The iFanboy Letter Column – 07/31/2009

Friday means many things to many people. For some, Friday means it’s time to really give some thought to how much food you can eat in one 48 hour period without moving. For others, Friday means it’s time to spend every waking moment in their own personal editing bay.

At iFanboy, Friday means it’s letter column time.

You write. We answer. Very simple.

As always, if you want to have your e-mail read on the any of our shows or answered here, keep them coming —


As professional critics, friends of (if not an established part of) the industry itself, and upstanding citizens, I’m sure you avoid taking part in any sort of copyright malfeasance. That said, are there any specific opinions among the three of you on the subject? Is there something to be said for the converts to series or creators it may have won? The (albeit illegal) “try it before you buy it” concept that many “pirates” claim to follow? Its use for acquiring out of print stories? It seems to me, say in the instance of the newly viable but still not collected Miracleman stories, that the copyright law is protecting an inflated aftermarket rather than the rights and incomes of the original creative teams and license holders. I ask because, in this case, the letter of the law is not in direct contrast with the spirit, but it is nonetheless finding purchase in convenient after-market misapplication.

If none of you are comfortable weighing in on any of that in a public forum, we can go for a less dicey but more open ended question: In your opinion, do you think the comics industry has learned from the reactionary mistakes of the music industry?


It really funny that you should send this e-mail in, Drew, because I just had this discussion at the iFanboy party last week at San Diego. You can see a photograph of it to the right, captured by Daniel Emmons.

This issue of piracy is a dicey one — one that always seems to generate a lot of ire — and it seems to me that opinions usually seem to fall along two lines: there seem to be differing opinions depending on how old you are and whether or not you are a content/media creator or a consumer.

At the heart of the matter is piracy. Piracy is a more romantic way of saying “stealing”. And it’s wrong. There isn’t a lot of moral gray area in that. You are taking something that someone created, and you are taking it without paying for it. It’s a widespread phenomenon that took off with the digital age where copying became a really easy thing to do. I’ve done it, you’ve done it, we’ve all done it.

The question then becomes whether or not you think it is okay to pirate things. I have definitely pirated a lot of music, and I know it’s wrong and I don’t feel all that good about it. And as a result of not feeling all that good about it, I haven’t done it in years. Now I legally buy music from eMusic or Amazon instead of pirating.

Movies, music, comics — it’s all there on the internet to take at your leisure. It seems to me that the thing that a lot of people don’t realize is that it costs money to create good, quality content/media. It costs money to make comics, it costs money to make movies, it costs money to do what we do, here at iFanboy and when you pirate stuff you are extracting enjoyment from something while robbing the person who created it. And if the idea that nothing should be paid for persists, then eventually you’ll lose good content, because people need to eat and they’ll go do something else in order to do so.

I, personally, don’t buy the “try it before you buy it” philosophy, which to me is just a convenient way to excuse wanting to take the chance on reading stuff without having to pay for it. Why is this okay with comics but not other media? I’ve read plenty of novels and gone to plenty of movies that I wish I hadn’t paid for after the fact. But that’s life. That’s the chance you take with media. I’m not sure when everyone decided they were entitled to know if they were going to like something in media before paying for it, but it seems to be a rapidly spreading sentiment. You do your research and you roll the dice on stuff that you think you might like, and hopefully you hit more than you miss. Comics are no different. They are not immune from taking these chances.

Now, of course, there are gray areas in everything, and there is even a modicum or gray here in piracy. What about content/media that is not obtainable in any other form? What about the Miraclemans of the world, which Drew mentioned? I bought my issues of Miracleman secondhand off of eBay. Of course, those issues were originally paid for. When you download a digital copy, you now own an entirely whole new copy of an issue, a copy that was never paid for. But then, the book is out of print and that might be the only way you ever see it. What then? And that’s where the gray area comes in.

As for your last question, has the comic industry learned from the music industry, the answer is a resounding “oh, god, no they haven’t.” Marvel and especially DC seem to have their heads in the sand about digital comics, the same way that the music companies did ten years ago. And we all know how that turned out for the music companies. I have no doubt that there are people at both companies looking at digital comics distribution, but for the most part, when you talk to them, they come off as very wary of digital distribution. And of course they would be, publicly. The only customers of comic book companies are comic book stores (we, as readers, are not their customers, we are the comic book stores’ customers) and they don’t want to piss those customers off until they absolutely have to (and from what I heard went down after the Longbox panel in San Diego, many retailers are plenty pissed already). The name of the game for any media company these days is “adapt or die” and unless the Big Two adapt they will, eventually, die. I think they will adapt, there will just be a lot of pain along the way for them until they get there.

Conor Kilpatrick


I enjoyed your discussion of last week’s question of Marvel vs DC on the podcast, which got me thinking about the Dark Reign tie-ins. It seems practically every issue of Marvel ties in to this event, which typically means Norman Osborn pops up somewhere in the issue. And as for a summer series, I believe the Blackest Night event in DC will generate a lot more press and sales for DC, and Dark Reign is hardly an ongoing event to compete with that. For example, my brother told his shop to pull any Darkest Night tie in book for him and he’s absolutely giddy over the upcoming event. I doubt anyone is that excited about Dark Reign, so I think Marvel is doing itself a disservice.

I was wondering if you had any thoughts on the Dark Reign saga so far, and if you have any thoughts on what’s going to come out of it?

Ryan C. (Owlyfan)

I think it’s completely fascinating comparing Marvel and DC right now and their two main “events” currently. Although, if you talk to someone at Marvel, or anyone who is a Marvel fan, they will argue that the use of the word “event” is incorrect when referring to Dark Reign. Like The Initiative a couple of years ago, Dark Reign is meant to be the banner covering the new status quo in the Marvel Universe, and not be an “Event” in the sense of the word that we’re used to. There is no Dark Reign book to be buying, rather it’s a thread of a greater story throughout many of the Marvel Universe books. But if you look at those Marvel books, there is no checklist of books you must read to follow along. Rather Dark Reign is ever present across the covers of the books you read and many of the stories tie into the idea of Norman Osborn’s reign. It’s not an Avengers event or a Spider-Man event, rather it’s a Marvel Universe theme.  Now comparing this to what’s going on across the street at DC Comics with Blackest Night, and you’ve very much got an “event.” There is a Blackest Night book and other one-shots and tie ins, which all are helping to drive Green Lantern fans into a fervor. It’s been a while since I’ve seen such pure excitement and enjoyment of a comics event like I’ve seen with Blackest Night. But Blackest Night throws some “event” flags. There is a checklist appearing in the comics of the books you “have” to read and while it’s a big deal and affects many characters in the DC Universe, it appears to me as it’s fairly self contained, not affecting the entire line of comics, like Dark Reign has.

