Watch out for Men in Black.

Copyright infringement is a federal crime!

Fair Use vs Stealing

I recently had a problem with an unenlightened, uneducated and low-class site who stole (and are stealing)  a lot of my cartoons.

crow in black

They are a “humor” site, and they stole many dozens of my cartoons (which explains why this site was down for the last 10 days). I will deal with them separately, when my investigation is done, but because they were so very stupid, I wanted to try to explain Fair Use to my smart readers here!

Very very briefly, there are 4 rules of Fair use:

1. Purpose (entertainment, or education?)
2. Type of work (news, fiction, art)
3. Amount used in comparison to whole work
4. Monetary effect on creator

Examples of Fair Use

Here are some examples of Good Fair Use from the excellent Stanford Fair Use site :

  •     quoting a few lines from a Bob Dylan song in a music review
  •     summarizing and quoting from a medical article on prostate cancer in a news report
  •     copying a few paragraphs from a news article for use by a teacher or student in a lesson, or
  •     copying a portion of a Sports Illustrated magazine article for use in a related court case.

They added:

The underlying rationale of this rule is that the public reaps benefits from your review, which is enhanced by including some of the copyrighted material.

In other words, you use only enough of the article, art, or cartoon, to give a fair review. Your purpose is to REVIEW, not TAKE. In the case of art or a cartoon, you would link to the cartoon, or include only a part of it (just as you see just a detail of classic paintings in art books). If your purpose is to entertain your audience with a cartoon, or be entertained, however, buy the damn cartoon, or else it’s copyright infringement.

In the title bar at the top you can see the complete title of this blog: Best editorial cartoons….interpretation and explanation included.  Most people don’t understand political cartoons, as shown by the fact that over 50% of my visitors are from schools & universities.This blog is educational, which is a huge part of Fair Use. I review fictional cartoons based on the news, I use a small, not printable size, and I always link to, mention by name, and otherwise promote the creator and the publisher. I would also take down any cartoon that a cartoonist does not want displayed here, but that has never happened.

angel & devil on shoulder

In addition, I get PERMISSION from the publisher or creator. Because I am reviewing cartoons (just like a book reviewer) this is Fair Use, even if I don’t get permission. But I do it, anyway, because it’s the right thing to do.

I haven’t done many LA Times cartoons reviews recently, but I notice Daryl Cagle copied my format in his blog, and also picked a few cartoons by others to review each week. (However, this is very time-consuming and a lot of work, so he doesn’t do it anymore either, and just posts a slideshow!)

Of course, there are some sites that have free clip art, I think, and a lot of clip art comes with some software programs. Or you could draw something yourself. :) So you have those alternatives, too.

If you lift cartoons for any other reason than Fair Use – because you feel stupid that day, you’re lazy, you don’t have a subject to write about, you’re jealous of cartoonists, you have a big hole in your post to fill, or you have a liberal hate site – you are breaking copyright law and can be prosecuted. And you will be. Not to mention how embarrassing it is when your host tells you they are removing the copyrighted material you took!

Q & A on Fair Use

What about if I use it on Facebook? Link to it or Like it! It will still show up as a thumbnail on your Timeline. Otherwise, buy the cartoon. There’s no freebie for Facebook.

But I left the cartoonist’s signature in there! So what? How does that pay her bills that month? How does he know where it’s been used? If it’s showing up everywhere, she just lost a sale and do you really want the cartoonist to spend hours tracking you down?

I got the cartoon from someone else. On Facebook. Don’t be a doobie. The other person is either ignorant or a thief, but you don’t have to be!

I found the cartoon on Google images. Other people must be using it. No, that just means the artist or cartoonist was generous enough to post it on his or her website for you to enjoy, and Google scanned it. Google doesn’t own any cartoons!!! Every cartoon belongs only to the cartoonist. No cartoon that you find on Google is free. Let me repeat that: NO CARTOON ON GOOGLE IS FREE.

Buying Cartoons

The great majority of readers will want to buy cartoons anyway for their powerpoint, presentations, newspapers, textbooks, etc.  Fair Use criteria  is difficult to meet, and it’s easy to prove negligence. Also, most readers and writers are good people! It’s quick & simple to buy cartoons, and here’s how. Thanks for understanding, & feel free to ask questions!

