Robot 6

Are Marvel bootlegs an inside job? [Updated]

Spot the differences to find the pirates!

It’s a well-known fact that you can get bootleg scans of every Marvel and DC Comics title by the afternoon of their release, but where do they come from? David Brothers and David Uzumeri did some sleuthing and speculating, and came up with a surprising answer: The Marvel scans are coming from an inside source, either someone who works for the House of Ideas or who works closely with the publisher.

While DC comics start popping up on bootleg sites one at a time on Wednesday afternoons, Marvel scans appear all at once before the digital release time of 2 p.m. ET. This suggests that while the DC titles may be from hackers who have figured out how to crack comiXology’s copy protection, the Marvel scans are from another source. Brothers goes over a number of other clues — the uniform size and quality of the Marvel scans, the placement of titles and credits, information that would only appear on a print comic, and some very telling errors — and concludes that “Someone’s got Marvel’s print-ready files before they’re finalized, and they’re slapping them up online as digital scans. Clever girl.”

Left unanswered is the question of why anyone would risk their job and harm their employer’s business to do this. Money springs to mind, but there doesn’t seem to be much profit in pirated comics. On the other hand, comics is that rare field where people’s passions run strong enough to take that sort of chance. It could be a serious scanner who cares deeply about being first, or it could be a disgruntled Marvel fan getting a digital revenge. Or something else entirely — who knows with comics.

The whole post makes fascinating reading if you’re interested in the technical side of digital comics, but the conclusion is ominous: The piracy is coming from inside the house.

UPDATE (9:30 a.m. PT): Brothers has updated his original post, writing, “Thanks to Uzumeri’s dogged determination, we figured out what the hack is this morning. It isn’t a person, it’s a security leak, and we emailed Marvel about it.”

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128 Comments

Possible it could be intentional by Marvel? Knowing that their stuff is going to be pirated any way, they want some kind of quality control? Or even a realization that it is good for business somehow? Just thinking out loud…

God I hate piracy. Or more specifically, the imagined legitimacy the internet has given it. Watch below and there will surely be many posters who feel like they are somehow entitled to get digital comics for free.
I admit I taped the odd CD back in the 80s, but I never felt good about it or certainly not proud.
While I admit digital download sources screw themselves a little by not reducing the price over time (common for all hard copy sources) this has no impact on those who download illegally on the release day.

I don’t think piracy is actually good for business. The attitude of most people who still pirate comics, despite the fact that we now have day and date digital is that they just like getting stuff for free.

If this is true, I’m sure the person responsible is sh!tting his or her pants right now.

Honestly, its just about getting things for free. That’s why I do it, anyway.

*cough*

I interned at Marvel last summer. Those who are employed by Marvel get their copies of all Marvel titles about a week in advance. So it would make sense that someone is doing this. I got some freebees myself, and I think usually there’s a barcode, so if this picture is evidence, then it’s not from someone who gets free copies which are then scanned, but perhaps it’s someone who has some sort of digital access, and is part of the production team.

If I were a Marvel employee, I’d look into this! Especially when I’m sure plenty of people who work at the offices check these sites…

While I have no clue how or even where you go to find pirated comics, i understand why people do it, If marvel has such an issue with it, learn how to price your books for a digital age and not the same price as your print books. 99cents is all they need to be.

If the mentality crosses over from the anime/manga scanlation/fansub culture, it’s about pride and ego. Being the first with the best to get the acculades from the community really feeds their egos. It’s earning them the ultimate nerd street cred possible.

This sort of explains why some comics showing up on pirate sites look like digital rips, but aren’t actually available for digital purchase. For instance, the latest Avengers and New Avengers issues. The pirated issues I’ve seen look like digital copies that were copied for illegal sharing, but you can’t buy a digital copy anywhere. I checked, because I would very much like to buy those copies legally in a digital format, and they aren’t available yet.

I would be willing to bet that the majority of material pirated, be it books, comics, music or movies has an insider being handsomely paid to funnel material into the black market. How else do you explain perfect quality copies being downloaded a month prior to its official release?

Its a shame when ppl complain about piracy when gas and food prices and other prices on services seem to go up every week with no sign of stopping, economic depressions, unemployment etc do u not care about these things? PPL who r struggling in North America in pay bills and feed their family need breaks and freebies too u know. A lot of ppl give up TV and keep internet for its many obvious uses, piracy can get them the things they love but cant afford like comics, movies, games, music, books etc etc.

Stop hating on piracy… its so helpful to people, yes its hurts their industry but some of the people who actually buy the comics, are willing to share 4 free with others online… how does SHARING HURT?

Anyway if the source(s) are inside marvel then HA HA HA HA HA HA.

Oh yeah… sum pirated copies pop in perfect format right away, I.E. every page scanned individually, minutemen when u think of it that way… it can’t all be from inside marvel.

My first inclination is with CYarby – Marvel is deliberately beating the pirates to the punch.

I mean, think about it; it takes two comics bloggers to figure this out after so long? And only as a “oh hey, let’s research a topic” sort of thing? Marvel has to have known about this.

If people are so hard up that they can’t pay their bills, knowing what Spidey’s up to this week should be their absolute last concern.

Hey Kevin, i’d love a Ferrari, but can’t afford one. That doesn’t mean I’m going to go out and steal one.

And how does sharing hurt? For one, it hurts the creators of these books. Lets say 5,000 people download a pirated version of X-Men. That’s 15,000 dollars that immediately go down the drain. Sure, that money is spread out amongst the distributer, the publisher, your LCS and even the printer who prints these things, but when you’re talking about the miniscule press runs of comics compared to, say, consumer level magazines, every little bit counts.

Not to mention advertising. If marvel’s trying to sell a page of advertising, they’re obviously not going to get as much for it on a book that sells 100,000 copies as opposed to 95,000 copies. A larger readership equals higher ad rates. And again, that money eventually finds its way to the outlets I mentioned above.

But there’s really no trying to change someone’s mind about justifying their actions. So not only do you steal comics, you stole 5 minutes of my time for writing this reply.

You are making one gigantic assumption there Paul.

Assuming that people who pirate things are lost sales because they pirate it. (More likely case is that people just stop reading all together)

Marvel comics go on sale on comiXology around 9 am CST. DC go on sale around 1 pm CST. If you start looking early, you can actually buy a lot of the books before those times.

Piracy is illegal for many obvious reasons. If you can’t afford entertainment, then yeah that sucks but that’s also life. You’re not entitled to free movies, comics etc if you can’t afford them. Second, these people who work hard to publish quality comics also have families to feed, or at the very least feed themselves. While getting your work out there to the masses is tremendous, at the end of the day we all work to collect a check and pay bills (and some of us actually pay for our comics to show appreciation to those who make it happen). I let friends borrow comics to be exposed to great stories but ultimately I’m hoping they also go out and buy these books to make sure they keep getting published. Nothing in life is free and certainly comics shouldn’t be. People work too hard to get these things out to us to read and enjoy.

Rick, if someone can’t afford a comic book (which was the point I was responding to in Kevin’s post), but instead it, it most certainly would result in lost sales since they’re not buying it, yet still benefit from the product.

and that should read “..but instead DOWNLOAD it ILLEGALLY…”

Stupid phone.

The assumption still remains and there is no correlation between piracy and lost sales.

Of note, I’ve now read the article and while Marvel could be slipping them out purposefully, it seems much more doubtful.

It would not shock me if material is deliberately “pirated” in order to create evidence of a need for more restriction and regulation of the internet and questions of IP.

This should be pointed out in the original post now the story was updated.

“Edit: Thanks to Uzumeri’s dogged determination, we figured out what the hack is this morning. It isn’t a person, it’s a security leak, and we emailed Marvel about it.”

All of the issues and errors that are pointed out in the source article are present in abundance in Marvel Digial Comics Unlimited (the subscription plan Marvel has for digital comics). Word bubbles are distorted or in the wrong place, the recap page is larger than every other page, which are otherwise of uniform size, the covers are frequently different than any print or digital version… I would bet my life that these are ripped form MDCU using a screen capture utility EXCEPT that they are being put out day-of-release (which MDCU does not have, typically comics don’t show up as part of MDCU for many months after release)…

U R ENTITLED TO THEM IF U CAN AFFORD INTERNET. People share because they want too, its their choice to upload to scans of something they purchased (Not talking about ppl who take others scan and spread them out) Hey Paul, b4 internet blew up ppl would share their comics the old fashioned way… even if your giving it back to your friend when finished with it some one was always willing to share.

