Over the weekend, news broke that the popular LiveJournal community Scans–Daily has been closed down. The community started out as a repository for slash fiction, but has developed into a wide-ranging sampler of all kind of copyrighted comics material — some of it long unavailable, some fresh and new. Although moderators worked to prevent posting complete stories there, those opposed to “pirate posting” sites had a lot to dislike about Scans-Daily.
Brigid Alverson has the most thorough and level-headed round-up of links and so on, including the new home of the site. (Nothing goes away for too long on the Internet.) But there is much more. Writer Peter David had recently found out about the site and was suspected of having “ratted them out”; however, in a message thread that’s up to 500 posts and counting at his blog, he explained he was not responsible. (LJ had shut down the site after Photobucket reported TOS violations.)
We’re not going to get too much into all of this — we posted a few links to S_D here, always to things that were otherwise unavailable, and got shit for it. If you want to wade into the 500+ post thread, go right ahead. The most extreme ends of either side are “stealing is always bad” vs “free sampling is always good” with every shade of gray in-between. Kevin Melrose has more thoughts — as does just about everyone on the internet — while Lisa Fortuner examines the facet that Scans-Daily grew out of female fan interests and what that had to do with its end:
That said, I do think that if Scans_Daily were a male dominated community it would have not been suspended like this. Why? Because I don’t think it would have been on a site like Livejournal. In my experience, that’s where the male-female distinction seems to be. Female fans populate social network sites run by panicky male-dominated corporations who want to make money from selling advertising to women, but don’t really have the brass ovaries to deal with hosting female interaction on the internet. It’s like they expect feathered sugar with a hint of spice and are shocked to discover girls have locker room talk and smoke in the bathroom. Male fan communities seem to be owned and operated by like-minded males, the male-dominated comic company itself, the comic creator who gathers his own fans to his side, or the self-style Pirate King who set up the torrent site specifically for illegal activities and searched around for an ISP that wouldn’t check on him too closely.
Tom Spurgeon makes what seems to be a sensible point:
Creators should have the right to control their works even if the person who wants to usurp that right means no real harm, thinks they know better, actually knows better, supported that creator in the past, or whatever. If you want to support a creator, embrace with seriousness the actions they’ve taken or declined to take when it comes to on-line iterations of their work.
In other words, “Free sampling is for your own good!” isn’t a particularly grown-up response, although it is certainly one that is common in the Internet Era.
More soon, in all probability.