Lincoln Plagiarism: Moot

About a year ago I addressed this issue. If you didn't read it I can recap the whole thing very quickly:
  • I did a drawing.
  • I posted it online.
  • Someone traced it and published it.
  • I found out.
  • The offender denied it.

*Here is a visual comparison; my image mirrored on the
left, sliding over the published illustration on the right.

So over the course of several months, I was communicating with the editor of the paper where this employee works, trying to come to (what was promised to be) an amicable solution. To keep it simple, I can tell you that it was not amicable, but the issue is over.

After emails, talks, discussions with lawyers, a phone call harassment from a husband and many weeks in between conversations (seemingly stalling the discussion), I decided to drop the issue. Last month I communicated this to the person in charge, on the publication's end.

I did this for three reasons:

1. The person in charge of this "investigation" apparently had very little knowledge about the logistics in this situation, making it very difficult to convey the seriousness, validity and obvious nature of the charge, as well as the proper solution. I was facing a 50 ft. brick wall that was saying, "I don't understand why you can't just walk over me?" - in as purely sincere a way as possible. He is really a genuine individual and I didn't want to get heated with him.

2. In my opinion, I was past an implied statute of limitations. By that I mean the matter had been stalled for too long by the employer of the offending party, as well as my delay in obtaining a lawyer to handle the situation. My defaulting to honesty and trust was a flaw in this particular situation. While I trust it overall in my life (HONESTY, INTEGRITY and ACCOUNTABILITY), it doesn't seem to convince anyone of a 'crime'.

3. I learned from my good friend Tom that this particular case doesn't really matter in the long run. Jennifer Boressen is in no way ruining my career, stalling my work ethic, obstructing future jobs or hurting me directly. An argument can be made the opposite, sure, but in this case, I learned more than I achieved. I will have to pick my battles, and much like the person on the city sidewalk printing my caricatures for their $5 charcoal sketches, it doesn't hurt me as much as it hurts them. I am somewhat a believer in karma and I feel that I need to worry only about myself and I'll be fine.

So yes, it is over and I had nothing admitted to me. I was assured that the issue was not taken lightly. Supposedly actions were taken in the workplace and "...a discussion has arose that will not soon go away." I've spoken with this editor quite a bit and gotten to know him as an individual and I feel he is sincere.

--- NOW ---

Although I treaded lightly this time, I have learned a lot. I have also already begun to legally copyright ALL of my own artwork as well as contact a lawyer for future cases of plagiarism or theft. Next time I know how to handle it and have decided that while I attempted to trust honesty this time, next time I probably won't be so nice. I'm not out to get anyone's head on a platter, but if someone steals, I will try to them accountable for it legally and financially (if reasonable and fitting).

I want to say that I appreciate all the support I got on this issue, and I don't intend to let it lay next time. It's great to know there are so many artists watching each others' backs, and that community is what really matters. I want to thank my buddy Mike Briggs in Worcester MA for the heads-up on this one. I owe him a beer!


Craig Zablo said...


How did the offender deny it? Coincidence? At any rate, what goes around comes around and you've got some good karma coming.

Andy Murray said...

You did good, Joe. In the end, you stood up for yourself, pointed fingers at the right people, and you'll be ready to punish (and thereby discourage) this type of behavior in the future. Yay Joe!

A.M.Bush said...

I'm sorry about what happened Joe, but I'm glad you took the high road. If I ever see her on the street I'll punch her in the face for you (metaphorically, in case any cops are reading). See you in 1 day and a half!

Joe Bluhm said...

That's sweet, Ann... and I know you're joking, but for the record:

Please don't. :)

See you soon.

Nick and Amera said...

freak man, Joe you are probably the coolest guy out there, I love reading your stuff, thanks for all the awesome artwork (to look at not steal), and thanks for the funny posts, keep it up!

Mark Heng said...

Way to fight the good fight, man! And I'm glad to hear you're preparing for the next time this happens. An ounce of prevention...I pity the fool that crosses ya next time!

Ryan Wood said...

Thanks for the update, I was wondering how this got resolved. Karma is definitely on your side. Keep up the great work!

Josh Spencer said...

Well it's good that you stood up for yourself. I'm sure they'll get there's.
The crap thing is that they always make your art look WORSE!.

Maybe we should make caricaturist's guild.

Josh Spencer said...

Well it's good that you stood up for yourself. I'm sure they'll get there's.
The crap thing is that they always make your art look WORSE!.

Maybe we should make caricaturist's guild.

Anonymous said...

(thanks for your works and tuts)

In Spain happen the same with illustrator Vizcarra...

His magazine makes every week a contest to discover plagiarism caricaturist!!!

They are a lot!

This is Vizcarra website:

Keep the good work (and sorry for my crappy english!)

Kahunna said...

Man, that sucks. You fought the good fight, it seems. Curious though: how did you "legally copyright" your artwork?