Sales charts seem fine on both ends (DC,Marvel) yes sales from certain titles have dropped over the years but it probably has more to do with QUALITY of the title then piracy.

Sharing is not a bad thing and I doubt marvel is releasing them on purpose, if it is an inside job then Marvel has shitty internal security and its their own fault. Scan Groups like Minutemen are internet heroes who help others online for free becuz they choose to! And if u believe that if “not being able to pay your bills, then reading comics is the least of your concerns” then FU, u have no idea what it can be like to go through difficult times, these ppl need to fill their spare time too u know and why not do it by doing something u enjoy thats also free!

This is the first time in a long time that I’ve posted anything and the first time I’ve posted about downloading comics.

I illegally download a lot of comics. I switched to exclusively downloading comics about 4 years ago. I’m a longtime comic book collector, having bought comics for about 17 years. I have about 5000 comics in my collection, and about a hundred tpbs. I stopped buying comics (and I was collecting between 40-45 titles a month) due to the increased cost of collecting. I love comic books, they are my passion, but I could no longer justify spending 3.99 for a book that took me 5 to 6 minutes to read. I also felt like I had to buy the books whether they were good or bad. That is the problem with never-ending stories. A bad story for a few months may mean something in the long run. I also did not collect from an lcs that was cool with me reading the books in the store and then letting me decide whether to buy (I know of no LCS that was cool with that). So if I ordered it, I bought it. I did not want to see my comic store stuck with my orders because a crappy comic is not their fault, it is Marvel’s, DC’s, Image’s, etc.

After a particular bad week of purchased comics at the end of 2007, I gave up on the industry. I had wasted close to forty bucks on stuff that was basically crap. For about six months I had been downloading torrents of what I had bought to use as back-up, and I thought to myself that these comics are worth as much as a free download, which is to say absolutely nothing.

I was also appalled at the attitude of the Big Two, but Marvel in particular. They jacked up their comic prices by a dollar just as the economy was tanking. Joe Q’s explanation at the time was that everything was getting more expensive, such as milk and other food, and that comics, too, would be more expensive. The insensitivity of Joe WQ comparing the cost of comics to milk shocked and angered me. I thought he was an idiot before that, but his comments cemented my opinion.

Gene M. noted that if you can’t afford food then you shouldn’t be worrying about what Spidey is doing. That’s an asinine opinion. You can’t turn your brain off of the things that make you happy and that you find relaxing just because you can no longer afford them. For someone like me (who can no longer afford comics), the idea of not being able to read about Spidey, the X-Men, Batman, Fables, etc., every month stresses me out as much as worrying about the mortgage and stuff. Because if I can’t read my comics, I can’t relax. They are my main source of relaxation and interest, after spending time with my wife, and walking my dog. Maybe in time I can find something else, but I don’t want to. I love comics.

I would love it if Marvel, DC, and other publishers properly priced their books for downloading. 2.99 and 3.99 a download is a bigger waste than buying hard copies. I remember one CBR writer justifying this price point a year or two ago and I just shook my head in dismay. New comics should be priced at $0.99 and back issues (before the digitization age) should be priced at $0.50. This way, one can digitize their collections at a reasonable price over time. But Marvel will not do this because it is now owned by Disney and DC won’t because it is owned by Warner. And those of us who love comics but can no longer afford to buy them will continue to download without remorse.

As to Paul’s comment that he wants a Ferrari but won’t steal one just because he can’t afford one, I say that such a comment is also dumb. I, too, want a Ferrari, but have never been able to drive one and therefore don’t really understand the concept of owning a Ferrari. I have read and owned comics, thousands of them, and was priced out based on greed (Marvel confirmed this through a presentation on the price elasticity of comics), not on actual printing costs of creator costs. If I once owned a Ferrari, but was priced out of getting another and could easily steal it without getting caught, I probably would if I loved it that much.

Maybe if they didn’t charge $4 for crappy/mediocre titles, more people would be willing to pay for them at their local comic shop. And who says the people that download comic torrents don’t buy the trades of the books when they’re released?

@Grumpy Stump

That is ludicrous reasoning as well. If 40 titles is too much money you never considered figuring out which ones were the most value for your dollar and cutting all the rest? You can love comics without reading all the drek that comes out every week.

I did and I am happy because I am buying the top quality single issues for my money and able to put more money into interesting small press things.

@ Rick V.

The purpose of noting I collected 40 titles was not to suggest that I could no longer afford 40 titles, it was to prove my once devotion to the comic industry.

Your statement regarding top quality issues makes no sense to me. One has no way of knowing what will be an excellent issue a month out when you need to confirm your order. So to guarantee I would get my comics, I ordered them in advance. As I stated above, once I ordered them I felt compelled to buy them because I did not want to stick my financially weak LCS with them. As for cutting back, I may’ve been able to do that at the time, but can no longer afford any comics. And if I cut back, I would’ve simply started to only download the comics I cut. I didn’t collect crap on purpose. All the titles were good, but like any never-ending story, suffered through terrible stories.

There r not even enuff local comic book shops anymore… where I live I’ve seen the one’s that were around for 20+ years actually close and the ones that r left r very far away. Another reason why u should DL, factor in gas and time in addition to the dollar u spend on the comics themselves, every week for 52 weeks and u use up a lot of $$$. Comic books are not the “investment” they once were, do u honestly think any of the NEW 52 # 1′s will be worth anything in 40 or 50 years? Whats the point in building up a huge, space consuming collection unless its a collection of “already classics” like X Men #1 etc. Buying online takes time, I personally dont want to wait for shipping or take any of the shipping risks.

@Grumpy Stump

If you’re buying 45 titles a month and then turn to stealing them when it gets too expensive to buy that many, then you don’t really love comic books. You just love HAVING comic books.

So much entitlement. You know the way to protest bad storylines or (what you perceive to be) high cover prices? Don’t buy them.

The argument that downloading an illegally scanned copy is no different from your friend loaning you his physical copy is asinine. Your friend can’t loan his physical copy out to thousands of people who can all read it simultaneously.

@grumpystump

what u say is totally true, especially when we get older and our $$$ starts going towards other things. The internet has proven to be a savior to people like us… I’m sorry non piracy supporters I’m pushing 30, have a family bills and debts and If it wasn’t for the internet then I’d personally would have never been able to find my way back to the very point where I had to stop, the internet got me caught up on 10 years of missed stories and now I’m current like everyone else. Yes I can buy comics (if i choose 2) but I would prefer to pay for my kids stuff since they come before Marvel/DC.

Internet pirates are heroes… I’ve said it b4 and I’ll say it again. Nuff ‘ Said!

I am writing to disagree with Grumpy Stump’s opinion piece.
You have other options besides illegally downloading, but you chose not use them.
Comic books are more expensive to buy than the amount of product value we get for them now, I agree with that.
I take a lot of trades from the library, and buy hundreds of comcis a year from discount bins, and at regular sales from shops in my area.
Ebay, amazon and other online stores offer very reasonable sales as well.
I can get product as little as 6 months old for 50 cents to a dollar almost at will.

I agree that the prices being charged does not equal the product we are getting, but you are stealing the product none the less.
Self justification doesn’t make what you are doing right, and if you were really suffering, if times were really that bad for you, reading/downloading comics wouldn’t be any kind of priority.

You Want, you do not Need, and if you consider this a Need, you do not know what Needis.

Or maybe Marvel is doing it themselves to get things like SOPA passed.

Wouldn’t be unheard of as all the big corporations are behind actually distributing the file sharing software through all their big sites.

Its a scam.

@swunt the point is that whoever “loans” or scans” a copy of something they payed for for others use it’s THIER CHOICE! They choose to share… u want to stop piracy buddy? Go 2 everyone u can find and convince them not to share with anyone! Good Luck with that….

The likes of Kevin and “Grumpy Stump” – the latter of whom doesn’t even have the bottle to post his real name because he clearly KNOWS he’s breaking the law – just aren’t living in the real world. You’re seriously deluded, guys. If you want something in life, you go out and you pay for it. You don’t steal it, no matter what your personal circumstances are, no matter how hard you try to justify it.

People who steal comics via illegal downloads are thieves, and they’re no better than people who steal music, who steal clothes, who steal cars, who steal money.

