3/06/2012

DISCLAIMER



In 1981 Blackie Children’s Books Ltd published a set of four wordless board books for babies, one of them featured a hamster on the cover. The title of the book was “Pets” ISBN 0216909821. The cover featured my illustration of a hamster and included my name Valerie Greeley and the title “Pets”. The books did very well and sold co-editions in America and Europe, in the USA they were published by Peter Bedrick.

Many years later a friend notified me that he had seem a satirized version of my book cover on a joke website. The title “Pets” had been digitally removed and the title “Pop goes the Hamster and other fun microwave games” added, my name and artwork remained. The website was a humorous site aimed at students and young people, the page in question listed many fake/altered titles of children’s books. I remember being rather bemused at the time and worried that people would think it was an actual book, I think I emailed the site owner at the time and then got on with my life. If I had understood the nature of the Internet and could have foreseen the development of social media sites I would have been a little more vigorous in my attempt to have it taken down.

Since then the spoof image has appeared on very many joke websites but even more worryingly has been Facebooked, Tumbled, Tweeted and Pinned without any reference to the fact that this is an unauthorized fake book cover. In short it has gone viral and despite sending out numerous DMCA notices I have been unable to stop it.

So, if anyone reaches this page by searching for some clarification please rest assured that “Pop goes the Hamster and other fun microwave games” is a fake/spoof altered image and is absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with me!

Both of our hamsters, Frisbee and Chuck, lived long and happy lives and died of natural causes.

17 comments:

  1. Seems that nothing is sacred Valerie! Enjoyed the last paragraph. x

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  2. I'm absolutely stunned Valerie. It's bad enough that they used your work, but also leaving your name on there too, is just disgusting. Best wishes, Amanda

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  3. Oh dear, a cautionary tale. I am glad to hear your pets lives a long and happy life. Hopefully any idiots who would take the microwave thing literally will also not be able to read to well.

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  4. How sad that this is chasing you. I'd be devastated if someone did something like that with any of my photos (my painting's never going to be that good).

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  6. Valerie, it would have been difficult to foresee the damage done via the internet by certain mischief makers, unless one was a natural born mischief maker.

    I think that there are lots of them in the wide world. Some even enter politics.

    (I just deleted my first comment attempt to get rid of a typo.)

    As always, best wishes to you. xo

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  7. How annoying all this must be Valerie.


    I read the other day that all the hamsters in the world are descended from one pair of hamsters.

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  8. The power of the internet can be a blessing and a curse...who knows what else has been basterdized in the name of a 'joke'.
    Your paintings are lovely and delicate and should be treated with respect but somehow this doesn't matter to those of 'simple minds'.

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  9. Yikes! What more can one say?

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  10. That is so annoying and upsetting for you. You must feel so frustrated and helpless to sort it all out, there are some terrible things out there on the web:)

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  11. This is really a very horrid thing to happen and possibly inevitable. I think you have a legal case --but what a long impossibly complicated one. Our daughter dealt with things like that when she worked at the Tate. (I could ask her if it is worth you persuing this)
    I'm sure your hamsters were well cared for!

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  12. Thank you to all my lovely friends for taking the trouble to write. Your comments have cheered and comforted me more than you will know. I feel better now and am resolved to put this behind me and move on. I doubt if the originator of the spoof ever gave a thought to my feelings, it is the sort of thing a schoolboy would do and is certainly not worth wasting any more time or energy on.

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  13. That's an appalling thing to do! I've never been able to see why anyone would find that kind of thing amusing but to mis-use your artwork in that way unforgiveable.

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  14. Valerie, your hamster is amazingly beautiful (I am in awe of such work) and I can only imagine how frustrating it must be to see it misused in such a manner and with so much disrespect.

    Stephanie

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  15. Good grief! You never know who your artwork will reach out and touch... even when you don't want it to! That is the problem with the web,we have no control over where our images end up and who is using them. Sorry it happened!

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  16. Actually, I found this site after seeing that particular photo on facebook. Well, I laughed about it and I knew that this was definitly a fake when I saw it. I never thought that this might be a real book title.

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  17. i do hope, Valerie, that it was a net gain for you in exposure to your talents.. i found it humourous, myself and for that reason looked more deeply into how it came to be and found your post here. i am in great hopes others, who require art work may have followed a similar course of action. i know i have written a couple of cute short children s books but never found an artist to do the art work at the time. if i had found this i would have gone, voila! i have an artist!!!

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