Bob Andelman talks to American Association of Editorial Cartooning President John Cole about plagiarism cases within the editorial cartooning community. John mentions that the association is looking at whether some kind of ethics guidelines is needed within the group or even what the role of the association should be in cases of alleged plagiarism.
“There is no conventional, set standard,” according to Cole. “When people say ‘plagiarism,’ plagiarism in the classic sense is one person directly knocking off another person’s work and passing it off as their own. Then there are degrees of that. We’re discussing putting together some sort of background. There is a long history; there are examples. We’re working with some of our members who are versed in the history of cartooning. At what point does tradition and influence bleed over into theft?”
Bob asked me the same question when we spoke for this story. I assumed staff cartoonist had to live up to any ethics guidelines of their newspaper employer. As I thought about it later, the AAEC membership at this point has more freelance cartoonists than staff cartoonists on its rolls. Perhaps some clear guidelines and definitions of what plagiarism would be beneficial.
Bob also spoke to another Ohio cartoonist Chip Bok about the Jeff Stahler case.
He’s got video and audio of each of the three interviews.