@Kevin

“Yes I can buy comics (if i choose 2) but I would prefer to pay for my kids stuff since they come before Marvel/DC.”

What about the kids of the creators of the work you’re stealing? To them, Marvel and DC aren’t just a throwaway bit of entertainment — it’s the means through which they can go to college. Amazing how people can trivialize the importance of comic books in their head to justify piracy.

“Oh, they’re just funny books….it only takes me 5 minutes to read one….I shouldn’t have to pay $4.” Well you know what? You shouldn’t get to set that price. I have a feeling that even if digital downloads WERE 99 cents (and make no mistake, that’s the direction the industry will be forcibly moved into in the next 5-10 years), you’d still pirate the titles.

You just admitted you could pay for comics if you “had” to. “Had” in this case apparently meaning “if I had some maturity and decency.”

@Simon….. KEVIN IS MY REAL NAME.

Since we have a censorship promoter here now let me say this… I have nothing to hide I consider myself an advocate against censorship and I take a perasonal offence that u consider ppl who DL anything online criminals… not everyone is rich or has the oppertunity to go buy whatever they want.

“If you want something in life, then u go out and pay for it?” I don’t think so… If you want to something in life you go out and get it. My advice to u is this, same as before…

U want to stop piracy? Go and convince everyone that sharing is illegal and bad for all. Good luck with that douche…

@ swunt

clearly u have no family or sense of responsibility. I’m a father and husband I dont have the luxury of building a USELESS comic collection that wont amount to anything in the long run.

“If I Had 2″ means if I want to (my bad). I don’t want to pay for comics at nearly 30 because its not a neccesity.

And FYI… I went to comic con last year with the kids, great time, expensive as shit but worth it since the kids loved all the costumes and toys, nothing like spending the day at COMIC CON SON!!! THAT… is my contribution to the comic book industry in 2011.

I probably spent more in one day then u did throughout 2011 every week on comics…. but its comic con :)

It’s Ghost Rider 2099. He’s not happy about the Gary Friedrich matter.

@Kevin – I really don’t care that you’ve taken personal offence to me labelling you a criminal. The fact of the matter is, you ARE a criminal if you’re stealing something, because that practice is against the law. It’s got nothing to do with censorship – I don’t even know why you’re preaching that one – and everything to do with being a thief.

Which is what you are: a thief, ergo a criminal.

Most pirates wouldn’t pay anyway.

Little to no money lost.

Case closed.

Next.

This looks like a job for Spidey and Captain America. Marvel’s next crossover event has to be about Marvel’s heroes hunting down and kicking some internet bootlegger ass.

@Kevin again – I’m thinking now that you’re trolling, because you’ve just had the audacity to accuse @Swunt of having “no sense of responsibility”. You think stealing is a responsible way to live your life? Were you ever actually educated?

So, Kevin, when one of your kids wants some expensive new trainers, and you can’t afford to buy them because – as you’ve stated on here – times are tough, are you OK for your kids to just walk in to a store and steal that new pair of trainers? Will you be proud when the police are subsequently involved?

@ Simon THE LAW DOES NOT RECOGNIZE “STEALING” ANYTHING ONLINE. I can DL a hundred songs, 50 movies, 25 tv shows and 10 comics 2 day! And nothing will happen… because there r no legal grounds to prosecute anyone who downloads that stuff online (clearly not talking about child porn n stuff).

I’m dling things that have been posted online by others who bought it for the purposes of sharing with strangers, which is their choice.

I’m a criminal for taking advantage of someone else’s good will and intentions? How so? It s a free download they’re posting it because they want to share, I DL, I say my thanks to mr. uploader(s) and am on my way.

I guess the uploader who bought it is every bit the criminal I am right?

U can’t figure out that there is no such thing as “illegal sharing”, ergo u r an idiot while I am apprently I criminal mastermind.

Here’s the difference…. once again…. no legal grounds to differentiate between the two… my kids r 10 and 11 ok, they’re kids not stupid, they stolen b4 and know the what happens when caught, but they r also aware of that downloading off the internet is not a bad thing and dont have to worry that they r going to be arrested for downloading a song.

For christs sake you sound like that Texas judge who beat the shit outta his mentally disabled daughter because she downloaded music, thats how you come off.

U may think I’m a criminal (go ahead btw) but I believe that your an angry person who has no idea how the world today truly works.

The argument that there is no loss because piracy supporters would have never purchased anything to begin with is a terrible one at that. The fact is if you’re partaking in a product or service, you should pay for it (unless it’s advertised as free, of course). It’s a loss because someone experienced said product or service without paying for it; therefore, it’s a loss. Does anyone supporting piracy actually have a business that they are okay just giving business away for free, even though the business model is designed to sustain on purchases?

Clarifcation: stealing from businesses, right off the shelves is wrong the Law says so. Downloading off of the internet is not.

Kevin. It is illegal. They won’t prosecute you because they can’t find you.

Kevin your views are a frightening look at how a whole couple generations of people are being raised / growing up.

Kevin.

I’m reasonably sure nobody is accusing you of being a mastermind of any kind.

Can I just add that it is refreshing to see an internet forum in which piracy is largely frowned upon.

Adapt or die, digital comics should be 99cents, released same day as print, subscriptions should cost even less with possible discounts for multiple subscriptions and back issues older than 20 years should sell at cover price. If Marvel did this I would be paying them instead of “pirating” but as it is a better quality product is available immediately for free. The days of artificial scarcity are over, if you want to make your customers wait, or deliver a substandard product, then as always, they will go somewhere else.

“If I once owned a Ferrari, but was priced out of getting another and could easily steal it without getting caught, I probably would if I loved it that much.”

But you’re not pretending that’s okay or anything, are you? I mean, you know that’s wrong but you’d do it anyway, regardless of the ethics or whether it hurts someone else? You’re admitting that you’re morally bankrupt and selfish, correct?

“And who says the people that download comic torrents don’t buy the trades of the books when they’re released?”

And who says they do? How big a percentage of people who steal comics end up buying the trade? If it’s anything less than 100%, your argument is worthless and piracy is a loss of revenue, but do you really think it’s an impressive percentage? And do you really think “I shoplifted this a few months ago, but I liked it enough to go back into the store and pay for it” makes stealing alright?

As for the person who thinks they’re entitled to pirate whatever they want as long as they can afford the internet… What a staggeringly self-serving delusion you live under. I guess that’s how a lot of people feel, but I’ve never read that ignorance put so bluntly. If someone helps you steal something, you’re entitled to have it?

I think we can all agree that digital comics should be cheaper than print comics, and that it’s unfortunate that we can’t always afford everything we want to own. But, as others have pointed out, comics are not a right or a necessity.

@CaptainHindsight

It’s not a “better quality product,” it’s the SAME product, being handed out for free by someone who does not have the legal right to do so.

Captain Hindsight. Everything you say is correct, but that doesn’t make going somewhere else right. Or legal

Oh yeah. Marvel is doing a reasonable amount of 99c issues (59 or 69p in the UK can’t remember which) so maybe this could be considered a start.

0.99 comics are a pipe dream because the audience numbers that American comics have can not support that price point. There is no guarantee that there is a secret hidden comic audience out there just waiting to read if only they were cheaper.

I think the content of mainstream comics need to be targeted at new people before you can even think about dropping prices (and if you think Marvel&DC’s output is anywhere close to being targeted at new people you have a lot to learn)

Grumpy Stump said: “I was also appalled at the attitude of the Big Two, but Marvel in particular. They jacked up their comic prices by a dollar just as the economy was tanking. Joe Q’s explanation at the time was that everything was getting more expensive, such as milk and other food, and that comics, too, would be more expensive. The insensitivity of Joe WQ comparing the cost of comics to milk shocked and angered me. I thought he was an idiot before that, but his comments cemented my opinion.”

Look, man I have downloaded comics illegally for a variety of reasons – either to have a digital copy of collected runs that I have (Marvel’s Micronauts, L.E.G.I.O.N. and a handful of others).

In the cases where I have been downloading new releases (and I haven’t done this for close to three years), I can honestly say that in most cases I ended up either buying the TPB or actual runs of the comics in question. I heard great things about Brubaker’s run on Captain America, downloaded three issues, and then decided to get the TBP’s for the first 5 volumes. From there I actually decided that I enjoyed it so much I wanted to buy the first Omnibus. I’ve gone further now, and not only do I buy it as a monthly, I actually have spent time trolling through the back-issues of LCS and sales on Ebay buying all the back issues that I missed (but torrented) out on at the time of release.

