A little while ago when Marvel mentioned BitTorrent in one of its comics, it seemed quite an amusing thing to do. Seen by some as a gentle swipe at an unauthorized source, perhaps suggesting an uneasy but peaceful co-existence.
A couple of months down the line and this analysis couldn’t be further from the truth. Marvel are getting into the online digital comic business these days and their attitude seems to have changed. It’s time to take down trackers and take on Usenet uploaders.
Popular comic book tracker Z-Cult FM was threatened by Marvel and DC Comics, as site admin ‘Serj’ explained: “We got legal letters from both Marvel and DC Comics who have been working together to send us these legal threats. We are currently dealing with the legal issues and they have given us 3 days before they are forced to take anymore action.”
As a precautionary measure, Z-Cult FM voluntarily took down their tracker to take a little time to assess the situation and double check the authenticity of the demands. “We have confirmed one of the legal letters is 100% from DC Comics when a phone call was made to DC Comics who confirmed the email and its contents” said ‘Serj’, “As of today we were unable to contact Marvel and we are trying again tomorrow just to 100% confirm it.”
Right now the site itself is back online but is not currently offering torrents. Marvel had demanded that the site be completely shutdown to which ‘Serj’ says: “We will never let the main Z-Cult FM site die even if that means torrent free.”
Those comic fans who get their fix from Usenet don’t escape supply problems either. A prolific scanner/uploader known as ‘Oroboros’ has revealed he’s done releasing comics on Usenet. He said: “I’m done with the newsgroup. I got a DMCA notice from my newsgroup service. I have no posting abilities. I can’t even post a message saying I have to stop posting. If anyone can get to the group, please let them know that I’m done. They have my IP address in the notice and this is my one stated warning.”
However, ‘Oroboros’ didn’t say he was going to stop releasing completely, just on newsgroups: “I’m not done with scanning. It’s just the newsgroup that I can’t access anymore. I will still scan and release into the wild like I did a year and 1/2 ago.”
Another high note, Z-Cult FM’s admin just announced some really good news. Seems that there are benefits to having your material available on BitTorrent after all. Serj explains:
“A comic publisher we talked to while ago who wanted their books banned from our site for their own reasons have just PMed/Emailed me to revoke the ban and are happy for us to share their files here.”
Seems like the start of a great relationship!