Hamilton Spectator editorial cartoonist Graeme MacKay has been on a tear this week chasing after a Twitter account (@HarpersGotaGo) that was allegedly taking editorial cartoons, removing the artist’s signatures, scrubbing out any original dialog and replacing it with his/her own wording to completely change the original cartoon’s meaning. @HarpersGotaGo appears to be politically driven account (tagline “Dedicated to removing Steven Harper and his Vote Buying With Our Money Conservative party from power!”) and has since removed the cartoons after several exchanges by Graeme and other cartoonists that were alerted.
Here’s the exchange between the Graeme and @HarperTogo (click to see larger, readable version):
This isn’t new by any means. Graeme did the right thing in calling this behavior out even though it wasn’t his work being altered. As he points out in his blog post about this issue, there’s a certain amount of requirement to be vigilant to this kind of behavior even if it’s not your work being altered.
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.