43 comments ↓

#1 Fran Irwin on 07.17.12 at 8:32 am

You should probably sue Google

#2 Jet Set Politics on 07.17.12 at 8:35 am

Damn google stealing your comics. What jerks. You should sue the CEO of google Steve Jobs

#3 Ryan on 07.17.12 at 8:55 am

shut up

#4 a lovely person on 07.17.12 at 8:57 am

With regards to your comics being ‘stolen’ I don’t think you understand how any of this works to be honest. If you were serious about this you would have taken action against the site by now. It’s pretty clear you don’t have a leg to stand on, hence all the bluster. Virtually every single assumption you’ve made about that website has been false and untrue, and virtually every claim you’ve made on legal grounds have been absolutely shaky at best, due in no part to your completely wrong interpretation of Fair Use law, and your irrational justifications as to why it’s ok for YOU to do so.

“In addition, I get PERMISSION from the publisher or creator. Because I am reviewing cartoons (just like a book reviewer) this is Fair Use, even if I don’t get permission. But I do it, anyway, because it’s the right thing to do.”

Rings a bell?

As you are more educated, enlightened and are a beacon of class, I will trust that you take the correct legal action and measures to ensure the copyright enforcement and integrity of your original work, instead of making uninformed blog entries that serve as a classic example of the Streisand Effect [an effect a scurvy liberal hate blogger made up].

#5 Brian Raupi on 07.17.12 at 9:18 am

You don’t really get permission, or you wouldn’t have called that guy that asked Ted Rall about whether you got permission a misogynist and pedophile and then blocked him like the womanchild you are. I also know you won’t let this through, because you’re a huge baby when it comes to criticism of any sort.

#6 Cat Fur Surprise on 07.17.12 at 9:24 am

“If your purpose is to entertain your audience with a cartoon, or be entertained, however, buy the damn cartoon, or else it’s copyright infringement.”

This is false. That’s not within 10 miles of copyright infringement.

“you are breaking copyright law and can be prosecuted.”

This is false. Prosecuted for what?

Look, I get that internet jerks yelled at you over your terrible cartoons. But you *really* have no clue what you’re talking about when it comes to fair use or copyright infringement. I can empthasize as you make a living on your work and infringement is a serious problem. I know I just cherry-picked two quotes, but nearly every assertion you make here is flat out wrong.

#7 oh lord on 07.17.12 at 9:37 am

How can you be so, so ridiculous? the whole internet is now embarrassed for you and you still continue to torture yourself, you need to stop. (I am not from SA)

#8 Anonymous on 07.17.12 at 10:49 am

You’re crazy, you know that?

#9 Fran Ankh on 07.17.12 at 10:52 am

im sorry to hear about this :( im a fan of your work, and arent surprised such people (or should i say, despicable GOONS) dont get and appreciate your cartoons. if they dont love you they can GO TO HELL!! LOL!

have you tried contacting the owner of the site directly? im sure if you talk to him and ask him to remove your cartoons you could work something out. if not then youll have to just point out how illegal and awful this all is. i found his email is at the bottom of each page, like here: [name of smut site removed] (link safe, i picked a cat page because i know you like cats LOL)

good luck, from one fellow chocolate lover to another, LOL!

#10 S. Gorachii on 07.17.12 at 11:44 am

I hope your invesigation goes well, Donna. They are a awful websight, and something should be done about them! God speed!

#11 al falfa on 07.17.12 at 12:43 pm

Your analysis of copyright is on par with your analysis of Fair Use. That is to say both ignorant and poor.

#12 MrGuy on 07.17.12 at 1:11 pm

Ms. Barstow: The public has, in fact, “reaped more benefit”, in the form of insight and humor, from the smut site thread you are referring to (Or, shall we call them as they are, the Uneducated Low-Class Racist Thieves) than any of your bland, scrawled body of work.

