A word from the author #4 (and the issue of copyright)



I hope everyone is well and enjoying/enjoyed the seasonal festivities.  The blog below wasn’t intended to be  the next part of this series, but with it being a busy time of year I haven’t had chance to write much and had pre-written this one!

I’ve mentioned before that I find some of this weird.  I find taking myself, what I am doing, and this whole venture serious a bit like when I try and speak Spanish and attempt the accent. I feel stupid and sarcastic.  So thinking further down the line and preparing for a good outcome, I have found myself having to question what I am doing, what I am creating and how I am reaching the end product.  For someone just starting out it is so hard to find out what you can and can’t do.  Where’s the line? When do I start to worry about it?

So, as always, I’m trying to do things with the best intentions.  I’m not sure what I should/need to credit in the books, if anything.  I look ahead to a future where a Jeffrey book is in a prominent retailers and I’m making ‘some’ money of my work.  I ask myself, if it remained as it was when this was just a hobby, what would be the major problems.

Two items spring to the front of the queue, one obvious, and one I’m not so sure about.

Firstly there is the issue on some of Jeff’s friends. Namely, Olaf, Penguin, Karl and The Boys.  They are in our lives because the films they appeared in brought us some joy, and that in turn led to, for whatever reason, each of them living with us and becoming part of our world.  So, although that will carry on for us.  Jeff will continue receiving words of wisdom from Penguin, and he will continue to be annoyed by Karl.  But it is, with a little bit of actual sadness, that I have to remove and/or replace them in the books.  Jeff already has Snowman, so he will fill Olaf’s snow-filled shoes.  The Boys will remain, but the images have been changed.  As for Karl and Penguin, this has proven a bit tricky.  For the books, Penguin has always been the oldest and wisest, even though Jeff is quite wise himself.  And Karl has always been the perceived antagonist – and what do you replace a minion with anyway?  Looking at some of the photos, I could see something mischievous in Penguin.  So Penguin remains Penguin, but with a new look.  And Penguin will take over Karl’s role of the chief antagonist in Jeff’s life.

It does leave a hole of someone Jeff turns to for wisdom, though I have an idea for this that I am currently mulling over in my head, but not committing to it just yet.

So, I would like to thank at this point, for the inspiration:

  • DreamWorks and the Penguins of Madagascar
  • Illumination Productions and the Minions of Despicable Me
  • Disney’s Frozen and the creators of Olaf
  • And Rovio for giving us Angry Birds.

Secondly, the illustrations.  There are a lot of creative things I wish I had the ability to do.  I wish I could sing, I sadly cannot (and should not).  I cannot draw either.  My Art teacher at school thought I had something, but was disappointed when I didn’t take it any further.  I think I would have needed a lot of practice, I definitely had no natural talent.  Today, if I attempted to draw anything, I’m not sure if it could even be considered abstract; maybe childish doodles at best.

What I think I can do is take a half-decent picture.  And I am also fairly ok with technology, gadgets and various apps and software.  What I am finding is that I am developing a definite and consistent look to the pictures I use in the books.  And it’s another part of the process that the method’s I am using I find easy for me to turn my hand to and quite enjoyable.  Where things seem to be quite unclear (and so far in searching I haven’t really found an answer, though I shall keep on looking for the time being), is how copyright works when its your picture combined with software someone else has created.  If you take an app like Prisma, they have very distinctive filters, so I imagine it would be necessary and only right that they are given credit somewhere at some point if your entire pieces of work rely solely on that app.  However, I certainly don’t credit Microsoft and PowerPoint in every presentation I do, nor do I credit the maker of whatever camera I have used to take a picture which I have posted in a public forum.  So until I learn otherwise I shall just continue as is – and I think I muddy the copyright waters even further as I use up to seven different apps/pieces of software to get that consistent look and get the image just right for any given picture, illustration or social media post I have created that you may have seen.

I do however believe in doing the right thing, and this isn’t just to cover my back, but I would very much like to thank:

  • Samsung and the camera in whatever version of phone that I currently have
  • Picsart Photo Studio by Picsart
  • Microsoft and the various office products I use, mainly Word, PowerPoint and Publisher
  • Photo Punch by SK Planet Co. Ltd.
  • Paper Artist by JFDP Labs
  • PhotoFunia by Capsule Digital
  • Instagram
  • http://www.openclipart.org

I have no doubt that changes will happen and need to happen throughout this.  I just hope they remain of my own choosing and I am not imposed upon too much by the world we live in.

Jeff has just looked up from his book of copyright law and given a little wave.

W.G. Clark

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