Social Media Copywrong

Editorial Cartoon Social Media Stealing

Today’s cartoon was inspired by some conversations I have been seeing more and more from cartoonists and graphic designers bemoaning the practice of companies who crowdsource graphic work.   The process of crowdsourcing is where a company invites anyone and everyone to submit graphic/cartoon work but only choose one or a limited number of people to win.  And even then there may or not be a monetary prize.   Personally I don’t have a problem with the contests except when (and it is becoming all too frequent) when the contest rules state that any submissions become the property of the sponsoring company.  BS!!!

However, some of my same friends who will be irate over crowdsourcing don’t seem to have any issues with illegally downloading music, tv shows, or movies.   It becomes a larger group when you include some others that I follow on social media.   Some complain when someone posts something they found/made without attribution to the original poster.   I am in full agreement with that complaint provided that you aren’t yourself in the practice of stealing content from someone else.

Know your meme is a great site to find out the history behind certain memes that suddenly become popular on social media.

Those of you who are artists/designers, what are your thoughts on crowdsourcing design work?


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72 Responses to “Social Media Copywrong”

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  1. MJ says:

    An evil practice for the cartooning and illustration field.

  2. Deb says:

    Geeze, how hard is it to just link someone to give credit for the work, or the original.

  3. Deb says:

    Forgot to tell ya, really like the comic you made.

  4. Tim Green says:

    I would rather keep my work to myself and my small group of webcomic buddies than enter something like that. I would be very upset to find out someone was using my work without my knowledge!

    • Bearman says:

      Tim, I think it is worse for someone to complain while doing the same stealing themself. That is the impetus for the cartoon.

      And don’t worry, we’ll keep enjoying your work

  5. Jim says:

    I don’t usually do the caption contest thing n’ such, but if I do, I’ll usually just share the page with my own caption or toon image in my own news feeds, without sharing directly to the given contest.

    As for stealing. That’s just wrong. I do what I can to give credit to the known creator.

  6. lisleman says:

    You are becoming the serious cartoonist. Regarding music copyright – youtube seems to have worked out a pretty good solution where they can identify a piece and with the owner’s agreement allow you to post it with the attribution and possible ad money going to the owner.

    • Bearman says:

      Except if I want the song added to my MP3 player and use tools to take youtube videos and use them as such.

      • lisleman says:

        Do you mean take the song from youtube for free? What I meant was reusing a song I have paid for background music on a homemade video. I read a good book awhile ago about this copyright situation titled “Remix”. Some balance of stealing vs. fair usage is needed. One example of corporate lawyers going to an extreme was the case of mom who was sued because she posted a video of her toddler dancing to a song playing on the radio.

  7. Comedy Plus says:

    It’s difficult sometimes to know where something came from, but when I go looking for a certain thing I link back to it. Like my Feline Friday stuff. It’s the right thing to do. Some people are pretty low aren’t they?

    Have a terrific day. 🙂

  8. You’re a genius, this is exactly how people behave. Very funny. 8)

  9. Bo Lumpkim says:

    I just +1, share, or retweet other people’s stuff. I hope they get credit for it that way. I am sure some of my sayings are stolen but there is no way I can remember who said everything in my head and give them credit. Most of my stuff is stuff I have been usin’ for 40 or more years or just a different take on something new.
    That being said, I don’t think anyone ever steals my stuff and I don’t download stuff that is copyrighted without permission. Even when someone does a guest strip for me I try to give them credit and a link whenever I use it. (Such as the Takin A Break comic you did for me.

  10. Binky says:

    I hadn’t heard of crowdsourcing, but there are a lot of these types of “contests” where whatever you submit becomes their property. So for giving out one prize, they get hundreds or thousands of things they could use (pictures, art, stories). . . I think it amounts to grand theft and should be illegal. You give up all your rights to your work simply to ENTER the contest.

    • Bearman says:

      Agreed. The good ones will say you give them a license to the product so they can promote the contest and share your work as part of the contest. Beyond that, they do not need to own anything.

  11. Nef says:

    I steal everyone else’s work and then claim the credit. When someone steals my work, I cry bloody murder… Who am I?


    You follow as many people as the Dalai Lama has followers, so I KNOW my answer has to be correct for someone.

  12. Colleen says:

    People should read the fine print. If it says “becomes property of me after submission” they can’t say they didn’t warn you. However I think it’s reprehensible to do this. There was this guy in town he’d ask web designers to do a template for him without pay then he’d tell them that there were other designers bidding against them, so if they wanted to win the job they’d better do the best. Well of course some thought more complete was best, then he’d just suck down the best design or two, use it himself and tell all of them they lost, though they had good “ideas”. He dismissed me when I insisted cash beforehand. I don’t always do that, but I didn’t like the cut of him. I warned my friend, he said oh your just a racist because he’s an Indonesian guy, I was like no I just don’t trust him because (a) I don’t know him and (b) how can he afford a real web designer when he lives in a crappy apartment and is a student!!! So my friend ended up out a day’s work and was not happy.