In the case of things like Marvel’s Micronauts and L.E.G.I.O.N, I would never have downloaded these if they were available in Hardcover or trade. Secret Society of Super-Villains I had torrented too, but now DC has been putting it out in handsome HC. I bought the first volume, I will buy the second.

I had never read The Great Darkness Saga, and it was out of print in trade for many years. I torrented it. I ended up buying the lovely hardcover that recently came out.

I torrented Gotham Central – for a handful of issues, and now have bought the whole series in HC.
In the case of Secret Society of Super-Villains, The Great Darkness Saga, and Gotham Central and Captain America, I have now deleted all the files that I had torrented.

I would argue, and think I would be able to make a very strong case that by torrenting comics both Marvel and DC have actually made more money from me than had I not torrented those titles.

That doesn’t make what I did right, and doesn’t make what I did legal. All it means is that my own standard and morality, though murky at times, seems to actually being doing no real harm, and may even benefit both those companies.

I’m explaining my actions, and in part defending them. What I am NOT doing here is justifying what I did, or attempting to say that it was or is right. I have a huge issue, not with you downloading comics illegally, but in your rationale and justification for doing so.

I agree with you that Marvel and DC are offering their printed – and especially new release digital comics – at an unreasonable price. Bear in mind though, that digital price is their, mostly to aid retailers as much as anything. By pricing it the same as the print copy it still adds incentive to us as buyers to go to our LCS. I’m convinced that in time that digital price will drop.

Your back-issue digital price in a sense is already being done by Marvel. For an extremely reasonable price you can have access to a huge amount of back issues at Marvel. If you were to read a comic book a day, the annual price works out to far less than even 50 cents an issue.

Grumpy Stump said: “Because if I can’t read my comics, I can’t relax. They are my main source of relaxation and interest, after spending time with my wife, and walking my dog. Maybe in time I can find something else, but I don’t want to. I love comics.”

Here’s an idea – find something else. I’m being extreme here, but if a serial killer or shoplifter could make much the same argument, and unlike either of those you don’t have the excuse of a mental defect.

Grumpy Stump said: “If I once owned a Ferrari, but was priced out of getting another and could easily steal it without getting caught, I probably would if I loved it that much.”

Then, again – maybe you do.

Those of you calling pirates Heroes…

If this was just about the giant that is Warner or Disney, I would be inclined – inclined, but not supportive – of your arguments. It isn’t. Because those companies employ the people who write your comic. They employ the people that draw your comic, and while they may not receive more money per issue sold, they do need for a title to sell in order to keep working.

If this was about a corporate giant barring us from having access to food, or lodging or clean water, or access to affordable health care. I would agree with you.

But you guys are like someone who loves Doritos or a certain brand of cheese arguing that it’s morally right to shoplift them simply because they raised their prices.

You can’t justify stealing fruits and vegetables or milk, or clean water – but you’ll have a better chance of garnering sympathy from me if you are stealing something that we can all agree is a staple.

Comic books?

By all means, pirate or continue to pirate, but jesus, you’ve all got a dangerous slippery slope in your social/mental landscape with your justifications for it.

“”I guess the uploader who bought it is every bit the criminal I am right?”

You mean this sarcastically, but yes, that’s absolutely right. Uploading copyrighted content that isn’t yours to give away is illegal.

Piracy is illegal. How is it possible there’s any confusion about this?

Michael Avolio, are there any colors besides black and white in the world you’re living in? That must be frustrating

What a week for the comics industry on the internet! Let’s look at what we’ve learned:

1. Suing Marvel/DC for ownership of their characters is ok even though it costs them hundreds of thousands in legal fees. Internet comic fans says sue away! It’s not breaking any laws to try to get ownership.

2. When you lose said legal battle against Marvel/DC based on laws of ownership and work for hire. Internet comic fans say ignore that law! Creators should get ownership no matter what they signed.

3. Going to a convention and selling prints by another artist with your claim to ownership of copyright and trademark clearly stamped on the bottom then suing the company whose trademark and copyright you are violating is ok according to comic fans on the internet. Ignore the law against that!

4. Being counter-sued by company you are sueing and them winning the proceeds of the illegal prints you were selling is wrong according to comic book fans in the internet. Companies shouldn’t defend their trademarks and creators should be able to profit off whatever they want!

5. Going to a convention and sketching trademarked and copyrighted Marvel/DC characters for money but not giving the owners of the characters (Marvel/DC) nor the creators of the characters a cut is against the law. However, comic books fans on the internet are all for it.

6. Downloading scanned comics is wrong because it’s taking money from the owners of the characters (Marvel/DC) and the creators of the characters/comics. Comic book fans on the internet say piracy it’s wrong!

So what have we learned? Most comic book fans on the internet are hypocrites…

@ Jason.

You can still see the landscape in various shades of grey and still see that there is no justifying piracy.

As I said above, explaining, rationalizing, sure.

Justifying?

No.

@Kevin
“my kids r 10 and 11 ok, they’re kids not stupid, they stolen b4 and know the what happens when caught, but they r also aware of that downloading off the internet is not a bad thing and dont have to worry that they r going to be arrested for downloading a song.”

That’s… debatable, to put it lightly. But based on what’s happening with MegaUpload and ThePirateBay, that’s a belief you’ll need to change very soon.

@Grimpy Stump:

If you printed comics are, as you say, worth as much to you as an illegal download (ie “nothing”), then why do you even continue to expend the effort to read so many comics every month. Clearly they DO have some kind of value to you… unless you are an unthinking addict caught up in an abusive relationship with comics. In which case, you should probably think about giving up the hobby altogether.

Sorry… I meant “Grumpy Stump,” obviously.

As I longtime comic fan and newb creator, I can honestly say I don’t mind the idea of what “pirates” do. Essentially this is all about sharing which I think is great. I can say I still buy comics which is more a luxury item than ever. I remember when in college not long ago they were cheaper and I feel the quality was better.

However, the important question is how can you compensate the creator who is toiling away? I guarantee you making the comic sausage is neither quick or sexy.

I am definitely thinking about trying to do a free publishing around or on FCBD using one of the digital publishers for my new series to avoid this problem while still giving people what they want.

I guess my question is what do people want to give in exchange for free comic reading in these tough times. Ad-clicks? Sketch Cover purchases? Etc?

This is one of those things you should NOT be writing articles about. It is never going to change and writing about it just exposes it to many who didn’t know. Thanks for killing the industry further.

I admit to pirating, but only because I have no interest in buying single issues anyway. I love to buy trades though, and even the occasional omnibus. more often than not, I use downloaded comics to see which series will interest me in the future. I’ve recently bought the Thor by Simonson omnibus. It’s an expensive book and I didn’t know if I would like it, but it always got such good reviews by people. I read the first three issues online and then decided to buy it. another example would be that I downloaded the first issue of the new Ultimate Spider-Man, and I liked it so much that I’m holding off on the rest to buy the trade. I’ve done this with a bunch of titles, past and present. I have a very nice collection on my bookshelf!

however, there will be always those couple of titles that I’m only semi-interested in reading, for whatever reason. like… Green Lantern for example. those I just download, and even then I mostly skim. I want to keep up to date with the current events. I really got burned out on Green Lantern, but the new series looks interesting. I might get it in the future

one thing I won’t do is download a comic and then bitch about it online. now THAT is just douchey.

Yeah, I read this article earlier and it really does seem unlikely that it would be a person. I did IT and it sounded more like a security leak. More like some novice is connecting to internet and the dumbdumb has the marvel files that need to be checked in the same folder as his downloads/ outbox. Or they are loaded for someone to check off site in a compromised cloud space. Either way it is still a stupid thing to fix easily, and should have been fixed a long time ago, or with simple end user requirements. If it were a person it would be hard to believe that they would do that. Shame on Marvel if it is a security risk for letting it go on for such a long time.

@buck,

Believe it or not, the reason most people don’t steal things isn’t because they don’t know how easy it is. It’s because most people understand that it’s wrong and/or illegal.

Judge Fred MANSON

February 16, 2012 at 12:42 pm

About the ComiXology viewer application, an explanation could be done: all the comic book pages are downloaded in a cache folder on the hard drive of a reader then, with a small script, it is possible to recover these data and to transform them into JPEG files which are compressed with the cbr or cbz extension.

