Friday, August 14, 2015

Why @HarpersGotaGo GotaGo

From Graeme MacKay's website.

From Montréal Simon

It’s election time in Canada and with it comes a golden period of time when satirists are busy skewering the very folks begging for our votes. Social media websites and apps has enabled anyone with a political sense the ability to satirize and join a realm once dominated mostly by newspaper columnists and editorial cartoonists.

One doesn’t have to search far on the world wide web to find altered zinger photos of well known celebrities or politicians meant to mock them. Some are hilarious, some not so much. In almost every case these funnies often have no source and there is never any credit given to the author or photographer whose work was used in the humor.


Editorial cartoonists, like me, have been performing some voluntary service for our craft by policing the rising popularity of sharing editorial cartoons on the Internet. Those who rip off other cartoonists ideas are monitored, and those who alter cartoons to fit their own agenda are immediately called out. It’s quite easy to pin down authentic work from anonymous satirists based an their propensity to us the font Comic Sans, as this Washington Post story points out.

When @HarpersGotaGo, whose true identity remains a mystery, tweeted me a cartoon that was so obviously reworded with the moniker of the artist erased out an alarm bell went off in my head. The cartoon had the familiar style of Malcolm Mayes, longtime editorial cartoonist at the Edmonton Journal. I called the account holder out on it and then he/she got lippy.

Still, I nicely eluded to @HarpersGotaGo with my limited tweet abilities that the alterations were breaches of copyright, and with the erasing of monikers and hosting of the cartoons on the account @HarpersGotaGo was essentially guilty of plagiarism.

Then I was blocked, as were the other cartoonists I cc’d and whose work was altered without permission.

It’s ironic that the account holder @HarpersGotaGo, who has every right to satirize the Prime Minister for unethical behavior, proves to have his/her own unethical behavior by plagiarizing the true foot soldiers of Canadian satire. Some may ask why bother paying attention to this character, he/she doesn’t have much of a following, but the account holder seems to have no problem allowing these altered copies to remain on their photo feed making them available to whomever wants to retweet them.

Shame on@HarpersGotaGo, and if anything @HarpersGotaGosGotaGo.

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