The Big Two take on BitTorrent

Whew! Did anyone notice that last week, despite the holiday, there was a frenzy of activity in the realm of comic books online (and available via BitTorrent)? Johanna Draper Carlson sums up the activity pretty well, but here’s my take on how things went down.

So what does this mean? Well there are a couple of interesting points here.

1) This was a JOINT effort by Marvel and DC Comics. This is the shot across the bow, people. The big two comic companies’ legal departments are going to start coming down on this practice of pirating their comics. They won’t work together on a Daredevil/Batman crossover, but they’ll work together on this.

2) The Slave Labor Graphics mix-up was just somewhat comical and added to the confusion of the situation.

3) I don’t think DC Comics will stand for their comic books being available on Z Cult FM for very long, it’s just a matter of time before they strike back at them, similarly to Marvel, and request that their books be removed.

Say what you will about piracy, but the Z Cult FM people — despite the Slave Labor Graphics mix-up – are doing their best to stay alive and make the best out of a bad situation. But ultimately, their days are numbered. This whole dust up was far too loud and far too public for them to be able to continue on pirating comic books from the big two.

Comics right now, when it comes to piracy, is where the music industry was about 7 years ago. They knew it existed, it was beginning to thrive, and then they stepped in and have been working ever since to shut it down. It’s easy to root for the underdogs here and try and support people like Z Cult FM, but it’s tough because what they are doing is against the current copyright laws of the US, and that becomes hard to fight. Anyone who is familiar with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act can attest to this. They would also be able to attest to the flaws of that particular law, but that’s neither here nor there.

Please keep in mind, that while it’s easy to find and easy to get comics via BitTorrent and other pirated ways, iFanboy does not encourage, nor endorse this act.


  1. Its funny, it was actually the stink marvel and dc made that had me checking out zcult and finding out how to use trackers and bit torrent. Sound familiar? Ask the music industry what happened when they publicized their actions against the mp3 swappers….g’bye 99% of music stores on earth.

  2. Good thing Marvel and DC did this now instead of 6 months ago, otherwise I wouldn’t be reading about 15-20 titles now that I only checked out using bit torrent. Not to mention about 10 series that I’ve gone back to buy all the trades of.

    In any case, I can’t blame them, but as the dude on the z cult site said, what marvel currently offers isn’t an actual download, so who cares?

    Now, if TV shows via bit torrent get shut down, then I’ll panic.

  3. Hmm, if it weren’t for comics torrents, I wouldn’t be buying Y the Last Man, DMZ, would have never picked Green Arrrow back up, and thusly, the Wedding Special and Green Arrow/Black Canary.

    I check out comics torrents for the exact same reason I download music off P2P. I’m preeeettttyyyyy freakin broke, and I can’t buy a series just for it to suck, much like I can’t buy an album just for it to suck.

  4. I honestly just don’t understand downloading comics. Maybe some people do, and that’s cool, it’s their choice. A friend tried to show me some on his computer, but I’m quite a slow comic reader and it honestly gave me a headache after a few pages.

    To me, more so than with other media formats, there is nothing like holding the physical object in your hands and placing it on the bookshelf, or long box, after you’re done.

  5. Legal music and pirated music sound the same through your headphones and are used in the exact same way. Comics on screen is different than comics on paper.

    When there’s a widely accepted epaper reader that you can hold in your hands that’s when piracy will really be an issue. The companies are smart to try to stop it now.

    There’s also a collectibility factor to comics although my hunch is that it will slowly fade as trades become more popular. I’m like Conor, I want the stories on my shelf. Once I have a trade I don’t need the original newsprint issues. I’m sure like minded folks are at least a good chunk of the market.

  6. Well, I buy my comics online and don’t get them until the end of the month. I also pay for the issues months in advance, well before the files are available. So there are certain titles that I do download to stay current (and allow me to listen to this podcast) but they are all titles I buy monthly, like USM and New Avengers. There are a lot of titles that I buy that I would never bother downloading.

    I don’t think I’m doing anything wrong, but I understand the questionable legality.

  7. Also, Tad Stones, music from a cd and music from an mp3 are DRASTICALLY different in quality. About two-thirds of the sound is cut out to compress the file into manageable sizes.

  8. Not that the majority of the people notice the difference, though. Or care. If they cared they wouldn’t download music.

  9. I agree that I can notice the difference in quality between a CD and an mp3, or a dvd-rip and an actual DVD, but maybe some people don’t and that’s cool. But to me, comics are such a tangible medium that you lose most of the experience if you read them off a computer screen. I read a couple of trades and a few issues tonight, and even the smell off the pages (not trying to sound pervy, I promise) makes it a unique form of entertainment.

    When you download an album from iTunes it’s as close to CD quality as you’re gonna get, in my opinion, and the only thing you’re losing is the booklet to look over. But you’re still gonna listen to it the same way – stereo, mp3 player, PC – as you did before.

    With comics, by downloading it you take away what is, for me at least, the whole point of it, i.e: reading a book.

    I understand that cost is a major point here(hell, I’m not exactly flush), and the idea of downloading stuff that you intend to buy anyway is cool with me. Downloading stuff to see if it’s worth your money before you fork out cash is fine in a way, but aren’t certain titles relying on issue sales to keep going? So if you download something and like it, then by the time you get round buying some issues, the early sales may have killed it.

    Plus, I’m probably odd in that I enjoy the gamble of picking up an issue of something brand new. Might be gold, might be trash, but it’s only 2 quid so you never know. I just got my shipment in from the Top Shelf sale, and I’d purposefully ordered stuff I’d never heard of. And you know what? Some of it’s crap, or just not my thing, but man there’s a couple of gems in there!

  10. I’m on the same train as Eyun…I don’t quite get the downloading. Ok, maybe I do from a fiscal perspective(listen to me using big adult words), but as a fan, it’s weak sauce. By not buying comics, you’re not supporting the artists, writers, companies and characters you love because they don’t get their money. Sure, you could make the argument that that the big two have vaults of money that they go swimming in like Scrooge McDuck. But a loss in revenues of any kind hurts the industry…heck, any industry.

    The money that they lose could be invested in better color, better paper, or research into technologies that could give us amazing online comics. And let’s not forget about the little guy. Like the movie and music industry, damage is minimal to the stars or to the organization as a whole, but it hurts the little people at Marvel and DC, whose hard work makes us all happy.

    And as Eyun, I can’t imagine losing the physical enjoyment and the sensory experience that comic reading is. If I downloaded comics, I would have Ben Stein stooped over my head dropping Clear Eyes in my eyes every five seconds. Like that wouldn’t be annoying.

