The webcomics blog about webcomics

The Right Hand Rule Is The Engineering Equivalent Of A Gang Sign. Respect.

New Jess Fink site! She said “poop”!

  • Okay, this is the sort of story that changes quickly, so by the time you read this it may no longer be an issue. There’s a new webcomic-reading application over in the iPhone/iPad apps store, by one Mr or Ms Reilly Watson. Unlike the last one of these that made a splash in the community, this app does not appear to be a simple RSS feed aggregator — it appears to pull comics from the creator’s site, present it outside of their preferred context, costing the creators bandwidth and advertising revenue (I don’t have an iPhone or iPad, so my apologies if I’m wrong on this one). One more time for those in the back: RSS readers = cool, scrapers = not cool.

    Mr or Ms Watson might particularly want to pay attention to a bit from Robert Khoo at the SDCC Webcomics Lightning Round, as it bears repeating:

    Question: Going back to people taking your content, were you aware of how you have to protect your work always, and is that likely to change?
    Khoo: It’s very complicated, and would take a lot more than twenty seconds to answer properly; we aggressively protect ourselves from people trying to make money off our marks, otherwise we see it as a form of community enabling.[emphasis original]

    And lookee there — Mr or Ms Watson mentions Penny Arcade as one of the ‘popular comics’ included (although I must point out in the service of snark that Mr or Ms Watson seems to have farmed support for the app out to Canadian Google), which means that Mr or Ms Watson is indeed making money off that mark.

    Quick hint to Mr or Ms Watson and all who might follow in his or her footsteps: the Patent and Trademark Office maintains a simple trademark search which shows exactly who owns what. I’ll also point out that trademark owners have an obligation to defend their marks, and that registration means that violators are subject to treble damages. That would be the case here even if the app is just an RSS aggregator, since it’s advertising on a name and identity owned by somebody else. If the app in question is a scraper, Mr or Ms Watson should prepare to share out revenue to the creators who are going to be demanding compensation.

  • Oh hecka yeah — Angela Melick, aka Jam, aka Spike Without Dreads, aka my right hand rule homie, has done the crazy and redrawn a bunch of her Wasted Talent college-era strips in order to put her first book together. We Are The Engineers debuts at Anime Evolution this weekend, and goes up for pre-order on the 13th for artists editions, with actual online sales on 18 September.

    For everybody that ever wondered what the crap was going on in the head of the engineers that they know and (let’s be honest — only sometimes) love, Melick is your translator. We’re definitely a breed apart, and she’s our ambassador to the world of people that don’t subscribe to the notion If it ain’t broke, break it and see if you can make it better! We are an oft-misunderstood people, and may consider WATE as a field guide to our mysterious ways.

  • Finally, because a few people have been asking — I’m not going to be able to make it to SPX and/or Intervention next month; unfortunately, I’ve got a little too much going on this autumn, and will save my away from home time for NEWW. On the upside, most everybody I would see in Bethesda will be in Easthampton in November, so that’s all right.

    For those of you that are heading to Maryland, Casey Roberson wants you to know that there are hotel bargains o’plenty in the immediate area of the two shows, including a place called Legacy Hotel in Rockville (less than 2 miles from SPX) with single-bed rooms for $68/night. Please note that we at Fleen are not travel service and make no claims about the quality of accommodations. Then again, you could probably get cut by a murderous drifter just as easily at an expensive hotel as a cheap one, so may as well save a few bucks.

Regarding scrapers… trademark issue aside, they are still re-broadcasting copyrighted content without the express written consent of the commissioner of, I mean the owner of the content. People confuse “free to read” as “free to use.”

Although I agree with Robert Khoo – making money off re-broadcasting = bad, being used for free = good promotion MOST OF THE TIME. There are always exceptions. Bandwidth issues, loss of ad revenue, etc.

If the leeching does become a problem hopefully an email asking them to knock it off will be heeded. This will become a larger issue as more and more people discover The Power of Webcomics(tm).

[…] up, and still using the service- and trademarks of other people to advertise itself. To answer Greg Carter’s comment, I didn’t make the copyright argument because I don’t know for certain that the app is […]

[…] and can put in ads and other content they feel is appropriate. More recently, Gary Tyrrell of Fleen called out the creator of an app that seems to pull just the comics off their sites: Unlike the last one of […]

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