After all, all these “viewer” applications are based on the Flash API which can be programmed by anyone with enough background in programming.

About the Marvel comic books, if this time period is confirmed with a long survey period, then the “source” may be inside Marvel at a high security level because these files are to be send to the printers only.

I do not know how Marvel is working at this stage: do it sends the files to the printers or do the printers have access to a specific data server to grab these files?

Anyway, I am against piracy else if the publisher has only crap comic books. I “accept” a certain “Try-&-Buy” concept because of the heavy cover prices on a lot of comic books, but in this case only, to read one comic book copy is enough to define if the comic book is well worth the cover or not. If the answer is “Yes”, put the file in the trash and go to buy a digital/printed copy, if the answer is “Not”, put the file in the trash and never again download it.

Enough with the back-and-forth name-calling.

Comments have been deleted.

Mine were just in good fun – though that was obvious in the last one.

“Michael Avolio, are there any colors besides black and white in the world you’re living in? That must be frustrating”

Sure there are, but not when it comes to illegally stealing. That’s pretty cut and dried. I understand why people do it, and I’ve done it before myself, but none of that makes it any less wrong.

What’s frustrating is people deluding themselves into thinking that they’re entitled to do whatever they want to do no matter the morality of their actions or whether someone else suffers because of it.

@Kevin – you’re displaying a seriously deluded attitude to the way the world works, and I have to feel a bit sorry for your kids because in you, they have a role model who preaches to them that it’s OK to steal when you want something that you can’t afford. You suggest that I’m both an “idiot” and “angry” – I can assure you that I’m neither, but I work in the comic industry and I’ve seen not only myself lose income, but also seen friends and colleagues lose their jobs, as a result of the current situation. It’s not 100% down to piracy, but piracy absolutely doesn’t help because stealing is stealing, no matter how desperately you try to justify it. I look forward to the day when the law catches up with your light-fingered family, as it inevitably will.

@Wonderllama – the majority of major publishers release 5-7 page lettered previews of ALL their releases, every week, right here on CBR. Surely you can read those and then decide whether or not to buy a specific comic, rather than illegally downloading it?

Just FYI it takes about 30 minutes to scan and Photoshop touch-up a physical copy so it looks as good as a digital copy. As for how long it takes to upload a torrent I can’t be sure but I’m guessing maybe 5 minutes. If someone had a group of say five or six people it could easily be done within an hour of the comic shops openning.

“This is one of those things you should NOT be writing articles about. It is never going to change and writing about it just exposes it to many who didn’t know. Thanks for killing the industry further.”

yeah, b/c the price point of $3-$4 for a comic book only telling a piece of a story is helping the industry to survive and flourish…

To everyone who is against people pirating comics, what do you care if these people download it for free or not? How does it effect YOU?!? Does it make the comic you read less ‘special’? Are they stopping you from buying them yourself?

Why don’t people worry about themselves and less what other people do…

My main beef is that comics are different than most forms of entertainment. I went ot comic book store two days after the release of the Wolverine Origin #1 mini. I had it in my pull file, and could only afford one book at that time. So, I bought my Superman, because it was cheaper than the Wolverine cover price.

The store owner saw me put the Wolverine back in my pull file, and told me if I didn’t buy it now, it would be $50 the next time I came in. He said it’s selling for more than that on eBay.

So, we are fighting over downloading things that prices change more than anything else, people over charge for on variant covers, and that the company already got a profit on anyway? Marvel and DC obviously aren’t hurting, when books like Swamp Thing and Animal Man are selling very well in a digital downloading world.

I would say the comic companies and creators are hurt the least in this. The ones who should be hurting are the LCS, but, with comics being a collectible and prices changing DAILY on a whim of the store owner, I don’t feel sorry for them either.

Heck, the last Wolverine movie was downloaded MILLIONS of times before it release, yet it BROKE box office records at the time. That movie was utter garbage, but FOX sure made a ton of money from it.

@Anonymous: I know no scanner on earth that can can a comic and release one inside 30 minutes. Some of these scanners take hours to do double page joins in Photoshop and some do many books. These poor bastards have no life in many cases spending hours on hours getting these many books out. These web rips take minutes and that’s why they are being done by it seems the more seasoned release groups.

You must not have ever used Photoshop, joining two pages takes as many seconds, Photoshop can fill what would have been behind a staple mark for you, a simple smart blur will clean any granulation. The photoshopping is the easy part actually waiting on a scanner to scan the images would be the bulk of the work.

Splint Chesthair

February 16, 2012 at 2:01 pm

@Snikt snakt

“To everyone who is against people pirating comics, what do you care if these people download it for free or not? How does it effect YOU?!? Does it make the comic you read less ‘special’? Are they stopping you from buying them yourself?”

I care because these people are making it harder for comic book companies to make money off their products, which in turn makes it harder for them to stay in business, which potentially means no more comic books at all for anyone.

@Snikt Snakt

The suggestion that if someone isn’t stealing from us -personally- we shouldn’t worry about it, is ludicrous.

Some of these comics are so bad today (marvel and DC) that they are not even worth buying. I stopped years ago and only pick up the silver age stuff.

RegularSyzedMike

February 16, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Just had to interject into this back and forth I otherwise have little interest in…

“…unless you are an unthinking addict caught up in an abusive relationship with comics.”

Don’t most comics fans fall into at least one of those categories anymore? XD I know I’m in the latter and some may even say I’m in the former!

I’d never bootleg comics. I love the industry too much. It’s a great indusry.

Few points to make, since there are some very asinine viewpoints on this (and I sincerely believe Kevin is a plant designed to make downloaders look bad):

I download. Sometimes I do it the way the companies would prefer and put my money down, sometimes I just grab a CBR.

I download to remain conversant on comic books as a form. If you honestly believe I downloaded the issue of Rise Of Arsenal wherein Roy Harper spoons a cat because I couldn’t *afford* it, you are deluded in the extreme. I downloaded Rise of Arsenal because I wanted to rubberneck past one of the greatest comic book car crashes since Chuck Austen got kicked off the X-Men franchise. I was not going to buy that comic! I am not a rich man.

I do not cannibalize sales. The files I obtain are digital facsimiles, reproductions of product. I am not depriving Marvel, DC or IDW of the chance to capitalize on their product. They can still make as many of their legit digital copies as they want, and I can still make the decision to purchase those copies legitimately. When I read Hitman I had no other way to obtain it – the books were out of print, I couldn’t buy it from DC Comics if I tried! If I steal, I deprive you of a good – when I am downloading a comic book, I am infringing your copyright. Given that copyright is an extremely perverted system being continually ravished by the owners of Marvel and DC Comics this does not bother me unduly.

Downloading a comic is NOTHING like stealing a car. More like using magic to make another car and driving the copy away.

(Downloading comics has exactly the same impact on the publisher as buying comics on the secondary market)

I am not stealing from creators – at least, not directly. The guys who write and draw are contracted and paid. If you want to hear about a crook stealing from creators, commune with the spirits of Jack Kirby or Siegel and Shuster. Stan Lee is a bigger robbing fink than anyone who ever grabbed a CBR file from Megaupload and people fall over themselves to treat him like everyone’s favorite grandfather!

Some suggestions to comic book companies to make me feel like a scumbag and guilt me into swearing off downloading forevermore: stop titillating rape. Have your megacorp owners stop destroying my cultural heritage by extending copyright forever and ever. Stop being pricks to your creative staff. Start creating startling, innovative product I want to support rather than whatever lantern-jawed bore Johns and Didio want to fawn over this month. Make your digital comics available and attractive, with a range of pricing options (If Marvel were ever to offer me a 40.00 a month buffet of new comics I would be giving them more money than I am right now). The “big 2″ book companies are morally repugnant even before piracy enters the equation. I have no real issues with stealing from crooks.

At the end of the day, widespread assimilation and use of downloading and P2P software indicates that a paradigm of capitalism is dying. Without the political support the megacorps have it would already be dead. Capitalism is the morality of money, and the public isn’t buying anymore. Instead of criminalizing their potential audience these companies should be working out how to make more money from digital avenues – if Penny Arcade can do it, I see no reason why companies with attractive IP cannot.