  11. You can’t stop technology. If it’s easy, people are going to do it. I’m not sure DC or Marvel can do anything about it. What I don’t understand is claiming it’s not wrong. Huh? Taking copyrighted material that you didn’t pay for? How is that not wrong? Isn’t that stealing?

  12. There’s another aspect to bit torrent that no one ever mentions. Even if you do pay for the comics that you’re downloading, when you use bit torrent, you’re file sharing, and therefore you’re also distributing those files to others, who very likely aren’t paying.

  13. Oh, mother–!

    I didn’t notice this until just now: you know those DVDs that have, say, every Captain America or every X-Men ever on them in PDF form? That completely excellent thing that actually approximates giving the consumers what they want? Yeah, right after Marvel announced their new pay-to-look-but-not-to-touch service, they pulled the plug on the contract for those. They stop selling them in February.

    So… my Christmas list just got a lot longer.


  14. How much longer do you think we have as a society before the media companies try to shut down the libraries? Not an entirely facetious question.

  15. I’ve been living abroad for the last 15 months or so, and American comics are more than hard to come by. I download comics to keep up with stories that I enjoy, and when I go home I’ll usually but a lot of what I stole (let’s not split hairs here).

    It’s an aspect of the debate you don’t usually hear about.

  16. Like every other attempt to shut down computer piracy this one fails to. DC++, Newsgroups, and various other methods that have existed before, during, and after torrents, still exist and can’t be shut down. All this does is make the downloaders who only knew how to torrent(because it’s easy) have to learn a different method.
    This has done nothing to the scanner groups and they are the ones who actually control the flow of online comics. During the whole z-cult shutdown they still posted O-day comics at the same rate as before, they just posted them in a different location.
    Ultimately people will continue to download movies, music, comics, and games until the purchased product is better the pirated version or at least seems that way.

  17. The purchased product is better than the pirated product in the case of comics.

  18. Did you know that MLB didn’t want there to be radio broadcasts of their games–thought that it’d stop people from buying tickets and going to games. Similarly, I just can’t see downloaded comics killing the industry, rather it will make people pick up stuff they weren’t sure about, allow them to keep up with the characters when they miss an issue, etc.

    I mean really, I don’t hear anyone saying they like digital comics more, they put up with it to get their fix. Isn’t this what the industry wants?

  19. And Jimski, I hear you on the library comment.

  20. Thanks, Neb, you are a dude and I owe you a pint! And I think Josh nailed it in his last comment!

  21. I don’t disagree with you Josh that holding a comic is what you or I and most people think is the best way to read one and that’s why pirated comics have caused a surge in sales. Comics and books being directly tied to a physical object make them unique in a pirating regard but even that is changeing…

    I’ve had computer since the Texas Instrument days. I do my work on a computer. I play games on my computer. I watch shows/movies with computer’s ATI card going to my flatscreen If someone would have told me when I was a kid that I would use a tablet and would be drawing on a computer I would think they were nuts but now I do all my art on a computer (I even feel awkward sketching on paper, always feeling like I could Crtl-z or flood fill black.)
    What I’m getting at is, computers are the norm for me and a lot of things I do seem foreign to someone like my father and for the kids who grow up nowadays, they have a different perspective too. Records, CD’s, DVD’s, Books, all these things exist now in a computer friendly format and that’s what they know. Thats the method they prefer. Why waste all that space with long boxes when you can fit a lifetime of comics on a laptop with a 22inch screen? If your into comics purely for reading then what incentive is there for not using a digital copy? The scanner groups take the time to clean up the images sometimes improving them, so other that collectability and nostalgia, why not go digital?
    I don’t know the solution. In computer classes in college we would spend many hours debating pirating and no one ever came to a conclusion. Thing only thing I know is my nephew, who is eight, reads comics with me and he won’t read it unless it’s on a computer screen.

    And just so I don’t get flamed for being pro-pirated comics, I do buy comics but I have gig’s of comics too. I’m fiercely loyal to some books like Savage Dragon and will buy it till Larsen’s death but for the most part I opt to download books. It doesn’t feel strange to read on my computer anymore and honestly I’ve almost hit the point where I prefer it over the monthlies.

  22. Let’s see… no one would ever be able to read Miraclman without torrents. I checked out the following series and have either purchased multiple trades or am a current subscriber to:

    DMZ, Fables, Y: The Last Man, Starman, Ex Machina, Hawaiian Dick, All Star Superman, Boys, Powers and a whole lot more.

  23. I’m big on downloading old issues to catch up on titles that I want to buy. Certain back issues are either difficult to find, expensive, or both and it’s damned difficult to get an entire storyline that way. Yeah, trades are nice, but as we all know, not everything gets traded and not every trade stays in print.

    So now we’ve got the Marvel catalogue available online? Great. At $5 a month, I might actually use that. If you could download the books, I’d sign up right now, though…

  24. I wish that Marvel and DC would now follow an iTunes model and start selling individual issues of their comics in a downloadable file that can be read using the CDisplay Image Viewer. I get the fact that they don’t want people reading their comics for free. I not only get that, I respect that. The problem is that if you want to read comics on the computer screen, you really have only one place to go – to the so called pirates.

    The music industry stops people from downloading music on peer-to-peer sites. At least they are giving people a legal alternative to BitTorrenting their product. That’s not the case with comics. What the comic book publishers are doing is the equivalent to the music industry stopping people from downloading music and forcing them to go out and purchase their music on 78 rpm vinyl records.

  25. When did it become OK to steal something when you couldn’t afford it, or because it’s not currently convenient? This is the pirating excuse I hear more than any other. No one is entitled to content. It’s not a right.

    I mean, I absolutely agree with the idea that the current level of technology and choice isn’t where it should be. But I also understand why that is. For one, there isn’t isn’t an acceptable digital solution for the comic guys yet. Two, I don’t think the comic publishers really have the resources to put into doing this the right way yet. It’s not like making comic books is a cash cow. But coming up with, and implementing a completely new digital platform is an expensive proposition. Plus, there are many masters to account for, and eventually someone is going to be unhappy.

    Look at Marvel’s foray into digital comics. It doesn’t sound like people are very happy about it, and I’m willing to bet that the people who made it feel the same way. But they have bosses telling them one thing, and someone else telling them another limitation, and so on and so forth. It’s the crutch of new business clashing with old business, and these things move slow. It sucks for some, but what can you do?

