It was only a month ago when comedians and the internet raised their pitchforks in unison and absolutely slammed Josh Ostrovsky – otherwise known as The Fat Jew – for stealing jokes and turning a profit.
Well, mates, here we go again, only this time the bullshit is a little closer to home.
Ray Badran is a Sydney-based comedian, and has been a regular on the Australian comedy scene for some time.
That includes a gig at The Enmore Theatre last year (clip below). At 2:28, Badran tells a joke about trolling his housemate by printing off Facebook photos – trust us, it’s a good’n.
That was a year ago, and it’s a joke that Badran has told at gigs since (including, in a weird coincidence, one by this writer).
Fast forward to a few weeks ago, and a bastardised version of Badran’s joke appeared on TheLADbible‘s Facebook page, which, if you’re familiar with it, posts about 40 fucking times a day, about half of which consist of ‘funny shit found on the internet’.
Only, Badran wasn’t credited with the joke. A Newcastle dude by the name of Sean Tea was. Sean had gone to see Badran perform, written his own, slightly-varied version of the joke on Facebook, with no ill-intent and just “to share a laugh with mates.” Somehow, a screenshot of THAT version was picked up by TheLADbible and TheLADbible Australia, which together, have Facebook likes in excess of the 12 million mark.
Here’s the version they posted:
Badran estimates that joke was seen by over 500,000 people.
At first it might seem like an inconsequential thing to get worked up about – this is the internet, and ripping content is practically a past time – but think about this for a second: a farmer produces food, a chef produces meals, and a comedian produces jokes. That 90 second story is literally Badran’s product, his meal-ticket, his money-maker. It’s his, and when you republish it, you might as well be shoving the 375mL Smirnoff Vodka bottle under your jacket and belting out of Dan Murphy‘s. It’s stealing.
“Poets wouldn’t accept it, musicians wouldn’t accept it, painters wouldn’t accept it, but for some reason, comedians have to,” Badran told P.TV. “If I was a musician and had one of my best songs stolen and go viral, I would want credit for it too, and credit would be expected. For some reason it’s different with jokes.”
He’d literally performed the joke two weeks earlier at the Sydney Comedy Festival Showcase, which Tea later said he’d attended. After seeing him “boasting to his mates”, Badran tried to get in contact with Tea.
“I try to add Sean as a friend and then I try and get into some dialogue with him on some of the threads he was a part of on The Lad Bible Oz’s page. He quickly deleted every comment he made and then blocked me completely from his Facebook (presumably so I couldn’t see him gloating on his fb wall). He then sent me an apology in a private message. He also then apologised on one of the threads that I was commenting on (the thread was on The Lad Bible Oz’s page). After this his mates started trolling me (both publicly and privately).”
Days later, Tea messaged Badran back with an apology.
“I’m the guy who Lad Bible posted the status from. I’m not a comedian and didn’t know it as your joke (sic) when I made it my status – I had heard it and posted something along the lines of what I recalled for no purpose other than sharing a laugh with friends. I did not post to lad bible, (sic)
Since you posted I remember (sic) hearing the original version at your performance – I’ve written to Lad Bible both in Aus and the main site asking they remove it or give you the due credit.”
Badran attempted several times to contact TheLADbible over the following weeks – Facebook, Twitter, email, etc – and getting zero response.
After a few days of trying, however, P.TV got a response, in which they said they take crediting and referencing very seriously.
“We care very much about crediting and working with creative talent and go to great lengths to credit original creators and work with them,” a spokeswoman for TheLADbible said. “Sadly, in this case Ray’s joke was appropriated by someone else and claimed as their own. It’s hard to know when a claim like this is untrue. We have since changed out copy and credited Ray and would love to get in touch. Maybe we can work together in some way that would help him out.”
Repeated questions about if they had any systems in place to deal with plagiarism issues have gone unanswered, which, tbh, we’re guessing means the answer is ‘no’.
But – three weeks after the post – it’s FINALLY BEEN UPDATED.
Moral of the story: if you’re re-posting content, respond to claims of plagiarism faster, mmmmkay? P.TV OUT.