It seems that Marvel is now taking an active role in shutting down pirate comic websites. Rumor has it that Marvel execs paid a visit to Google headquarters to ask them to block links to pirated comic books. Google reportedly denied the request forcing Marvel to seek out the pirate sites and issue Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notices themselves. The first site to go down was Comics Invasion, hosted on Blogspot which is owned by Google. Word has it that Marvel is now looking for similar sites to issue the DMCA notices.
The timing of this is especially interesting in light of Mark Waid’s recent words on copyright, piracy, and making the moneys.
Unfortunately for Marvel, this is an uphill battle that will probably cost a great deal of time and energy that could probably better be spent on figuring out how to revitalize the comics market.
Marvel will claim that piracy hurts their business which is certainly true. But it’s the high price of their single issues that motivates their otherwise paying customers to seek out pirated issues. $4 for a single issue that is dependent upon three other issues for anything of substance to occur plot-wise is not a sustainable practice, at least if you intend on selling single issues. $4 for a special 32 page one shot, maybe. But the $4 floppy is not an attractive price point for potential or legacy readers. Since “decompressed” storytelling has encouraged more and more comic fans to wait for the trade, why not just abandon the floppies altogether and just put out trades?
To revitalize the industry, Marvel needs to attract new readers. Single issues won’t cut it. You can no longer get a full story in one single comic. And since the trades have entire story arcs, they have the best chance at landing new readers. That’s why the manga was doing so well with young readers. For ten bucks and a couple hundred pages, you get an entire story.
Some think that comic apps will save the industry. I have no doubt that buying comics on the iPad is wicked easy and convenient. I’m certainly happy to see Marvel, DC, and the other comic companies putting their works on the iPad and similar devices. But until they become as ubiquitous as smart phones, I don’t think it’s terribly wise to rely on apps to save anything.
Marvel will never fully stamp out comic piracy, but they can do a lot to mitigate the practice. I think focusing more on trades than floppies would go a long way to attract new readers.
Source: Bleeding Cool