Marvel and DC Target Comic Torrent Site

According to TorrentFreak, DC and Marvel have been working together to send “legal threats” to well-known comic torrent site Z-Cult FM

As a precautionary measure, Z-Cult FM voluntarily took down their tracker to take a little time to assess the situation and double check the authenticity of the demands…. Right now the site itself is back online but is not currently offering torrents. Marvel had demanded that the site be completely shut down to which [a site admin] says: “We will never let the main Z-Cult FM site die even if that means torrent free.”

Seems like this is another brick in Marvel’s strategy to become the only online source for their comics.


19 Responses to “Marvel and DC Target Comic Torrent Site”

  1. Michael Says:

    In his latest CBR column, Steven Grant points out something that perhaps the entire comic blogosphere totally forgot about: None of the creators will get a cut from Marvel or DCs digital reproduction sales (comic DVDs or digital downloads). Meaning that what the writers are striking about against Hollywood? MARVEL AND DC ARE MESSING WITH THEM EXACTLY THE SAME WAY.

    Exactly how long do you think it’s going to take someone like say, Warren Ellis, to realize that he’s going to be massively screwed by not starting a campaign to get his chunk of the digital comics pie? And what will happen to the Big Two if this happens? Could we be looking at the seeds of a Comics creators strike? Consider: Marvel and DC have been stacking their ranks with the same people whom are striking for digital distrubition royalties. THE SAME PEOPLE, by and large, and that doesn’t include the already very clever creators who have probably come to the conclusion that they need to take IMMEDIATE Action to nip this in the bud? Or will they just say “it’s just comics.” and call it a day?

  2. Ray Cornwall Says:

    This was an incredibly stupid move by Marvel/DC.

    1. The companies are saying, “Well, we have a legal alternative now to .cbr files, so let’s shut down the illegal alternative.” Except that their format for comics is nearly impossible to enjoy. CBR files are everything that Marvel’s DCU isn’t- fast, legible, available offline, and easy to use. They’ve just made their own product look bad.

    2. They shot down the wrong guy. Z-Cult was always willing to work with publishers. When Slave Labor and Jim Balent asked Z-Cult to take their material offline, they quickly complied. If someone posted a torrent on their site that had material from those sources, the admins pulled the torrents down. Now, the biggest site distributing weekly comics online is The Pirate Bay. Ever seen what happens when you ask The Pirate Bay to take material offline? TPB posts the request and laughs at you. Have fun dealing with them.

  3. Charles RB Says:

    “Meaning that what the writers are striking about against Hollywood? MARVEL AND DC ARE MESSING WITH THEM EXACTLY THE SAME WAY.”

    Didn’t think about that until now. Many comic writers support the WGA (and as you say some are members) – how long _can_ they get away with this before it’s noticed by those writers and they lash out?

  4. Jer Says:

    Charles RB –

    The thing about comics writers is that, traditionally, there have always been more of them. If a writer doesn’t want to take Marvel or DC’s “offer” on digital payments, well, Marvel and DC can look through their big pile of fanboys who want to become writers and just find someone else who will do it. Since the writers aren’t unionized, the only thing that helps them get good deals are the writer’s names – a big enough named writer can get concessions. Small writers can’t.

    Of course, big name writers sometimes have to fight tooth and nail to get the company to live up to their end of the bargains they’ve made. Alan Moore’s case is the classic on this score.

  5. Mithel Says:

    Z-Cult goes, everyone just scurries back to the more underground methods. It is quite possible to get all the digital comics you need without ever using a torrent or visiting Marvel’s website. Just sayin’

  6. Johanna Says:

    Michael: the companies have traditionally been anti-union — think about how all the fanboys broke into comics back in the 60s, because DC quit hiring anyone who made noise about it. Jer has it right: there will always be those who want to write Spider-Man and are willing to scab.

    Ray: Yeah, that’s what happens when companies are afraid of open competition. It’s a shame that they couldn’t put out a better product and attract users that way.

    Mithel: Well, that leads to all kinds of followup questions. :)

  7. Jim Kosmicki Says:

    well, the problem is that if being more public like z-cult makes the big companies able to target you, then people aren’t going to come forward and say where they’re going instead.

    that’s what Marvel and DC don’t get. The Z-cult leadership was always willing to discuss and was very upfront that people need to buy what they like if they want them to continue to be published. the z-cult boards are filled with testimonials of people who got back into comics because they “tasted” what was available. Comics have never had the benefit of things like radio to give people free samples — bit torrent and digital files did. (and that’s not even beginning to discuss the things that the companies can’t or won’t reprint like ROM or Strikeforce Morituri or Slapstick or Top Dog or Skull the Slayer or…)

    What the big companies fail to realize is that not everyone lives in major metropolitan areas. not everyone has access to good comic stores, or even any comic stores.

    and Marvel’s initiative isn’t good enough. it’s just like what the music companies have gone through. Marvel’s plan is simply a DRM-based access (not ownership) plan with limited choice. Because that’s worked out so well for the music companies? Why recreate the very public mistakes of another industry in terms of what the public has already shown that they want? Marvel not going with downloadable cbr or cbz format is just like the music industry trying to stay away from basic non-DRM MP3 files.

    and, as I’ve been saying on various forums since the Marvel initiative was announced, there was one mention by the Marvel powers-that-be in the PR materials about the online system that there were “plans” in place to pay royalties to creators. But that’s it. So the Marvel plan doesn’t increase sales (which helps the creators in terms of status and royalties), nor does it pay them anymore than a torrent of the book. So who gains here?

