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News stories we missed

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While we were having vacations and internet problems last week, there were several stories that we had queued up that never got off the launching pad. Just to keep the narrative straight:

Sony announced that the new PSP would include a digital comics reader and that Marvel and IDW comics would be available through the system at iTunes-like pricing. Obviously, another piece of track in the railroad that is going to join comics and profitable digital distribution has just been laid down. Plus…think of the transmedia possibilities!

• Diamond announced a skip shipping week between Christmas and New Years , due to the UPS deadlines shifting (although is was probably also a cost saving measure.) Although Xmas and New Year’s have fallen on a Friday in the past, this is the first skip week in a long time. Retailer reaction was a little mixed — some had thought this was a dead period anyway; others bemoaned readers with gift cards roaming the streets and no new product to sell them. (Frankly we spend our Xmas money from Granny on things we’ve long dreamed of owning, not a new issue of DARK REIGN: MISTER NEGATIVE but YMMV.) We sent some questions off to Diamond regarding the move but haven’t heard back yet.

Tom Spurgeon and Hervé St-Louis had a dustup over the Superman copyright story. While we side with Tom in that anyone who thinks the Siegel family does not deserve what is legally theirs and that the original Superman publishers did not act so unscrupulously in defrauding two naive youngsters of the fruits of the labors that US copyright law was partially changed to reflect it—is a tool. However, as St-Louis’s final offering showed, that isn’t quite what he was saying — he’s more of a “copylefter” who believe that stringent copyright protection is lame (short version.) St-Louis is definitely one of the more “opinionated” columnists out there, and perhaps we should just leave it at that.

  1. Hervé St-Louis is totally right about the Superman copyright affair, and Siegel and Shuster were hardly “two naive youngsters.” They were in their 20s — i.e., adults — when they sold their Superman copyright to National Periodical Publications, and that was not their first experience with the business. (They had previously pitched Superman as a newspaper strip.) Siegel and Shuster signed off on a bad deal because they didn’t have a lawyer, even though Shuster tried to talk Siegel (unsuccessfully) into getting one.

    The bottom line, however, is however you feel about Siegel and Shuster, Superman should be in the public domain by now.

  2. St-Louis very strongly felt the fans “own” superman as much as the heirs do. Tom’s original point was bang on. St-Louis confirmed this in the comments section of the original blog.

    Those comments got deleted and then we got a new goal post changing argument out of him, which was taken down.

    Even if you think Congress shouldn’t have extended the copyright laws and the character should be in public domain, that doesn’t mean the fans who buy the books because it entertains them have as much rights as the family of the creators.

  3. Actually, if you think Superman should be in the public domain, it means *exactly* that the fans (and non-fans, and everyone else) “owns” Superman just as much as the family of the creators does.

  4. Oh, dear.

    Whether or not you think Superman should be in the public domain seems irrelevant, given that, well, Superman is not in the public domain.

    Honestly. It’s a complicated enough situation without each individual bystander/fan injecting their own personal fantasy copright legislation.

  5. Personally, I think DARK REIGN: MISTER NEGATIVE would make a PERFECT X-Mas gift for Grandma. But that’s just me. :)

  6. @Jamie. Jamie, you have it wrong. My opinion about the public domain has never changed and was in the first article and even articles published at The Bin as far back as 2007. Check the related links. I’ve been consistent on that – always. I did not change my opinion mid-way as you suggest.

    And about removing the comments, I removed those like the one you wrote that called me a douche bag. That’s how you chose to present your argument, and that violates the Bin’s code of conduct. There was no point in leaving comments that were summed up as “I agree with Spurgeon and by the way, you’re an idiot.” We don’t accept such comments at the Bin, neither from readers or even from the site publisher – me – as everyone knows by now (I can be edited too when I step out of line).

    We don’t do flame wars at The Bin. As all the posts after Spurgeon’s article went like “I read Spurgeon and you’re an idiot by the way.” There was no point on keeping them. I really wish people would learn to think on their own.

    P.S. I’m not done yet with the cult of the comic book creator. Just don’t have the time to explain it. There is a cult/school of thought about creators which I believe is detrimental to the industry, and I will explain it further, when I have more time to do it justice.

  7. Herve (can’t do an accent on the compute I’m on): When it comes to the Cult of the Creator, I have put on the purple sneakers, drunk the Kool Aid, cut off my nuts and prepared to go to planet Kirby.

    But, I look forward to your piece!

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