So what’s the difference? Well it’s a subtle difference but as I like to interpret it, Dark Reign is the kind of thing that you have to be aware of, but for me, I’m reading just the titles I normally read and getting the story that way. Marvel is handling this status quo in a way that you really don’t need to read EVERY Dark Reign book, but if you have excitement for it, the books are there and you can read them all to get every nuance of the story. Now I believe this will all lead to some sort of event that will end the story, presumably with the downfall of Norman Osborn, but we’re not there yet. The thing about it is, everyone is different. You and your brother may not be excited for Dark Reign, but many of my friends are enjoying Dark Reign thoroughly and are buying and reading nearly every book associated with it. It comes down to a matter of taste and what you’re into ultimately.

Personally for me, I’m enjoying Dark Reign and the books I read that are associated with it, and I’m SUPER psyched for Blackest Night. But I don’t see them as one or the other. Dark Reign is very much a subtle theme across books, while Blackest Night is a main event type event. We always seem to want to pit Marvel and DC against each other, but in this case I don’t think it’s a clear apples to apples comparison.

I think that the world that Marvel has become with Dark Reign is super interesting and I’m interested to see where it goes. Has it been perfect? God no. But what comics event or storyline is perfect? I think there has been some dragging of the story a bit here and there, but I think that’s because of the scope of it all. I do think that with Dark Reign, and Secret Invasion and Civil War (both events) before it, Marvel has tried to do a lot of BIG things across a lot of books, which is hard to coordinate and ensure that it’s done with quality. I think they’ve realized this though based on comments by Bendis on Word Balloon and other comments from folks at Marvel. They may have spread themselves a bit thin on this one, but I believe there is a point where we’re being led to and I’m excited to see where that point is. Whether or not I suffer because I’m not reading the 19 different ongoings and mini series? Well, that will remain to be seen.

Ron Richards


I was recently having a conversation about how it would suck to be a character in The Walking Dead. Kirkman seems to like putting Rick and the gang into awful situations the horrible ones then back to awful. He does it to his characters in Invincible and The Astounding Wolf-Man also, so basically if your a main character in a Kirkman book, life is going to suck. So if you were in a comic book who would you want to write your life and who wouldn’t you want?

Russell (shenanigans)

I would want the shittiest writer I could find to write my life. Any writer worth his salt knows that the best thing you can do in almost any story is to make the reader care about a character (one way or another, for or against) and then spend the rest of that story using that to pull us out of the comfort zone, and put the character in uncomfortable positions.

I can tell you the guys who I definitely not want  writing my life, and you nailed it up there with Robert Kirkman. No one is safe in his worlds. From Invincible to Rick to friggin’ Freedom Ring, Kirkman is the master of finding the biggest, sharpest, nastiest ringer he can, and squeezing every character he can through it, slowly and painfully, feeling lucky at the end that they’ve still go the one hand and any teeth at all. Alan Moore, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to physically torture characters as much, but he’ll break them down, or even start them behind the eight ball. No thank you, sir. Bendis has put his people through some terrible shit. Poor ultimate Peter Parker had his world destroyed on top of being cloned. Geoff Johns would bring back dead people to vomit on me. Darwyn Cooke would make me live in the sixties and get pursued by thugs. I don’t even want to think what Judd Winick would do to me. Rick Remender has screwed over Heath Huston plenty of times. Maybe Bill Willingham and Matt Sturges could write me as Josh of Fables. Nothing bad seems to happen to Jack, and when it does, he rolls with it and has a threesome. Yeah, I think I’ll go with them.

Josh Flanagan


  1. Don’t be bummed Ron, Francoeur’s been unconcious since we got him.

  2. @Josh – Wow, that Winick crack was a bit risque. I completely agree that I want Willingham to write me. Bigby gets Snow, Beast gets Bell, and Jack gets every woman on the planet.

  3. If Bendis wrote a comic of my life, I would talk way too much!  Give my story to Alan Moore so there can be tons of sex and off the wall references to random things.

  4. Ha ha ha, the Mets are so bad.

    I think it’s pretty clear, at least with this website, that DC has taken over in terms of popularity lately. Even with you guys picking DC books for most of the summer, it just seems like DC is trying new things and their writers are bringing new stories to the universe.

    What are Marvel writers doing? Being forced to write for the Dark Reign unvierse and have to include Norman Osborn and/or Dark Avengers at least once in their arc. Yeah I would take DC books over Marvel at the moment.

  5. I disagree with the idea that comics that are not being reprinted in a recent collected form fit into a gray category regarding copyright. It might make it more difficult financially to attain something, but back issues do still exist. Back issues are collectibles, in and of themselves. I know the recent market actions of putting almost everything out in collected form means that issues tend to hold no value, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Having to hunt down issues, though tricky, shouldn’t mean you have a valid reason to avoid paying for them. As a comic book collector, who has seen many comic book shops close or almost stop selling back issues altogether, I wish more people valued the art of back issue collecting.

  6. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    I value back issue READING. 

  7. @Paul – Seconded.

  8. Marvel over DC because DC has an "Event Ongoing" and Marvel doesn’t.  And events are bad, as we’ve been told!

  9. Hey Conor,


    Do you consider checking a book or CD out of the public library stealing?  What abot borroing your friend’s copy of ultimatum because you want to know what happens but can’t justify paying for something that bad.  It seems to me that what’s at stake here is at least in part an enclosure of the commons, the space in which objects circulate outside of commercial exchange, a space which has always been central to how folks have read comics.  (I.E., passed from back pocket to back pocket, discovered in uncle’s basement, regifted, even bought at flea market, a secondary commercial transaction from which the publisher gets no $$.)  MPAA/RIAA claims notwithstanding, I am not sure downloading comics is any different.  I buy all my comics to support my local retailer and because i like being able to read the printed page, but the moral discourse around downloading falls short in several important respects.

  10. @biftec: Borrowiing from a library isn’t stealing, the library bought that copy. As for lending, that’s lending. If I borrow Ron’s car, I’m not stealing it, because when I’m done with it, I give it back to him. The same applies if I borrow a comic book.

  11. Yeah, Kirkman does some terrible stuff with his characters, and characters actually die. The status quo of his books CHANGES, which is more than can be said for way too many books.

    Let’s take Spider-Man (note the correct spelling- haha!). Issue #600 was a lot of fun. But who was the main villian? Doc Oc, who escapes down a hatch (just like Dr. Doom does all the time, Torch reminds us). And I loved Kelly’s American son arc, but look- Peter/Spidey are still having trouble with those Osborn fellas! For how long, now? Or how about the last two issues of Batman? We got Scarecrow, the Penguin and Two Face. Really? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy these books. I guess my point is though so much HAPPENS in some books, so little actually CHANGES.

    I don’t think that is Kirkman’s style. Rick’s wife and Rex-Splode will not be ressurected. Of course, in the big picture, his characters are still new and fresh, so let’s see what Invincible is like by the time he gets to #600. Maybe he’ll be repeating himself, too.

  12. @Conor 

     What if i borrow a cd from a library and burn it into itunes?  Is that stealing?

