Last week Marvel’s Dan Buckley told Comic Book Resources that Marvel would be “reviewing and evaluating ‘illegal’ downloading activities on a case by case basis.” The next day, the site TorrentFreak reported that Marvel and DC sent letters to the BitTorrent site Z-Cult FM, giving the site a deadline for taking down their comics:
Popular comic book tracker Z-Cult FM was threatened by Marvel and DC Comics, as site admin ‘Serj’ explained: “We got legal letters from both Marvel and DC Comics who have been working together to send us these legal threats. We are currently dealing with the legal issues and they have given us 3 days before they are forced to take anymore action.”
The torrents came down temporarily as the operators of Z-Cult FM decided what they should do … and on Friday, they made a decision:
After much debate and thinking we have decided to take the following actions and we hope you will support what we have decided to do.
Z-Cult FM Comic Community will re-open all of its Trackers and locked down sections back to how they were earlier in the week before any legal action. We are carrying out this action for the following reasons:
* I am (We are) based outside of the US and are not therefore subject to US legislation that was present on the legal documents sent to us.
* Here at Z-Cult FM we have always had a clearly explained and signposted policy of making it clear to all comic publishers and copyright holders that we will on request (and reasonable proof of ownership) remove their material from our trackers if they requested us to. Please see: http://zcultfm.com/dmca.php
Marvel Comic and DC Comics, who confirmed they have seen our site but refused to follow our policy. All other publishers in the past who have followed this policy have been respected and the agreed actions taken.
* Marvel Comics and DC Comics gave us 3 day to comply with their demands and then decided to go on their Thanksgiving holiday. So 2 of these 3 days we have been unable to contact Marvel by telephone to discuss this matter with them. We would like to thank DC Comics who were available by telephone and were friendly enough to talk about the situation and confirm the documents were indeed from DC Comics.
* The pressure from our members– their readers– demands that we do so.
Chances are this won’t be the last we hear from Marvel Comics and DC Comics but once they have read our email we sent them with out response they will hopefully carefully think about their next set of actions.
We would like to thank all our users and the number of outside sites on the Internet for their support. Without members like yourself there would be no point owning such a site.
Even more interesting, though, is a recent message from SLG to Z-Cult:
SLG publishing would like to thank the moderators and forumers of Z-Cult for the respect they have shown in regards to our ban request. Obviously, our preference is to have each comic legally paid for, and the efforts undertaken to honor this desire have clearly shown that Z-Cult is not a forum overrun by those expecting a free ride. In return, we have decided to lift the ban from our independently published titles being distributed on Z-Cult. Of course, this is not an entirely selfless act – we hope that exposure to our large library of titles will help encourage support of our legal download site, www.eyemelt.com. It is our belief that there is a market for legally downloadable comic books, and
we hope that we can prove this to the comics industry by showing success through our our digital distribution system.
EDIT: As Johanna from Comics Worth Reading points out, it turns out the SLG letter on the site is a hoax. (thanks, Johanna!)
EDIT 2: Check out the comments below for more back story from Z-Cult on the SLG message.
EDIT 3: Turns out the SLG message on the site is not a hoax.