  8. Z-Cult FM Returns, Relists SLG With Permission » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] FM has announced that they will not be closing in response to legal threats from DC and Marvel. They are reopening their trackers, based on several reasons: they’re not in the US, Marvel [...]

  9. Phoenix Says:

    One it’s not really the same thing. TV writers are asking for a percentage of DVD seasons which sell at upwards of $30-100 a season. One of the reasons they are so high is the music industry insists on a huge cut. This might be the end of buying a season of Smallville.

    So I don’t know how much Marvel is charging but it has to be less than the price of the comics to be effective at all. So maybe a percentage to the creators will up the price beyond what people will actually spend for them.

    As for Zcult, more power to Serj and the gang. This move really upsets me. I was laid up for some 9 months a few years back and wasn’t able to read comics, cause I couldn’t afford them. I had to give the comics up, cause paying medical bills and eating was more important. It took me 9 years to pay off my credit cards and medical bills and in the mean time I found comic book scans. Not only was I able to catch up on my favorites but I read stuff I wouldn’t have even considered, and now that it’s more financially feasible I spent upwards of $120 a month on comics. If the scans hadn’t been there I probably wouldn’t have bothered to get back into them, much less by some of the image, wildstorm, vertigo and dark horse I buy. Thank you zcult for making me a comic addict again. Expect to hear from my lawyer LOL

  10. Johanna Says:

    TV writers are also asking for a percentage of online profits, which come via advertising, not sales (just like TV profits were made for years and years). It is very similar, actually.

    And the companies should remember that without the creators, there wouldn’t be comics that people wanted, thus nothing to sell.

  11. Phoenix Says:

    Comics don’t really make profits, merchandizing and stuff like movie deals is where they make their real money. They barely break even on the comics

    Also from what I’ve heard, the online comics marvel is offering don’t half meet the quality of the best scans out there and are hard to use. One scanner I saw make a statement that if they start doing it better than us I’ll quit and start subscribing. Sounds like someone is throwing down the gauntlet. If Marvel wants scanners to quit, do it better.

    But bottom line is comic book collectors will download scans and buy the hard copy or trade. Unless we are in a situation like I was or the man that responded that was paralyzed from the shoulders down they will buy the comics they like.

    The thing is older collectors like myself got sick of the 80s late 90s events that had us buying issue after issue of sucky comics just to complete a story in one of our favorites. We like to try before we buy now. If it wasn’t for scans I’ll tell you exactly what I would have done when I got out of debt. I would have gone to the LCS bought every X-title, been horribly disappointed and never picked up a comic book again. I would have never looked twice at great events like Annihilation. As is I’ve found great stuff I love like the new Ms. Marvel, Strange Girl, Planetary, the Authority, Powers etc and as soon as I found it read a couple issues and found out how great they were, I was calling my LCS to add to my pull list and buying up the back issues and trades If I couldn’t find the back issues at my LCS or on ebay. And since comic book readers are an online community let me tell you I’m not the only one whose done that, it’s a story I hear again and again. We aren’t like music lovers and the comic book industry shouldn’t treat us as such and do what the music industry has done and gone after their customers

  12. silkins Says:

    every single torrent file I ever downloaded from zcult had a page at the front or back saying: Like the comics, then support the industry and go buy their stuff!

    Marvel and DC simply put out too many books for their fanbase to afford. at three or four bucks an issue you’d have to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars a week to read them all.

    People will always buy what they love and want to own, and will always buy as much as their budget allows.

    downloading was the ONLY way i could read the comics I didn’t have the cash on hand for. It’s not like my local library stocks them.

    I spend as much as I can afford to on trades and weekly issues (sometimes a bit more) so the ‘Big Two” forcing Zcult to take their content offline only did one thing to me.

    Kept me from reading more of their stuff.

  13. Kloopk Says:

    I download comics, I also buy comics I have spent over £3k in my working life on graphic novels, I have a family now and they get the large lump sum of mu cash, I do still buy the novels I like and I agree with silkins who can afford all comics and my never see the new material and hence never spend any limited income on a title in the series.

  14. Z-Cult FM Shuts Down » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] FM was a place to find torrents for comic downloads, until, a year and a half ago, Marvel and DC started legal action against them. At the time, they said, “We will never let the main Z-Cult FM site [...]

  15. jerry Says:

    rip Z-Cult FM, i already swith to freecomicsdownload.com, a nice site.

  16. 8 Says:

    Actually you would be surprised at what you find at your local library now. Even if you don’t find something at your local library you can always get something ordered from almost any library in the U.S or Canada. And it is really nice to catch up on discontinued lines from digital versions. After a while,you do start to run out of space at home. And digital versions allow you to read and enjoy without all the fuss and mess. Even being able to read really old versions of comics from way back from the sixties and so forth.

  17. kloopk Says:

    true in the uk most library’s have a large collection of comics, my local one even though its a small town has as many as waterstones.

  18. sadd Says:

    did they start taking action again? i noticed the dates on the old posts from like 3 years ago lol
    the new comics march 17 pt1 was taken off isohunt anyone know why?

  19. OneManga Shutting Down: Manga Scanlation Scene Changing Fast » Manga Worth Reading Says:

    [...] “community” thing is what Z-Cult FM said they were trying, once DC and Marvel yanked their comics from that site three years ago, and now they no longer [...]




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