Give Your Project the Clout It Needs with an Iconic Punch Cartoon from TopFoto

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PCL107035: The Coronation procession (Queen Elizabeth II) 1953                Punch Cartoon Library / TopFoto

As the saying goes, “a picture tells a thousand words.” The best phrases, though, are those of the iconic cartoons that appear in Punch magazine. Spanning the mid-1800s up to the 2000s, every Punch cartoon has captured a moment in time in Britain and has since become a classic historical record of life during this period.

The Punch Magazine archive is social commentary at its very best. It’s no surprise, then, that many are inspired to add the witty and irreverent cartoons to their own work. Some folks use them for purely aesthetic reasons, while others imitate their artistic style for parody.

Before you do either of these things (or anything else), it’s important that you understand how to source these images legally, as well as why it’s important to do so. Let’s discuss this below.

How to Source a Licenced Punch Cartoon

If you’re trying to get some exclusive licensing for digitized punch cartoons, then it’s time to reach out to the owner. Of course, you’ll have to negotiate a licencing agreement that best suits both parties. This agreement will outline usage rights and royalties.

Once you’ve got the licence to use the image, you’ll need to make sure you source it properly every time it appears in your work. The standard procedure is that the owner’s name must appear next to or on top of the image itself.

Some owners will require more information as well, such as the title of the artwork, the author’s name, watermarks, copyright information, and a link to the owner’s website. The amount of information and how it should be presented varies among licensing agreements. So make sure you read through each agreement carefully!

PCL114875: That’s an excellent suggestion, Miss Triggs . Perhaps one of the men here would like to make it. – 8 January 1988 – Punch Cartoon Library / TopFoto

The Importance of Sourcing Images

The law protects copyrighted material, such as illustrations. No one can use these pieces without the permission of the owner. What’s more, one can only use this material in accordance with the terms of the owner, which often stipulate proper attribution.

If someone uses the image without proper sourcing, it is a copyright violation. And let’s get something straight: the only thing that stinks more than copyright violations are the consequences for those who commit them.

Do you want to pay an unlimited fine every time you use a Punch cartoon image? Of course not! And you don’t want to face court costs, either.

So be sure to source images within the rules of the licensing agreement. As an art buyer, this will save you a whole lot of headaches in the long run.

Add Historical Flair to Your Art Prints

Sourcing illustrations properly is the mark of a professional. It shows that you stick to the terms set by the owner and that you have respect for them.

Knowing how to appropriately source your images will guarantee that you’ll never be sued for copyright infringement, which is always a good thing!

You can find a Punch cartoon in collections worldwide, including the British Cartoon Archive. To see a selection of them, visit TopFoto, where you can also buy these images for your next big publication.



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