    • Bearman says:

      Please tell your friend to listen to you next time. Rub it in real good. And he/she owes you lunch for not taking your advice.

  13. George says:

    I’ve replied to a few cartooning/illustration “jobs” that ended up being something where they wanted the applicants to basically compete with each other on a specific project only to result in the company choosing a winner from the pile of applicants.

    Personally, if you want me to draw something, hire me. I’m not going into a contest with 20 other people just for you to keep all of the entries as your property. That’s a huge scam that I feel a lot of fledgling artists fall for.

    We deserve to be paid for our efforts just like any other profession out there. If I wanna donate my services, I’ll choose to do that of my own volition.

    • Bearman says:

      I will enter one if I feel that artistically it is a challenge for me and I want to master the process, not because I feel I am going to win.

      However I won’t enter one where I give up the rights to my work.

      • Bo Lumpkin says:

        Maybe I need to always consult with the Gatorhead Legal Department before I submit anything.

      • George says:

        I mean, if it’s a contest, and I choose to enter, that’s fine. That’s my decision to determine if the “juice is worth the squeeze”.

        But if you initially advertise this contest in the “Help Wanted: Cartoonist Needed” section of the classifieds, then I expect you to hire me or go for someone else, not tell every interested applicant that they have to now play an impromptu game of Art Survivor. Especially when the “application test” is the very job/project you were applying for.

        For example: “I need a cartoonist who can draw whimsical animals for our new t-shirt line!” I apply, then am told that I would have to draw a series of 10 whimsical cartoon animals, and they would pick hire the creator who captures the feel of what they’re looking for. By the way, all entries become property of said company.

        I don’t think anyone wins in that situation other than the sneaky company. 🙂

  14. loved the comic,cashing on someones elses sweat..thats real cheap

  15. Friggin Loon says:

    This is why I pay a fortune to subscribe to clipart. AND no smart ass comments from you Bearman. 🙂

  16. Tony McGurk says:

    Love the contradiction of the 2 panels. Funny but so true. I always download music from iTunes so it’s all paid for. I used to get music from free download sites until I saw a tv show about that sort of thing. I felt guilty so I stopped doing it. This is the 1st time I’ve heard of crowdsourcing. Sounds a bit of a scam to claim total ownership of a contest entry

    • George says:

      I stopped downloading free music and moveis when my old computer started developing cold sores and these strange lesions. That taught me to go the honest route. Plus, mp3 albums are pretty cheap nowadays (Amazon mp3, y’all!).

      • Bearman says:

        There is some fault with content holders/creators.

        Artists – put your damn URL on your work. That way if someone uses your work they will either have to work hard to remove your URL or if they honestly make the mistake of not crediting you, at least there is a way for people to find you.

        Music is easier now that itunes is there but I think some TV shows are missing out if someone doesn’t have cable and wants to watch a show. So they need to figure it out.

  17. Gruhn says:

    Well put. I’m stealing this idea.

  18. Who wants to actually MAKE stuff?!?!

  19. James says:

    Effin pirates!

  20. Mark Stokes says:

    Everyone wants something for free. As long as these crowdsourcing companies pay decent rates for the work they commission, I’m fine with it. If they expect to own other people’s work upon submission, we have a problem. Anyone stupid enough to agree to that arrangement deserves to have their work taken away from them.

  21. Nate Fakes says:

    I admit it – I’ve gotten music ‘that way’. But, I do feel bad about it. That accounts for something, right?

  22. DrFaust says:

    I “won” a T Shirt design competition earlier this year. The prize was lame but for me the major prize was having the design printed on one of their T shirts…….this still hasn’t happened and I now realise the “competition” was a social media stunt to raise brand awareness.

    Also bearman…..this cartoon is awesome….so true!

  23. Tony McGurk says:

    Don’t know if you noticed but I’ve gone back to my old site. Had a notice on the self hosted but once I sent in the cancellation request they shut it down quicker than I expected.

  24. Lynn says:

    I have no problem downloading torrentz- C’mon screwing a massive corporation is okay isn’t it? They do it to us all the time! Cute toon though. Quit tempting me to comment with your post teases on FB. I’m busy trying to create website content that I know someone will eventually steal anyway.

  25. writerdood says:

    This is why I never let those big cable companies run any of the awesome music and movies I’ve created in my basement. Screw them. You put your stuff up there, and people start stealing it right away! The only way to stay safe is to be anonymous and keep all your material locked up where no one can see it.

  26. I am with you on that, I have never been a fan of stealing anything off the net. When I was younger I did use Napster and I did find a pretty cool site back in the day for movies, but when it became an issue I stopped, and I was always worried I would download a virus.

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