The following post is all over Facebook right now:
Source: So many people on FB, but mainly the guy quoted there.
I would be a liar if I said I have not downloaded anything illegally. In fact, just last night I was trying to explain to my daughter, on an unrelated matter, why she should not ever act like she is entitled to anything. That’s when it hit me that this was precisely the manner in which I had been acting, for years.
I have downloaded music, I have downloaded software, I have recently downloaded TV shows and most relevant for the regular readers of this blog, I have downloaded a metric ton of comic books.
I had my justifications. For the TV shows, I was telling myself that I was paying for cable anyway so I’d really already paid for it. Yes, I know that is @#$y logic. It gets worse. while freeloading that entertainment, I had the cognitive dissonance to spend hundreds of dollars on external storage, a larger electric bill and faster bandwidth to accommodate my habit. It was getting so bad that I found myself downloading shows that I had no intention to watch – I just wanted to have them. I had become an entitled, serial downloader, someone who would check regularly to see if the latest show was up.
It recently came to a head when my daughter asked me about the legality of what I was doing. Suddenly, every single justification drained away. I could not explain to this person, for whom it is my responsibility to be a moral compass, how what I was doing was in any way acceptable legally. Which may have been the lowest moment of my life, period. I stopped, but it wasn’t until last night’s discussion with her that I realized I had to do more than stop doing it – I had to let people know that I wasn’t doing it.
I actually stopped downloading most things some time ago. For music, Pandora and all the other music streaming apps out there, I may never need to buy a song again. If I do though, I have Amazon, Zune, and iTunes – and no DRM! As for TV, we have have a Hulu+ account and can watch any show I want, anywhere. I don’t have to wait to see who uploaded what where. Daphna’s shows are not on Hulu, but hey… we have a DVR. The one show I watch that is not on Hulu or our cable selection is Doctor Who, and I am happy to pay for that on iTunes. For software, I use freeware if I can’t afford something, and donate when I can. I still build Hackintoshes (I’m not perfect but I only use the versions of MacOS I have personally purchased.
Then comes the comic books. While taking old images from comics and presenting them online for purposes of review or parody is legal, sourcing those comics from torrents is not even in question. We live in an age where I can get modern comics on a tablet, laptop, or desktop, and as for old comics – if they’re not available legally, then they’re no more available than any other commodity that is not available legally. The only body with the right to distribute those comic books is the one with the copyright, and no-one granted that to the torrent compilers. Hell, as someone who gets in a snit about how classic creators are treated, I’m a hell of a hypocrite for accessing work that is sometimes from the very same artists and not giving a dime to anyone. Even better, I know for a fact comic book creators read this very site. Sure, they enjoy it, but how would they (will they) feel knowing I obtained these images in a way that harms their IP?
The blog is not completely dead; There are free, public domain comic books available. There is the option of using newer comics, purchased on a tablet or desktop, and showing excerpts from those. I will be leaving the old posts up, as I do not believe in re-writing history. Also, the posts I made were ( have been assured) legal; the majority of my source materials were not ( I really did scan some of these posts myself). Removing my posts does not change that.
Why am I stating this publicly? Not entirely sure. As a public act of penance (the private act comes tonight, as the mass hard drive deletions begin)? As a lesson to my daughter? As an explanation to my regular readership as to why there will be little to no new comic related content? I don’t know.
What I do know is that for right now, my house is torrent-free zone, and I intend for it to stay that way.