Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Jeez, Who'd ya piss off, Brian?

Remember a few months ago when I wrote about the local daily firing the political cartoonist, Brian Duffy, it its last downsizing?

It's worse than that now - The Register never allowed Duffy to pack his office and has had it locked ever since. Editor Carolyn Washburn informed Duffy last week that he will not get any of his drawings or other work back; The Register is donating it all to the University of Iowa and archived as part of the collection for political cartoonists like Frank Miller and Ding Darling.
"All along, it has been a history of the cartoon was in essence the property of the cartoonist," said Duffy.

Duffy said he was always under the impression that his sketches were a joint copyright, just like when he published his book.

"Copyright Brian Duffy and the Des Moines Register, not just the Des Moines Register," said Duffy. "I have no problem donating a large body of work to the University of Iowa. In fact, I'd love to do that."

But he wants to do it on his terms not on behalf of the newspaper that shooed him out the door.

Washburn issued this statement: "It's not about withholding things from Brian. The Des Moines Register paid him for his very excellent work, but we hold the copyright for the work our staff produces. We're trying to do the right thing and make sure these unique pieces of work are protected for Iowans and available to the public."

"These are all personal things to me that I have in essence lost," said Duffy. "I'm not giving up on trying to get my originals back. I'm going to fight very hard to get those."

Duffy - you've down the rabbit hole of intellectual property syndication. Prior to Bill Watterson's Calvin & Hobbes, very few artists owned their work and controlled it's use once it was published. My best to you, but I think you're in an uphill fight.


Anjha said...

Wow. His office locked and he is denied access???

That sounds to me like there is some other suit going on...sexual harrassment?

Something that we do not know.

I don't understand how the Register can lock him out of his own office like that unless there is something else going on.

They are not only keeping his published pieces - doesn't it say that they are keeping his notebooks and everything???

Says none of his drawings or other work back - would that not imply drafts and everything else.

That just seems wrong, wrong, wrong to me. I can understand a fight over the published pieces, that the Register published, but not everything.

idiosynchronic said...

I doubt there is anything else going on. This is now the modern work culture -- you get called in, you get canned, you're escorted out of the building, do not pass go, collect your last check. Employers fear employees whom have platform in which they could express their grievance, which with email is just about everyone. So if you fire your network admin, you don't let him touch a computer until he's out of the building and the other admins have completed locking him out. If you fire the cartoonist, you lock him out of his office while he's in HR signing for his check.

Seven of Six said...

I'd be pissed if I couldn't at least get my family photos.

At the wife's work... security escorts you right off the property. Too many instances of threats of bodily harm.
In fact, one boss did get punched out... broke his nose.

They ended up securing the place tight... I used to be able to walk right in and see my wife... now, she has to escort me on and off the property. No more easy lunches and quick flower drop off.

At my old workplace they were paranoid about sabatoge... their concerns were well founded... some guys used to mess with expensive equipment. People do screwy things when their way of life is altered.