Editor’s note: No photo today, because it would give away the surprise at the end. You understand.
Whew boy, today has kicked my ass. Let’s look at what surprised me in the past day or so.
- Not surprising: Box Brown’ long-percolating biocomic of Andre the Giant earned him some love from CBR for the just-released cover.
Less expected: Grantland, the bloggy aspect of ESPN’s online empire, did an interview with Brown in advance of the comic’s release. This may be the harbinger of the fabled Jock-Nerd Convergence, as was foretold in the beforetimes by the Truthsayer.
- Not surprising: Big magazine does a listicle of webcomics it likes.
Pretty damn nervy, actually: after grabbing snippets of comics to run on their site (many of which are licensed as Creative Commons NonCommercial), they then offered the creators the exciting opportunity to quote specific sections of the article to promote themselves, for a modest fee. Think I’m exaggerating? Here’s an excerpt from an email sent to one of the creators, in response to the simple question, Are you trying to get me to give you money?
Thanks for your reply. [other employee] reached out to you because your [comic] was featured in our PCMag.com Best Web Comics story.
Licensing is not free but to my knowledge you have not used any of our content commercially so no, this is not an attempt to collect money.
Many companies like to leverage recognition like this to promote their products/services/apps/games/etc. I am here to let you know we can facilitate any needs you have to use this recognition.
Here are examples of how others have used their recognition from PCMag.com to promote their brands…[link removed]
If you wish to use our trademarks or quotes to promote [comic] I’m here to help. Use of those trademarks and/or quotes requires licensing which is fee based.
[name omitted because I'm a nice guy]
Ziff Davis Inc.
So to sum: Ziff Davis Inc. makes money by driving clicks via a listicle, then graciously allows the people whose work it is referencing to specifically quote the story title¹, but if they want to actually quote the article, or maybe show a screenshot that might incorporate a ZD logo, they have to pay for the privilege to display it for one year which will in turn promote the magazine that gets the license fee. To quote the creator’s reply to this “generous” offer:
I can’t decide if Kafka or Orwell wrote this!
- Completely coincidentally and without any reference to any publisher’s hubris whatsoever: look what I got in the mail today.
¹ Excerpt from the original pitch letter:
Here are instances where you featured on PCMAG.com. The quotes available for you to license are mentioned in Bold below (this quote can be used with the PCMAG.com logo or text). All license rights are for one year.
Which included the following explanatory boilerplate:
In order to maintain the esteem and integrity surrounding our logos, PCMag and Ziff Davis, Inc. must grant rights and permission prior to the use of any material. Ziff Davis, Inc. makes its content available only subject to the terms of licensing agreement. This is standard with all of our clients and we are vigilant in safeguarding our content for misuse. You currently are permitted, without need for license, to reproduce on your website the headline of an article published on any of our websites, as long as it is not for commercial purposes and is limited to the following use only, as stated in Section 107 of the United States Copyright Law: Criticism, Comment, News reporting, Teaching, Scholarship and Research. However no part of our content, reviews and articles may be used for commercial purposes without a license.