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If I ever become this selfish, shoot me, okay?

The author of Comanche, the webcomics ripper I talked about in an earlier snark, has beed defending himself over on Comixpedia. I and several Webcartoonists, including luminaries like Boxjam and Graphic Smash editor T. Campbell, have all been debating with him.

I didn't think it was possible for me to lose respect for this thing. I mean, I used the word "contempt" in my last snark. "Contempt" isn't a word you pull out when you're trying to be openminded and fair and see all sides. "Contempt" comes out when you look at something, realize that in either concept or execution it's wholly irredeemable, and you close the door on it. "Contempt" means "I am yielding the right to later on say that I gave this a chance," and if you turn out to be wrong, the egg is on your face.

Today, having seen the author of the program justify and argue with it, I realize "contempt" was too mild a reaction.

I encourage folks reading this to have a look at his arguments for themselves, because quite honestly I don't expect anyone to be convinced by them. I'll sum them up here, but please realize, I'm trying to find a stronger word than "contempt" to describe how I feel about this guy and his software, so don't expect me to have any kind of objectivity.

In no particular order:

  • If all webcartoonists provided RSS feeds for their cartoons, I wouldn't need Comanche to rip their strips from their sites. Because, after all, if someone doesn't choose to provide alternate methods of reading their strip, you're justified to force it on them.

  • I want Webcartoonists to be paid. If they can come up with a way to change Comanche so they get paid, I'll change Comanche. Because the burden of correcting this rape is on the webartists, not on the author of the program, obviously.

  • Artists want readers. This will increase their readership. Which is of course why newspapers don't mind if you photocopy their pages and pass the copies around to all your friends, because they want readers, right? Oh wait, they do mind. Especially when you're stealing the photocopy paper from the newspaper publisher.

  • If the artists don't want Comanche to be used, they can block its user agent. Officer, if that lingerie model didn't want me walking into her house and stealing her panties, she should have locked her door. It's not my fault she didn't. Besides, the lingerie model should have been psychic and known I was doing this while it was happening.

  • The artists are publishing on the internet, and therefore should expect this will happen. Officer, she clearly wanted it. Look how she was dressed. And besides, she shouldn't have been walking down the street and she should have been on the pill.

  • You people hate 'pirates,' but its what the readers want! And here's my favorite -- the innate conflation of Comanche with the Kazaa/filesharing debate. Kids, I don't know how each of you feels about file sharing. You don't know how I feel about it. But Comanche isn't Kazaa. In Kazaa, the person who puts his entire MP3 collection up for free sharing is doing so from his server on his bandwidth. Comanche steals the artist's bandwidth, making them pay for unintended use of their artwork.

When I suggested that, if he really wanted to do right by artists, he let them choose to opt into the program instead of requiring them to block it if they don't like it. This seems to be non-negotiable on his part -- after all, people might not opt-in, and he WANTS IT! DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND! HE WANTS IT!

I'm accepting suggestions for words that incorporate "contempt" but at a higher order of magnitude.


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Actually, all these points, except for the last two, sit in in the rhetorical quiver of the file-sharer/IP pirate crowd. This guy (before he pulled the program) was only missing "teh comix cost too much!", "it's our culture and should be free!", and "its for reading those underground comics no one would be able to see".

(But then, as I've seen, people object to fs/IPp in direct proportion to how similar the pirated work is type to work they produce themselves and inverse proportion to how much they want to enjoy the shared/pirated stuff for free.)

Er, "how similar the pirated work is [in] type"

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