Ultimately the moral calculus is twisted and tangled – yes, I am consuming for free, and with a sense of entitlement I cannot really justify. At the same time, I am more aware of comics than I would otherwise be, more likely to give a crap about the merch and films (which is where the real money is made) and more likely to remain buying comics in some capacity rather than giving up under the avalanche of continuity. I am a vector for comics in society. There is also the fact that the comics industry is full of horrible, horrible people who are more directly harmful to the creative people that I love than I could ever hope to be.

To refute the argument that I need to pay money to consume a comic – I’m sorry, you’re wrong. There’s a system in place that enables me to bypass that requirement. It’s called the Internet.

I AM buying what I like on Comixology – I’m picking up Uncanny X-Force, Wolverine And The X-Men and Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye because I like how innovative and delightful these comics are and wish to furnish them with my support. If I had money I’d buy even more comics. I don’t.

I am attaching my real name to this poorly drafted missive.

“… from hackers who have figured out how to crack comiXology’s copy protection”

Pressing the ‘print screen’ key is hacking?

Kevin and Grumpy Stump:

I pray for the day when the police kick in your front door and drag you out in front of your children. You don’t like every issue that Marvel/Dc put out? Boo hoo. I don’t care how much you supposedly love comics. By not supporting the industry you are doing more harm than good. Great titles such as Immortal Iron Fist, which need every dollar to survive, are not helped by pirating. In fact, by pirating it people like yourselves have helped to kill it off.

“Clarifcation: stealing from businesses, right off the shelves is wrong the Law says so. Downloading off of the internet is not.”

“@ Simon THE LAW DOES NOT RECOGNIZE “STEALING” ANYTHING ONLINE. I can DL a hundred songs, 50 movies, 25 tv shows and 10 comics 2 day! And nothing will happen… because there r no legal grounds to prosecute anyone who downloads that stuff online (clearly not talking about child porn n stuff).

I’m dling things that have been posted online by others who bought it for the purposes of sharing with strangers, which is their choice.

I’m a criminal for taking advantage of someone else’s good will and intentions? How so? It s a free download they’re posting it because they want to share, I DL, I say my thanks to mr. uploader(s) and am on my way.

I guess the uploader who bought it is every bit the criminal I am right?

U can’t figure out that there is no such thing as “illegal sharing”, ergo u r an idiot while I am apprently I criminal mastermind.”

Tell that to the guy who ran Megauplload, who is looking at years in jail plus the loss of nearly everything he owns. Letting my friend read my comic isnt nearly the same as putting it on the internet and letting thousands read it. At the end of the day my friend doesn’t own that comic and might buy it. But if he pirates it, well now he owns it and the odds of him actually buying it are extremely slim.

“@ swunt

clearly u have no family or sense of responsibility. I’m a father and husband I dont have the luxury of building a USELESS comic collection that wont amount to anything in the long run.

“If I Had 2″ means if I want to (my bad). I don’t want to pay for comics at nearly 30 because its not a neccesity.

And FYI… I went to comic con last year with the kids, great time, expensive as shit but worth it since the kids loved all the costumes and toys, nothing like spending the day at COMIC CON SON!!! THAT… is my contribution to the comic book industry in 2011.

I probably spent more in one day then u did throughout 2011 every week on comics…. but its comic con :)”

How much of this money actually went to publishers and the like? You realize that these companies don’t get paid to be there. Comic-Con doesn’t pay Marvel to be there, Marvel pays them to be able to display and interact with the fans. So your admission, transportation, and food does not support the industry in any way, shape or form. And seeing your lack of a moral compass I have to wonder how much you and your klepto-in-training children probably stole from the vendors.

KEVIN, you don’t understand the reality. You’re really stupid.

There are smart people that basically says piracy is GOOD for the content producers. They DISTRIBUTE the digital copies, a category of INEXHAUSTIBLE and NON-SCARCE products, around THE WORLD wherever internet reaches. This bode well for the content producers because their PHYSICAL products like merchandises, toys, and TRADE COLLECTIONS could be recognized more easily.

Cue to the profilerations of ANIME and MANGA merchandises around the world. Without PIRACY, they won’t be as big as they are now. Each year, there are record sales of MANGA in JAPAN alone, mostly done by Oda’s ONE PIECE.

I know DC comics through piracy. Now I love them, but UNABLE to buy due to limitations. But I have been thinking to buy.

I used to pirate PC GAMES, now I buy them through internationally available STEAM by VALVE. I redeem myself by buying digital copies of games I pirated years ago.

Just a few points:

- Getting the jpegs from comixology is as simple as opening your cache folder. I really don’t think that can be called “hacking”.

- Downloading comics (or mp3s, movies etc) is not a crime. It’s a tort. The reason the police don’t come after you isn’t because they can’t find you. It’s because it’s not a criminal activity. The worst that can happen is that one of the companies will sue you. But this will be a ‘civil’ lawsuit and you won’t have a criminal record, you aren’t a criminal, it’s not a crime.

- As far as I’m aware there has never been any study done anywhere that has found that piracy has a negative effect on the entertainment industry. If you know of such a study, please let me know. The only study I’m aware of is a Swedish study that found that piracy does NOT negatively impact the entertainment industry.

- The company men who tell you downloading stuff is evil are the same people who tried to tell you HOME TAPING IS KILLING MUSIC. At least we can now look back with hindsight and see how ridiculous that was. Also remember: don’t copy that floppy!

- The company men have absolutely no idea how to work WITH the digital age. Instead they are always starting wars with it, and against us. There are musicians who, despite giving their music away for free on their website, still sell cds, still sell digital downloads, still sell vinyl and still make a living off their music. These people have got it so right. The company men have got it all wrong. Just a few years ago they thought it was a good idea to sue the parents of a child who downloaded mp3 nursery rhymes “illegally”. That doesn’t make me sympathetic to their cause. It makes me want to give them my middle finger.

- See what Neil Gaiman or Paulo Coelho have to say on piracy. I remember Neil Gaiman saying that he used to have not much of a fanbase in Russia (I think it was there) and then “illegal” downloads of some of his books started getting spread around there and soon sales of his books in Russia began to increase.

- When the war on internet piracy is lost, what will they target next? A war against used book stores?

Also, piracy isn’t theft. That’s why it’s called “piracy” and not, well, “theft”.

for about 10 years I didn’t touch a comic. When I found comic downloads online that reintroduced me to them to the point where I spent at least 50 bucks a week on them.

Piracy IS theft. The thieves call themselves “pirates” because the thieves like to think of themselves as romantic swashbucklers up against the evil comic book publishing establishment. It makes them feel better, as if what they’re doing is somehow important. It ain’t. It’s just just gussied up thievery, of the electronic sort. When you all finally end up in jail for theft, try telling your fellow inmates you’re some kinda “pirate.”

To me it’s okay to make a copy of something you legally own to give to a friend. One or two friends. But thousands?

Yeah, back in the day I’ve loaned a comic I was done with to a buddy, and I’ve copied a cassette or a video to give to a friend. That;s one thing. But I never made 50000 copies of a tape and passed them out on the street corner, claiming it was alright since I already purchased the original copy.

And I’ve never stolen a bag of Doritos, eaten the whole thing, then gone back to pay for it because I enjoyed it immensely!

Brian from Canada

February 16, 2012 at 5:40 pm

Charlie, you have it wrong: MegaUpload and The Pirate Bay were taken down to satisfy corporate interests regardless of copyright. There are numerous examples of non-copyrighted material on these sites, not to mention the more blatant copyright violations on sites like Google and Comics Should Be Good that are turned a blind eye to. (In case you didn’t realize it, the covers on the Comic Book Database are all illegal scans, so every time they are referenced here, it’s breaking the law.)

And to JRC, it must be wonderful living in Wonderland.

Where I live, the bookstores shrink-wrap their graphic novels to prevent them from harm. The library carries very little, and always returns anything to the seller right away that is unacceptable to children under 12 (which means NO Marvel at this point beyond Adventures and most DC too). If you want to read a comic, you need to BUY it — at an LCS where the owner is so more interested in playing CCGs that he bad mouths comic books fans, especially when they interrupt his gaming talk to, you know, actually buy stuff.