#13 Weedlord on 07.17.12 at 1:15 pm

Personally I agree with everything you wrote, even though some people may disagree, I think it’s a cool thing you wrote and I agree with it. Thanks. It’s a bad hate site that has “trolled” [internet slang for harassed] me and many of my friends in the site, some of whom were black.

#14 rizzo on 07.17.12 at 1:30 pm

Hahaha you don’t know what fair use is!

#15 Burst on 07.17.12 at 1:47 pm

“. . . for purposes such as criticism, comment . . . ” Nope, nothing here fits that test.

#16 Donna Barstow on 07.17.12 at 2:03 pm

Thanks, Corey, I fixed that typo!

#17 Damon on 07.17.12 at 2:14 pm

The only thing more embarrassing than your terrible cartoons is your absurd bluster about copyright law. You’re obviously wrong, and the fact that you have to keep mischaracterizing the situation to justify yourself should have been a clue to that effect. As, of course, should the opinion of that lawyer you called.

#18 OMG on 07.17.12 at 2:20 pm

Wow. Wow. Thought you did the smart thing but now you’ve fed the trolls and it will all start again!!

#19 David E. Smith on 07.17.12 at 2:24 pm

Um, some cartoons ARE free: http://xkcd.com/

Here’s the license: (technically that’s the abbreviated version, but it links to the long legal-ese version of the license).

#20 Direwolf on 07.17.12 at 3:18 pm

I assume Ms. Barstow edited #4 to “Effect [an effect a scurvy liberal hate blogger made up]“. The effect was so called by [a liberal dirt blog], which is a blog about [liberals who hate and believe they should get everything in the world for free and not pay for it]. … the effect exists, but since conservatives are used to denying evolution and climate change, it’s no wonder you are denying this fact too.

#21 Maria on 07.17.12 at 4:10 pm

Why would you think that students visiting your website means your cartoons need to be “explained”? It may be because they are browsing from their dorm rooms.

#22 Chris R. on 07.17.12 at 6:29 pm

Wait… first you said copyright was a crime, so I downloaded a bunch of movies and .mp3s because that would make copyright infringement the remedy. Now you say copyright infringement is the crime?! HOW DO I GIVE DATA BACK OVER BITTORRENT?

#23 Montoya on 07.17.12 at 6:52 pm

I got sent a link to this blog. The message said ‘come look at this ridiculous womens idea of what fair use is and laugh’.

I have to admit I was a little suprised, my friend doesn’t usually send me funny links.

#24 Mrs. Biggs on 07.18.12 at 2:22 am

Please explain how to tell the boys from the men.
<3 Thanks in advance! :)

#25 Bob Dole on 07.18.12 at 2:35 am

Put your money where your mouth is then and pursue legal action against this awful website that is stealing your internet monies. Or at least do something!

#26 johnnyangel10 on 07.18.12 at 5:43 am

I don’t use any female artwork and never will,the guys and pols.,well let’s say I know them well enough to not be any more anxious than Teddy Kennedy was or Schumer ‘playing’ around with my freedoms.

#27 Ronaldus Magnus on 07.18.12 at 6:41 am

i’m sorry ms barstow but as you are not listed as a copyright lawyer none of what you say on the subject can be trusted

#28 Donna Barstow on 07.18.12 at 2:06 pm

To David Smith: xycd’s business plan is different from mine, and he makes money from t-shirts or something. However, his cartoons are ONLY free to NON-COMMERCIAL sites. Reread his site. He also requires a link back, which almost no scurvy lowlife person who has maligned me has given to me.

#29 BonerHitler420 on 07.18.12 at 6:55 pm

I love xycd!

#30 You are not a lawyer on 07.19.12 at 2:22 am

Sorry Ms. Barstow,
Not only are you wrong about the Fair Use Exception, you are just too stupid to understand that you are wrong.

Since I hear about this awesome new website where you can search for things called… umm Google I think it was. I decided to look up the Fair Use Exception that you think you know so much about. Guess what came up, a nice link to the law for Cornell (you know the place where all the educated idiots go to learn like law and stuff).

