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Old March 16 2009, 05:49 PM   #49
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Location: State of Maryland
Re: Peter David may (?) have killed Scans_Daily

For the sake of fairness, here are some posts on the issue from David's blog:

Peter David wrote:
Did you ever hear of Scans Daily?

I had not.

Kathleen informs me that it began as a site on Live Journal where individual scenes from comic books were put up and commented upon. Apparently, this included certain panels from “Young Justice” to which homoerotic subtext was ascribed. It’s a shame I never had a chance to see those. That would have been funny.

But somewhere along the way, it morphed into posters giving page by page summaries of new comics, complete with the entire pages. Writing a critical review and posting up a panel or a page to illustrate a point falls under fair use. Posting over half the book while saying, “This happened, then this happened, then this happened,” is not remotely fair use and a blatant copyright violation.

On an “X-Factor #40″ thread on CBR, someone put a link to it. This put it on my radar, and–I suspect–on other people’s radar as well.

Conscientious people have reported to me when they see flagrant copyright violations of my work (typically entire Star Trek novels being posted online). So I did the same thing, informing Marvel of the scans.

Did Marvel then shut them down? No. Because before Marvel legal had an opportunity to do anything, the scans had already been removed for being a violation of terms of service of Photobucket, the site that enabled the posters to put up pictures on line. Perhaps the CBR links put the site on PB’s radar as well as mine.

I did, however, use my wife’s Live Journal account to make my presence known. A fan asked if I had informed Marvel about the scans. An honest question. I replied honestly. I said yes, I had, but that the scans were pulled before Marvel took any action.

Two days later, Scans Daily was shut down completely. Purely a guess: Photobucket complained to Live Journal and LJ said, “Enough’s enough.”

The reaction on the blogosphere? Peter David got Scans Daily shut down.

Well…no. Again: My intervention wound up having no impact. And besides, if anyone got Scans Daily shut down, it was the fans themselves. Some will own up to that reality. Many, I suspect, won’t.

Peter David wrote:
No, Rick. I didn’t contact the legal department to have the images removed. I contacted the legal department to inform them of a copyright violation. Whatever action Marvel chose to take or not take was entirely up to Marvel.

I’m going to draw a connection, Rick, between what you’re saying and what I’m repeatedly hearing from other S-D denizens. It goes like this:

“Scans has been around for five years. Marvel must have already had some knowledge of its existence.”

Let’s say that they were right. Let’s say Marvel DID know. If they did know, and they weren’t taking any action, then implicit in that argument is that they were okay with it.

Now along comes Peter David who says to the mods, “Take down this material immediately.”

What does that get me? An angry call from the legal department or, better still, Joe Quesada, saying, “What the hell do you think you’re doing? We knew about this and chose not to take any action. You’re not a Marvel rep. You’re not a lawyer. You’re not the copyright holder. Where do you get off sticking your nose into this? Who do you think you are?”

I’m not afraid to go toe-to-toe with Marvel. God knows I’ve done it in the past. But if I’m going to do it, then I’d better be damned sure I’m right. And I can tell you right now, if I had taken it upon myself to act as Marvel’s representative in a copyright matter, I would be dead wrong in doing so.

So basically what you’re asking me is: Peter, why didn’t you risk taking the brunt of Marvel’s anger instead of turning that anger upon a bunch of people who were illegally enjoying copyright violation?

Do I really need to answer? Does any reasonable person?

Peter David wrote:
Some Poster On His Blog wrote:
As to fault, at this point it’s pretty clear what happened, so that is not an issue. Marvel had the sight taken down

No, they didn’t. They didn’t give a rip about whether the site remained up or down; they just wanted their IP protected, something that they are legally required to care about.

Some Poster On His Blog wrote:
I will say, however, that I find it hard to believe you are actually suggesting the discovery of copyright infringement requires going strait to the copyright owner, and that immediate action is required if they weren’t asked before hand, given that you have spent a deal of time in Fan Fiction circles yourself, centers of blatant severe copyright violation, though i suppose your views on such things could have changed.
Let me put it this way: In my fan days, I published Star Trek fanzines. They contained plenty of fanfic. I dutifully included the Paramount copyright notices (which is, I believe, more than Scans ever did) but was fully aware that at any time I might receive a C&D from Paramount. Had that happened, I would have shrugged, shut it down, and said, “It was nice while it lasted.” I wouldn’t have bitched about it, I wouldn’t have moaned about it, and I sure as hell wouldn’t have said that copyright holders had no business spoiling my fun.

Peter David wrote:
One would think that with a message thread of over five hundred entries, I would have responded to every aspect of a topic imaginable. (Not that responses really matter to the hit and runners who come in with their minds made up, don’t read the thread, hurl invective and boycotts and then split.) But in cruising around the blogosophere that currently portrays me as being so poisonous that a tarantula could bite me and die, there is apparently one aspect that I have yet to address.

It has been wondered in several places whether I concur with the concept that is popularly referred to as “Byrne Stealing.” Namely, John Byrne’s philosophy that reading through a book on the stands and then putting it back is basically theft. Was I, in letting Marvel know about a potential copyright violation, saying that Byrne was right?

