It’s unhealthy, unhelpful and the arrogance is terribly unappealing.

That it in this case is Iain Dale showing such contempt for copyright laws, makes it an all the more important, as he is in the process of climbing Cameron’s A-list in order to become an MP.

Someone, I’m not saying necessarily Andy Davey, but someone must take the likes of Mr. Dale to court soon.

Spread the word.


Iain Dale has now removed the cartoon in question.


As the dust settles from this morning’s exchange, Matt “Hack” Buck mercifully represents the voice of reason with a constructive post on possible solutions. He talks a great deal of sense, and bloggers on all levels should take heed of his suggestions.


4 Responses to “Copy Right, Mr Dale…”

  1. Iain Dale Says:

    1. I did not know the images were from Andy Davey
    2. When you alerted me to this I contacted the person who sent me the image and asked him the question
    3. You then alerted Andy Davey, who emailed me in a very friendly way and was far more relaxed about it all than you seem to be
    4. I removed the cartoon this morning
    5. If I am told about an error or mitake on my blog I always look into it and then take the necessary action. I have apologised to Andy. He is content and that should be the end of it. Your remarks are rather OTT

  2. poldraw Says:

    Of course they’re over the top Iain. It’s a rant, no less.
    And of course no one expect you to be able to determine whose cartoon you’re looking at.
    Andy Davey is a friendly man, so it doesn’t surprise me at all that he would deal with you in a very friendly way.

    The point is the principle. This is not a unique event. You’re simply an easy target because of your status in the blogosphere.
    There seems to be an attitude among bloggers, from the small timers to the likes of yourself, to shoot first and don’t ask later. The reason why I go on a rant is because if even you on the whole can get away with it, and these things are only dealt with if the cartoonists themselves catch you in the act, that can spell serious trouble for our profession in the move to web based publishing.

    Although no one expect you to know every style of every cartoonist, there should be alarm bells ringing when someone sends you what is obviously a cut-and-paste job and don’t really care about credits.

    For someone like Andy Davey, who is an established cartoonist with an easily recognisable style and a regular client base, it’s something you can brush off with a friendly worded email. If the cartoonist being stolen from is less known and trying to make a name for himself, having something like this happening, can be devestating.

    Just keep it in mind.

  3. MessageSpace is distributing copyrighted material without permission : Bloggerheads | Political Cartoons Says:

    […] PolDraw – Copy Right, Mr Dale…: Tribune cartoonist Matt “Hack” Buck informs me that Andy Davey was involved in a similar incident with Guido last year. However, unlike Dale, Guido immediately removed the cartoon when notified about it. […]

  4. Problems in drawing - image copyright and theft — Says:

    […] The Bloghorn is going to highlight particularly bad examples of this as and when they turn up. To illustrate this intent, here is a link to an example of image theft from early in 2007. It comes from the blog of Matt Buck and concerns the work of fellow member Andy Davey. There was some interesting follow-up to the actual theft of Andy’s images and fellow PCOer Morten Morland blogged about that. […]

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