    And if someone were to download, say, Flex Mentallo from bittorrent, didn’t someone intially have to purchase the series (probably from ebay) in order to scan, compress, and upload it?  Would it be illegal for me to make a high quality paper copy of final crisis and give it to my friend, or relative, or pet?  (Like, if my Iguana was a huge Grant Morrison fan?)

  13. @biftec: All of those instances are stealing. You are generating a new copy that did not exist before and have not been paid for.

  14. @Conor

    And if I buy a cd, downoad it into itunes, and email copies of it in .mp3 form to my friend?  I don’t think your definition of stealing respects constitutionally protected "fair use"doctrine.  The notion that any uncompensated copying is stealing ahistorically restricts how folks have used and circulated cultural texts and objects for a very, very long time.  Just my two cents…

  15. @ HailScott – I’m not so sure. Even in the examples you said, Bruce Wayne is dead and Peter Parker is single. I’m not saying these changes will last forever, but things have changed.

  16. @biftec: If you generate a new copy of a form of art or media without paying for it, you’re stealing from the creator of said media.

  17. @ Conor

    That’s the digital millenium copyright act and subsequent similar legislation, yes, but there are some very valid critiques of that argument…

  18. I buy a shit load of new comics as well as collect silver age bronze age back issues. I also download scans of comics from the internet on books I want to try out. If I like it I will go and buy it. Yes technically this is stealing but I feel we have no real choice in trying new books. Even the music industry allows you to preview track before buying them. Though it is wrong to jack someones work I think we as consumers deserve better choices also.

  19. @rush: Your choice in buying new books is to buy them and read them. If you don’t like them, then you don’t buy the next one. Or you can read the five page previews on-line, which is akin to movie trailers or listening to a 15 second snippet on Amazon. Why comic book people think it’s okay to sample something in its entirely before deciding if they want to pay for it or not is beyond me.

  20. not everything is available for preview. I don’t really need the whole thing to preview. But for some titles that is the only way to do it. But I have to say discovering a site like iFanboy helps in choosing new books.

  21. @Conor: Did you familiarize yourself with the Fair Use Doctrine before responding to the letter? I want to hear your thoughts on how it relates to this discussion.

  22. @WonderManFan

    Of course, Conor is familiar with the Fair Use Doctrine. If you haven’t noticed, exercises use of it with most of the articles here. But what they’re doing isn’t stealing. 

  23. @WonderManFan: You mean how "fair use" applies to scanning comic books online for thousands of people to download? It doesn’t.

  24. @Conor @Rush @Biftec – I think what this all boils down to is intent. Conor’s examples all involve people wanting to read the book (or use the good) for free, but without the intention of obtaining the good perpetually without paying AND with the expectation that you are going to give the good back or compensate the damaged party if you don’t. In most of the cases Rush and Biftec gave the individual is still attempting to read the book (or use the good) for free WITH the intention of keeping it AND/OR without the intention of compensating the creator/initial owner for its use.

    I am not qualified to pass judgement (as someone who download more than his share of music when his income was a serious constraint) and am not trying to.  Just trying to clarify the general argument. 

  25. Here is another example. I have bought slabbed books(no judgments please)and then I have downloaded the perticular issue in digital format so I could read it since I wasn’t about to crack the CGC case and I don’t want the entire TPB. I am only interested in that one perticular issue. This has to fall into fair use I would think.

  26. Fair Use:

    One of the rights accorded to the owner of copyright is the right to reproduce or to authorize others to reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords. This right is subject to certain limitations found in sections 107 through 118 of the copyright law (title 17, U. S. Code). One of the more important limitations is the doctrine of “fair use.” The doctrine of fair use has developed through a substantial number of court decisions over the years and has been codified in section 107 of the copyright law.

    Section 107 contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Section 107 also sets out four factors to be considered in determining whether or not a particular use is fair:

      1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
      2. The nature of the copyrighted work
      3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
      4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work

    The distinction between fair use and infringement may be unclear and not easily defined. There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission.



  27. While I’m glad I submitted my question and gave Conor a chance to weigh in, I’m sorry he’s had to keep repeating himself.  It sort of reminds me of that time Homer Simpson had to be taught to recognize his new identity.


  28.  @Conor: Is there a link to an article about retailers getting pissed about longbox? 

  29. "I think he’s talking to you…"

  30. From Conor: "The distinction between fair use and infringement may be unclear and not easily defined. There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission."

    True, though 10% of a work is considered to be the upper limit by most sources; whether that’s codified or "rule of thumb," I’m not sure.

    It would also seem that the companies are shooting themselves in the foot by not going digital, especially DC.  Conor recently listed off a few Bat-book collections that are out of print now and available only on the secondary market.  While DC made money off the first sale, they make nothing off each subsequent sale, nor do the creators.  Wouldn’t they make more money having these available for sale in a digital format direct from them or in a core method like Longbox?  Or would the direct sales be negated by their fiduciary obligations to the creators?  It would be interesting to see the cost analysis of putting one of these up as trades vs. individual issues at varying price points and seeing what the gross and net income would be.   

  31. @valo: No links that I know of. Just con gossip.

  32. @BrianBaer: Haha! I guess I skipped the most obvious point with Batman. Still, I’m hoping new Batman=new enemies.

  33. The case of Fair Use is an interesting one. I’m a little familiar with it, but in looking at it now, I was interested to see that there was a case in which internet thumbnails of images were considered Fair Use because they were reduced from original size, they did not infringe on the market value of the original photographs, etc. So, I suppose one could argue that a PDF or CBZ or whatever is transformed from the original print. And I suppose you could try to argue that the distribution of said file wouldn’t actually impact market value because it was going to an audience that wouldn’t normally have purchased that printed copy… but I dunno. I wouldn’t go to court with that defense. I think it’d be particularly hard to defend that it doesn’t affect the market value of the product. Still, I can see where some people feel like there might be a legal loophole. That said, my personal opinion is that citing Fair Use when doing this seems like a willfull denial of what Conor says plainly above: you’re making a copy and distributing content that you don’t own *without* the consent of the owner. And that’s not cool.

  34. yowza. I was working and sent that before really looking at what I sent. Woulda been nicer with some paragraph breaks.

    Anyway, the case that interested me was here:

  35. I buy all my cosmic stuff GL and Marvel as well as some Batman stuff. I support a few other indies. I read the rest in the store on a sofa in the back, technically it’s not stealing since the owner lets me I’m sure some would consider that to be wrong.

    I personally don’t care what people download as long as they support the industry as much as is feasibly possible. If you can afford too buy your favorite comic and you don’t, you’ve moved past doing something wrong to doing something douchey. I can get behind doing something wrong…being a douche bag though. It’s wrong. 

    On the other hand I download all kinds of TV, like Burn Notice and don’t seem to have an issue with it so I’m morally compromised anyway. Any TV I do legitimately watch I zip past commercials on the DVR, so some consider that stealing also. As for music, I also think music should just be free and people should make their money at the performance and merchandising level and cut out the Recording Industry completely.  

    Many people use to consider Renting and Borrowing movies and games stealing too. Some companies still do and would love to put a nail in rental stores. I’m sure a lot of places would like to put an end to getting movies and music at the library too. 