  26. I wonder if comic piracy is so rampant or rationalized because of the gray areas that come with decades of a secondary market. If I want to read, say, ROM Spaceknight, I am virtually S.O.L. Marvel doesn’t publish it and hasn’t collected it, and the legal rights to do so are likely a minefield so it ain’t happenin’ any time soon. I don’t want to steal from Marvel… but how are Marvel or the creators getting paid if I buy the run on eBay from a guy who bought it from a guy who had it in his basement since 1983? Someone paid them the $.60 for it in 1983, but the 2007 stealing isn’t the difference between them making money on ROM and them not making money on ROM. That money was never coming.

    Obviously a very specialized, hair-splitting example. Pirates aren’t pirating ROM. I’m just trying to understand the roots of the moral rationalization. Because it seems to me that I have never seen any intelligent person online talk about this issue without saying “stealing stealing stealing, wrong wrong wrong”… but there’s an awwwwwful lot of it going on for something that everyone vocally opposes. Remember when Dan Slott went online asking people not to “steal” She-Hulk and then they uncovered his gigantic torrenting history? Maybe we leave the high horse in the barn for the rest of the discussion, whaddya say?

  27. There’s a huge difference between using torrents and downloading. My network at school has banned the use of torrents, so I use other means (usually connecting to a centralized server) to get certain books which I’ve already paid for but won’t be getting for weeks. I don’t think I’m hurting Marvel anymore than sharing my comic collection with a few friends. I know that I’m probably in the minority concerning this, seeing as I actually pay for them.

    As for the people who just download and don’t ever buy… well, they’re the issue.

  28. So, you can download these without torrenting? I don’t think I realized that.

    It seems like it would be pretty easy to shut those sites down. And I couldn’t really blame the publishers for wanting to do so.

  29. “When did it become OK to steal something when you couldn’t afford it, or because it’s not currently convenient?”

    How about instead of “stealing” we use “sharing”. Isn’t this the legal loop-hole? It’s file “sharing.” Like when I loan my buddy a copy of a TP, is this “wrong” too? Or, like Jimsky said, is it wrong to go the library to read this same TP?

  30. Because you can’t share your books on a widespread international basis, and you can’t reproduce your book indefinitely. That’s why it’s not the same as “sharing.”

    A library bought a copy of all the books they have. And they lend them out one at a time. It’s so not even in the same universe as putting a file up for download, and having it replicated hundreds or thousands of times to people who just want to get something for nothing, and find a way to justify it.

    Maybe stealing isn’t the best word, but pirating seems to work, and it doesn’t conjure up images of sharing muffins with your friends either.

  31. If downloading comics is hurting the industry, why haven’t we seen comic sales take a hit? I’ve been looking at the yearly estimated final sales for the North American direct market for the past 10 years. Sales have been steadily increasing since 2004. This coincidently happens to be when I first read about people downloading comics. It was an article on Ninth Art entitled “Understanding Piracy

  32. Well, nobody in the current marketplace is mad about having to buy a whole comic for one good page. What mp3s did to the music industry was not so much introduce piracy as eliminate the need to buy an entire crappy album for its one catchy song.

  33. Josh, this is a good point, you can’t file share muffins. Let’s all sit around the computer, file-sharing, holding hands, smiling and singing campfire songs. Cum-by-yaaaa

    “When did it become OK to steal something when you couldn’t afford it, or because it’s not currently convenient?”

    I think Casey made the important point that if you live outside the United States, comics are almost never ever available, are often twice the cover price, and are hardlly ever available anywhere near the date they are originally shipped in the U.S. Jester also made the point about extremely poor subscription options standing right in the way of obtaining issues. And that’s just comics put out by the Big Two. Other publishers are almost completely M.I.A. outside of the U.S.

    Contrast that to the current U.S. situation where Manga related properities are eating huge chunks of the U.S. comic market share.

    These are not cases of “convenience,” but enormous obstacles the U.S. industry itself maintains, standing in the way of people that would only be too happy to buy the real think off a shelf. This is an extremely important point because there is a HUGE international aspect to those who engage in bittorrent. “Moral” arguments still retain validity, but I have heard of few reliable surveys as to actual numbers of people who bittorrent.

    I think we could all agree – there should be some kind of solid scientific survey of how many people actually bittorrent, and who download what from where – this would take out the “world going pinko/anarchist/criminal” and “it’s completely destroying the industry” aspects out of the discussion.

    This is not to say people in the large U.S. cities are wrong in their view of the ethics of the problem, but I think people in big U.S. cities, including the distributors of D.C. and Marvel, should put more thought into the overseas aspect, with at least some attempt to understand the view of those well outside the limits of the extremely poor comic distribution system within the U.S.

    As for legality, let’s get really technical – Z Cult FM (I don’t know it) is like many Bittorrent sites, outside the U.S., therefore outside the jurisdiction of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a U.S. law. You can wave “international agreements” around all you want, but international law is a bogus concept – any and all contracts in business worth the paper they are written on always include the following clause: “The terms of this contract are subject to the jurisdiction and laws of (insert the name of the country where the contract is signed here).”

    Example: a company invests in Japan, the money is actually moving around Japan, so “”The terms of this contract are subject to the jurisdiction and laws of Japan.” U.S. law is completely and absolutely irrelevent, including the Digital Millennium Copyright Act – The Japanese legal standard on copyright is quite different, and any Disney movie over 50 years old just entered the public domain, and Disney in Burbank and cray all it wants, OR, heaven forbid, adopt a strategy to sell high end copies to compete against cheap, low end distributors. Internatial law? Pfft. U.S. law? CERTAINLY not international law.

    Pirate Bay, for example, was not raided in Sweden because it broke Swedish law, but because of EXTRA legal pressure put on the Swedish government by other countries. If Z Cult FM is changing its policy, it is no doubt in a similar situation like Demonoid, whose server in Canada, decided to take down Demonoid due to a corporation, a corporate backed organization (C.R.I.A.), and/or law enforcement, not legal (as in law suit) pressure.

    As far as I know, there has been no court decision in the U.S. regarding the legality of sites that merely allow you to search for P2P bittorrents offered by others, although direct downloads are have been definitely ruled illegal breaches of the “fair use doctrine.” Corporations are finding it more efficient to use pressure tactics by threatening servers, which have much larger businesses as stake besides the one bittorrent site on its servers. This is what happened to Demonoid.

    Ron is right to note a current campaign of pressure, and not just by Marvel and DC, against Bittorrent sites, and not just Z Cult FM. Whether or not they will be successful is…very doubtful, IMO. When satellite TV first appeared, cable TV providers were SURE they would wipe out sattelite TV as completely illegal providers of media content (so much for that theory). In 1919, liquor in the U.S. was supposed to become a thing of the past.

