Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

July 15, 2013

Buzzfeed Allows Reader-Contributor To Post Matt Bors Work To Site; Won’t Pay The Invoice Bors Sent

I think this is fairly self-explanatory. Matt Bors put up a hugely popular cartoon on about people blaming the millennials generation. A very-active-on-social-media person put the entirety of the cartoon up on part of Buzzfeed's site. Bors sent them an invoice. The cartoon was taken down. Bors won't be paid for the publication. Digging into to the rules, it seems that this site uses a bunch of enabled readers to generate material. If I'm reading the article correctly, Buzzfeed won't pay Bors because they took it down when they learned what happened and it really wasn't them that posted it in the first place; they won't censure the person who did post the entire work because no detectable maliciousness was involved.

Sometimes I think we're past the point where posting something over someone's objection is seen as an arguable thing, but this set-up and the march through goofiness that it engendered fairly proves me wrong. I'm actually not all that upset by re-uses in personal blogs, or people digging into material that way, because I think there's an automatic re-contextualization that takes place. But just re-publishing an entire work isn't just automatically pathetic, I think it's clear that publishing it on a site like that one put that re-published version in direct competition with the original, published version, and speaks against Bors right to be able to place the work wherever he wants. That should be his right, it really should. In this case, my hunch is that the person that did it was more delighted by the extra attention driven their way than frustrated by not getting to show this work to people.

There is probably something deeply ironic about someone in that generation doing this to a cartoon that seeks to divert complaints away from people from that generation, but I'm not the guy to figure that out and I'm sure there are plenty of older people -- including probably that site's operators -- involved.
posted 7:10 pm PST | Permalink

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