    I don’t know 100% though. I can say if I hadn’t pirated comics years ago, the industry wouldn’t be getting my money now. I wouldn’t own all of Y, I wouldn’t have gotten into Green Lantern and Nova, I own all the cosmic stuff from marvel and DC since Green Lantern Rebirth and Annihilation. On the other hand I stopped pirating because I was conflicted. So clearly I’m against stealing stuff I care about and don’t care about stealing stuff I could do with out, so I’m not exactly standing on the moral high ground all around. I did subscribe to Crossgen’s online thing though when I was pirating everything else, so I look forward to the day, DC and Marvel get their asses in gear and do something similar, so I can just get that. 

  36. If hitting the bottom-line of the publishers is what it takes to affect change than so be it.

  37. Oh boy.  It seems like the pirating issues comes up at least once a year.  I can recall a post several years ago that had hundreds and hundreds of comments.  As always, I’m with Conor on this one 100%.  Pay for your stuff people! 

  38. I kind of scoff at the logic of having to pirate comics to see if they are worth buying. The vast majority of comic readers (he said with the air of ill-founded authority) buy their comics at a comicbook store. This allows for the chance to peruse any books that might pique one’s interest. This is a luxury that isn’t always present when purchasing a CD or a DVD, as it is typically unacceptable to pop open the case and give the disc a try right there in the store. Even when it comes to books in a normal bookstore, it’s hard to discern whether you’ll like a 400 page prose book by flipping through the pages. Sometimes the back cover or dust jacket doesn’t help unless you are already sold on the subject or author.

    With comics, on the other hand, the medium lends itself to allow the consumer to flip through the comics, take a gander at the art and see if it tickles your fancy. You can even take a quick survey of where the story is going and see if that’s something you may want to spend $3 on. 

  39. So getting cd’s from the library and putting it on itunes it stealing eh?

    *hides piles of CD’s under bed*

  40. I’ve pirated a couple issues here or there, and have felt like shit every time.

    I don’t think you’re a horrible person if you steal music/comics/movies/whatever (God knows I’ve done it many times in the past), but the crassness of some people when it comes to it is baffling. Lots of people act like they’re entitled to free art or media, and it just comes off as stupid.

  41. @PTAhole

    My generation seems to feel entitled to everything. 

  42. @miyamotofreak-The idea that some people have about being entitled to their entertainment is completely baffling.

    I totally agree with Conor’s point about previewing.  If you want to "try before you buy" then look up the previews on cbr, newsarama, ign, etc.  That’s the point of it.  If the comic doesn’t interest you at that point, then it has failed at its job to hook you.

  43. i’ve downloaded music that didn’t pay for before. but stealing is stealing. if your getting a product you didn’t pay for its stealing.

  44. Yeah thanks for responding to my question I forgot to mention that i think Brian k Vaughan could write my life, between Y and Ex machina his characters dont seem like hate their lives.  Ill take being the last man on earth or a mayor with super powers anyday over being chased by zombies while slowly losing my mind and loved ones.

    I have to admit the first comic I read was Y the last man which i downloaded but i felt bad once i got into comics that i bought the whole run in issues.

  45. With the Robert Kirkman question:

    I actually re-read the Invincible vol.1 trade and I gott say….it’s the tamest thing he’s ever written. I know that this series gets uber bloody and fucked up later. But the first trade is just a simple story of a kid getting his superpowers.

    Seeing that trade and flipping issue #64 at my LCS; it’s night and day looking at both.

  46. (and from what I heard went down after the Longbox panel in San Diego, many retailers are plenty pissed).

    ?? That was just a scuffle… I mean, none of the punches actually LANDED, and…

    (I’m joking, I’m joking.) I actually talked to retailers at the show and the ones that I spoke with seemed (at least to my face) eager to find a way that they and LongBox could work together.  Which is our ideal as well.

  47. I’m going to come right out and say it: I download comics. Every week.
    I live in Yonkers, NY which, in spite of being a stone’s throw away from NYC, the capitol of both major comics companies, I can’t find a single comic shop in my city (it’s also the 4th largest city in the state, I believe). There are two in Scarsdale, but I don’t drive and would have to take a bus for $2.25, both ways (and only accessible via Metrocard or change, and for some reason there are barely any Metrocard vendors around me. Plus I think the folks at MTA are a bunch of scum-sucking monsters, so the less money I give them to get from point A to point A.5 to transfer to a bus to get to point A.9 to walk the rest of the way to point B, the better) for roughly an hour ride both ways. I know there’s mail order subscriptions, but frankly the problem there is income. I quit my job (thinking more about how poorly I was being treated there than the state of the economy) and my mom just recently lost hers.

    Now, that all sounds like a load of piss-poor excuses for basically stealing, except I think that I tend to make up for it. I buy waaaay more collected editions than I ought to considering my current financial woes (I worked a long while without ever buying anything for myself outside of food or rent for an apartment that I hate, so when I came into some money, fuck it, I splurged). I’ve bought hardcovers and Omnibus editions. I even just bought an official Captain America shirt (which I only mention its ‘authenticity’ because I’m certain that money is going to Marvel, not a guy who can design a Cap’s shield facsimile). I lend my books out to friends who now might also buy comics and related merchandise of their own.

    The fact is, were it not for my downloading comic scans illegally, the industry would never have received a dime from me since I’d never have gotten into comics in the first place. I know that’s not the truth for everyone who downloads comics, but I feel it justifies my doing so to some extent.
    (Now to curl into a ball and cry because I probably just ostrasized myself from the community.)

  48. Property is theft.

  49. Concerning piracy I really think that we should all listen to what Stephen Fry has to say about the subject rather than reduce this to a flame war.

  50. @TNC Have you read his Tech Jacket? That’s probably his tamest work, but it’s good.

  51. If my life were written by Terry Moore, I’d either have biker friends or rich friends, either of which would be interesting.

    I’d totally pay $2.99 to read the adventures of Josh of Fables, but if it ever goes out of print, I’m downloading. 🙂



  52. I want Brian Michael Bendis to write my life, because nothing would happen for months at a time. i would sit around a table with a bunch of other people and just talk for 10 issues. Then, I would go have action for one issue, then spend the next 7 in the Savage Land, talking about being in the Savage Land. 

  53. at the end of the day the comic publishers need us more than we need them. So, if they are not willing to give us what we want and how we want it then we take it until the day comes when they start listening to us. Or we stop buying their shit. We as consumers have to be heard and ultimately caatered to within reason. Honestly comic book fans are tolerant bunch, We have tolerated a lot; price hikes, late books, and even one crapy stories in the form of "EVENTS". I say download away until they get their heads out of their asses.

  54. I want Dwayne McDuffie to write my life, because anything bad that might happen DC editorial will say "No, we can’t do that to him." 

  55. @valo: Haven’t tried it but will do now.

    I would want Kirkman to write myself. I would be the firs to go, and would love the fact.