ALL of the customers I know in this area that buy comics either go across town (minimum 20 minute drive) or buy online, and all are grumbling about the price. What was once a hobby of multiple books is now down to 2-3 that need to be DEPOSIT DOWN in order to ensure it’s held beyond 3-4 days because neither store has the money to hold them indefinitely. They’d rather sell to a back issue guy to get back to you on their dime instead of the store’s.

zodoQ: you can’t go to jail for downloading stuff. it’s not a crime. and piracy isnt theft. when you steal something you remove the original. when you pirate something you make a copy. piracy also isn’t exclusive to digital files. those cassettes and CDRs of albums you copied “back in the day”? That’s piracy. And according to the company men, you helped kill music.

For what it’s worth — while fairly straightforward — the culprit wasn’t comixology. It’s easy, or was — it’s fixed — but it wasn’t that obvious.

Brian from Canada

February 16, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Those who say it’s automatically illegal because it’s mass distributed are deluding themselves. It doesn’t HAVE to be multiple, it’s only one. When you lend your copy of anything to someone, YOU are breaking the law. If you are watching something that you recorded on TiVO or VHS, YOU are breaking the law. The law says that the corporate retailer has the right to demand how and when you use the material so that you are ensuring their revenue stream is intact.

Is that a justification for piracy? No. Pirates acknowledge it to be wrong.

But there’s something that’s being quite missed here and that is the market dictates sales. NO ONE can prove the loss of sales due to piracy because there’s no possible way to quantify that. The most pirated movies are also the most profitable ones — just as bootleg CDs tend to be of the most well sold shows. That means, in economic terms, a demand beyond scarcity that is being fulfilled beyond what the manufacturer can bear OR it means that the market wants a more immediate way of experiencing the product.

It’s also impossible to prove piracy hurts because of the cross section of the population. Teenagers and college students WERE prevalent because they do NOT have the income to afford it: highest theft of computer software is on college campuses where students use the applications to produce papers yet spend their money on food, tuition and other expenses.

But now it’s far more widespread. Adults are reported to be doing it in significant numbers as well — enough that SOPA, ACTA and other anti-piracy methods are being decried by many.

In terms of comic books, this is now boiling down to the people who buy them and the people who pirate because they won’t buy them — rarely do you see contributors say “I’d buy it but I get it for free.” The closest you have for that is “I am downloading it so I can judge buying the trade” knowing that the trade (especially with online discounts!) is much cheaper and more value to the dollar and the floppies.

Bottom line: the industry is not responding to this well. THIS is a case where Marvel’s security is failing, but scans will still happen. Marvel either has to make the library more attractive to online sales or encourage the downloaders to invest their money into the physical product. But the onus is on MARVEL and not the courts.

It’s like the person who says to Hollywood: want more money? stop making crappy movies!!

If folks want free comic book reading material. Do what I do, support your local library.

Support your local library? The place where books get shared amongst hundreds of people. It’s downloading from the internet on a smaller scale, except one is legal and the other isn’t. [insert facepalm here]

I returned the books after I read them.

I deleted the files after I read them.

I have thrown many comic books into the recycle bin and given away many graphic novels away.

Please do not have a retort to my habit of buying many comics from the dollar bin nor the 50 cent bin of my local comic shops. Yeah, I know that I should of collected those titles as they came out by paying full price in order to fully support the creative endeavors of hard working comic creators.

There is something very wrong with our society. Piracy is a product of that wrongness… Is it illegal? Of course it is… Is it unethical? Of course it is. Is it the lesser of two evils? Of course it is!

The cost of a digital movie, book, cd… etc… is WAY TOO OVER-PRICED for the average middle-class to lower-class consumer. I have a full time job, kid and wife. We own a house, have bills. If we paid for everything that our consumerist society threw at us, we would have to be making 6 figure incomes… EACH. Greedy corporations have the government in their pockets. The revolution has begun. We, the 99% want to be treated with some dignity and fairness.

A digital comic book costs nothing to be reproduced, yet is still costs $3? How does that make sense. Everything needs to be restructured, music industry started on the path a few years ago, the movie/television industry still doesnt have a clue, nor does the comic industry.

I can’t believe how many people are brainwashed to believing piracy is evil. It’s a product of the current decline of civilization. It is necessary in order to fight unfair capitalism. If everyone just bent over and took it all the time, our butts would be raw. Apparently some people like it that way, not me. I download free comics, but I also support the comic industry whenever I see a fair deal. Just like I pay for a great movie/tv series and go to a kick-ass concert. Shockingly, I even sometimes buy a CD, but the price must be fair. I have a family to which I must provide. My money is hard-earned and easily spent.

It’s time to wake up people, you have been living in the matrix way too long.

When a large majority of society is breaking a law, maybe the law needs to be revised or scrapped all together.

We are Legion, for we are many.

To add, it was only after I “illegally” downloaded digital comics that I started to spend $100-200 a MONTH to create my own collection of comics that I love. Before that, I had given up on comics because I lost track of storylines and didn’t enjoy wasting a crazy amount of money to try and keep up with 40 different titles on a monthly basis and cross my fingers that they didn’t suck!

Someone previously made an analogy that he wouldn’t go back a pay for a bag of doritos after he had already eaten it… That’s exactly what I do… If the product is worth it and the price is FAIR.

Some of you people talk like you make the big bucks. I am a management level, residential counselor for special needs youth, making $50,000 and my wife is full-time, making $40,000… In this day and age, it’s just enough to get by… That is SAD. The standard of living is clearly higher than it used to be, but when the 1% holds most of the world’s capital, then something is wrong.

Kevin D (not the pirating one)

February 16, 2012 at 7:27 pm

So to all of you that feel that pirating comics is fine and dandy….I assume you won’t mind when the hacking group “Anonymous” takes down some site that you’re using. They feel like they’re just “fighting back against big business & government”, so that makes it all right,yes? When these hackers are caught, they will be punished to the greatest extent possible. If and when you’re caught for pirating, you will be punished to the fullest extent the law allows.

I’ve said this before but apparently it needs to be said again….

Go to one of the creators of the comics you “love” so much, and explain to them exactly why you’re taking the money they would have earned for a sale away from them, and the food out of their mouths. I’m not talking about the companies, but the people involved: the writer, artist, colorist, letterer, and all the other people involved.

I don’t disagree with your statement. Piracy is not right… Anonymous is necessary, protests are necessary, terrorists are (unfortunately) necessary. Revolution is necessary… The cycle simply repeats for every civilization.

It’s bigger than just the comics industry. Unfortunately the artists are being victimized, but they aren’t the only victims. I am just stating that the greater of two evils should at least be recognized. Things need to change and balance restored. Piracy is not the root of all this… It is THE PRODUCT. Greed is the cause.

I download comics, but I only get the books that I buy each week. I have a tablet that I like to read my comics on and I’m not about to drop another 50 bucks a week just to get digital copies of the same books I already own. I do try books that I don’t read, but I funnel a lot of my income into comics and I want to know if a book is worth it before I invest.

Kevin D, you’ve just ignored pretty much everything that’s been said. If and when people are caught for pirating they’ll be punished to the fullest extent that the law allows? Do you know what the law allows for that? A civil lawsuit ie getting sued. No police, no prison, no fines, no criminal record because DOWNLOADING IS NOT A CRIME and downloading does not make you a criminal. That’s not me who says that. The law says that.

Secondly, why do you assume that because someone downloads a comic it’s a lost sale? That’s a case of 2+2=5. How do you know Mr or Ms Pirate wouldn’t just wait til the trade is out and then get it from the library? How do you know they don’t just pirate the issues and then buy the ones they like in trade? How do you know that if it wasn’t for the availability of downloadable free comics that Mr or Ms Pirate would never have given that indie comic a chance, which they now love and buy the hardcovers of?

There are always going to be people out there who take take take. But I reckon the vast majority of pirates will buy the books if they think they’re worth it. In a way it’s quite simple: create an awesome product at a fair price and people are likely to buy it.

just want to say thank you to the pirates for sharing the FREE goods with us.
it’s a hard world out there and anything available for free should be TAKEN WITH BOTH HANDS..
these guys are modern day ROBIN HOODS to me. you might call them thieves but at least they SHARE their goods with the poor.
artists should get paid for their work, but people should be able to get their entertainment for REASONABLE PRICES too. and by the way artists also download free goods, so where all in it for the same

I just buy graphic novels right now, (Finishing up New Mutants Classic and Secret Six. I’ll be starting on X-factor and X-force soon)

Like others, I can’t afford the monthlies. That said, I don’t pretend that stealing electronic copies is anything but theft.

