80s Movie Posters by Van Orton Design
After a discussion last week with several of my cartoonist peers (and at the behest of Steve Bissette): I want to talk about image theft and uncredited content on social media. I’m only going to speak from personal experience (and only about the one image posted above) but I hope that this example will show the disservice this causes to any artist whose artwork is edited and reposted without credit.
[Disclaimer: I post all my work online for free. I want people to read, enjoy, and share my work. I have no problem with people reposting my work if it’s credited and unaltered. (That way new readers can find their way to my site to read more.) My problem is when people edit out the URL and copyright information to repost the images as their own for fun or profit.]
Below, I’ve listed the sites where my comic was posted and how many times it was viewed on / shared from each of those sites. (The following list was composed from the first ten pages of Google.) Let’s take a look at the life of this comic over the last 11 months.
On January 23 (2013) I posted the comic on my journal comic website, Intentionally Left Blank, and on my corresponding art Tumblr (where it currently has 5,442 notes). The same day, it was posted (intact, with the original URL and copyright) to Reddit. (There, credited, it has received 50,535 views.)
The Reddit post alone was exciting but on January 24, someone posted an edited version of the image (with the URL and copyright removed) to 9GAG. That uncredited posting has been voted on 29,629 times and shared on Facebook 22,517 times. That uncredited image caught on and spread like wildfire:
January 25: LOLchamp (39 comments. Views unknown.)
January 26: WeHeartIt. (With the 9GAG ad at the bottom. Views unknown.)
January 26: Random Overload (2 Facebook likes. Views unknown).
January 26: CatMoji (41 reactions. Views unknown.)
January 26: The Meta Picture (1,800+ Facebook likes. 6,000+ Pintrest shares)
February 5: damnLOL. (929 Facebook shares. Views unknown.)
February 7: LOLhappens. (1,400+ Facebook shares.)
February ?: LOLmaze (121 shares)
February ?: LOLzbook (37 likes and 37 shares).
On March 25, I was lucky and this comic was featured in a Buzzfeed post “36 Illustrated Truths About Cats.” The comic was featured alongside work by a 35 other artists who I admire and aspire to be. (Exciting!)
Buzzfeed was able to trace the uncredited image back to me and listed a source link to my main website but still posted the uncredited version of the image. The post currently has 6,000+ Facebook shares, 14,000+ Facebook likes, and 727 Tweets. Ever the optimist, I’ll count those numbers in the “credited views” column.
The problem with Buzzfeed posting the uncredited image and only listing the source underneath was: people began to save their favourite comics from the article and repost them in their personal blogs without credit. (13, 3, and 60 Facebook likes, respectfully.) I’m mentioning this not to target Buzzfeed or the individuals reposting, but to show the importance of leaving the credits in the original image.
March 30: FunnyStuff247. (47,588 views.)
March 31: LOLcoaster. (1 Facebook like. Views unknown.)
April 5: ROFLzone. (1,200+ Facebook shares. Views unknown.)
April 26: LOLwall. (70 Facebook likes. Views unknown.)
July 23: The uncredited image was chopped into four smaller pieces and posted on the Tumblr of TheAmericanKid, where he sourced it to FunnyStuff247. (124,786 notes and featured in #Animals on Tumblr.)
Aug 21: Eng-Jokes.com. (87,818 views and 41,400+ Facebook shares.)
There were 14 other sites which listed uncredited versions of the image within the first 10 pages of Google, but they were personal blogs so I’m not going to include them here.
One additional website I haven’t mentioned was Cheezburger, who originally posted the uncredited version of comic on January 23; but later modified it to the credited image after I contacted them. They didn’t contact me when they made the change but the image currently has 2,912 votes and 4,700 Facebook shares. Let’s be optimistic and count those as credited views and shares.
That brings us up to the current views and shares of the comic. Now let’s do some math.
I’ve removed the comments and reactions (because they could already be accounted for in views). I’ve left in votes, however, because some sites list votes instead of views.
Taking into consideration that Tumblr notes are made up of both likes and reblogs, let’s be conservative and say the Tumblr notes are twice as high as they should be. (That every single person that has viewed the image on Tumblr has liked the image and reblogged it.) Dividing the Tumblr notes in half, that leaves us with:
Posts using the credited image:
2,721 Tumblr notes
0 Pintrest shares
14,000 Facebook likes
10,700 Facebook shares
Posts using the uncredited image:
62,393 Tumblr notes
6,000 Pintrest shares
2,085 Facebook likes
347,984 Facebook shares
Adding those up and treating them all like views (assuming that every shared post was viewed once):
The original (unaltered, credited/sourced) version of the comic has been viewed 81,595 times.
The edited, uncredited/unsourced version of the comic has been viewed 588,310 times. (That’s over half a million views. Seven times more than the original, credited version.)
What does that mean for me as a creator? On the positive side, I created something that people found relatable and enjoyable. I succeeded at that thing I try to do. But, given the lack of credit, it also means that 88% of 669,905 people that read this comic had no chance of finding their way back to my website.
This was a successful comic. I want to be able to call this exposure a success. But those numbers are heartbreaking.
Morally, just the idea of taking someone’s work and removing the URL and copyright info to repost it is reprehensible. You are cutting the creator out of the creation. But worse yet, sites like 9GAG are profiting off the uncredited images that they’re posting.
