March 14, 2012

Stealing From Webcomics

This morning I started my normal routine of checking in on some of my favorite webcomics before tackling the real work of the day which is getting ready for the interview on my future job.

My first webcomic of the day is Questionable Content.  The artist, J. Jacques, has come a long way since the early days of his webcomic and makes a living  through his art.  He sells related merchandise and attends conventions, and makes a few bucks on the side with his site's ads.

I doubt he makes a ton of money from the ads, but it all adds up (pun intended) and he is able to support himself through visitors to his webcomic.

Now a hack is trying to sever that creator/consumer connection to make his own buck.  Jacques puts it best:
"I got a whole bunch of tweets and emails today linking me to this blog post about a smartphone app that is ripping off a whole bunch of webcomics, including my own.

Here's the problem, in a nutshell: they are taking my comics, which I put up on the internet for free, and attempting to make their own money off of them by charging people for an app that is essentially a glorified RSS scraper. It's not stealing money directly out of my pocket, but it's still some form of theft, of that I'm sure. And of course it's being done without my permission.

This isn't the first time someone's written an app or coded a website that does this sort of thing, and it probably won't be the last. But I want to state here, for the record, that I think this sort of thing is awful and will never, ever grant permission for my work to be used in this way. So if you see an app or a website that is using QC strips in this manner, be assured that it is without my permission. And please let me know about them so I can contact the creators and have my work removed. I never would have heard of this if it weren't for you guys.

And a note to anyone considering doing this kind of thing themselves: it is stealing. It is not okay to take someone else's work and sell it without their permission. Don't do it. Everyone will hate you."

Now that I think of it, this guy is stealing money straight from the artists because of the way ads are reimbursed......

I checked out the other blog and looked up the app in the app store.  The app's creator goes by Klaymore and he has a whopping two apps: DailyComix and DailyComix Pro.  I find it mildly amusing that even the name is a bit of a rip-off since there is a DailyComix and Daily-Comix website with actual (if not all that funny) comics.

While I do read a few webcomics, I don't read all of the ones being violated by this app.  If you do happen to read my blog or Chris Hanel's blog, and you follow some of these webcomics, you might want to give them a head's up:
 8-Bit Theater, A Softer World, AmazingSuperPowers, Basic Instructions, Capes & Babes, Ctrl+Alt+Del (CAD), Cyanide & Happiness, Diesel Sweeties, Dinosaur Comics, Dork Tower, DreamKeepers Prelude, Earthsong Saga, Eerie Cuties, Evil Diva, Fey Winds, Girl Genius, Girls With Slingshots, Least I Could Do, Looking For Group, Magick Chicks, Manly Guys doing Manly Things, Nerdcubed, Order of the Stick, Penny Arcade, PHD Comics, Player Vs. Player (PvP), Questionable Content, Rooster Teeth, Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal (SMBC), Scenes from a Multiverse, Schlock Mercenary, Strawberry Death Cake, User Friendly, VG Cats, and xkcd.

Aside: I found the source of the graphic I used for this blog post.  TrustoCorp is a pretty cool NY artist.  You can click on the graphic above for his website, check out his twitter, and see more of his work on his Flicker site.

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