comics: April 2007 Archives


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I first caught wind of this over at Planet Karen, one of the few blog/comics I follow regularly. Seems that an artist (Todd Goldman) basically lifted this piece of "art" directly from a webcomic produced some five years ago (Dave Kelly's Purple Pussy), going so far as to reproduce even the details like the curl of the tail, eyelashes, etc. It's pretty egregious. And the cartoonists, they are less than pleased, needless to say. Most of the webcomic artists that I follow "give their work away" and struggle to make ends meet with Cafe Press tchotchkes, compilation books, etc. It's not tough to imagine why having someone else display their work in a gallery and sell it for $$$ might rankle them.You can find some links and more detail over at Juxtapoz, which is where the above graphic comes from.

I keep my ear to the ground, and typically forward to Becky mentions of plagiarism, intellectual property, etc., that I come across, particularly when I deem it unlikely that she'll have seen them. And I did with this case as well. What struck me, and part of why I forwarded it, as I was tracing out links was Scott Kurtz's suggestion:

David, you should make that panel open source. You should encourage everyone in webcomics to do a praying pussy strip. Make this one image synonymous with the act of plagiarism that Todd Goldman committed on you. Then ride the wave of attention and publicity and use it to bring your work the exposure it deserves. Turn something bad into a huge opportunity for yourself.

The idea here is that, rather than policing and seeking damages for the plagiarism, Kelly could get even more mileage from it in the long run by diluting the aura that Goldman is attempting to capitalize on. And that's something that I haven't seen much of as I come across the occasional discussion of plagiarism. I'm relying here on a pretty dim memory of Benjamin's "Work of Art" when I mention aura, but there's a sense in which Kurtz's suggestion turns Benjamin's point (which can be read nostalgically) into a creative (commons) strategy. And that's kind of cool.

(Oh, I should mention too that I'm not sure that there's a phrase right now that's abused and misused more than "open source." As sympathetic as I am to almost every context where it's used, I've heard a number of otherwise savvy people use it like a magic spell when they simply mean "free" or "non-proprietary." It's starting to work its way under my skin.)

That is all.



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This page is a archive of entries in the comics category from April 2007.

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