The webcomics blog about webcomics

Now That Is Something That I’d Keep A Close Eye On

Hey, everybody, remember Tapas, formerly Taptastic, the aggregator-slash-kinda-publisher-slash-Tumbleresque-platform that features a lot of webcomics? You know, the one that tried to push through some craptastic ToS changes on the sly, got called out, and backpedalled at a truly impressive speed?

Guess what they said today:

Los Angeles, CA (May 11, 2021) — Continuing their global mission to create super IP across multimedia platforms, the leading digital publisher of webcomics and novels, Tapas Media, Inc., has been acquired by Kakao Entertainment in a cash transaction announced today. The acquisition will expand Kakao Entertainment’s original content business in North America and other English-speaking regions. [boldface original]

This is a big deal? How big? The dollar figure involved is US$510 million — which is a hell of a payday for Tapas’s ownership class. Big enough that it was announced in Forbes (although I’m basing this story on the press release sent to me by Tapas)

But I’d suggest the more important parts are the subhead to the press release title:

Kakao Entertainment Acquires 100% Stake in Tapas

and this bit down in the About section:

Kakao Entertainment Corp. is innovating the full spectrum of the entertainment industry value chain. With a mission to ‘Entertain Different’ through its original content, talent and music portfolio, Kakao Entertainment operates Korea’s most popular mobile content platforms, providing users access to over 80,000 IPs, including the most extensive library of original content in the country. Examples include Solo Leveling, Itaewon Class, The Uncanny Counter, Dr. Brain, and Lovestruck in the City. Talent under management includes over 150 globally beloved Korean celebrities and it also owns six highly sought-after Korean film and TV production studios. The company also leads the Korean music industry with a library of songs that exceeds 60,000, with 1,200 new tracks being released each year. Kakao Entertainment Corp.’s global footprint comprises Japan, North America, Greater China, Southeast Asia and India, and is expanding rapidly.

Translation: Tapas is now part of a much larger, much more active IP farm, one that is gonna want to see some return on the half billion godsdamned dollars it just dropped. Whatever terms of service you thought you had, whatever ownership interest Tapas was asserting in your webcomic in return for hosting and reach?

That was yesterday. This is today. Your purpose now is to make money for Kakao. Please note: not to make money for Kakao, and incidentally score a nice payday for yourself; massive conglomerates do not grow to the size required to drop half a gigabuck on a bunch of webcomics by sharing money¹.

If you are hosted on Tapas, your homework from now until forever is to very carefully read whatever new terms of service drop. Don’t assume that Kakao will communicate them to you, go looking for them on the Tapas site, or wherever that gets redirected to. Grab the old ones from the Internet Archive, and compare paragraph-by-paragraph, line-by-line until you have identified all the changes. Understand how these changes affect you, and do not trust any interpretation as to what they mean from anybody representing Tapas or Kakao. Honestly, don’t trust any interpretation except from a lawyer, agent, or other professional that is legally obliged to represent your interests.

Because if there’s ever a situation to not trust a corporation that smiles and says Of course we’ll take care of you, this is it. If by this time next year there hasn’t been a wholesale, lopsided redefinition of the relationship between former Tapas webcomics creators and Kakao, I’ll be amazed. And if by this time next year you still want to own what you’ve created, the time to do defensive research — and make plans for exit strategies — is now.

Spam of the day:

All she did was this D.I.Y. “carb-pairing” trick that reconditions your 3 female weight-loss hormones to drastically accelerate fat-burning while still eating the foods you love.

a) You’re lying, and b) you sent this to me thinking that I’m AFAB and therefore more likely to be susceptible to your bullshit body-policing diet logic. Fuck that.

¹ Particularly ones that are exploring an IPO and estimating their company valuation — per the Forbes story — at US$17.8 billion dollars. You are not too small to have value extracted from you. Your small value to be extracted, along with a few zillion other small fry, is the actual business plan.

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