British Cartoon Archive

FAQ

Questions which are most frequently asked to the British Cartoon Archive can be found below with the relevant answers. If we do not quite answer your question, please feel free to contact us.

Is everything published before 1920 out of copyright?

It is wrong to assume that material is out of copyright simply because it is old. Copyright in the cartoons on the BCA website lasts for the lifetime of the cartoonist, plus seventy years. A cartoon by Will Dyson, published in 1937, will thus be out of copyright, because he died in 1938. But a cartoon by David Low from 1910 will remain in copyright until the beginning of 2034, because he lived until 1963.

The BCA has obtained permission to display copyright cartoons on its catalogue, but cannot give permission for their use in other contexts. The cartoonists biographies included in the BCA catalogue will indicate whether their work remains in copyright, by showing if they are still alive or died less than seventy years ago. You can then find contact information for the copyright owner by going to the catalogue record for an individual cartoon

I’ve paid the copyright fee, so why do I have to pay the BCA for the cartoon?

These are two quite separate transactions, for the BCA has no commercial links with the copyright owners. If you already have a copy of the cartoon, or if the copyright owner can supply you with one, then you do not need to order a cartoon from the BCA. However, if you do decide to order a cartoon from the BCA, we will charge you for supplying it.

I am a teacher - may I use cartoons from the BCA catalogue in my teaching?

You may use material from the BCA catalogue for teaching purposes within your school, college, or university, if you give suitable credit. You should identify the BCA as the source of the cartoon, and also give the name of the cartoonist, the publication, and the date. An example would be

British Cartoon Archive: Michael Cummings, Daily Express, 4 January 1965 http://www.cartoons.ac.uk/record/06646

In addition to using material from the BCA catalogue, most UK schools and educational bodies are also permitted to copy cartoons from current newspapers under their licence from the NLA (Newspaper Licensing Association). For more information, or to obtain a licence, visit www.newspapersforschools.co.uk or contact:

The Newspaper Licensing Agency, Church Road, Wellington Gate, Tunbridge Wells, TN1 1NL, Tel: 01892 525 273 / Fax: 01892 525 275 / www.nla.co.uk

I am a student - may I use cartoons from the BCA catalogue in my essays and presentations?

You may use material from the BCA catalogue in essays and student presentations within your school, college, or university, if suitable credit is given. You should identify the BCA as the source of the cartoon, and give the catalogue number, plus the name of the cartoonist, the publication, and the date. An example would be British Cartoon Archive, University of Kent: 06646, Michael Cummings, Daily Express, 4 January 1965.

This permission does not cover the reproduction of copyright cartoons for non-educational purposes within schools, colleges, or universities, such as reproduction in student magazines or on posters for events. This type of use should be cleared in advance with the copyright owner.

May I use cartoons from the BCA catalogue in seminars and conference papers?

You may use material from the BCA catalogue in presentations at academic seminars and conferences, including poster presentations, so long as no publication takes place outside the seminar or conference venue. You should identify the BCA as the source of the cartoon, and also give the name of the cartoonist, the publication, and the date. An example would be British Cartoon Archive: Michael Cummings, Daily Express, 4 January 1965".

This permission does not extend to the use of material from the BCA catalogue in the publicity for academic seminars or conferences, or in presentations at commercial seminars and conferences, or at training events. In these cases permission to use copyright cartoons must be sought from the copyright owner, and from the BCA for all other material. Contact details for the rights owners of copyright cartoons on the BCA catalogue can be found on the BCA catalogue, or by emailing info@cartoons.ac.uk

I want to republish a cartoon from the BCA catalogue - what should I do?

The BCA has permission from the rights owners to display copyright cartoons on its online catalogue, but it is unable to licence any further republication. For republication - which not only covers books and articles, but also the reuse of copyright cartoons on websites and in exhibitions - you need to contact the copyright owner of the image. Contact details can be found on the BCA catalogue, or by emailing info@cartoons.ac.uk

May I cut out characters from cartoons on the BCA catalogue, add new text, or otherwise alter them?

The cartoons on the BCA catalogue are supplied as historical artefacts, on the understanding that they will be used without alteration, and will be credited to the original cartoonist. Altering a copyright cartoon for any form of republication will require the permission of the copyright holder. The contact details for copyright holders can be found on the BCA catalogue, or by emailing info@cartoons.ac.uk

Can I buy a print of my favourite cartoon?

The BCA can supply high-resolution images for personal use, at the standard charge of £25 + VAT for UK customers, and £35 for all others. These are supplied as digital files, which can be printed out to the required size. If the cartoon is in copyright, these images cannot be republished or used for any commercial purpose without the permission of the copyright owner. The contact details for copyright owners can be found on the BCA catalogue, or by emailing info@cartoons.ac.uk

Why can’t I find cartoons by my favourite cartoonist?

The BCA catalogue contains over 140,000 images, but it is still just a guide to the BCAs collection, not a comprehensive index of British cartoonists. If the BCA does not hold work by a particular cartoonist, or holds examples of their work but has not yet digitised and catalogued them, you will not find that cartoonist's work in the catalogue.

If you still think the BCA may hold material by your favourite cartoonist, and you would like to see it, email us on info@cartoons.ac.uk

I own an original cartoon drawing - is it genuine, how much is it worth, and will the BCA buy it?

The BCAs collections have been built up over the years by donation and loan, from cartoonists, newspapers, and collectors. The BCA does not buy or sell cartoons, and cannot give advice on the current market for original cartoon artwork, including prices and dealers.

If you send us a photograph, photocopy, or scan of an original cartoon drawing, the BCA may be able to identify the artist, and help with information. But a printseller or auction house will be able to give better advice about its value.

If you would like to donate something to the Archive please specify this in your contact with us.

I would like to work at the BCA - do you advertise jobs, or employ volunteers?

The BCA has a small staff, and is not generally able to offer paid work, or work experience for volunteers. When short-term contracts are available as part of funded projects, the work is usually routine digitisation or cataloguing, and the posts are filled from within the University of Kent, where the BCA is based.

I want a cartoonist to draw a cartoon for me - can the BCA help?

The BCA specialises in political cartoons, and does not keep in touch with working cartoonists in other fields. Most working cartoonists have websites, so if you want to commission a cartoon you may be able to find a suitable cartoonist by searching the web. Or you may be able to find a cartoonist through www.ccgb.org.uk, the website of the Cartoonists Club of Great Britain, which is the UK's largest organisation of cartoonists.

I am a student - may I use cartoons from the BCA catalogue in my thesis?

Most of the cartoons on the BCA catalogue are in copyright, and the rules for including them in a thesis vary according to the laws of the country in which the thesis will be presented.

The United Kingdom copyright law (The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, Chapter III, Sec.32) includes educational exemptions, and it is laid down that copyright is not infringed by anything done for the purposes of an examination. This covers the inclusion of copyright cartoons in theses and dissertations, providing that such material is accompanied by a sufficient acknowledgement.

It should be noted, however, that if a thesis containing copyright work is subsequently published, which includes making the thesis available on the web, permission will have to be sought from the copyright owner, as the use will no longer be covered by this educational exemption.

In the United States of America, the inclusion of copyright material in a thesis is covered by the more subjective concept of "fair use". There are guidelines to "fair use" at www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html and copyright.columbia.edu/copyright/fair-use/fair-use-checklist/ If you decide that "fair use" does not offer sufficient protection, you will need to get permission from the copyright owners, whose contact details appear in the BCA catalogue.

How do I download a high-resolution image for academic use?

If the quality of the image on the catalogue is not sufficient for your research purposes please email us on info@cartoons.ac.uk.

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Last Updated: 05/09/2016