July 01, 2008

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While I'm Thinking About It

Oh, and they call DrunkDuck "The Industry's Preeminent Webcomics Community"

Anyone out there remember my Wowio.com experiment? The one where I create a new, unique email address, download some of their ad-supported free books, and wait for the spam to start rolling in, in violation of their written agreements?

That was a long sentence.

Well, on the plus side, that email address hasn't seen any action since January, when I downloaded a couple Stargate comics that turned out to be tie-ins to the movie, not the show, and really, really bad. So, far, they've managed to hold up their end of the bargain. And still not even any sort of "if you liked that, you may like these" messages that I would consider completely appropriate.

So, I am officially declaring this experiment over, and a complete success. If you've been following Teh Webcomics Drama(TM), you know why.

If you don't know why, well, here goes:

Clicking the link up top takes you to the Wowio homepage, which announces that services are temporarily suspended while they take their downloading service world-wide. Interesting enough. The small bit about retooling content agreements is probably nothing more sinister than giving the site a license to distribute your material (which you still hold the copyright to), worldwide as opposed to just within the United States. And I would imagine some sort of disclaimer saying you're on your own if someone files any sort of complaint against you or takes that download, strips the ads and other identifying information, and passes it off as their own work.

All perfectly understandable from my take on what might be their point of view.

But then you notice elsewhere that Platinum Studios is looking to buy Wowio. Platinum is in the business of gathering intellectual property that it can then shop around to movie and tv studios. If they choose you, through the Comic Book Challenge or elsewhere, you might as well kiss goodbye whatever property they take. Come up with something off the top of your head, and present it on a whim, thinking what's the worst that could happen? (kinda like how Matt Groening came up with The Simpsons rather than give up Life in Hell, but that's neither here nor there)

D.J. Coffman could tell you. They could breach their contract by "delaying" payments. Then, decide that you violated it first when you went public, drop you from their contact list, and keep your characters in the hopes that someone else down the line might want to do something with it. Rather slimy from my point of view.

My point here is that a company that seems--to this outside observer with no axe to grind--to be underhanded at the very least is on the verge of getting its corporate hands on the customer database of a company that, as near as I can tell, had done right by everyone. Draw your own conclusions.



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