Well…hypothetically, he is. In the hypothetical comic shop that he owns (let’s call it Byrne’s Book Store, or Byrne’s BS for short) he is absolutely correct. The books are his physical property. Absent any state or federal laws that prohibit browsing, he gets to decide what does and does not constitute abuse of his property. If you’re willingly dealing with Byrne’s BS, then you don’t get to just stand around in Byrne’s BS, inspecting and fondling comics and reading them while munching on a corn dog, with a big Byrne BS-eating grin on your face. And if he yells at you about it, you can certainly storm out and announce that you are never going to stick your head into Byrne’s BS again. But don’t kid a kidder: It was Byrne, and you knew what sort of BS you were going to be dealing with when you walked in.

However—and here’s the sticky part—Byrne doesn’t get to decide what’s best for other people’s property. Just his own.

Many is the time that I’ve walked into my local Borders and seen people relaxing on couches or in the café, reading books or magazines that they have yet to purchase. They treat the place like a library. They sit there and read books (not mine, of course, because, y’know, who stocks those?) and apparently feel under no obligation to buy them. And if John Byrne waltzed into that store and started accusing them of theft, then the store manager and clerks would have him thrown out.

Why? It’s their store. They get to decide. Again, absent state and federal laws, they set the terms of right and wrong. They have big old magnetic strip detectors set up at the front door to stop you from walking out without paying for a book, but if you sit there, read an entire issue of Final Crisis #7 (presumably without spilling coffee on it or doing a spit-take on it or in some way rendering it unsalable) and put it back, Borders has effectively decided that that’s permissible.

Which they can do.

Because it’s their property and they get to decide what to do with it and what constitutes fair use of it.

So in Borders, reading Final Crisis #7 and putting it back isn’t stealing, Byrne- or otherwise.

Because. It’s their. Property.

Now…here’s where it gets entertaining.

The people who are running around cursing my name and crying boycott and writing my wife threatening e-mails (because she had so much to do with S-D being shut down)—the very same people who would not hesitate to download the latest virus protection software to prevent someone from helping themselves to whatever is on their own computer—are perfectly sanguine with deciding what Marvel should and should not do with Marvel’s property. The images, the characters, the stories…those are all Marvel’s. Legally. Morally. In every way that human beings have to measure such things, it’s Marvel’s property. Granted, the comic book itself is the fan’s property once it has been purchased. Which entitles them to give the physical comic to as many friends as they want to loan it out to, or even resell it if they’re so inclined. It does not, however, give them the right to reproduce it and redistribute it—which is what putting it out onto the net basically is–because there are specific laws that say they can’t do that. For that matter, there are specific rules on Live Journal that say they can’t do that, and Live Journal gets to make their own determinations of how best to handle their own property.

Some people are claiming that Marvel and DC and other major publishers should embrace the concept of having anybody, anytime, do whatever the hell they want with the publishers’ property because the fans have decided that it’s going to be beneficial to the publishers. The demise of Scans is—I’ve seen this term a lot—killing the golden goose. (Considering that sales have been in a steady decline for the duration of Scans’ existence, I have to observe that golden geese aren’t what they used to be. It seems less a golden goose than golden goose pate.) These fans have judged, on the publishers’ behalf, how the publishers’ property should be disseminated and distributed and marketed. And if the publishers don’t agree with it, then they are somehow uncool or evil or, at the very least, not current with the 21st Century.

Are you following that? These fans are deciding on behalf of the publishers the best way to handle the publishers’ property. It’s not enough that they believe they know the best way to handle their own property (locks on the front door, LoJacks on their cars, virus protection on their computers, etc.) They believe that they have the self-declared right to decide what is right and wrong for the publishers’ property. They believe that their vision of what constitutes theft should supersede that of whose property it truly is.

Just as John Byrne apparently believes that his vision should supersede the opinions of the book store owners whose property the books and magazines are.

So basically…every single fan who is excoriating me and condemning me and boycotting me for slights either real or imagined…

… is buying into Byrne’s BS.

Perhaps some fans should consider boycotting themselves.

Peter David wrote:
Some Poster On His Blog wrote:
“Keeping in mind that Marvel didn’t shut down Scans Daily…”

Curiously, it would appear that you may well be incorrect about that
The article changes nothing.

I still have no reason to disbelieve Marvel when I was told that the X-Factor pages were taken down before Marvel legal contacted them.

There was, of course, other material still up, and Marvel is required by law to vigorously defend its copyright upon seeing the material. Whatever cotton candy concepts people may have for what they think the internet should be, publishers continue to live in the real world where such defenses are mandatory.

Marvel didn’t shut down Scans because Marvel doesn’t have the power to shut down Scans. Only Live Journal does. That they chose to nuke the entire place and salt the Earth was Live Journal’s decision. Perhaps LJ’s concern was that posters would continue to ignore Live Journal’s TOS against copyright infringement. Considering the number of people who have posted on this thread who have made it clear that they think copyrights are bullshit and that everyone should be able to read anything for free at anytime, it seems to me that LJ’s concerns might have been well-founded. And once alerted to the problem, LJ likewise had to worry about protecting THEIR corporate ass.

How two corporations working within the current legal system to protect their IP and cover their own backsides translates in so many peoples’ view to “Marvel shut down Scans” or, even better, “Peter David shut down scans” remains a mystery.

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