    Two cases –
    1) PirateBay is alive and well, and now available in a multiple of languages after being shut down last year in Sweden. They even offer their site in a Japanese version -which is amusing as Japanese subsidiaries of foreign corporations have been complaining for over 7 years that their parent companies still cannot grasp that Japanese requires a two byte font. An all volunteer pirate site, threatened on all sides by legal action, managed in a few months to provide what For-Profit global mega corporations still can’t manage for their own Japanese subsidiaries after over half a decade (two byte fonts).

    2) Also, as mentioned, Scanner Groups are structured in such a way that they are pretty immune to the current industry tactic of taking down one bittorrent site. Scanner Groups are still available on whatever major bittorrent search engine is available (Piratebay, for example), and the scanner group structure makes them rather immune to the other legal approach of “sue the one user until he’s broke, nail him on a tree and make an example of him.”

    Finally, I completely understand all the “anti-piracy” opinions and people make valid points. The problems is- enforcement. What makes me extremely uncomfortable is when companies that sing the praises of “free market competition” start using overbearing legal approaches, and especially government enforcement resources to solve the problem of evolving technology and how that affect the market place.

    I understand that they want to protect their right to earn a profit on their creative output, but they should not expect anyone to be forced to pay them quite a high price simply becaues they cannot evolve to meet the challenges of a changing market place.

    I really must throw scorn at companies that sing holy hyms to the free, unregulated market, then run to their lawyers and/or governement to protect them when they can’t handle the current state of the market.

    And keep this in mind – Prohibition was a total failure. Drug laws are a total failure. The Soviet Union had a huge black market. Meyer Lansky, founding member of the mafia said, “Making money is easy – just find what people want and can’t get, then shovel in the dough.”

  35. Sales may not be down, but I imagine Marvel and DC would like them to be higher than they are. I am assuming they expect people who were downloading those comics to be interested enough to now buy them. Whether or not that will actually happen isn’t clear, but Marvel and DC don’t have a lot to loose by acting like this.

  36. Illegal file sharing may indeed be good marketing, but it’s still mostly people getting something for nothing. And most of my favorite creators aren’t driving Bentleys. They should be paid for their work. People should pay for what they consume. As an aspiring comic book creator, it would suck that tons of people enjoy your work, but aren’t willing to compensate you for it. I work on this site, because I want to support the work of people making great comics, and part of that is having people buy their work.

    At the same time, there should be a good, legal system of getting this material digitally. It’s not there yet, but it will be. The folks file sharing music these days are just doing it now because they don’t want to pay, because there are legitimate and easy real options.

  37. It’s not that sales are down, sales have steadily increased since comics started regularly showing up on peer-to-peer networks. Not only have they increased, but the percentage of the increase has been bigger each year.

    Increase in Sales
    2004 – 5.68%
    2005 – 7.34%
    2006 – 12.27%

  38. Those sales number also come from a time period where comics in were bigger in the public consciousness than ever before because of blockbuster movies and TV shows. Additionally, I think podcasts and blogs have really helped spur the comic market during that time. And finally, comics keep getting better, and Marvel and DC had sorted out who their market was, and make a better product during this time.

    Basically, there’s a correlation to downloading, but not a causality. Perhaps some people use them to figure out what comics they want, and then go buy them. Conversely, others don’t bother buying them because they can be gotten for free. There’s no hard evidence on that either way, I don’t think there’s going to be.

  39. I can only speak for myself, but if it wasn’t for pirated comics I would never have got back into comics. I wouldn’t buy the books I buy every month and I wouldn’t ever had visited this site.

  40. “And most of my favorite creators aren’t driving Bentleys.”

    And guess what, they aren’t very (if at all) available on bittorrent sites, if at all! Bittorrrent comic availability, much like movies and music, still tends to the “extreme pop” side of things – in other words, you are more likely to find Britney Spears, the lastest Hollywood blockbuster movie, or World War Hulk on bittorrent sites than many of the wonderful books you have recommended on so many podcasts. There might be an individual issue here or there, but finding the entire collection is very difficult.

    Only when a book like Invincible or Preacher reaches sales figures that are very lucrative for the publisher do they start appearing on bittorrent sites. Otherwise, the amount of (frankly) pop trash on bittorrent sites is quite appalling. That’s the irony – Bittorrents may cultivate an image of “underground cool,” but the amount of trash that pours out of these sites can be pretty frightful.

    Again, I think everyone could agree that a solid scientific survey as to who downloads what from where would be a great way to actually assess this situation, rather than throw around moral arguments that may or may not actually reflect the actual situation.

    As far how much writers benefit from their work, Brian K. Vaughn has has some negative things to say about how much creators are compensated by publishers, which may be more relevant to your point. One pretty rotten motif that corporations use to fight piracy is “it deprives creators of justly earned profits,” but many creators would argue, “corporatioins deprive creators of justly earned profits.”

    I completely agree with your point, Jost (just compensation for creators), but the Hollywood writers are not exactly striking against bittorrent sites…

  41. “I can only speak for myself, but if it wasn’t for pirated comics I would never have got back into comics. I wouldn’t buy the books I buy every month and I wouldn’t ever had visited this site.”

    QFT. 100%

  42. Lots of justifying of stealing going on here.

    I’m not saying that people who bittorrent are right or wrong, but at least own up to the reality of what you are doing.

    If you’re okay with it then fine, that’s up to you to decide, but geez, stop trying to romanticize theft.

  43. I can only speak for myself, but if it wasn’t for pirated comics I would never have got back into comics. I wouldn’t buy the books I buy every month and I wouldn’t ever had visited this site.

    And that’s exactly why the publishers need to come up with a better, legitimate way to reach people like you. I do understand the deficit of successful marketing tools.

  44. If i steal something, someone else can not buy what i stole. Downloading a copy is not the same as stealing.
    I am not romanticizing anything, I am getting something for nothing and I don’t believe that I am Robin Hood when I download.
    But the “getting something for nothing” is last reason why i download.

    I’m testing the online Marvel service, but it lacks the most important reasons why I download books. I want to get the books online at least the same week as the books hit the stores and be able to read them offline. I would gladly pay the double amount for a service like that compared to what Marvel is offering right now.

    I understand that we are getting there but I do not see why it is moving forward so slow. Until we get there pirated comic books will end up on my hard drive and great books will end up on my shelf just as my music did before iTunes Music Store showed up.

    And like I said before, I can only speak for my self.

  45. Josh, the reason piracy isn’t considered stealing by people is the fact that piracy has been going on since the 80’s (BBS).
    Yes it is stealing but like prohibition, people became desynthesized to it. Look, I work in the industry and have had software I’ve been part of pirated and I’m sure it has affected my salary but it’s a fact of life anymore.

