The Graphic Artists Guild has filed a defamation suit against several people associated with the Illustrators Partnership of America (IPA).
One would think that illustrators would support the Guild in its effort to quash false or misleading statements by other would-be industry spokesmen. Nobody who has ever had dealings with the legal process can think such a decision was lightly undertaken; lawsuits are expensive and unpleasant at the best of times–and the Guild has a well-earned reputation for lengthy deliberation before taking action. Who would not want to ensure the unquestioned veracity of those who claim to speak for them?
But one would be wrong. The IPA quickly produced a website containing a plaintive press release and an accompanying petition, which it is encouraging artists to sign to persuade the Guild to drop its suit. Surprisingly, this petition has actually obtained signatures.
Had it been possible to resolve this dispute without a lawsuit, the Guild would surely have chosen that route. That the Guild would nonetheless take such a drastic step should be a signal to illustrators–including those who have signed the petition–that something may be very much amiss with some of the industry’s would-be spokesmen. Is defamation really forgivable when it is done by the Right People?
Illustrators approached to sign this petition should recognize that demanding the Guild drop the suit without knowledge of the evidence is, in effect, demanding that the defendants be given the right to lie without being challenged–whether the defendants actually have lied or not.
Whether the Guild can prove its allegations remains to be seen.