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Monday, March 02, 2009

I Turn My Back for ONE Minute!

This is probably all my fault, but apparently Live Journal's Scans_Daily site has been taken down, in something of a panic by the Live Journal people. And by "my fault", I WAS pretty pissy about them a short while back, when a number of people who congregate there were being violent about Beau Smith. I mean...how can you not like Beau Smith? That's just crazy talk!

Anyhoo...I've been doing quite a bit of reading amongst the various sites and blogs all discussing Scans_Daily's downfall, and I have to admit that I find myself somewhat torn.

It may...no it IS naive on my part to have visited the site, prowling for old Green Lantern scans, without concerning myself about the legality or at least ethics of what I was doing, and they were doing. It just never occurred to me. But the fact that some creators are fine with having their work put up for free, doesn't mean that all creators are fine with it, and so they really should leave Peter David alone. He didn't do anything wrong, and getting death threats is a bit extreme.

Kalinara of course, has a very well-reasoned take on things. That makes sense, Kalinara is going to Law School, and she knows whereof what she speaks. Kevin Church over at BeaucoupKevin is a bit more cranky, but he also raises some interesting points. Johanna Draper Carlson at Comics Worth Reading weighs in, but Lisa Fortuner over at http://robot6.comicbookresources.com/2009/03/just-past-the-horizon-the-male-space-is-just-better-hidden/#more4944 has an excellent take on all of this.

I just find myself wobbling in the middle. On the one hand, I can certainly understand that the site was a form of piracy lite, as Lisa calls it. They were supposed to only show a few pictures, but some people always pushed the rules, and managed to get away with it. On the other hand, I have to admit that there were a lot of books that I first spotted on Scans_Daily that I had never read, and found myself intrigued into picking up...Blue Beetle being among them. I also have to admit that I've loved those old Suicide Squad entries.

On the other hand, some of...not all of certainly...the people commenting were a little on the whacky side. As in completely NUTS! Some of these people would argue with the actual writers about how they should portray their own characters! That is taking fan entitlement just a tad too far, in my opinion.

Surely there can be a middle ground somewhere? Where devotees of comics can meet safely and discuss their favorites without falling into bad habits? Where some pictures of old and obscure books can be posted without violating copywrite? Where I can snag a picture of Kyle's ass? I really DID buy the book but my scanner is on the fritz and I'm too broke to fix it! I swear!

Can't we all just get along?

10 Comments:

At 11:24 AM, Blogger MetFanMac said...

:-( That was literally the only place I could read any comic books.

Fortunately, there's an indirect silver lining: a) Blue Beetle finished its run while it was still up--it was the only title I would have been genuinely sorry not to be able to read; and b) I ordered the TPBs and they're coming in on Wednesday!

 
At 3:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd find Kalinara's analysis considerably more persuasive if she hadn't 1) invoked the almighty law degree as a bar to discussion of fair use when she does not yet have the J.D. herself and 2) followed that by trotting out a classic example of law student statistical hyperbole e.g. "for every one of x there are probably 10 of y." She'll find that a real lawyer will eat her lunch with that last one if she tries it out in the real world.

 
At 4:34 PM, Blogger Sea_of_Green said...

I wasn't much of a scans_daily fan -- a casual, occasional visitor at best -- but I think it's a clear-cut case of a few people ruining the fun for everyone else. Because some people posted WAY too much content of various publications, the site had to come down for legal reasons. It's a shame for those who were following the rules.

 
At 8:32 PM, Blogger Duskdog said...

I'm sad to see it go. While I do understand the legal issues involved, and I don't blame any writers/artists for wanting to protect their work, I think that getting rid of it is doing them far more harm than it is good.

There are several titles I've been turned on to by scans_daily (Blue Beetle, for one, and Teen Titans, which I never liked before), and I've lost count of the number of trades I've bought while trying to catch up on what I've missed of those titles, and the number of individual issues I've hunted for in back issue bins just to read the whole story behind a scene that I never would have known existed if not for seeing it there. I'm a sucker for those funny or personal character moments that you can't discover just by reading an issue summary or even a review -- and I don't care how many times someone says "the art in this book is gorgeous," I'll believe it more readily if they can show me a picture. I would think that, in this time of economic distress, with comic prices rising, the comics industry desperately needs to encourage anything that gets people talking about, and excited about, the products that they're selling.

That said, I do suppose it was getting out of hand. A few panels, or even a page, is one thing, but an enormous chunk of an entire comic is another. But was anyone actually using scans_daily as a comics source in lieu of buying the actual books (whether in trade form or issue by issue)? Even reading, say, 20 scanned pages of a 25 page comic leaves you without the whole thing. I guess that's acceptable to some people, though, and I can see why creators would be wary of that sort of thing.

I just think the community did more service to the comics industry than it did disservice. (Crazy posters and all. I just ignored those people and listened to the sane ones.)

 
At 8:34 PM, Blogger Duskdog said...

Ha, and after I post I see that MetFanMac answered one of my questions.

If you can't get the comics, at least you can order the trades, and you'll be happier with those than with scans -- trust me.

 
At 11:04 PM, Blogger MetFanMac said...

Ja, and how do I know which comics I'd like enough to order? By reading previews!

This pretty much puts the kibosh on keeping up with current comics in any personally meaningful way.

 
At 8:02 AM, Blogger SallyP said...

Silly silly Mac. Don't you know by now that you can't go wrong reading anything with Green Lanterns in it?

I'm feeling a bit torn about Scans_Daily. It was a handy place to swoop in and get a picture, but I think that they were taking things WAY too far in a number of cases. Plus there was a particular whack job that used to argue with Gail Simone about how she didn't know how to write Oracle that practically descended into stalkery.

On the other hand, if I hadn't ventured into the site, I never would have found Duskdog's Towards Twilight site, and my life would be the poorer for it.

If they all learn to play nicely, perhaps they can have some of their toys back.

 
At 6:00 PM, Blogger Will Staples said...

I'm pretty dismayed at the reaction from a lot of non-members. Lisa's article, for example, boils down to "You assholes got what was coming to you."

I won't comment on the legal aspect of the debacle. All I can say is that Scans Daily was like a home to a lot of us, a circle of friends with years of conversation and jokes and relationships, and it hurts to see it gone. The scorn from non-members pointing at a vocal minority of jerks in our midst is just salt in the wound.

 
At 12:58 PM, Blogger kalinara said...

I'd find Anonymous's critique of my post more persuasive if he/she had the guts to post it on my blog. :-)

I will miss some of the really nice Lantern scans there. Or that lovely Sand-scan collection that a friend of mine posted. :-(

 
At 5:17 AM, Blogger SallyP said...

Yeah, I wasn't quite sure what Anonymous's agenda was, in posting that comment here...particularly, because I couldn't make heads or tails out of the argument.

Boy, Kalinara, you've got some nerve trying to apply your Law School training to real life! seems to be the gist of it.

 

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