on Mar 4, 2010
Look, I don’t claim to own a joke. The internet is one big remix tape of ideas, feeding and looping back on itself. That’s what’s beautiful about it. It’s completely possible that begeek.fr saw the joke I wrote and thought it could be done better. Arguably, that’s what happened. The Begeek.fr version of the joke was picked up on the Consumerist and Gizmodo, as well as showing up on Digg in a big way.
But I don’t think it’s unreasonable to at least expect a link back. A hat tip. A “here is where the joke came from”. (And if begeek.fr wanted to maintain Plausible deniability – which they totally could have pulled off with a joke this simple – they shouldn’t have done a straight copy & paste of the third panel, which I photoshopped myself.)
But cut & pasting my work and then basically re-telling the joke I wrote with small modifications and then passing it off as an original idea is a jerk move. I would have loved to have a little sip of that massive Digg, Gizmodo, and Consumerist traffic. I work hard to draw attention to my stuff and build an audience, and breaks like that never come as often as I’d like. I think a small link is just a matter of basic courtesy, honesty, and manners. Particularly when the traffic starts pouring in. It wouldn’t have hurt begeek.fr at all to say where the joke came from or what it was based on. It’s not like I’m asking for money. Just a few bytes of HTML and some basic decency.
(And don’t bother, now. It’s too late.)
Update: begeek.fr left a comment below indicating that the image was sent to them via email. Can’t really prove them wrong, so the matter is settled. I think they could have dodged this by just saying it came in email.
Sigh. That’s the way it goes sometimes.
Well, I’m off to make my next bit of entertainment. Maybe this one will hit the big time…
Shamus Young is an old-school OpenGL programmer, author, and composer. He runs this site and if anything is broken you should probably blame him.