Monday, June 30, 2008

Some People Have Nothing Better to Do

Whilst googling myself the other day, I came across this post on the First Person Irregular blog, written John Ochwat. Now, John seems like an intelligent guy and he's entitle to his opinion but . . . he is clearly in need of more interesting pursuits in his life.

In his post, John opins about the evils of the author bio being longer than the text in children's books (yes, he counted them). He uses Good Morning, Garden, written by Barbara Brenner and illustrated by myself as an example. Ouch! He even shows the lovely cover (and thank you for that, if you're going to slam a book, you can at least have it look good and sell a few copies, right? But I digress.) He even complains that there are duplicate bios on the back page and on the jacket flap, making the text to author bio ratio something ridiculous like 1:2.

Here's the point, John: the text and author bios are written for two different audiences. The text is written for the kiddies, or to be read to the kiddies. The bios are written for the adults who buy and read the books to the kiddies. A few adults actually find them interesting. In a small way, it gives additional resources for the teacher using the book in the classroom. So please, take a deep breath. There must be worser evils in the world for you to cast your eye upon.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Do You Post Photos Online? Read This

Okay, I know I've been harping on this orphan works thing, but some people still don't get how serious it is yet. So here's just a taste of what's to come in the future. Read this and this about an illustrator whose image was stolen by a large cigarette company and used to advertise cigarettes to kids. Read this about a blogger whose photo of her pet showed up on Fox TV, and this about a photographer whose image was used by cnet without permission. Read this about a guy whose photos were used by Real Time with Bill Mahr without his permission. Then read this Washington Post article about it happening to others.

Some of these infringements were willful, some an honest accident, blamed on the lowly intern (wink, wink). Regardless, this is just a taste of what is to come.

As scary as that is, it's nothing compared to this. Websites like Google and Flickr are removing metadata—hidden data within the digital file that includes the creator's name, contact info, and copyright info among other things—from digital files. Yikes! These are two companies that stand to benefit financially from orphaned works, and they are willfully orphaning works by removing this information. This is a recipe for wholesale theft!

If you have not already done so, go to Orphan Works Opposition Headquarters and read more there. Sign their petition and write your congressional leaders using the form letters. Some of them are starting to get the message but they need to hear from YOU.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The NY Times linked to Moi! (and by the way, Tasha Tudor died)

You know how you google yourself ocassionally? Well, I hadn't in a while so thought I'd do it today. Imagine my surprise when I found that the NY Times has linked to my Women Children's Book Illustrator website in their obituary for Tasha Tudor.

Here's a picture of Tasha at her work table. With her passing last Wednesday, June 18, 2008, she was the last of the featured living illustrators to die. The others preceding her were Trina Schart Hyman (died November 19, 2004 at age 65), Barbara Cooney (March 10, 2000 at age 83), and Elizabeth Orton 'Twig' Jones (died May 10, 2005 at age 94). Of course, everyone else I've featured is also dead, but these four were living at the time I wrote their bios. I hope that doesn't say something about my writing!