Last week was an interesting one. On Tuesday morning I awoke to one of my Instagram followers notifying me that a cartoon of mine had been reposted on multiple places. Great! I thought. No, not great. The cartoon was posted with my signature cut out. And not just on some personal accounts. From one, it led to another, which led to Thrillist, crediting the wrong person with nearly 3k in likes, and three days without my knowing of the error. The word is livid. I was livid. I commented and messaged and demanded everything be fixed, from who I thought was the original signature-cutter to Thrillist. It’s silly that I even questioned myself, “This is illegal, right?” Of course it is, Hilary! This may be the wild wild west of the internet, but this was a clean-cut issue of copyright.
After making quite the social media fuss, the credit was fixed, apologies were received, and I found that it was another person, whose identity has not been discovered, who originally screen-capped the cartoon and reposted without due credit. So technically, I couldn’t be “mad” at Thrillist. They didn’t know what they were doing, they couldn’t have known. So if I couldn’t be mad at Thrillist what was I to all of these feelings? For about 12 minutes I was so unsure of where to place the anger. But then I narrowed it down.
Yes, it’s the internet. Yes we’re all sharing each other’s work all the time. We like, repost, retweet, favorite, reply, whatever. But the mindset of anyone who thinks it is okay to share someone’s work while deliberately cutting out their credit, that frightens me. And they probably didn’t think anything of it! They just did it and moved on with their day. “La-tee-da, who else shall I rip off today?”
Sure you can throw a filter on a super cool early Snoopy cartoon and call it a day, but please, please dear god, do not hurt the little artist. Everyone knows who Snoopy is, Snoopy for sure gets paid. Cartoons by Hilary sometimes gets paid but she also works at a restaurant and lives off of eggs and toast (I mean I love eggs and toast so don’t like, worry about me).
So while Thrillist went ahead and made the corrections, they couldn’t rectify three entire days of people seeing that cartoon and not knowing it was mine. Sure, the original stealer couldn’t have known the snowball effect their one little post would make. But with that reasoning, I couldn’t have known that one time I lied to my mom about where I was going that Friday night would lead her to being HIGHLY SUSPICIOUS OF MY ACTUALLY TOTALLY INNOCUOUS ACTIVITIES. I WAS JUST BOWLING THAT NIGHT WHY THE HELL DID I LIE NOW SHE’S ALWAYS NERVOUS THAT I’M LYING AGAIN.
“When God closes a door, somewhere he opens a window.”
I’m not religious, but Julie Andrews said that in The Sound of Music and I do believe in musicals.
So I took a step back. This is good.
Even though I hate the person who cut out my signature, this is good. Thrillist liked my cartoon! Three thousand people, liked my cartoon! The same cartoon that has caused me to go viral on tumblr! Hilary, I can’t believe you’re complaining! Now The Berry picked up the cartoon! Things are happening!
“Try to calm down,” is what I normally hear from my mother. But this time around it was, “They should pay you.” I laughed. “This is the internet, mom.”
But maybe I can make it into an overpriced t-shirt?