9GAG is currently ranked #299 in the world according to Alexa rankings. As of April of this year, their estimated net worth was around $9.8 million, generating nearly $13,415 every day in ad revenue.
As a creator of content that they use on their site: I see none of that. And I have no chance of seeing any kind of revenue since readers can’t find their way back to my site from an uncredited image.
I don’t want to sound bitter. The money isn’t the point. But this is a thing that’s happening. This isn’t just happening to me. It’s actively happening to the greater art community as a whole. (Especially the comics community. Recent artists effected by altered artwork/theft off the top of my head: Liz Prince, Luke Healy, Nation of Amanda, Melanie Gillman, etc.) Our work is being stolen and profited off of. Right this second.
I do my best to see the positive in these events but the very least I can do as a creator is stand up in this small moment and say “This is mine. I made this.”
Something need to be done by the community as a whole: by the readers as well as the creators. We need to start crediting our content/sources and reporting those who don’t. Sites like 9GAG need to be held accountable for their theft of work. If you see something that’s stolen: say something to the original poster, report the post, or contact the creator of the artwork.
If you have an image you’d like to post but don’t know the source: reverse Google image search it. Figure out where it came from before you post. If you like it enough to share it, it means there’s probably more where that came from.
This is why credit must be given to artists. Do not reblog art that has no artist source (a website, a name, something) Do not post art that has no source. Add credit if you find something unsourced if you can.
I don’t care where you are sharing the artwork that is not yours, post the damn source, artists make a living off of the exposure they get from their work (commissions etc).
For all the talk of an abundance of slavery narrative films around, it’s rather surprising just how few there actually are. Some cite the fact a couple of films have arisen in the past years - Django Unchained, Belle, and Lincoln among them – as a thematic trend, but considering so little a lot is a grave misunderstanding. Something so intricately tied to American history cannot be easily shrugged aside and it’s no surprise that modern filmmakers find it a poignant subject to explore in this supposed post-racial day and age; a time where the privileged white man continues his tirade of abuse against all minorities. Additionally, a film that provides a genuinely strong voice for African American’s that isn’t helmed by a white man is hard to come across. Here, in Steve McQueen’s adaptation of Solomon Northup’s autobiographical work 12 Years A Slave, we find one which could arguably be considered the most unflinching look at America’s dark past yet.
McQueen’s film revolves first and foremost around Solomon Northup’s tale, in which he is stripped of his life as a free man and sold into slavery. The knowledge that any person’s life could disappear in the time it takes to crack a whip is chilling enough, but the events that follow make it all the more tough to watch. The fear of pain, of death, and of losing oneself can all be seen in actor Chiwetel Ejiofor’s face and body language, making him the perfect protagonist as he commands the screen even in moments of silence. He is a man trying to survive in a world that leaves so many dead; a world reflected in both his story as well as what is shown of those around him.
Wherever you are, whenever this comes out, please see 12 Years A Slave. It’s a really, really important film. It’s also a very good film. Everything that McQueen achieved in Hunger and Shame is still there - the intimacy, the ability of his camera to observe objectively rather than judge & manipulate - but it’s amplified by a far larger cast, a wider scope (both geographically and temporarily), and by the incredibly important subject matter. Let’s not forget that this is a black director making a film about slavery, with a black lead who is as worthy of an Oscar as any person in history. I was lucky enough to see this back in early September at TIFF, and in a room of 1000 people, at least 75% of them were in tears. It’s a wonderfully moving film, but more importantly it’s exceptional at, in many ways, being the first of its kind. Go see it, you won’t regret it.
I’ve read a lot of people on tumblr saying that she’s using women of colour as a prop in her Hard Out Here video and I didn’t not take it in that regard — I could of course be entirely wrong — as Allen’s video very slightly (VERY slightly) exaggerates the presentation of women in music videos to demonstrate just how ridiculous it is. She is not advocating for that presentation of women and makes it clear, or at least that’s my impression. Comments men think women would make about male anatomy (i.e. the Robin Thicke homage) are replaced with misogynistic assessments of the female anatomy. Women are part of the kitchen scenery, as much a show thing as a car or a champagne bottle and above all dancers made up of all but one woman of colour serve as a background to the main singer. This video is a criticism of music videos.
Another thing people are bringing up “Don’t need to shake my ass for you ‘cuz I got a brain” — and claiming it’s married to twerking and the image of the black woman shaking her ass. But look at that wording: Don’t need to shake my ass for you ‘cuz I got a brain. That for you is so important. Shake your ass if you want, whatever. But Allen is arguing against the Thicke-esque idea that everything revolves around a man’s worldview and physical relationship to women.
Just imo obviously.
"One last thing: while you may be mistaking this for your monthly meeting of the Ignorant Tight-Ass Club, in this building, when the President stands, nobody sits." (the west wing - season one)
November 07: Which TARDIS had the best interior (desktop theme)?
The first interior I ever saw. <3
My favourite. Everything from this era is my favourite. Not my first but my best.
I love this TARDIS. It’s a shame that it only stuck around for such a short space of time. It’s beautiful.
I once got to run around it, before it had been shown on the show, and walking into that studio was magical. Stepping into that TARDIS was like being The Doctor. It had so many corridors and staircases, that could have gone anywhere, and for twenty minutes or so I was a timelord, fiddling with the pulleys and buttons and the cute little 1980s computer keyboard that could fold up from under the console.
is there a cooler person on earth than janelle monae? no