  56. @captbastrd: It’s a comic book web discussion site, as long as you don’t share or explicate how to share I doubt anyone would pronounce judgement on you and hand you a ‘black spot’. 

  57. It’s really odd to me when people try to defend piracy.

  58. I’ve only felt guilty torrenting a Pearl Jam album, but that probably had more to due with the music.

    If i hadn’t dled the first trade of preacher I would never have bought the whole series.

    Not saying that downloading is 100% positive, but I don’t think about it too much. Its faaaar too complex to wrap my head around the dmca and all that bullshit. 

  59. New Bonus Question!!!

    What comic have you downloaded before and in retrospect would it be worth buying?

  60. @Mangaman: The first comic series I downloaded was Deadenders. I own the original issues and trade but wanted easier access to the whole series. Since DC won’t reprint it, I took the initiative. One interesting note: downloading comics got me back into collecting. I stopped collecting comics when Robinson’s Starman ended. A few years later, I heard about Brubaker working on Iron Fist and thought it sounded interesting so I downloaded a few issues. After reading those issues, I hunted down the back issues and then bought the premier hardcovers for the Brubaker/Fraction issues. I’m now collecting 15 monthly titles and loving the current approach to 6 issue hardcovers at reasonable prices. I’m very interested in Longbox as my house is not too large and I’d like to keep it clutter free. I don’t endorse piracy. Releasing cheap or free issues of comics is a good way to get people interested.

  61. I really don’t get how people can justify pirating. It is theft. End of story.

     To suggest that as consumers we should seal from comic companies, or anyone else for that matter, as the best way to get them to "do what we want" is laughable. Surely the best way to get them to make books that we like is to buy the books that we like and not touch the ones we don’t.

    How is stealing from them going to encourage them to do more of what you like? If someone stole from you because they didn’t like what you were doing would it encourage you to help them or is it more likely that you will want to punch them in the face? I think you know the answer.

    As consumers our power is in what we choose to consume. If you decide to pirate a book then what you are is a thief. If you like content or not, it is still worth money to the creator and you should respect their right to make art they are happy with and to make a living from it. If you don’t like it don’t buy it. Don’t steal it as some pretense to getting better product because it is entirely counterintuitive. 

    Also property is not theft. Its part of the evolution of society.

  62. I think it’s possible to be sensible about downloading.  If you occasionally DL an issue or two because it’s easier than going to the LCS and flipping through it, and if you end up buying as many or more issues as you download, that’s a victimless crime at best and you’re not (a big) part of the problem.  But I think it’s disingenous to pretend that this is what most people who pirate comics are doing. 

  63. I download here and there when I’m broke and bored. It doesn’t keep me up at night.

  64. @har13quin

    It is not that simple. I do agree that downloading is theft however, do you think the music companies would have changed their business model if people were not downloading a lot of music? This is not a black and white issue. If you think it is then you have been reading too many comic books.

  65. how is it not black and white? Pirating is theft, there is no getting away from it. many things in life are not black and white, euthenasia, the war’s in the middle east, but this is not one of them.

    The internet has definately changed the business model of record companies but that, in theory, is only because people are not buying CD’s and LP’s anywhere near as much as they used to be. Obviously internet theft has made the music industry make the change in distribution much quicker than they otherwise would have done but my point still stands.

    Also, I don’t actually read that many comics. I can’t afford as many as I would want so I go without. Our culture of instant gratification has now resulted in otherwise law abiding people thinking theft is alright. That is a sad endightment (spelling?) of our way of life.  I am not influenced by my comic book reading in this opinion, only by the law.

  66. @har13quin

    first I agree with you on piracy is theft. However I am saying that there is a demand in the market not being met and in a free market system demand will always be met on way or ther. It is in the best interest of the publishers to meet the demand to minimize loss.

    Have you lied to anyone? Because we know lying is wrong. I mean are you going to tell your girlfriend or wife ahe looks fat in that dress or are you going to lie to her to spare her feelings and maybe have a chance of getting laid later that night?

    we all do things that benefit us provide justification for it. Piracy is no different my friend. 


  67. @Rush. The whole "hitting them at the bottom-line" is one of the worst reasons to support piracy. You can act like you’re some crusader for a cause, fighting for the rights of the common man, but in reality, you just ripped off somebody’s work that you didn’t feel like paying for. Piracy has only helped publishers justify upping prices. Lower sales = greater prices.

  68. @rush  — Your ‘demand that isn’t being met’ only holds water if you assume that people pirate because they specifically want digital comics, rather than because they want to read the comics without paying for them.  I get the argument a little more in music — one reason a lot of people started DL’ing is that it’s an easy way to get individual songs instead of having to buy them bundled in an album you don’t necessarily want.  But it’s not like it’s impossible for most people to obtain individual issues of comics; you may have to go mail order but the opportunity is there, at least within the US.  (If you’re overseas or genuinely can’t get mail delivered I have more sympathy). 

  69. To put it another way — if the only reasonable way to get your hands on something is to pirate it, that’s a market failure and I sympathize.  But ‘I want this for free instead of having to pay for it’ is NOT a market failure, it’s theft.

  70. I have to confess that I am… how to put this?… intrigued by the idea of Piracy As Market Force. That is to say, maybe when you make a product and its is being widely downloaded illegally, that is the marketplace saying, "You are not giving the customer what s/he actually wants. We don’t want to buy the whole crappy album with its wasteful, bulky plastic case. We want to see the movie without dealing with the multiplex. We want our comics in this digital format," etc. In other words, the problem is necessary as a catalyst for change, and once you change as the music industry did the demand is met and the problem dwindles away.

    Mind you, this assumes that all downloaders are not amoral entitled weasels when nobody’s watching. This also assumes that music piracy went down when iTunes went online, which I haven’t checked. All my knowledge is personal and anecdotal.

  71. @Jimski  I definitely think people wanting the digital format is *a* factor, it’s just hard to say how big it is.  I think it’s at least reasonable to assume that there are people who would pay for a digital copy if that was available in comparable form.  I can tell you right now that the DVD-ROM’s of 40 years of X-Men, or the digital archive at Marvel are both far inferior formats to CBR’s I could (you know, hypothetically) download for free. There’s also a huge free rider issue going on here.  The question of why somebody who wouldn’t steal a book from a store will download one isn’t really that mysterious.  If you steal a book from a store, the store owner will never be able to sell it to anyone.  If you see 500 people downloading the same comic you’re probably not going to bother to spend money on, anyway, nobody but your own sense of moral righteousness benefits when you leave it be.  Moral man/immoral herd, etc.

    I’d really like to put the Planet Money people on this one, because I know what my instincts tell me but one thing I’m learned from economic reporting done by people who actually know what they’re talking about is that instincts aren’t always right.

  72. I’d also like to add that Rush’s example of lieing to my girlfriend doesn’t work either. By lieing to my girlfriend about her fat ass I am sparing her feelings for her own sake as much as my own (my girlfriend doesn’t have a fat ass btw) and my lieing to her doesn’t steal money from her at the same time.