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/17/107

Let me give you a nice excerpt from it:

“the fair use of a copyrighted work… for purposes such as criticism, comment… is not an infringement of copyright”

But I understand where you keep misunderstanding this section. See ‘not’ is a word that means it negates something. So the fair use for purposes such as criticism, comments negates the infringement of copyright. As in there is no copyright violation. As in they did nothing wrong. Do I need to keep going or have you gotten it by now?

PS I took a vote of everyone here in Southern California, we all agree… move away, we have no need for your ignorance here. I hear you will do well in Arizona though…

#31 JSharkey on 07.20.12 at 2:33 am

quote: they stole many dozens of my cartoons (which explains why this site was down for the last 10 days)

I don’t understand why someone hosting your images elsewhere caused your site to be down for 10 days. Could you explain why? I was desperate for some images to use in a powerpoint for a software demonstration and I had to rely on clipart instead.

Luckily nobody laughed at the clipart, but in the future I’d like to be able to rely on your cartoons for this.

If they did cause your site to be down then you will be able to sue for loss of business, and I will be glad to submit a statement saying that I wanted to buy funny cartoons from your site but I was unable to.

Do you have a bad hosting deal? If so I’m not sure that your cartoons would be a good purchase – if I have more than 10 in my presentation (this is not unlikely) will that cause your site to go down?

I think a good explanation will help to restore my faith in your service (and my Manager’s faith – she was VERY unimpressed).

Thanks,

Janith Sharkey

#32 Mike on 07.22.12 at 8:34 pm

It’s astounding. I’ve never before seen someone so vehemently defend such an indefensible position with so little to back them up. You have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about and yet you are so stridently convinced of the veracity of your position you’re willing to embarrass yourself repeatedly, and in such grand, hilarious fashion.

#33 Lizzie on 07.26.12 at 9:05 am

Thanks to [horrible illegal stealing website] I have learned of your work, Ms. Donna Barstow, and gotten a lot of value for the context they provided. I.e., your cartoons suck, and you are an example of conservative “smart” people I can rub in other conservatives’ faces to embarass them with their own ranks.

#34 Donna Barstow on 07.27.12 at 1:10 am

The above is a good example of a liberal hater from a liberal site. Haters gonna hate!

#35 Maindrian on 07.28.12 at 7:00 am

Oh, nice. Slot everybody into a neat little category. That’s wonderfully narrow minded and to be expected from a political cartoonist I guess. I’d normally suggest reading a book to somebody so clearly idiotic, but in your case, I think you should stop reading books because if your understanding of fair use is anything to go by, you’d draw completely the wrong conclusion. “1984? Oh, wow, it’s a brilliant argument for a police state!”

#36 Miss on 07.30.12 at 9:56 pm

You argue what’s fair use without even knowing what it means. Hosting an image in another site is not stealing or taking or any other word you would like to describe it. They are not making a profit from it. By posting your own work, you leave it up for critique.

You are a grown woman and you actually used the words “haters gonna hate.” You need to step back and reevaluate what you’re doing as a whole.

#37 truefax on 08.05.12 at 4:08 pm

You should probably clarify that you aren’t actually going to be suing anyone here since you would lose embarrassingly every time, which would get expensive. And while you may be employed, I’m pretty sure you don’t make enough money to support the whole ‘professional crazy person’ lifestyle through more than one or two idiotic litigations.

#38 Angela Bartolome on 08.07.12 at 5:00 pm

I no longer understand what the word cartoon means due to reading it over and over again in this terrible, terrible opinion piece.

#39 SMJ on 08.17.12 at 7:26 pm

“No cartoon that you find on Google is free. Let me repeat that: NO CARTOON ON GOOGLE IS FREE.”

- Repeating a lie doesn’t make it true.

#40 Donna Barstow on 08.23.12 at 1:12 pm

So little to say, yet you feel the need to say it, SMJ. Astounding. Troll.

#41 TheQQTrain on 09.28.12 at 4:08 pm

Just the fact that you have to edit the posts of others because you’re a bitchy little baby… proves you’re a bitchy little baby.

#42 Donna Barstow on 10.17.12 at 7:46 pm

That’s gay slang, right?

#43 Danny Hellman on 11.27.13 at 5:55 pm

If you hate Ted Rall you can’t be all bad.