Torrents and so on

Who would have thought one of the biggest stories of the year would have broken over the Thanksgiving weekend? For those of you who have been living in a cave–or possibly on vacation for a week–both Marvel and DC have threatened comic book site Z-Cult with legal action regarding their plentiful torrents of comics. The site has agreed to remove ALL Marvel comics trackers, and to delay posting new DC comics trackers for 30 days. Newsarama has several news stories, and a zillion comments at their message boards. It appears that Top Cow, which has its own downloadable comics program in place, has joined Marvel and DC is asking for the trackers to be taken down.

We’re especially sad about all this because we’ve been getting rid of tons of books we had around the house for reference, thinking “Well, if we REALLY need it, we can just go to Z-cult”…and now THIS happens. Sheesh.

This post is just a place marker really as we attempt to catch up on this story, but Glenn Haumann over at ComicMix adds color with his account of a meeting with DC to deal with illegally pirating…2 1/2 years ago.. The post has a bunch of informative comments from ex-DC staffers, as well.

Comments

  1. There was also some small hub bub with SLG over this.

    http://flashbackuniverse.blogspot.com/2007/11/slg-zcult-fm-mixup.html

  2. Grady Hendrix says:

    Comic book piracy has caused NO demonstrable harm to the comic industry’s bottom line. If one assumes that more people are downloading comics now than they were 2 years ago, then you also have to accept the fact that comic sales were up 14% in 2006 compared to 2005. Say what?!? Now if you assume that LESS people are downloading comics now than they were 2 years ago – cool! It’s not a problem, is it?

    The thing that’s been the most fascinating to me in this whole kerfluffle is that Marvel and DC (and all comics publishers for that matter) have suddenly encountered a major new technology that allows them to send their product around the world instantly with no storage or shipping costs and minimal distribution overhead. This is the magic bullet for publishing! The long-awaited dream! It’s practically magic on a Harry Potter scale!

    But instead of using all their brainiacs and resources to figure out a way to make a mint off this amazing new technology they are running in the other direction, or standing still and shuffling their feet, apparently caught without a comprehensive plan.

    Digital downloading of comics is not a threat. It’s a golden opportunity.

  3. Sean B says:

    And the ever-popular “these people are common criminals, stealing is wrong” response in 3…2…

  4. Alexa says:

    Grady, I agree with you whole-heartedly, and I say this as someone who owes at least half of her pull list to books she downloaded first to a) see if I even liked them and b) catch up on the story. I have also gotten a number of lapsed comics fans back into comics after telling them that they could download them. Why are they doing this now? (OK, Top Cow I can understand. And this especially irks me now, because I’m studying abroad this year and I’ve been using torrents to keep up with the books that are being held for me back home.

  5. Grady,

    What it comes down to is the fact that most supposed “capitalists” are anything but, because it’s been proven by history, time and again, that every time a change comes to a marketplace that can benefit the producers of goods, several of those companies would literally rather go out of business than adjust their practices to suit the times, even if they know that doing so would ultimately benefit them more than anyone else.

  6. Fanboy Menace says:

    “But instead of using all their brainiacs and resources to figure out a way to make a mint off this amazing new technology they are running in the other direction, or standing still and shuffling their feet, apparently caught without a comprehensive plan.

    Digital downloading of comics is not a threat. It’s a golden opportunity. ”

    Agreed! Well said, sir.

  7. Today, Judy McGrath over at MTV Networks announced that every episode of South Park ever made would be available for free viewing at SouthParkStudios.com with no bullshit strings attached.

    How did MTV Networks reach this decision? Because time and again we have been shown that using a website to increase the consumers taste for your product is very effective and MTV Networks understands that. Comic publishers might wake up to this strategy when there are five direct sales comic book stores left.

  8. joffe says:

    Wow, I’m impressed. Comic book pirates are much more articulate and well researched than I would have expected. Well played, gentlemen.

  9. Marcus Lusk says:

    Marvel’s digital comics site currently features the comic-shop locator number and find-a-sore by zip code. Ain’t that neighborly of ‘em?

    Yessir, they will be every retailer’s buddy til about a year from now, when they begin offering new releases online every Wednesday (or earlier) for around $1.95 each. Bet on it.

    This is the same Marvel that devastated the entire distribution market in 1995 by pulling their product from a dozen loyal distributors…all in an effort to dominate the entire marketplace.
    But hey, it’s just business, right?

  10. Alan Coil says:

    Is Sean B. an accomplice-after-the-fact?

    HAH! :)

    And, Sean, that 3…2…1… countdown thingy finished its 15 minutes of fame many months ago.

  11. Comic book piracy has caused NO demonstrable harm to the comic industry’s bottom line.

    But it does hurt the fan who wants quality digital comics. The few scans I’ve seen have been sloppy and not too attractive. Plus they edited out the ads. Most comics are produced digitally, so why not let the companies produce nice online versions from the same production files that create the printed versions? And why not keep the ads, so they can be counted and keep earning companies the revenue needed to produce new issues? Fans get better looking books, publishers get revenue and companies/creators get to say when and if they go online. Win-win-win.

  12. With the business model for creation and distribution of digital comics slowly taking shape, I can see the end coming.

    The end of the bag, board, slab and hoard hordes. The end of holiday-induced shipping delays.

    Digital comics might become (ahem) something people will read simply to enjoy and save, since there will be no added investment value to purchasing a reproduceable digital comic file.

  13. Sean B says:

    “And, Sean, that 3…2…1… countdown thingy finished its 15 minutes of fame many months ago.”

    My bad.

    Oh wait. That saying went out years ago, didn’t it? I guess I’m just behind on the times. Too busy downloading comics, I guess.

  14. >

    It seems that the media companies want all the BENEFITS new technology has to offer but none of the perceived “drawbacks”. You can’t have it both ways.

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