  73. Saying piracy is theft is like saying the sky is blue and we agree the sky is blue…isn’t it.

     I am glad some of you guys are aknowledging there is more to this phenomenon; that it’s a more complex problem.

    I don’t think we will ever really know if music piracy went down in significant numbers after the advent of iTunes or other such services. I know that all of my friends and family haven’t pirated any music since services like iTunes came along.

    The goal of business is to maximize profit and the goal of the consumer is to maximize value and utility. This tug of war has been going on since comerce began. This also gives rise to illicit activities; that is the nature of the system. The only intelligent way to deal with it is through smart business decisions. For example the consumption of porn went up when it was made available online. That should make you as well as the publishers think. People pirate porn too but overall they still rake it in more so than before they went online. Porn mongers going digital was a brilliant move. It will work for comic publishers as well.

    Also, how many non comic book reading people really want to walk into a comic book shop let alone be seen reading one. Though the perception of reading comics into adulthood is changing in this country it is still viewed as a childish and geeky persute. I think there are a lot of people who are more likely to try out a comic book as long as they don’t have to go out of their way to get it or be seen reading it. These are a group of people who might be grabbing piratede comics also. More food for thought.

    I want to impart to those reading and commenting here that though there will always be people who want something for nothing. But a great majority of us are honest and will buy the material from  a vender like Longbox should they succeed in their endevers.

    By the way, har13quin, though you are not stealing money from your girlfriend by lieing to her you are still lieing and that is wrong. You aren’t by any chance justifying this type of behaviour are you? 😉

  74. Stealing is okay, as long as it isn’t done to you. There’s an Hebrew saying: (loose translation) whoever steals from a thief is exempt. A lot of people steal, therefore it’s okay to steal.

  75. My plan is, I will pirate when I’m young. Then, when I’m older and have a good job and a steady paycheck, I will stop dowloading and start forking out cash.  At that point I will start lecturing people about the evils of piracy on the internet.

  76. Rush, I can’t believe you are over simplifying the concept of lieing vs theft but are complicating simple stealing.

     Of course commerce gives rise to theft and pirating. Just because it happens and a lot of people do it does not justify it as a valid transaction. It may be a factor in changing an industry (like with music) but it is not a socially acceptable or morally correct means of acquiring goods. Just because you want to effect change does not justify getting something for nothing.

    Our lieing example is part of a reciprocal arrangement. My girlfriend’s feelings and self esteem are not hurt and I do not have to deal with said hurt feelings. We both benefit from the lie, which incidentally is a relatively insignificant one. Surely you would not argue that white lies are the same as say, denying a murder? However, when pirating takes place only the pirate benefits. The artist is denied the fruits of his labour and thus the realationship is uneven.

     I think most comic book fans agree that they would like to get comics online legitimately but by effectively stealing your comics you are harming the industry in which you have a reciprocal relationship. Thus, in the long run, you are harmed as well.

  77. I think TheRealCory has a point.  I can basically afford to get  all the comics I want to buy in a given week, so I’m not going to get judgmental about the decisions that other people make.  I mean, if you want to pay your rent and still be able to participate in a weekly comics discussion, and it really doesn’t make a damn bit of difference to the stores/companies/creators whether you (individually) download or  not, I get it.  I’m more interested in the phenomenon on a larger scale and why there’s less stigma attached to it than, say, shoplifting.

  78. @har13quin – in pirating people can benefit, due to people telling other people about the game, and some might buy and pay attention to that gaming company’s products.

    @ohcaroline – because you’re nto stealing a physical copy and damaging a struggling business, rather copying something from a big faceless company, and you’re not doing it all the time, and you can justify it by saying you already support comics enough, or that you’ll pay for it in the future, or that you’ll pay for it if you like it, and that you have rent, and you need to support your parents/sibligns etc.

  79. @har13equin – also lying to your girlfriend isn’t a good thing necessarily. If you don’t like her and you’re just staying with her because you enjoy it, thinking that she enjoys it as well, and that it will eventually end regardless so you won’t have to commit, you’re a bit of an ass in my book. But it seems like you like her. But I would whisper to her about her big butt after you put on the rings. She has a right to know.

  80. I find it amusing when people say piracy hurts the artists. I think thats what the publisher of said content like us to think. The companies take the brunt of the damage. The companies screw the creator s on a regular basis without giving them the courtasy of a reach around.

    Ok since I can’t convince some of you to stop being so pious and that there is no right and wrong just perception let me as; does antone have any good ideas as to how we lowly consumers can motivate the publishers to give us content online?

    @har13equin- murder can also be justified, it happens everyday all across the land.

  81. Piracy ABSOLUTELY hurts the artist(s)

    With indie comics, the artists only make $ based off of what they sell.

    I also find it hard to believe that there is not some sort of royalty mechanism within many creator’s contracts.  If said creator does have a royalty paragraph in the contract, then EVERY time that someone uses/reads/whatever the product without paying they are DIRECTLY taking $ away from the creator.

    Two wrongs do not make a right.  Just because business is exploiting labor it does not make it permissible to steal from business.

  82. @MisterJ – what about the exposure generated from pirating? People might actually pay for something they couldn’t get their hands on or hear about otherwise.

  83. @chlop-Good point, but there is a slight problem with this idea.  People do not like to start paying for something that they have been getting for free.  So, while this idea is certainly possible, it is much more likely that someone will just keep pirating.

    Well, what about turning their friends to the product you ask?  Well the problem with that is once you tell your friends about the product they say, ‘Wow, let me check it out.’ 

    You respond with, ‘Well, I do not have it I just downloaded it.’ 

    They say something like, ‘How much did that cost?’

    You tell them, ‘Nothing’

    They then say, ‘How can I do that?’

    So, in the end, nobody gets $

  84. @MisterJ – only in media where it’s an arm and a leg to buy the product. It isn’t as cut and dry.

  85. @chlop-Please explain more.  There is not enough information in your post for me to understand what you mean. 

    Are you saying that just because something is relatively inexpensive it is less likely to be pirated?  Because music is still being pirated and it is almost free with the inception of programs like rhapsody.

    What media are you referring to beyond comics?

  86. people this bell cannot be unrung. It’s pointless to argue about right and wrong as it relates to this topic. We should be focusing what we as consumers and the publishers going to do about it.

  87. Music is cheap nowadays, and is bought more often. Piracy will always exist. When video games are sold at almost a quarter of a minimum wage here in Israel, and games are expensive even after several years from when they were released, people are more likely to pirate them. When people have the ability to purchase it for cheap and have it in a nice format they can take anywhere, rather than a digital they’re not used to reading, they might purchase it.

    People might decide to buy the collected edition and read the issues digitally until it comes out. Money exchanges hands. The question is whether the amount of money an artist gets is lower or higher because of the exposure he/she got from pirated copies. Someone might download a pirated copy of an indy work, like it and will pay more attention toe the creator, the creator might struggle so the series might get delayed making the downloaded purchase the creator’s work and other stuff to keep him afloat, telling his friends etc. When things are pirated it doesn’t mean that money doesn’t exchange hands.

