Sunday, May 9, 2010
Bronze Age Babies Bulletins
Doug: Happy Mother's Day, or May 9th, or whatever you are celebrating today! We're here with a quick look at a controversial issue that received some media coverage early last week. We're talking about the demise of the pirate website htmlcomics.com.
Doug: If you never saw htmlcomics.com, it was something to behold. Imagine the first time you went to a large comic convention, with tables upon tables of longboxes -- every conceivable back issue you could imagine. That's what htmlcomics was. It was a veritable treasure trove of just about anything from the Golden Age to the present. And it was all illegal.
Doug: The music and film industries' issues with piracy have been well documented, with some cases even reaching the judgement stage of litigation where large fines were handed down. But this was, to the best of my knowledge, uncharted territory. You can read about it here, on the Comic Book Resources website. Be sure to check out Colleen Doran's comments, linked within.
Doug: Now I'd be a liar and a hypocrite if I didn't tell you that I have dirty hands in this issue. Some of the reviews I've done for our Two-In-Ones came from books I read from the htmlcomics site. I'll admit -- I had the same smarmy feeling I got a few years ago when I somewhat regularly used Limewire for music. However, while I started legitimizing my audio purchases by paying on iTunes, I did get sucked in to the wonder that was this comic site.
Doug: The site's owner claimed that he was providing what amounted to a social justice -- he had created a library for all to use, and just as a library allows just about anyone to use or read a book, so did his website. It all seemed logical, although I knew it wasn't legal; at the very least it didn't seem moral. But when, as the CBR site tells, a consortium of publishers got together to put a legal beatdown on the proprietor of htmlcomics, the site was yanked. And the Wonderland ceased to exist.
Doug: What's really interesting about the case is the belligerence and defiance of htmlcomics' proprietor. Again, be sure to read Colleen Doran's thoughts, linked from the CBR report.
Karen: Well Doug, I'm right there with you with my dirty hands as well. Although I've purchased thousands of comics over the years, scores of trades and Marvel Masterworks, and the wonderful DVD-ROM discs with nearly complete collections of Spidey, FF, Avengers, etc, there are just still many comics out there that I have yet to find. So htmlcomics was a nice resource for those books. However, it was always obvious that it couldn't be legal. In fact, I often wondered why Marvel, DC, and other publishers allowed it to go on -surely they were aware of it long before now?
Karen" I only discovered the site a few months ago but one of the things I've read was that it used to primarily have older comics only, and just recently began putting new books up online. Perhaps that is the reason for the legal action now?
Karen: In any case, the companies are fully within their rights to pursue this. The proprietor of the site has come off sounding not only ludicrous but perhaps even a bit demented. Certainly Colleen Doran's exchanges with him depict a deluded individual. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.