I read an interesting letter recently. It was about copyrights. This letter made me realize that my own integrity is warapped up in how I handle this Internet.
Years ago, to steal someone else's work required equipment, time, and a way to cast media out to the wolrd. Today, in the blogosphere, all I need is the time to get on my five year old laptop, locate the stuff to copy and paste it expeditiously into a blogpost. That is the way blogging is cheapening the world.
As we struggle to make our thoughts useful, and far-reaching, there is also a desire to do this as simply as possible. I am guilty as charged. As I went out looking for a comic (not to post, just to look at) I found the following letter, a challenge to me in my efforts to keep my own ideas as original as possible, and not plagiarize someone else's work, just to fill up space quickly. Just as the Internet has made more accessible, more quickly, so has it made it possible to devalue other's efforts, so that is my thought on that...
Enclosures: A note from Gary Larson
A note from Gary Larson
RE: Online Use of Far Side Cartoons
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
I?m walking a fine line here.
On the one hand, I confess to finding it quite flattering that some of my fans have created web sites displaying and / or distributing my work on the Internet. And, on the other, I?m struggling to find the words that convincingly but sensitively persuade these Far Side enthusiasts to ?cease and desist? before they have to read these words from some lawyer.
What impact this unauthorized use has had (and is having) in tangible terms is, naturally, of great concern to my publishers and therefore to me -- but it?s not the focus of this letter. My effort here is to try and speak to the intangible impact, the emotional cost to me, personally, of seeing my work collected, digitized, and offered up in cyberspace beyond my control.
Years ago I was having lunch one day with the cartoonist Richard Guindon, and the subject came up how neither one of us ever solicited or accepted ideas from others. But, until Richard summed it up quite neatly, I never really understood my own aversions to doing this: ?It?s like having someone else write in your diary,? he said. And how true that statement rang with me. In effect, we drew cartoons that we hoped would be entertaining or, at the very least, not boring; but regardless, they would always come from an intensely personal, and therefore original perspective.
To attempt to be ?funny? is a very scary, risk-laden proposition. (Ask any stand-up comic who has ever ?bombed ?on stage.) But if there was ever an axiom to follow in this business, it would be this: be honest to yourself and-- most important -- respect your audience.
So, in a nutshell (probably an unfortunate choice of words for me), I only ask that this respect be returned, and the way for anyone to do that is to please, please refrain from putting The Far Side out on the Internet. These cartoons are my ?children,? of sorts, and like a parent, I?m concerned about where they go at night without telling me, And, seeing them at someone?s web site is like getting the call at 2:00 a.m. that goes, ?Uh, Dad, you?re not going to like this much, but guess where I am.
I hope my explanation helps you to understand the importance this has for me,
personally, and why I?m making this request.
Please send my ?kids? home. I'll be eternally grateful.