    The question that’s still pending is if pirating hurts creators or helps them or doesn’t change a thing. I didn’t see a satisfactory answer to that question, to this day.

    Someone who pirated a copy of an issue might like the art, order a sketch, buy a physical copy for the writer to sign, buy a collected edition, buy a digital edition, buy accesories, generate hype and advertise it, create a wider to it etc. It isn’t as cut and dry.

  88. *making the downloaded = making the downloader

    *create a wider = create a wider exposure

  89. Saying that ‘music is bought more often’ is misleading.  There are more people buying music, yes.  But that is because the music can reach a wider audience, not because the same people are buying more music.

    The key verb that you use is ‘might.’  The possibility exists that, at a later date, a pirate could turn into a legal consumer.  But until that date (if it ever arrives) they are not giving the artist any money, and are, in fact, taking away money.  

    There is no business that would accept the concept of ‘possible return’ as superior to ‘certain loss.’

    As to your pending question, there cannot be a satisfactory answer, because there is no way (as of yet) to create reliable figures on piracy, only estimates.

    But just take a look around at the market.  How many businesses do you see following the ‘give some away’ plan?  Few to none, because it does not make them $.  

  90. @MisterJ – again with the absolutes. Businesses don’t do it because they want money, they have other people to pay that want money quickly as well. Comicbook creators preview first issues, lower prices, preview art, there’s FCBD. Music owners and creators  play music on the radio and TV to generate sales, and put music for free in youtube and places like myspace, to generate sales. Movie creators – mainly short movies, upload their movie to youtube or internet archive, because they want the exposure.

    People want to see instant return usually. They don’t like waiting.

    As for taking away money – they’re stealing a copy of it and are not taking money from the creator. They’re not stealing a physical copy that cost money to produce. Creators are a dime a dozen. It would be great if people paid for things, or if people used free legal means of getting entertainment, but this is life and you need to adjust.

    If I published a comics in 50 copies and sold only 5, and none pirated it, what’s the point of it? By making a digital copy of it you are free to have wider exposure. The problem is doing it yourself and beating people to the punch – either by making it free or cheap digitally (although some people can’t due to limited resources). Comicbooks have a limited audience that is spread all across the globe. This isn’t the business for returns. You have to chance it.

  91. Here is an idea. The creators can create a comic then sell it online.  Then I can pay the creator directly instead of some douche-bag publisher.


    Speaking of douche-bag publishers have you guys seen the financials Marvel released? They did alright. Dispite the the evil plotting of those incidious downloaders.

  92. @chlop-I used only one absolute, just the ‘possible return v. certain loss,’ and if you can find one instance of that being incorrect for an established business, then I will take it back.  But I am pretty confident an exception cannot be found.

    Also, music on the radio and television is not for free, at least in the US.  Stations that broadcast music (either radio or TV) pay a fee to the producers/record company to use their songs/videos.

    As for the independent part of the industry, if they want to give it away, that is NOT pirating.  Things given away for free are by definition NOT stolen, so you cannot use that as an example of successful ‘pirate marketing.’

    How is stealing a copy of something not taking away from the creator? Even if it is digital, there are production costs aside from paper and shipping.

    Every business is the business for returns, otherwise it is charity not business.

    @rush-Kirkman tried/is trying with Invincible.  If one of the most well known independent creators has not found a way to make it work, how will an unknown??

    Also, ‘did alright’ compared to what?  Compared to DC?  Compared to Time Warner?  Compared to Scholastic?  They were down from last year, they did not do alright even compared to themself.

    I am not trying to make some kind of ‘moral superiority’ argument here.  There are certain ‘functions’ that I take advantage of, but don’t justify an illegal (not immoral) act by saying I am some unscratched itch in the free market.

  93. "How many businesses do you see following the ‘give some away’ plan?  Few to none, because it does not make them $." I gave examples of businesses. Also the video games industry. They make money doing that, but some businesses can’t give away their products because they cost too much to make, or are operating out of a physical store, which costs money to operate. Those type of busuinesses use sales or raffles instead of giving things away.

    "Every business is the business for returns, otherwise it is charity not business." but what type of return? A lot of businesses – especiallythe comicbook industry, need exposure. People are hoping for money, but it’s not the goal. Putting your stuff out there and getting exposure is the goal. Being able to do it regularly or as a job would be nice. It’s the same with bands, film makers, etc.

    Part of that exposure is gained by piracy. As I said -I would love if people payed straight away for the comics they read, but being in a world where creators are a dime a dozen, with a lot of mediocre to bad products, and where the clients are usually a struggling middle class family, you have to use that exposure, rather thanfight it, or preach to the "bad guys".

    You need to give some stuff away – tracks, issues. I’m not rushing to hear the band "Wonky Melon", but if they released several tracks I might listen to them and like them. It’s an investment in the future, and you have to be an optimist. Yo uahve to rely on your audience to buy the issues if they liked the pirated version. To buy acessories like shirts etc. You can talk to your audience and ask them to help you out – in an honest, not condeming way. Show them you struggle and that if issues aren’t sold that the next one will take a while to arrive. Show them art from the coming issue to keep them interested etc. 

    You have to trust the audience. Ask them for help in advertising the comics to help you out etc.  Asking for a quick return is not something I think is wise to ask for. I prefer zealous pirates that create buzz about my creations, than five "decent" people that bought my comic and forgot about it. If you want money, get a job. That’s life. If you want to do something you love to do, don’t expect people to throw money at you.

    I can’t condemn pirates for stealing because I don’t know if they’ll buy the issue they stole in the future. Also with the current distribution systems, even knowing about a comic’s existence and getting a copy of it are hard things to do. Creators can either whine and preach to the quire, and I’ll probably stay away from them, or deal with it. The harsh truth is that most creators are mediocre at best. They’re not the next great thing, and are competing with other media. And to be honest, people don’t owe them a thing. They either have to deal with pirates in a smart way, or go in front of that wave and try to stop it.

    "Kirkman tried/is trying with Invincible.  If one of the most well known independent creators has not found a way to make it work, how will an unknown??" That seems like faulty logic.You need to make it appealing. Smaller creators cut costs and publish digitally and use the instant distribution in placs like drivethrcomics. Having a somewhat famous comic in a small community isn’t a recipe for success. You’re fighting agains other comics and other media for attention. It won’t come easy.

  94. *quire choir

    *fighting agains – fighting against 

  95. misterj- every sector in our economy is down. I was drawing attention to Marvel beat their estimates.

    Just because Kirkman is having a problem distributing Invincible digitally doesn’t mean someone else won’t have a good idea to solve this problem.

    Illegal or not piracy is not going away, what are you going to do about it except complain about people breaking the law. Find a silver lining in this an, here’s a novel thought, why don’t you as fan help market stuff you like. 

