Saturday, February 28, 2009

Scans Daily

Oh woe is us! Scans Daily has been suspended by LiveJournal, probably because of copyright violations.

There's been an outcry of sadness and/or joy from the comic book blogosphere. Some, like me, wondered why it hadn't happened long ago. Others were dismayed because so many people knew about it, including some pros, and it was a great community for review and commentary on comic books. Some were simply delighted that those rotten thieves were finally shut down.

For non comic book fans, Scans Daily was a place where people posted scans from comic books and commented on them. No problem, right? Bloggers like me do this all the time. As long as you don't post too much of the book and make sure your commentary is all about the pages you are posting, then it falls in that grey area of Fair Use and everything is peachy keen.

Except Scans Daily often just posted more than a few images or even a few pages. There was a "rule" that you couldn't post more than half the book... but unless you are commenting on every single piece of action in those pages half a book is WAY too much to post. In addition, the "commentary" often consisted of summaries of the action in the pages NOT posted, essentially spoiling the entire book.

This was the reason I stopped reading Scans Daily. I enjoyed the posts that actually made intelligent comments on the books (or sometimes really bad but wonderful jokes), but there was a significant percentage of those annoying spoiler posts and it was pretty much impossible to avoid seeing the spoilers (someone always forgets to put spoilers behind a cut). There were even some people that seemed to be competing to be the first person to spoil a book, so spoilers were often posted before my shop was even open on new comic book day. I had a choice to either not read any of my LJ friends the day or so before new comics came out or to remove Scans Daily, so I dumped Scans Daily.

Oh, I missed the good posts. But there was enough bad it just wasn't worth the effort (I'll note that in addition to the spoiler posts there was a portion of adult content posts that also just weren't my cuppa).

And now it's been shut down. Reportedly, a well-known and generally well-liked comic book pro was "responsible" for the shutdown. Well, no... the folks posting too much copyrighted material are responsible. If the moderators had insisted on making an effort for Fair Use, instead of becoming lax and allowing people to post way too much of a book with not enough real commentary, it would still be around on LJ (I'm told they were about to instate new, stricter rules: so the revival, when it appears, will no doubt be more careful). I certainly don't blame any copyright holder for doing what they are supposed to do to protect their copyright.

And, in the case of the above mentioned comic book pro, the book that was posted was just published and the scans that were posted included the final page and all plot twists in the book. In short, you could find out what had happened in the entire book just by reading the post. Worse, the person who posted the spoilers also The comments on the post included inflammatory "commentary" including telling the writer of the book to "die in a fire". Typical internet hyperbole, true, but this is a guy who has been stalked and threatened in the past and knew a person who died in a fire. That sort of hyperbole is uncalled for no matter how much you hate the book. It probably made him more inclined to simply report the problem. After all, do you really want to politely ask someone who told you to die in a fire to remove their post?

Anyway, I'm half sorry to see it go and half glad that folks who were posting too much and pretending it was Fair Use got whack-a-moled. I'll probably not say any more about this topic, but I realized I had to post this on my own blog when it started out as a comment on another comic book fan's blog that kept growing until it was too much for one comment.