OTOH, DC’s done a remarkable job of making sure I don’t steal any of their books. ;-)

As to the ‘lend to your friend or libraries’ argument. In both cases you’re talking about taking one copy. While you have the library’s copy, no one else does, and while your friend has the book, you don’t. You’re not copying work, you’re exerting your control over your copy, not creating more.

Now I wish I could (short of digging in my hard drive) Download and OWN my electronic copy. That, and cost, are all that keep me from going digital.

Wonder how many comics the author downloaded from these “sites” to write this article/do research?

I used to collect physical copies, but it became to expensive and took too much room. For a while I downloaded, and then they started up with Comixology.

For about six months I used Comixology like a happy camper, but then I looked at my finances. I was running into the expensive part again. Like others have said… $3.99 for a book that takes 5 minutes is rough. A 5 minute song costs 99 cents. DC/Marvel is saving money on production and distribution, yet keeping the prices artificially high because a) they can and b) comic stores complain if they don’t.

So now, I’ve simply stopped reading. Which is a shame. I’d really like to, but I can’t justify spending $20 on 1/10th of one story arc that will likely be meaningless when it’s forgotten about, retconned, rebooted, etc a few months later.

I *want* to support DC and Marvel, I enjoy comics *in general*, but right now they are dropping the ball.

Oh and another thing… drop the DRM, give us PDFs/CBRs. If Comixology suddenly disappears, I’ll no longer “own” the digital copies I paid $3-4 for. What if DC/Marvel change services? What then? Give us an actual file to download with no restrictions on it, so that we can be assured that we will forever retain the file.

If you’re going to stick with the BS of “we’ll sell you the right to see the file on this specific service under specific circumstances” then you really, really, need to drop the price.

“And to JRC, it must be wonderful living in Wonderland.”
–Brian from Canada

The difference where I live, is that I am a discriminating consumer, I don’t “need” to have any of the comics I buy, they’re a luxury. The ones I want I set aside money for. Thanks to the sales, and other options I mentioned, I can afford to buy more books with less discretion; experiment to see what I like.

For example: Someone above mentioned wanting the old Micronauts series, which I recently got interested in after reading about the horrible thing that happened to Bill Mantlo, and remembering them from my childhood.
The poster claimed they just couldn’t find it. Take a look at the web like I attached to my name.

At the next 100 comics for $50 sale I went to, I was able to assemble over half the run of the book in 3 hours, for under $50 bucks. Doing this also helps the LCS I like stay in business and provide jobs for the 3 people who work there. In addition to those books, I was able to pick up some Dan Slott comics from the the past couple years, and although I didn’t buy them–because I paid full price when they came out–I could have also gotten a complete run of the recent FF (Future Foundation) series. As well as many many other awesome comics.
All for $50 dollars and tax.
Over the course of January, I was also able to read the whole Hickman run of Fantastic Four buy getting the collected trades from my local library.
Did it take a little work and waiting on my part? Yes, but I’m fine with that, it’s a microscopic inconvenience (tehehe) and also part of what I enjoy about my hobby, that it gets me out of my house and discovering things I wouldn’t have any other way.
I realize that my hobby intersects with a large complicated corporate system–and yes, it is one that I do not always agree with and like. But, it also carries forward and preserves the hobby I enjoy, and gives work to people whose talents I appreciate.

If readers of comics want to see this artform survive, they need to support it by paying for what they take in.
If you don’t like to Big2 or any other company, then you still need to accept that the content you are taking still takes money from retailers who will go out of business, and deprive other paying fans of the artform from enjoying comics.
If you don’t like Big2 corporate practices, don’t buy their products, go buy interdependently produced comics, or read creator generated free webcomics and buys stuff from their store (it’s how they fund the time they need to create their work).

Down the road, maybe not today or in even 10 years, if the production of comics is not supported financially, it is likely large companies that hold ownership of these characters will eventually stop producing comics about them, choosing instead to focus on other formats (which yes, you’ll also be taking without pay I’m sure). It’s something that I do not want to happen, I try to make purchases that fit my financial situation, and I spend money on the comics I want to read, because I know that doing so supports the writers I want to see more of.

It would be great if comics were all small business run by a “mom and pop” company that treated their employees great, and only charged enough to cover the cost of the product. they don’t. But taking the comics without paying for them hurts every part of the industry, not just the part that won the Ghost Rider suit, and if you want to see it change and get better you need to invest in it with capitol, by buying from the companies and independent creators you want to see succeed.
Why bother torrenting, electronically preserving/distributing, the sh*tty products? Make the Big2 pay to do it themselves!
Wasting time by investing it in garbage still takes time away from the more valuable activity of progressing the positive parts of the hobby.

I’m waiting for the company men to start a war against libraries and used book stores. Those pesky librarians… buying one copy of a book and then sharing it with many. Making books available for free! They’re killing literature, I swear.

“I’m waiting for the company men to start a war against libraries and used book stores. Those pesky librarians… buying one copy of a book and then sharing it with many. “

Perhaps they would … if the law were “lending-right” or “resell-right.” But it’s not, it’s “copyright.” When libraries allow a patron to borrow a book, no copy is made. Likewise, when a book is purchased and then resold, no copy is made in the process.

The end result is no different. If someone reads a trade at the library, no money goes to the company or artists involved.

Any argument I’ve read here about why downloading comics is bad (mm’kay) is about how you can’t just go getting stuff for free and you shouldn’t deprive the artists of a sale. How’s a library any different?

“How’s a library any different?”

Again, no copies are made. U.S. copyright law recognizes the first-sale doctrine, which permits someone who purchases (in this case) a book to then sell it, lend it or give it away. It’s what makes libraries and used bookstores possible (and prevents many of us from being buried by the collections we’ve amassed over the years).

First-sale doctrine does not, however, permit the reproduction of a copyrighted book.

Just went by Newsarama. Oh no…! FF #603…I love Galactus and FF has been pretty good lately…

Discipline, boy!

I never downloaded comics until I installed Linux (Ubuntu), saw an app called “Transmission,” discovered what it was for, found Pirate Bay and went to comic heaven every Wednesday for the past four months. I felt like I was stealing (OK, I knew it). I began thinking of all the people (and their families) I was stealing from. As of today–no more! That’s just me, however. I am not judging anyone.

Thank God for fan fiction. We’re more imaginative anyway.

Kevin, you’re avoiding the point of my question. If downloading comics for free is wrong because it’s not supporting the creators (etc), how is a library any different in that way?

I’m not asking you to define the law for me.

I know you’ll probably avoid it again by saying (again) that libraries don’t make a copy. But what difference does it make if I read the book for free at the library or download it for free? So what if downloading it means it’s a “copy” when the end result is still the same ie I’m reading something for free and I’m giving nothing back to the creators?

The answer Qudoz is that publishers work directly with libraries and operate under rules that establish the County, State, and even Federal library systems.
Libraries are also paid for by tax dollars, so you do pay for the items provided in them when you pay tax–you know, for the few things you get without torrenting.

Until the Libertarians have control of the country that’s how you exchange support for the value provided by libraries.

In other words: Libraries are not private companies, they’re public institutions set up to foster better communities, education and act as a resource for a better society.

Pirates, are not.

What you’re really trying to do is find more selfish justification for your desire to consume content without paying for it.
Learn something about the way the systems operate, instead of just using idiotic arguments to justify your selfish consumption.
The system is not always fair, it does not make your actions right.

I buy from everyone but Marvel on Comixology every week. That’s right, I buy both DC and Image/other publishers but not Marvel. Why is that? Because Marvel is the only publisher who does not drop the digital prices after a month. Every other publisher does it. So when Marvel starts doing that, I will reward them with sales. Until then, I am not reading Marvel comics anymore.

If more people did this, they would have reasonable digital pricing by now. F YOU MARVEL, I will not buy your product at full price.

KUDOS to DC, Image and the rest. I enjoy being able to buy my comics a month later at the $1.99 price point. Keep up the good work.

DownLikeCharlie wrote: This sort of explains why some comics showing up on pirate sites look like digital rips, but aren’t actually available for digital purchase. For instance, the latest Avengers and New Avengers issues. The pirated issues I’ve seen look like digital copies that were copied for illegal sharing, but you can’t buy a digital copy anywhere.

That’s probably because those are scans and not “offical” digital releases from the publishers. Many of the scans I’ve seen look better than the digitally published versions anyway.

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