  96. @chlop-All the instances you cite are exactly what I was saying is NOT pirating.  An owner giving something away is NOT PIRATING.  That is his/her marketing decision.  Youtube and myspace do not give away, they allow usage.  I am not getting data/files that I can use for any purpose as if I owned it from those sites. 

    As such, they do not support your claim.  If ‘x’ new band is giving something away, they belong squarely in the NOT PIRATING class.  They are making a marketing decision.  Now if you or I got our hands on the product, made our own copies and started giving them away that is pirating.  And it is completely different from free distribution.

    Simply put, the first five paragraphs in your last post far more to do with independent distribution systems than it does with pirating.

    So, you wouldn’t condemn a person who stole a pair of pants from a store on the ‘off chance’ that they might come back and actually buy more??  Seriously?  If you would, then what is the difference between pants and comics?  What if there is a brand of pants that are hard for me to obtain,  except through the black market?

    And, no matter the quality of any product in the market, if you obtain it, something is owed to the creator, unless they waive that right.  It just isn’t a decsion that you, as a consumer get to make.

    @rush-You made no mention of Marvel’s estimates in your post, so how was someone supposed to decipher that point?

    And yes, someone will have a good idea to get digital distribution.  But it will a distributor, NOT a creator.  When the problem does get solved, it will just be replacing one distributor for another.

    Of course the black market will stay.  Only a child would think that crime is just going to vanish.

    I am not complaining about people breaking the law, my livelihood is connected to criminal defense.  I am complaining about people thinking that it is inconsequential, or worse, beneficial to the industry when they do break it.

    And for the record, I do help market stuff I like.  I have up to date trade runs on several comics that I lend out to friends in the hope of getting them to read the series.   And FWIW rush, drop the sarcastic tone.  People are less likely to take you seriously and more likely to think that you have an underdeveloped world view.

  97. misterj-It was not my intention to sound sarcastic.

    I think I am well informed, at least with regard to business. I work in the highly competetive semiconductor industry, so I think I know a thing or two about business.

    The point I am making is there are positives and negatives to almost all situations including crime. I am suggesting looking at this phenomenon dispationetly and do something good with it.

  98. @rush-Hey, if it was not your intention, cool.  I just misinterpreted your last sentence.  I guess it is just an inherent problem with this type of communication.

    And like I said, I give/lend trades to people to read.  But this is a purchased product and I have the right to do anything with it that I please, except reproducing and re-distributing it.

    And again, my problem is not the actual piracy as much as it is that people believe that it is inconsequential or even beneficial when they do pirate.

  99. for some reason i totally ignored this weeks letter column. i only just decided over boredom that i’d check it out. and boy am i glad i did. some great questions, and better answers!

    the first letter was really well written, i must say. well done drew. and conor had a great answer. like, already had the answer ready to send before the question was asked, type answer. probably because of that chat in san diego. but an intriguing answer there conor. really made me think.

    the second question was interesting, but less my kind of thing. though i still really enjoyed the answer. some good points made, ron.

    the third question was great fun, which always seems to be what josh goes for in the letter column. who says he doesn’t like fun? and his answer was perfect, and perfectly explained. i think id go with jason aaron. as long as i have nun chucks and am called dashiel badhorse, who the fuck cares what happens to me?

     thanks guys.

  100. "All the instances you cite are exactly what I was saying is NOT pirating" that’s kind of the point… You wanted examples of businesses the give things away. So there…

    If you don’t steal an original copy, and instead opt for a knock off – get as many pants as you like. There’s a phrase here in Israel: "It’s all made by the same chinese".

    Breaking the law can be beneficial to the different industries. The problem is when does it ceases to be beneficial. You made some interesting points – I’ll think about them. It was a nice discussion.

  101. no worries misterj. I agree piracy has consiques. However I was hoping it could be used as one of many arguments to perrsuade the major publishers to increase interest in digital distribution.


    Living and working in the epicenter of geekdom, Silicon Valley, I am surprised non of the geeks here have had a viable idea to help all of us out. I’m hoping one day I can pay the creators directly for what I read. Yes that does sound a bit naive.

  102. @chlop-Yeah, I got turned around a little.  I meant to refer to only the ‘businesses’ as opposed to the ‘independents’

    @rush-The big players in almost every industry (yours being a notable exception) are always glacier slow to change direction.  But you are definately correct in that they will have to change, if for no other reason than paper costs.

    Your hope isn’t naive, I believe a better word is idealistic.

    Fun discussion-to both of you.

  103. @ chlop, apart from the fact that you are displaying double standards, you need to re-read the posts I was involved in and realise that I was talking about a hypothetical situation. Don’t start name calling without knowing the context. I don’t lie to my girlfriend and she doesn’t have a big ass or whatever the situation was about. How can you moralise about a strangers relationship but are quite happy to deny income to someone you perport to respect as a producer of comics? 

     @Rush Murder is never justified where I’m from. 

  104. @har13quin – I did read it. It wasn’t meant to be taken too seriously. Also – I have no standards, so I can’t have double ones. Also I’m not in the business of crusading for my standards.

    As for murder – it depends how long  ago I watched that Law & Order episode the convinced me that murder is never an option.

  105. It has been good debate misterj. It’s good to see people thinking and exprecing their views. Now how do I get people to inundate the publishers with these questions at panel discussions at conventions?


    har13quin-there a lot of people who get paid to create justification for murder, lawyers, and sometimes they succeed.

  106. I was under the impression that Lawyers either tried to prove their clients did not commit murder, have some how diminished responsibility for a murder or otherwise reduce the sentence for a murder. I can’t ever imagine a lawyer saying "Murder is ok and here’s why".

    Anyway, it seems we all have our opinions on the subject of pirating. It’s a shame we have not managed to reach an accord but I suppose that is the nature of free society; some times you cant make people agree that you are right! Stupid freedom of speech! 😉 

  107. Real quick on legal murder justification:

    You can try that tactic, but it does not work.  It is an option available to a defendant, but it never succeeds.  The reason is simple, to try the tactic you have to admit that you did it (admit guilt) and then say that the law is wrong either; 1) in its application to you, or 2) in general.

    The only time that it works it gets called ‘jury nulification.’  This essentially gets a mistrial, and everything starts over.

    Sorry to interrupt 🙂

  108. Murder is deemed okay if it was unintentional and the murderer was in a life threatning situation. There’s also the ability to use guns to attack intruders. I’m not familiar with all the fine print and what the situation is in different states and countries. There’s also the death penalty…

  109. And this has what to do with comics piracy?

    Reignin’ it in!

  110. @nilcam: nice. I have a few friends who I had sent a copy of an issue of Ultimate Spider-man and they ended up buying the issue and the past trades. It was during the days I couldn’t find people to talk comics.

    @har13quin: I’ve often contemplated on doing it and then just paying the artists/writers/letterers/otherpeopleinvolved the total of what they costed (divided) at the end of the year. Would it be stealing then or did I just blow your mind? (this would hurt the comic shop, but hey? so does going to dcbs or ebay)