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A Flame About This High
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2nd-Mar-2009 10:36 pm - It is Not That Simple
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Everyone wants to make it simple. But it is not.

The simple claim is that Scans_Daily was a spoiler site and deserved to be shut down. But, that is not true. The simple claim is that Scans_Daily was a democratic site for comic book fans to share interests and it was squashed by The Man. But, that is not true. The simple claim is that Peter David got Scans_Daily shut down because of a misunderstanding. But, that is not true.

The truth is not simple. What happened is not easy to explain. But, I am willing to try.

I've always liked comic books. I gave a complete account of that interest a few years ago. Since then, I have followed Robin and Teen Titans. I picked up Outsiders for a bit. I picked up Infinity Inc. I got the World of Warcraft comic book. I gave Ultimate Iron Man and Astonishing X-Men a try. But, I tried to shy away from my old favourites like Hulk, Thor, Aquaman, Flash and X-Factor. So far as I was concerned, without Peter David, Mark Waid, or Walter Simonson writing the title was certain to disappoint.

I read that Chris Claremont was going back to X-Men, but I didn't want to get into the whole X-Men scene anymore. That wasn't a book or two a month. X-Men would be a serious commitment. And, where I was at the time, I was ... shall we say, afraid of commitment.

About two years ago I got a new job at work. One that came with a lot of down time. Whereas I used to spend my daily down time reading a dozen or so webcomics, I was now reading all of them just signing in to my systems in the morning. I started reading LJ at work. I found some interesting communities like customers_suck, bad_service, and others. And I found Scans_Daily.

Scans_Daily started out as a site where single panels or pages of comic books could be shared, discussed, made fun of out of context, etc. And, it had a high traffic rate, so anytime I checked, there would be something new. And, it typically wasn't long, so I didn't have to worry about getting too distracted from work.

Scans_Daily exposed me to some really good titles. They renewed my interest in Thunderbolts. They let me know that if I picked up X-Factor, I wouldn't have to pick up the other 14 X-titles to understand what is going on. (BTW, that is not an exaggeration, there are 15 X-Men related titles on the market right now.) When I picked up an issue of Squadron Supreme and didn't like it, Scans_Daily confirmed for me that the title wasn't what I was looking for.

But, commentary and page sharing was not all Scans_Daily was good for. When I wondered what Punisher and Green Lantern were up to, but wasn't interested enough to pick up the latest issue, I could find out on Scans_Daily. When I didn't know who the Runaways were, I could click a tag and find out.

When I was unwilling to branch out and follow the major crossovers like Final Crisis, Civil War, Batman RIP, and Secret Invasion, but still wanted to know what was going on in the titles I was buying, I could click a tag on S_D and find full spoilers.

Now, with that said, I do consider myself an expert on copyright and trademark law. What I was reading was, not might have been, WAS a violation of copyright. And, as an advocate for creator rights and copyright protection, I was doing a bad thing. On the other hand, I consider myself a capitalist. I think that if a company is doing something that I do not approve of, such as major crossovers, then I actively do not spend money on that endeavor. It was, honestly, a conflict of morals for me that, ultimately, my capitalistic beliefs won out.

So, it was. I would skip the Spoiler posts that affected the titles I read. I would mostly read the Spoiler posts from Silver Age comics. The Silver Age delivered a lot of multi-story issues that could get a full story snuck in under the moderator's radar. There were some good Spider-Man, Flash, Green Lantern, and Superman stories posted that are nearly impossible to find for purchase.

So, the complicated answer is that Scans_Daily was a good place to read and discuss about comic books, to share old issues of comics that are not collected anywhere, and where current happenings in active titles can generate excitement. But, it was also a place that repeatedly violated copyrights.

And, my knowledge of copyright law tells me that eventually someone was going to send a cease and desist letter to LiveJournal, and when that happened, the community was going to be shut down.

Last week there was a happening at Scans_Daily that I was involved in. The thread was cross posted to other comic book centric websites. And, one of the things that I said during the discussion was, "it is entirely possible that Kali921's little tantrum might get the spotlight put on the community, and get it shut down for copyright infringement."

And, last weekend, the community was shut down.

I do not know for a fact that my comment was read by someone who panicked and pulled the trigger. I do know that Peter David has confessed that Mavel's legal team had not contacted anyone before the infringing images had already been removed. I also know this.

I am sorry that the community was shut down. But, really, it was just a matter of time. And, this being the Internet, I'm sure that a new one will go up somewhere eventually.

I am more sorry that people are attacking Peter David and assigning motivations to him when all he did was show up and try to participate calmly in the middle of a flame-fest.

Theno
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