Does David Coburn know about copyright?

On 25th May, David Coburn, now UKIP’s London-based MEP for Scotland, tweeted this:

David Coburn Copyright

It’s an edited version of a cartoon by Nate Beeler, published in the Columbus Dispatch in December 2012 to illustrate the fiscal cliff.

Nate Beeler was not aware of this:

The editing of Nate Beeler’s cartoon was done skilfully and with thorough attention to detail.

Fiscal Cliff Fix by Nate Beeler for the Columba Dispatch December 2012

  • The cartoon has been cropped to remove the Columbus Dispatch credit from the upper right-hand side
  • This had the effect of also removing the words FISCAL CLIFF FIX from the upper left-hand side
  • A photo of Nigel Farage has been pasted into the drivers’ seat to cover the original drawing of Uncle Sam
  • The word “Congress” has been removed from one of the men in suits
  • The tiny cartoon version of President Obama has been edited to remove the distinctive “Obama ear”, leaving only a man who could be anyone of that shade of brown
  • In the bottom left-hand corner, a party political logo has been stripped in: two words VOTE JOIN in white with the purple & yellow Ukip logo in the middle.

UKIP TweetingI wondered – did David Coburn – or whoever was responsible for creating this – have permission from Nate Beeler and from the Columbus Dispatch (he is their editorial cartoonist) to do this to their cartoon?

Nate Beeler said on Twitter, “I would hope they contacted my syndicate, Cagle Cartoons, for the right to use the cartoon”.

When I emailed Cagle Cartoons, I got a reply back within a few hours, which was quite clear. No one had been in touch with them from Ukip to buy the right to use this cartoon. Furthermore, they said, it was against their policy and against the policy of the cartoonists they syndicate “to change their work in any way whatsoever”.

They allow “editors, publishers, bloggers” to run their content on their web sites or in their publications for a fee and “they are not permitted to alter the work in any way”.

They asked me who they should get in touch with about this. I passed on David Coburn’s and Patrick O’Flynn’s contact details, as well as the main Ukip address.

Patrick O’Flynn was the Daily Express’s chief political commentator before he was appointed Ukip’s director of communications in January this year.

As for David Coburn, who unquestionably distributed this edited cartoon:

Scotland’s first UKIP MEP had stints as an art dealer and City trader before entering politics.

David Coburn, 55, is the Glasgow-born owner of a freight company, who previously stood as a UKIP candidate for the London Assembly.

After high school in Glasgow, Mr Coburn studied law at the University of Leeds – a course he admits to failing. [Trader via Martin Frost]

Yes, it appears that David Coburn’s knowledge of copyright law and the principle of crediting the original artist (the media-credit info is provided) is as extensive as his knowledge of UK election regulations or EU laws.


Filed under American, Unanswerable Questions

6 responses to “Does David Coburn know about copyright?

  1. trabasack

    They also edited out Barrack Obama’s ear. I wonder why?

    • Oo, so they did. Subtle stuff! Was evidently done by someone with a knack for photoshop, which I suspect means not David Coburn, though I could be wrong.

      My guess is Obama’s ear went because without the distinctive ears, the cartoon could be of anyone his shade of brown.

  2. GrumpyPants

    House clearance? I rather think he’s beginning to dig his Party’s grave.

  3. juliusbeezer

    Hmm. In my neck of the internets, mashups are considered quite cool and creative; prissy copyright maximalism less so, tempting as it may be to lash out with whatever’s to hand against something as odious as UKIP.

    • In my neck of the woods, mashups for fun and no profit are considered cool and creative. A wealthy political party taking a cartoonist’s work and – without notifying him or paying him – manipulating his cartoon into an advert for their party – is less so. In fact, bluntly, if you are making use of someone else’s work as an advert for your own highly profitable venture – and Ukip’s goal of getting MEPs into the European Parliament can hardly be considered anything else – you owe it to the person whose work you used to pay them for it.

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