Sunday, 16 May 2010

Cartoon plagiarism and toast

I've had an absolutely crazy week. Lots of stuff going on, mostly positive, some surprises, nasty news and a nice way to end the week. After an eventful 5 days, I can honestly say I was toast.

Let me explain how it all started...
On Monday, I heard about a new job role that looks very interesting which I think I will be applying for. This made me excited but also anxious as I haven't looked at my CV in ages and I've not done an interview for even longer.

But all of that became old news because on Wednesday two things happened. Eurostar announced that I will be displaying my cartoons at the conference during Autumn (get in my son! Come on! You beauty! Yeah baby!) and in the evening I attended the London Test Gathering for the first time.

To get to London, I ordered train tickets on line. Guess what? There was a bug in the web app that screwed up my order. I ended up with two sets of tickets. Man did I get angry once I realised I wasn't going to get back my £32 back.

After a while my anger subsided, and anyway, there must be a rational reason why there was a bug in the s/w, surely. 
Lesson learnt: sympathise with users. Some bugs can make users very angry.

I got myself down to London with two sets of tickets. One ticket for me and the other for... me.
At the event, I found it a bit hard to "network", going up to people that I've never met and striking up a conversation.

After a few drinks though... it suddenly became much easier.

It was good see Michael Bolton speak for the first time. He's probably not aware, but a couple of years back, he once said to me on a test forum that he would buy me a testing book (perfect s/w) if I couldn't get my manager to buy it! Wow! Incredible, don't you think? Anyway, meeting him makes you realise that this man breaths, eats and sleeps testing. I hope people see some of my passion in testing through my cartoons, but there's no mistaking it with Michael.
During the event, I got to meet up with Alan Richardson, the man behind the Evil Tester. It was great to meet him for the first time as we've exchanged emails in the past discussing test cartoons. At a future LTG, we might do something together cartoon wise for a bit of fun...

Unfortunately, I ran out of time and had to run to the train station so I wouldn't miss my journey back. I was hoping to "network" with Anna Baik (an organiser for weekend testing), Michael and Phil Kirkham (does work for Software Testing Club) - although I couldn't spot him on the night. It will have to wait for another time.
After three hours travelling I got back home soon after midnight but couldn't sleep very well. Still buzzing from the networking and my old, tattered and extremely uncomfortable bed didn't help.

The following day, Thursday, was fairly uneventful.
Friday was different. To begin with, work was really busy. I'd organised a group testing session where in the space of an hour, 5 (ish) testers were on the chase to find bugs.

Later on Friday, the bomb shell dropped... I found out that someone in Russia had taken one of my cartoons ("the bugs have feelings too") and created mugs with them to sell at a Test Conference. I found out through an eagle-eyed tester (Roman Tverdohlebov) who had spotted this unethical behaviour. Can you believe it? Someone had taken my cartoons, printed them on mugs and was selling them!
Part of me was saying:

"Wow, someone must really like my cartoons if they think they can make money out of them."
Another part of me was saying:

"I can't believe they beat me to it! I was going to do that. Are they going to sue me now if I steal the idea of printing the cartoons on mugs?"

And yet another part of me was saying:
"The cheek of it. They stole my cartoons. There will be retribution. First, a train line steals my money, and now, my cartoons have been plagiarised. What's next?!!!"

Actually, what was next was going home to find out my new, well overdue bed mattress had arrived. Thank you God! I was toast and I needed a nice bed.

Good night

Updated Tuesday, 18th May 2010
After a few emails back an worth, the people who took the cartoons were very apologetic. They've agreed to include the copyright information on the mugs (rightly so) and also promised to send me a copy.


  1. If you paid by Visa or Mastercard, you should be able to issue a charge back. It would be in the rail operators interest to give you a refund willingly rather than you take this option, as they incur a penalty charge.

  2. Sorry I missed you, would have been good to meet up. Next time you are able to attend give me some advance warning and we'll make proper arrangements

  3. Hi Andy,

    Sounds like an eventful week. There's a lot of plagiarism happening in the testing world. I've had a load of stuff ripped off and no doubt there are plenty of "tester type" merchandise flying around that the Software Testing Club aren't aware of.

    Great post.


  4. Andy, I've called my credit card bank but they weren't very helpful. I might try again this week as now I have a bit more info.

    Phil, I'm hoping to make more LTGs so we'll sort something out :o)

  5. Rob, thanks for the good feedback.

  6. You certainly had a week of ups and downs, Andy! Best of luck if you do decide to apply for the position you saw on Monday.

    Very disappointing that someone has stolen your cartoons. I have referred a few people to them and we all enjoy them. Keep them coming!

    All the best,


  7. Dear Andy,

    Disappointed...(Someone plagiarized ur wonderful stuffs without ur knowledge).

    I wish there were more stuffs from u waiting for us....

    Keeping engaging us with ur cartoons...:)

  8. Hi Stephen and Venkat, thanks for comments.
    But not too worry, there are more cartoons on the way :o)

  9. Shame about the ticket and cartoons but I'm glad you enjoyed the LTG. Hopefully next time we'll have time for a proper chat.

  10. And in the end
    The love you take
    Is equal to
    The love you make

  11. If you want to know what my back view is so you can recognise me next time...

    and if you were talking to the Evil Tester then you were very close to where I was...

  12. Phew what a week,Andy.
    That's sad to know that you did not get the money back.Well actually I was gonna ask you earlier after that day's Tweet but was hesitating a bit :((
    Good luck to you for the coming days.
    I do have a wish that all the WT Testers right from BWT to EWT & WTANZ meet one day. :)

    Take care,

  13. Hi Andy,

    Thanks for the great post, and sorry about those plagiarists.

    I sketched a little [testing, automation] cartoon on my own, and I'm going to publish it in my blog giving credit to you - as your works were the source of my inspiration.


  14. Andy, long ago, before we came to know each other, I had decided to stop blogging because my posts came to me as forwards with some other author name.

    That day, I changed my decision and decided to continue blogging. Even today, some posts are plagiarized. I learnt that those who plagiarize are the ones who give themselves an opportunity to tell the world that they are coward or not good thinkers. Also, some people don't know that it is a crime. Such people usually have real bad mentors.

    You shouldn't bother about it. In a way, it is acknowledgment of your work. I am recognizing that if we are too protective about our work, it takes us nowhere. However, add a warning to those who plagiarize and also add the Creative Commons License to your blog.

    Your work is so good and you should be proud of it. I heard this somewhere, "The farmer never writes his name on the grain of rice he produced amidst several difficulties"

  15. Thanks Jassi. WT meet up; that would be great if you can pull it off.
    Albert, glad to hear you're creating cartoons. Let me know when you post it on your blog - I would like to have a look :o)

  16. Thanks Pradeep. I don't intend to stop creating more cartoons. I enjoy making them and it's a bonus that other testers like them :o)

  17. Just to let you all know that I've had couple of emails from the person who took the cartoons and made mugs with them. They were very sorry and apologised profusely to say the least. Anyway, there are no hard feelings now.
    Thanks for all your positive feedback and comments.

  18. @Whoever plagiarized and then apologized,

    You might be reading this. I would suggest you to now become a messenger of copyrights. If you did it because you were not aware it is plagiarism then please help others who were in the same boat as yours.


    Good that you have no hard feelings now.