While the rest of us were consuming our Thanksgiving turkey, Marvel and DC decided to take action against the Internet and comic book scans:

The popular comics tracking site Z-Cult FM has received legal letters demanding the immediate cessation of all illegal activities on the site from both DC Comics and Marvel Comics, according to a report at TorrentFreak, a blog that tracks activities related to BitTorrent file sharing.

According to the report, Z-Cult immediately took their tracker offline to assess the situation and to double-check the authenticity of the threats. At press time, they were able to verify the threat from DC Comics was legitimate.

The report goes on to sat that a prolific scanner of comics named ?Oroboros,? who posts his releases on Usenet newsgroups, has received a DMCA notice from his newsgroup service and will no longer be offering his illegal scans on the newsgroup.

It’s understandable that they don’t want their stuff up there without getting any money, but once again they’ve stymied consumer who’ve showed a preference for what they really want without offering any real alternative. 

It’s likely that some people would be willing to pay a fair price to get high quality comic scans digitally, but neither Marvel or DC is offering that service.  Instead we’re getting an indie comics experiment, and a greatest hits subscription service that’s still in search of a business model.  And in neither case do you actually get to own anything.  It’s hard to believe that after ten years of the music industry managing to sue itself into a corner the content providers are still making the same mistakes.

While they still hold the biggest licenses Marvel and DC aren’t the only game in town these days, and one comics company has decided to take a different tack:

One publisher sees some benefit from illegal comics downloading. In a surprise move, SLG Publishing, who  previously asked the Z-Cult administrators to ban the distribution of SLG titles on their tracker — which the Z-Cult admins agreed to — has reversed it’s decision and has given permission to Z-Cult and its users to distribute their titles on their tracker.image

In a statement posted on the site, SLG said, “SLG publishing would like to thank the moderators and forumers of Z-Cult for the respect they have shown in regards to our ban request. Obviously, our preference is to have each comic legally paid for, and the efforts undertaken to honor this desire have clearly shown that Z-Cult is not a forum overrun by those expecting a free ride. In return, we have decided to lift the ban from our independently published titles being distributed on Z-Cult. Of course, this is not an entirely selfless act – we hope that exposure to our large library of titles will help encourage support of our legal download site, www.eyemelt.com. It is our belief that there is a market for legally downloadable comic books, and we hope that we can prove this to the comics industry by showing success through our our digital distribution system.

Very succinctly put. It’ll be worth following up and seeing how it works out for them.

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