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The Forum d’Avignon interviewed 25 international artists on the theme of intellectual property - Plantu

The Forum d’Avignon interviewed 25 international artists on the theme of intellectual property. Discover every day their answers…

PLANTU, cartoonist

To which extend have technology change the way you create? 

Obviously it is the Internet that changed the way of working for editorial cartoonists. And since 2006, different types of pressures have been very well organized to impress the cartoonist but also ... to impress their editors in chief, who, since, think twice before publishing. Since 2006, many of these lobbies from the three major religions skillfully use the internet and know the different ways to influence the freedom of thought. More briefly: they frighten people. In 2008 we have seen how, in 24 hours, Sine, one of the cartoonists from Charlie Hebdo, has been fired for anti-Semitism when he wrote a sentence, certainly clumsy, but which was not the reincarnation of Goebbels. But the lobbies were so powerful that even the cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo, who were against the unfair dismissal of Sine, have hardly dared to defend their colleague. The steamroller of manipulators worked well. In another area, I had problems because of a drawing I made about condoms: one could see in my drawing Jesus Christ throwing condoms as if it was the "feeding the multitude» of the Gospel. In only one day, Le Monde has received 3,000 emails that have saturated the server.  The fundamentalists of the three religions are equipped. Despite their speeches so-called antiquated, they are fully aware of new technologies. Moreover, even if the Internet is an amazing tool and appealing for cartoonist who send their drawings via email or Facebook, the Web is used by the media as a global market in which one can take images and photos for cheap . It now turns against the cartoonists: in the United States, there are companies (unions such as Cartoonists and Writers) who sell drawings at a reduced price: another advantage for the cautious editor: he or her pinches drawings disturbing no one, plus he or her does not need to put up with a cartoonist who is sometimes difficult to control. And if it is still too complicated, the editor in chief will download a picture for free on a website.

How do you perceive the subsequent use of your works? 

We sell for free the rights for schools or universities when they use the drawings as part of their educational work. However, when it comes to publishers of textbooks as BordasNathan or Hatier, we establish a standard agreement between cartoonist and publisher: we ask for copyrights. As for Cartooning for Peace, the organization that I chair: when we do a meeting or an exhibition, we grant rights for free for the media (we have the agreement of all the cartoonist of the organization) to illustrate the cover press, but when a media wants to use the same drawing out of the event, then there is paid copyright for the artists.

In 10 years to who would you entrust the management of your rights?   

 In 10 years I will continue to take care of the rights of my drawings. I want to make sure that they are respected: it is not only about defending the rights of pictures; we are also fighting to uphold our rights for a journalistic, editorial and responsible image. Media in demand have to understand that. My drawings are not insignificant and there is no question that my cartoons land up on any medium. Everything makes sense and these days, people seem to forget that a press political drawing carries a specific message and it's not just pretty pictures that would be used to make beautiful spots on the layout of the pages.  A caricature is the result of a work and carries an editorial thought that must always be controlled. It is an everyday fight. There is no day when we are not forced to fight to enforce our cartoonists’ rights. I have an assistant at the newspaper that ensures all of this in order to protect me. As for the management of the stock of originals, we have been in discussions for several years with IMEC (Institute of Contemporary memory) who wants to store the drawings in its documentation center near Caen. Researchers, students and journalists can, after authorization, see all the funds of contemporary culture. The advantage of IMEC is that the author may at any time take back its originals stock, what does not offer the French National Library (when one gives it a fund, it is forever).