Working “for the exposure” – an Open Letter to Elon Musk.

Dear Mr. Musk:

Make no mistake about it – I’m a fan. You have done and continue to do amazing things with technology, which will benefit humanity in incalculable ways as things only continue to improve.

I’m putting “Unicorngate” down to a simple lack of awareness of what happens on the ground to virtually countless artists, writers, web designers, composers, photographers, playwrights, and so many others who depend on their sweat and blood and tears and creativity to make a living. Tom Edwards is one such, and intriguingly enough from all I’ve read, he remains a fan of your efforts.

Ask any creative soul – they’ve probably been asked to work for free. One of the best essays on the subject I’ve seen includes illustrations by Emmie Tsumura, who imagines the faces of people who want you to work “for exposure.” I recommend the piece.


Illustration by Emmie Tsumura

These people probably fall into one of two categories: Cheap bastards, and the totally unaware. Mr. Musk, I don’t know you from Adam’s off-ox, but you don’t strike me as falling into the first category. I suspect that what happened is that somewhere in your organization, someone who wasn’t even thinking about copyright violations thought Tom Edwards’ work would make a good bit of marketing fluff, and before you or anyone else at the top was aware, it had been incorporated at multiple levels.

The right thing to do would have been to compensate Mr. Edwards fairly for the privilege of continuing to use his work, or to apologize for the error, pull the illustration from your materials, compensate him fairly anyway, and move on.

Telling him that suing would be kind of lame, and intimating that the exposure was good for his business, is essentially being this guy:

Illustration by Emmie Tsumura

Don’t be that guy. Your company can afford to pay people fairly for their work. The optics of doubling down on an issue where you’re clearly taking the wrong position are terrible, and the world needs Tesla to look good.

That’s all.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

YouTube gives me the nasty.

Hqiz. Got a notification today that a video I posted was removed pursuant to a copyright claim.

I found it here: It’s the third one down.

According to the info on the page where I found it, the ad is in the public domain, so I put it up in good faith.

Someone else thinks it’s not, so I have a strike on my account. I hate legalese, I hate attorneys, I hate the whole copyright madness. Someone might simply have sent me a polite note requesting the movie be removed, but no – I get all this garbage:

Legal Garbage

I’ve sent an email requesting clarification to the claimant whose email address was provided – I hope they have the decency to respond.

Gah. Dealing with corporate legal hqiz is so unpleasant.

Plagiarism or Synchronicity?

While researching my recent post about changing brand logos, I stumbled across this Jennie and Jack cartoon by W.E. Haskell, dated 1908:

It popped up because the characters had a distinct similarity to the Campbell Kids. Now I had never seen this cartoon before, but a loud bell immediately rang in my head. Have a look at the following Buster Brown strips from 1905 (click on the thumbnails for full-size versions:

Busy Little Buster Brown


Buster Brown Goes Shooting


They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but that doesn’t fly in the copyright world. The similarity here may be coincidence, but it looks like a lot was lifted, not only in terms of content but also “look and feel.” Just a random notice in passing.

The Old Wolf has spoken.