    And I think it should be said again, pirated comics isn’t a torrenting issue. The ones who do 0-day and the like post the comics somewhere else on the net(I won’t say where) and then people take those files and create the DCP packs that z-cult and demonoid used. The way internet copyright law works torrenting sites are just the only attackable venue and even then the law isn’t specific. It’s just expensive to fight.

  46. I am not romanticizing anything, I am getting something for nothing and I don’t believe that I am Robin Hood when I download.

    That’s called stealing.

    Josh, the reason piracy isn’t considered stealing by people is the fact that piracy has been going on since the 80’s (BBS).

    Those people are rationalizing so that they don’t feel bad. It doesn’t matter how long it has been going on, it’s still taking something without paying for it.

    You’re either okay with stealing or your not, but stop pretending otherwise.

  47. It is stealing, because you are taking something (an idea) and not paying for it. It isn’t any more complicated than that. I am sorry, but it really isn’t.

    And it doesn’t have to be accepted. Marvel and DC are not accepting it and because they wont the practice is changing.

  48. “If you’re okay with it then fine, that’s up to you to decide, but geez, stop trying to romanticize theft.”

    I agree some comments verge on this which can only harm the discourse by polarizing it into a false discussion of “moral” and “immoral” which will hardly shut down the bittorrents.

    I try and view it from four perspecitives:

    1) if I were a lawmaker or member of law enforment, what policy would be reasonable on this issue.
    2) (More importantly) If I were a member of a corporation faced with this problem, what steps would be EFFECTIVE – not just wasted attempts to show how powerful I was, just protecting an obsolete business model as technology changes rapidly. Private enterprise in the context of a free market does not mean guaranteed government protecton and/or deregulation when convenient. I say – pick one or the other to produce a reasonable argument.

    3) As a responsible citizen, what would be a solution I would be comfortable with, that protects the rights of both business and the private individual to do what they want in the privacy of their own home with interference from laws paid for by corporate lobbyists that still fail to address the real issue at hand.

    4) the “internationalization” of the WWW is also part and parcel of the globalization of capital – corporations want “a world without borders” as long as it means they make more money. That private citizens might also take advantage of this trend on n the internet is something they don’t want to face. Both must be considered as one package.

    Here is relevant example – The Federal Government is determined to keep marijuana completely illegal, but is equally adamant about preventing scientists studying the problem objectively (re: harm, long term effects, patterns of users, etc.).

    Again, I call for a more scientific study of the situation before emotional charged words like “theft” are thrown around.

    That’s why I have tried to restrain my own comments to offering information rather than opinion, as best I can, with I hope some success.

  49. Again, I call for a more scientific study of the situation before emotional charged words like “theft” are thrown around.

    You want to scientifically study whether or not taking something without paying for it is stealing?

  50. conor, I did not realize that your world was painted in the same style as After the cape.

  51. Stealing is stealing, dude. Either own up to it or don’t.

  52. So if we agree to call downloading stealing, can we then continue to discuss if it hurts the industry or if it might actually work as a marketing tool?

  53. Sure.

    I think it is probably a very effective marketing tool.

    I think the comic book companies are dumb not to set up a digital store for downloadable new comics. I think they are missing out on a major source or revenue and are in danger of falling too far behind in the digital age.

  54. Question- Is it that the sudden ability to buy Marvel and DC digital comic books through and internet store would be a huge financial hit to local print comic book stores. The loss of buisness would force many stores to close. And the loss of print sales from those out of business comic book stores would be too large a financial hit to the publishers and damage the comic book industry?

  55. “You want to scientifically study whether or not taking something without paying for it is stealing?”

    This whole issue is like the “Abstaining from sex is the best way to avoid getting a disease or getting program, and that is ALL we are going to tell you — no discussion in detail is permitted otherwise.”

    It is completely easy to make a tour of the various bittorrent sites, see what is available where, how many people are seeding for how long, how many are just leeching, and what titles are available and what are not.

    In fact, there was a survery two years ago in Germany – 6% of Germans said they had no problem downloading for free, but the rest of the respondents said they would rather buy it off the shelf. Music sales for that year were about between 1-6% of the previous year. Hardly a meltdown of the music industry.

    Now tell me – do you honestly think the Germans can do something Americans cannot? There are all kinds of internet research firms that do this kind of research -the resources are there. But the ban on even talking about it, or instantly demonizing it, instantly makes it a “no-go” topic.

    “Stealing is stealing, dude. Either own up to it or don’t.”

    That is a nice stark way to put it, but the problem? Not only is bittorrent not clearly defined in the law, but the courts and lawmakers are at least 10 years behind the trends of technology. Soapbox words may sound nice, but do they translate to either good government policy, healthy evolution of the market, or (most importantt) EFFECTIVE enforcement?

    Actually, “stealing” is a concept – “illegal infringement on copyright” is the proper legal term. If you “steal” (i.e. theft), the police can arrest you for theft. As it stands, neither the F.B.I. nor the local police, who have jurisdiction over the crime of theft will take action in these cases. Therefore, they became a matter for either civil litigation (company vs. downloader) or corporate pressure on ISP companies (Demonoid being the key example). Neither Demonoid in Canada nor Piratebay in Sweden were taken to court on the charges of “theft.” Piratebay was raided on entirely questionalbe legal grounds and the case did not got to court, and Demonoid’s ISP was pressured by the C.R.I.A. (Canadian Recordiing Industry Association), a group entirely funded by the Recording Industry (not the artists they have on contract).

    This is akin to a landlord kicking you out because he doesn’t has solid legal ground, but because his boss doesn’t like you, and he knows his eviction order will either not stand up in court or will take years to litigate. In the end, As per Ron’s post, corporations are using vast corporate capital resources (In Canada) and police action stemming from political pressure from other countries rather than Swedish law. Is that a lastiing solution? Judging by the current state of bittorent sites (healthy and growing), apparently not.

    Read: “We are bigger than you, we can push you around.” Does this not beg the “does the end justify the means” argument? Would you prefer corporations enforcing their interpretation of the law rather than law enforcement itself? These are the same people that are completely stubborn about fair compensation for creators, willing to loose hundreds of millions of dollars rather than give writers their fair due.

    And the end result? Demonoid is down for now, but Piratebay simply filled the void. Scanner groups are unscaved. I could post a Disney movie I obtained in Japan that’s over 50 years old, and so has entered the public domain in Japan as per Japanese law. Also, episodes of TV shows have either not been aired on Japanese TV, released on DVD here, or will not for 2-3 years. They don’t sell it, so I can’t access it? Or better yet, they have a right to ban something distributors don’t even provide? So who in what country has a right to bittorrent it? As this point, the word “stealing” fails to address the broader legal issues in much depth. A lawmaker or lawyer worth their hourly fee would send you packing out his door with such broad, non descristive words like “it’s just stealing — CONFESS!”

