Two stories this week got me thinking. The first was McSweeney’s “competition” for cartoonists. It was not well received. It was so badly received, in fact, that McSweeney’s pulled the contest and apologized. The rub? They were asking cartoonists to do spec work with no plan to pay anyone than the “winner,” who would get $500. I was amazed at how much anger it produced (though there were many who thought it was worth it for the exposure), and happy about it. In the race to “free” content by devaluing it, there are many people who still understand that work, and the intellectual property generated from it, are worth something.
While this was still in the back of my mind, Galleycat pointed me today to this story from All American Blogger. Long story short, Duane Lester had his article copied verbatim by a small paper, decided to do something about it, and actually taped his visit to confront the paper. This man was cool under pressure, made his case very well, and stood up for his rights as an author. It’s impressive, and worth a few minutes of your time to watch. It’s empowering!
(He asked for and got $500 for their use the piece, the coincidence of which just reinforced the connection to the events of earlier this week. I love when things line up so nicely.)