Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Who Will Be Eaten First?



Back in 2004 I made a parody of a Jack Chick tract that became so popular on the internet that their lawyers sent me a CAD letter:

Dear Sirs,

I am writing to inform you of a copyright violation occurring on a website hosted by you. The offending website is www.howardhallis.com. The copyright violation exists at the following URL:http://www.howardhallis.com/bis/cthulhuchick/
(this is now offline)

The person preparing this material has stolen artwork from copyrighted publications created by Jack T. Chick, with the copyright being held in the name of the Jack T Chick LLC. I represent Chick Publications, Inc., the sole licensed publisher of this copyrighted material. Our contract with the Jack T Chick LLC requires us to defend this copyright, and we intend to do so. While more than one of Mr. Chick's copyrighted publications were used to prepare this web page, the majority of the material comes from one of his creations, currently offered for sale on our website. We display this title , "The Choice," on our website where prospective customers may view it before purchasing it in bulk. You may view it here to verify that the material on the offending web page does in fact come from this publication:

http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/0100/0100_01.asp

I hereby certify the following:

1. I am an officer of Chick Publications, Inc., the sole licensed publisher of Mr. Chick's work.

2. This artwork was created by Jack T. Chick and the copyright is held by Jack T Chick LLC.

3. The developer of the website www.howardhallis.com does not havepermission to reproduce Mr. Chick's artwork.

In accordance with your responsibilities under copyright law, I am asking you to take immediate action to terminate this illegal activity which is occuring on your network. It has been our experience that most of the time when people steal copyrighted materials such as this, they do so without the knowledge or approval of their internet service provider, and that when made aware of the violation, most ISPs take the material down promptly. I trust that will be the case here.

I think it was incredibly cool of my web server not to pull it offline themselves immediately, but thinking about the letter I decided to take it down myself. I can understand completely how Jack Chick and his followers would find my page reprehensible. I'm taking their tactics of propaganda... their very format and art... and turning it towards something they consider evil. Now, everyone's opinions of what is evil and not evil or funny and not funny are subjective, but when they own the copyright to those images, they are fully within their rights to ask me to remove it from view.

I myself don't agree with Chick's fundamentalist Christianity, nor do I take the writings of H.P. Lovecraft seriously (although I wouldn't suggest getting obsessive about either one of them). The piece was done in fun, but using the exact artwork for the parody was where the problem of copyright arose.

What happened next was that people all over the internet began posting the piece themselves when I took it offline.

You can see it here, here, here, here, and any number of other places if you Google it.

As Tony Hayward said in the Cthulhu episode of South Park...

"I'm sorry. Really really sorry."

5 comments:

  1. That is bloody spectacular. Also, copyright law has specific exceptions in place allowing for parody, so they didn't have a leg to stand on when they sent in CAD notice.

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  2. Beautiful!

    Unfortunately the first copy link (piratejesus.com) has evidently been squatted. But the others are working as of today -- April Fools Day, 2011, which is why a friend sent me a link (your 4th, esr.ibiblio.org).

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  3. Mr. Hallis, I came across your absolutely brilliant Cthulhu Chick parody for the first time tonight, when I saw it featured by Neil Gaiman on the Blu Ray, H.P. Lovecraft documentary, "Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown" by WYRD. Found your parody in a Google search and laughed so hard I sprayed coffee all over my monitor. As a Lovecraft fan, and a former tortured soul brought up in an evangelical church where Chick comics were handed out like, er, Halloween candy, your humor touched me on a deeply personal level. I'm writing to you, hoping and praying that at some point you printed the parody in the original comic format/dimension, hopefully with an appropriately lurid, green and black cover. Is there any chance you could please contact me about this? I would love to procure a few copies for myself and a couple friends, and would be happy to make a donation to the cause of comic genius. My email is rjcrowtherjr at y*hoo dot com. Please feel free to delete/edit this comment due to your aforementioned issues with Chick pub. All the best to you! Rob

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  4. Well, Jack Chick is a rather narrowminded offensive person in just about everything he drew and published. Unbelievers are invariably cursing, sweaty and angry, and believers are invariably pompous and robotic. I no longer will read Jack Chick not after seeing certain "comics" he did.

    Oh, and ALL of his full-color "comics" are offensive. The covers have the most unpleasant persons, subject matter...

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  5. Forgot - panels from Jack Chick's works were modified and used in 2 tracts named "This is your life - what is next ?". Satan in a tuxedo from the last page of a tract. The face was redone as a crude head mask. The hand still holds the human mask he just removed. He had just bought a human victim down to hell. The caption is "I am the Father of all lies. Trust me ! I have come to steal to kill and to destroy you. In my kingdom is everlasting fire, darkness...."

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