    SO in the end, it’s kind of like saying,
    “We don’t like those people in that other country.”
    “So what should we do?”
    “Well, ummmm, errr, ummm, yeah, how about….ummm..welll..”

    I think, Conor, you have a very vastly intelligent mind for concrete, workable and reasonable solutions, so forgive me for holding you to a standard I believe you are capable of….

  56. Conor, do you feel particularly strong about this issue? 🙂

    When it comes to this topic, no one seems interested in winning hearts and minds. The tone heads towards, “No, YOU’re Hitler!” faster than for almost any issue. Like, I don’t think I even know how to get or use Bittorrent, but seeing Conor’s tone makes me want to go try it.

  57. I’d like to point out that I never said I haven’t used BitTorrent or other P-to-P services.

    I just have no illusions about what I’m doing when I do use them.


  58. Now, THIS interests me. This goes right to what’s on my mind.

    So: if you WERE to use p2p file sharing of comics, and unromantically did so, saying, “Yep! Stealin’!” what would your reasons have been for doing that? And how often would you imagine you would have done that, while also saying “Stealing is naughty”? Talk to me about that hypothetical thought process. Because I imagine 90% of the people reading your words would empathize.

    Not me, of course. Piracy isn’t a market force or catalyst for change; it’s just bad.

  59. Allegedly.

    Unfortunately, this is a bummer to someone who uses these comics, perhaps as they are intended, as digital backups to issues that I have bought. I don’t have a scanner of the quality I would need to scan my entire collection, and I would much rather bring a DVD with me on a long trip or plane ride than a hundred single issues. So I guess I steal (since that is the term we’ve decided on) the digital representation of comics I already own. Unfortunately, Marvel and DC don’t offer any real alternative to this other than the DVDs that they have released of back runs of issues. Even these are finicky, as the format isn’t anywhere near as user friendly as CBR.

  60. You can download stuff you already own. That’s never really been an issue. But as Josh mentioned earlier when you download through Bittorrent you are uploading to people who aren’t necessarily downloading the file for the noble reasons you are.

  61. Which is unfortunate, since there is no real alternative for getting these kinds of backups.

  62. Wow, lot of strong feelings about this.

    I can only speak for myself, but my opinion on this matter is pretty simple: I just prefer buying comics. You get a better product, in my opinion, and you know you’ve given support to an artist.

    I’m not saying what’s right or wrong, just a humble opinion.

  63. I will admit to a certain “guilt factor” if I use P2P – but not with regards to the comics publishers. Rather, I do feel I could get something for free that my “comic fan compatriats” on this forum are paying their hard earned salary for. This is alleviated by the fact that they mostly have a handy LCS they can go to and glory in, whereas I have not found a decent shop with decent stock in all of Tokyo.

    Then again, they breeze through their stacks they obtain on time- being overseas I’m stuck with the lousy selection that comes out a week or more later, that somehow thinks “Bomb Queen”is a more worthy title than, say, X-Factor to include in the pack than numerous titles I spend hours and hours seaching for, and frequently not finding.

    Anybody living outside the U.S., I think, will understand where I am coming from. And living outside the U.S., I have probably paid twice for trades in shipping costs, and certainly bought far more than my shelves can accomdate. What they lose in bittorrents, I am sure they are gaining in Amazon sales, where many of the more interesting books, frequently absent from bittorrent sites.

    If there is a viable alternative to comic distribution, Amazon is probably the best around.

  64. Conor, calling piracy theft is too strong a statement. A lot of people who take part in online piracy do so with content they never had a intention of purchasing. Calling it theft is also a misnomer because you aren’t taking a product from them. You haven’t prevented them from selling something, it’s still there for someone to buy. Your not taking money from them. Piracy in some respects is just the eveloution of open source.

    The law is still sketchy with this kinda of thing and will be that way until every nation with the internet decides the boundries. US law is dictated by lobbyist and Canada is getting caught in the middle too so we are seeing more of this. Just because the RIAA bullies people(because they believe their dwindling profits every year is caused by piracy) doesn’t make what people are doing illegal. The thing about it is, that piracy has always existed and will always exist but at what level is it illeagal? At what point is the storage of information considered illegal? From the tone of your posting Conor, your obviously in your belief that any piracy is theft but that’s your opinion. I personally believe every intellectual property should be open source and as I said I’m sure my salary has been affected by “piracy” but it doesn’t change my opinion. How do you determine the line? As long as someone doesn’t make money from the pirated content then legaly they sit in a grey zone.

  65. Conor, calling piracy theft is too strong a statement. A lot of people who take part in online piracy do so with content they never had a intention of purchasing. Calling it theft is also a misnomer because you aren’t taking a product from them. You haven’t prevented them from selling something, it’s still there for someone to buy. Your not taking money from them. Piracy in some respects is just the eveloution of open source.

    I don’t know what to tell you. Taking something without paying for it is theft, plain and simple. Whether it’s downloading a comic book you never intended to buy or taking a TV set you never intended to buy from someone’s apartment – you are stealing.

    You seem to be happy living in denial about what you are doing, which is no skin off my nose.

    Like I said, at least I acknowledge I’m a thief whenever I hypothetically download music.

    From the tone of your posting Conor, your obviously in your belief that any piracy is theft but that’s your opinion. I personally believe every intellectual property should be open source and as I said I’m sure my salary has been affected by “piracy” but it doesn’t change my opinion.

    Wishing it so doesn’t make it true. You must not own any intellectual property. Ask a comic book writer if they consider it stealing when you download one of their books.*

    *And yes, I’m sure there are some that don’t care.

  66. TfJ, I’m not sure I follow your argument. Although nothing is physically being taken in the cases of identity theft or theft of intellectual property, there seem to be few qualms with calling those theft. I don’t think an intent to purchase or a physical item qualify something as being stolen or not stolen. Desire for the product is obviously there, since it wouldn’t be downloaded otherwise. Piracy is getting something you would have to pay for if the copy didn’t exist, and getting something you want and then saying “I wanted it but I never would have bought it” seems like an argument full of holes.

  67. It seems that there is a disconnect between morality and legality. The legal aspect of all of this is clearly still sketchy but the morality of it is you are obtaining something that you aren’t paying for and that is depriving the people who created, published, distributed and sold the books of the money they deserve.

  68. Man, I want to just go off on this, but it’s just a dark rabbit hole, and I’ll never get that time back.

  69. “at least I acknowledge I’m a thief whenever I hypothetically download music.”

