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Posted at 9:30 AM ET, 08/25/2010

Rankled cartoonist says National Intelligence chief used altered image without OK

By Michael Cavna

(Image reprinted courtesy of Daryl Cagle)

It was intended as a "feel-good" news story, light-hearted -- what many ink-stained newsfolk, in trade parlance, call a "bright."

Except political cartoonist Daryl Cagle didn't feel too good or brightly upbeat about one aspect of the story: He says he saw that his own work was being altered without his permission or consent.

On Aug. 21, my Post colleague Ellen Nakashima wrote that retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper, in "a PowerPoint briefing of senior staff last week," used cartoons in his content to inject laughs into his presentation. The headline said, "New intelligence chief Clapper brings sense of humor to serious job," and among the images were cartoons by Cagle and Post legend Herblock that had been re-labeled for purposes of the presentation. Clapper was into his second week as the new director of national intelligence.
Cagle, in response, wrote on his blog this week: "What happened to the Obama Administration's professed respect for copyrights? There is little more offensive to an editorial cartoonist than to have his cartoon stolen and altered to make a different point."

Cagle, who is also a cartoon syndicator, tells Comic Riffs: "We sell our cartoons for use in PowerPoint presentations, like this one, and other government agencies have purchased the cartoons in the past, including the FBI. If any client had sought to purchase a cartoon for this kind of usage, we would have refused, because we don't allow clients to alter cartoons to have a different meaning than what the cartoonist intended."

As of press time, the director's national intelligence office said it did not yet have a comment regarding the matter.

As for comments replying to Cagle's blog entry, cartoonist Rina Piccolo wrote of Clapper: "I think you should send him a big fat bill."

By Michael Cavna  | August 25, 2010; 9:30 AM ET
Categories:  The Political Cartoon  | Tags:  Daryl Cagle, Lt. Gen. James Clapper  
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I'll bet lots of people modify cartoons for their own purposes without ever thinking about copyright laws. I think the cartoonist ought to feel some pride that his/her work was chosen to be ripped-off.

Since it appears that cartoonists have no sense of humor on this subject, then you get what you deserve, nothing.

Posted by: schafer-family | August 25, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Cartooning is a business like any other and if you steal from them then you should expect to pay the consequences. Those who think that cartoonists are showing a lack of humour in this should try and put themselves in the position of the cartoonist or any other business person who has had their work or products stolen instead of passing patronising and irrelevant comment.

Posted by: gtbarker1hotmailcom | August 28, 2010 5:21 AM | Report abuse

Eh, Cagle reuses his own cartoons, so I have diminished sympathy. Here, he admits it, the lazy wastrel:

Posted by: anaximander471 | August 28, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

When are you people going to get it? They are his property to use and reuse as he wishes and no one elses. If I stole your car because I liked the look of it would that be ok with you? Of course not, because it is your property.And if he can keep reseeling them good for him, that's between him and the people who think they are worth paying for and no one else.

Posted by: gtbarker1hotmailcom | August 28, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Hey, I didn't say Cagle couldn't or shouldn't be compensated; I just said I don't have as much sympathy for him because he's a lazy wastrel. Clearly he should be paid for his work. After all, how much lazier is a guy who doesn't even draw a cartoon to begin with so he can use it over and over and over, beating the public with it like a squishy clown hammer?

Posted by: anaximander471 | August 31, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

True, but how many so-called musical artists do this? Or even whole musical genres? Seems to me I've been hearing the same rap song for the past 15 years. And what of comedians? They make a living out of telling the same gags ad infinitum?

Posted by: gtbarker1hotmailcom | September 1, 2010 3:09 AM | Report abuse

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