This article over at TUAW is a good examination on how comic books are headed towards the same piracy concerns that almost brought the music industry to it’s knees. It points out how now is the time for the comic book industry to head this off by offering it’s complete line of titles digitally for an attractive price. This certainly is a problem… I see entire issues of MAD scanned and uploaded to file sharing sites almost the instant they are released, and the same happens to virtually all comics. It’s hard to believe anybody can call themselves a fan of comics and comic art while they are literally stealing the work of creators by putting it on the web for free downloading…but some people will apparently do anything to get attention on the internet. The reality is that there will always be some people who are either ignorant, dishonest or just don’t care and will pirate work. You can’t stop that entirely. What you can do is make it easy and affordable for those who are honest and understand that in order to keep the creative arts actively making the stuff they like, they have to SUPPORT those arts by buying the work, to be able do so. There is a limit to how much effort and money you can ask these honest people to pay, but they will do it if you offer them the right option…99 cent song downloads was the magic number. Right now comic book fans don’t have the option to buy digital copies of many (even most) issues the same day they come out… or at all… at any price…at least not for the portable tablet format. Giving it to them, and at a good price point, makes the most sense to make sure pirates don’t destroy the comic book industry.
I would love to see MAD available as a digital magazine.
Of course, in true TUAW fashion, the article credits Apple and the iPad as being the catalyst for this issue. The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW) is a website I used to frequent quite a bit, being more than a bit of a machead. Lately, however, I have not visited much because their articles in general have become hopelessly fanboy-centric. So much so that even someone like myself, who owns a lot of Apple products, gets sick of hearing everything spun into how Apple is the Greatest Company Ever and does nothing wrong. This article is still worth reading, though.
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