    I’m not sure what you think that’s getting you, or how that’s better, but now I’m officially too upset by the tone to come back and find out.

  70. I’m not sure what you think that’s getting you, or how that’s better…

    It’s my entire point in all of this. People wrap up piracy in a nice little package of “I’m not doing anything wrong” or “everything should be free” and various other things that absolve them of admitting any wrong doing.

    What I’m saying is – that’s all garbage. Piracy (whether it’s comic or music or software, etc.) is stealing. I do it. Lots of people do it. But it’s still stealing. I don’t try to pretend it’s not.

  71. Easy way to look at it
    -example- John Doe would never pay money to see Superbad. John Doe would never rent it, never watch it at all. But it’s out there for free so John Doe says he’ll give it chance only because it costs him nothing but time. Had John Doe had to pay for it he would never think about it again. So under no circumstances would John Doe ever have paid 8 bucks and the creators would never had made money off John Doe. So John Doe is not taking money from the creators.

  72. Conor the point I’m making about piracy is what is the line between open source and what is proprietary?
    Look at the problems involved with Alan Moore as an example of how ideas and ownership is a total cock-up.

  73. Conor the point I’m making about piracy is what is the line between open source and what is proprietary?

    The line is pretty clear to me.

  74. If you don’t want something, you don’t pay for it. If you don’t want something, but still watch/read/enjoy it, you’re consuming it, and there’s no reason you should get something for free when others have to pay for it.

    Comic books aren’t “open source.” It’s not software that people worked on for the greater good. Comics are copyrighted material. It’s not even a valid comparison.

  75. Along with what Josh and Conor are saying, you may want to look at the classic example of the free rider problem (a concept from economics and political science), which says that even though using something without physical theft doesn’t have the cost to companies that a theft would, your not paying for the product reduces the incentive for Marvel/DC/etc to provide it.

  76. And the very fact that you wouldn’t pay for it means you’re not entitled to own it, digitally or otherwise and whether it’s free or not.

  77. A lot of people have been saying that if they hadn’t downloaded some comics then they wouldn’t now be buying DMZ or Y The Last Man etc (just examples, I’m not attaching those particular titles singularly to this issue). I’m glad those people are now buying the books, but I don’t see how it works as an excuse for downloading.

    Aside from my own personal preference of hating reading comics on a screen (which, I’m sorry, seems a little redundant to me as you’re stripping away the tangible element of comics. You know, the feel, the smell, that makes them a unique form of entertainment, and probably the thing that got you into comics in the first place), if you’re curious about a new comic and wanna see what it’s like without buying it then read a review, go to a library, borrow an issue from a friend. If you like it, buy it. If you don’t, don’t. I know this doesn’t apply to every comic out there, especially self-financed runs or indie books, but there’s other means than downloading to see if you’ll like a book.

    Hey, maybe go on a comic book website forum and ask people “If I like A and B, will I like C?”. I’ve done that tons of times here, and had really helpful responses from other readers. This very site was the reason I bought Y The Last Man and DMZ (again, just examples). I listened to reviews and was interested, so got the first trades. The next day I ordered the next 8 trades of Y. If I hadn’t liked I would’ve probably sold them on, that way I know it’s been paid for but I’m getting reimbursed.

    Here’s another thing. If you’re a fan of Brain K. Vaughan or Grant Morrison, or whoever, and you wanna check out a new book they’ve got coming out, then you already like their work and have paid for it in the past. I’m not saying writers aren’t gonna turn out turkeys every now and then, but if you’re invested enough in their work to call yourself a fan means that if you didn’t have the option to download for free you’d happily pay for it.

    What kind of fan does that make you? Would you only go and see your favourite band play if you could sneak in for free, even though they’re onstage playing and sweating their hearts out?

    I got a little righteous in this post, which I apologise for. Not judging anyone, just don’t understand it. Peace to all.

  78. “calling piracy theft is too strong a statement.”

    I’m still chuckling at this. theft is worse than piracy? What do pirates do? Steal. They also, rape, kill, and burn stuff. If anything, piracy is too strong of a word for theft.

    I download tons of comics, most of which I am using to back up one I already own or turn me on to things I am not reading. However, I know it is stealing. It’s just stealing I can justify with the fact that I put tons of money back into the industry. If I got busted, there could be consequences, and they would take “but I also bought stuff!” as an excuse.

    I like A&W cream soda and have no desire to try another brand when I am at the grocery store. I’ve seen other brands, like Sky Blue in the store. Would it not still be stealing if I decided to pull one can out of the six pack of Sky Blue, sneaked it home, and drank it just to try it? Even if I liked it and started buying it, if they catch me sneaking out with it, they’d come down on me.

  79. Changing the subject (because downloading is stealing, if it walks like a duck etc.),

    And this might have been answered in earlier forum discussion of digital forays…

    What would a likely digital price-point be on a 0 day DC/Marvel comic? We’re told paper is the main reason for the high price (I think), so where would eliminating that leave us?

    A comic I can read in five minutes (or ten if it’s Bendis), simply isn’t a good value at 3-4 bucks a pop. But at 1-2, it works for me.

    Anyone know?

  80. I just made an audio tape of music from my CDs using my CD player. I copied some TV programs using my VHS player. Maybe I’ll buy a DVD recorder and make some DVDS by recording things from television or from other VHS tapes of DVDS. I am going to give these to a friend, who will probably never buy the originals.

    OH WAIT – Is that theft? Is it piracy? Is it illegal in most countries?

    ANSWER – No, No, and No. If you called any of these activities “stealing” people would look at you funny. All of these above example fall within the fair use doctrine, and manufacturers of devices that record things on audiotape, VHS, CD and DVD depend on that fair use doctrine to continue in business.

    Although many people are trying to explain away what is in fact straight up piracy and bootlegging, the other side of that argument should admit that they never think of themselves as “thieves and crooks that steal stuff” when they burn a CD for a friend, just like making a mixed tape of music.

    Bittorrrents – The seismic shift from the above examples is that the technology currently allows for individual consumers to copy and distribute among themselves almost as well as companies that sell the product. If someone sends a VHS of TV programs in the mail, it’s legal. If I bittorrent…well…now it’s a new world order.

    Cincinnatus basically has it correct when he says –
    “It seems that there is a disconnect between morality and legality. The legal aspect of all of this is clearly still sketchy but the morality of it is you are obtaining something that you aren’t paying for and that is depriving the people who created, published, distributed and sold the books of the money they deserve.”

    I would add that media content providers are more than happy to gang up to shut down the bittorrent sites, just as they are happy to gang up and say NO to writers that demand that they get a fair share of DVD and internet sales. Now we have a strike, and bittorrents will probably be how many pass the time until its over. There is another disconnect I would point to.

    “The legal aspect of all this is clearly sketchy” is right on the mark. Neither courts nor laws have adequately ruled on file sharing. There has not been a difinitive ruling. As per usual, the courts, politicians, and even the corporations are about 10 years behind the curve of technology advancing quite rapidly.

    In the case of consumer VHS and audiotape recording, there were indeed court cases where media content providers DID try to shut down manufacturers of recording equipment using copyright laws as the basis of their law suits. They lost. Imagine if they won?

    The difference now is that we don’t have two different companies going head to head in court to resolve the issue – we have large media companies versus a whole lot of ordinary individuals without highly paid legal teams to make their case, but still corporations have found the legal route against individuals a losing battle. So, now they are using pressure tactics against the servers where Bittorrent sites are located, quite outside any legal and/or governmental regulation or guidance.

    Pirate – A pirate is not just someone who “steals.” A pirate is someone who operates outside established jurisdiction, doing whatever they want, including bootlegging, trafficing in goods they are not authorized to traffic in by government sanctioned merchants, and stealing from ships traveling in waters unprotected by a any particular country’s jurisdiction. Sir Francis Drake, one of the great heroes of British history, was a pirate, stealing from the Spanish.

    The international aspect of Bittorrents, which not only makes application of “fair use” doctrine problematic in one country, makes it dizzyling problematic in dozens and dozens of countries, all of which have their own different laws about what constitutes copyrights, and fair use.

    The Spanish tried to push little Sir Francis Drake around, and the British Empire took over the seas. The Piratebay and other sites have proven themselves quite adept at avoiding industry pressure.

    Which is all to say… I may have sent Josh even further down that rabbit hole he mentioned… That, and governments and the courts should at attempt to get ahold of the situation sometime soon, or basically what we are looking at is a rather “anarchic” situation – a few big companies try to use their muscle to shut sites down, and the result is … by the time the site they shut down reappears, several new ones have popped up.

  81. Yeesh, Josh is right, this thing is a rabbit hole. But I’ll say this, Conor is right, the industry is falling behind, give us a legal way to read comics on-line already. The whole thing! Maybe not the newest stuff, but jeez, it’s like giving crack to junkies… like we’re reeealy going to stop buying our monthly mags ’cause we can get some back issues on the computer. But yeah, I gues they’re right. If it ain’t legal, it’s stealing.

  82. Another argument here is the fact that all of the comics available for download are not pre-release. That is the issue looming over the music industry right now. The main reason that oink went down was the fact the scene was involved leaking pre-release material.

    When I download comics it’s to read OOP material. Miracleman, Flex Mentallo, Zenith. That stuff. I’m not paying some guy on ebay $300 for one volume of Miracleman. Sorry.

    Industries need to get better at understanding where technology is headed. Instead of bristling up and calling foul at everything, why not take the time to see how they can exploit this technology. Make a legal option for us to partake in. I would gladly pay $15/mo for a music service like oink or a download comics site.

  83. Wow. Since I posted last, this baby has become a monster. In reading through all the posts, I can see the various opinions and people make solid arguments. However, I still don’t really understand the argument for bittorrents.

    Yes, yes, I can see the arugments that people make for them, but to me, it goes against the whole idea of being a consumer. In my mind, a consumer is someone who actively participates in an ecomony. They play their role; they are a cog in the machinary of goods and services. Sure, there is a shitload of stuff that I want to read! But that doesn’t necessarily give me the right to hunt it down by any means necessary.

    Part of the excitement of being a consumer of goods is that anticipation of getting an item. When you save for something you really want, when you wait patiently, it really makes that item so much more special. Sure, I haven’t read all of Y: The Last Man. But each time I’m able to buy a trade, it’s makes it exciting and special.

    To me, bittorrents take away that accomplishment factor of buying things. I work hard for my money and pride myself that I can spend it on the things that I want. Bittorrenting takes away all that pizzaz for me.

    I’ve found local libraries, internet reviews, podcasts, and friends a great source for finding new and exciting series to invest my time in. But since I have a limited income, it also makes me more choosey. Sure, I don’t read everything, but I at least enjoy what I plunk my money down on, which is the whole point anyway, right?

    As I close, I just want to say that if you bittorrent and are okay with it, great. You and I are different. I accept that. I don’t hate you. I just don’t understand it, nor do I have any interest in doing it. We can still be friends. We can still discuss comics. Just remember–the world is bright and filled with sunshine.

  84. I actually think downloading helps comic book publishers. People are a lot more likely to go out and purchase new comics if they can read a story from the beginning instead of jumping in to the middle of things. Back issues aren’t always easy to come by, especially for the more obscure stuff.

    I think the success of THE WALKING DEAD is due partially to the fact that Robert Kirkman has had a very aggressive trade paperback strategy with the series. Unlike books by Marvel and DC, he releases the trades fairly quickly and at a reasonable price. Readers can easily catch up with what has happened in the story so far and then go to their local comic book shop and buy the monthly comic book. Coincidently, THE WALKING DEAD is on of the few monthly books that enjoys an increase in sales numbers each and every month. Marvel and DC seem to look at trades as competition for the monthly books. They purposely delay the publication of trades so they have no effect to the monthly comic book.

  85. Hear Hear to Neb’s closing sentence.

  86. i think Bentcomer should be hired by either Marvel or DC and handle this problem for them. That second paragraph about THE WALKING DEAD is golden commentary.

    Brubaker also seems to get his trades out pretty fast, too, whether its DC or Marvel. He writes well, and I think he also wants to make money. Brubaker threw scorn at the “distrubuted to the retailer only on Wednesday only” model in an interview once. He said it was just incomprehensible that a company would leave large stacks of a hot selling product in a warehouse for a week, and not distribute it, “just because it wasn’t Wednesday.”

    Much love and Hear Hear to the sentiments of Eyun and Neb, but I will always think like this – companies that sell things serve consumers, consumers do not serve companies that sell things. When companies realize that, then they make nice profits by making nice things for the consumers they serve and buidling the best distribution system possible that serves consumers (not companies), and consumers get what they want, and all are happy and content.

    Japanese learned the phrase “The customer is always right” from an American. Time we learned it back.

    Happy Holidays.

  87. I download. I steal. I don’t really care.

    I do think there’s a valid distinction between the kinds of things that get downloaded and what folks do with ’em, though.

  88. A great lecture on copyright law…

  89. 2000AD just announced legal downloads, online 1 week after the paper version comes out…


    Noting that there are still some corners of your planet that have not yet experienced the Galaxy