The Latest Z-Cult FM/SLG Publishing Information

Wow, what a weekend! Let’s sum up:

First, Z-Cult FM, as part of their response to DC and Marvel’s threats, announces that they received a message from SLG Publishing giving them permission to torrent SLG comics.

Next, Dan Vado, after being contacted by this site, responds that this permission wasn’t written by anyone at SLG.

Dan posted a response at the Z-Cult site, which caused the admins to temporarily remove the thread (it’s back now) while they investigated why two supposedly official SLG representatives were contradicting each other.

Now, after discussion between the two parties, Serj, the Z-Cult admin, has posted an explanation. The person who sent the permission message was a freelancer with SLG. He had previously, some months ago, sent a message requesting removal of the torrents that had been confirmed as official, so the admin assumed that in this case, he was still speaking for the company.

Dan Vado responded to Z-Cult as follows (full quote in link above):

We never asked him to make a statement about removing the ban. … [NAME REMOVED] obviously wrote the statement himself. I’m not certain why he felt he had the right to make a statement on our company’s behalf without contacting me. I’m sorry if you came out looking bad on this as I do believe you were acting under the impression that [NAME REMOVED] was sending you something on our behalf. …

I’ll be issuing an amended statement on our blog and news site and I will be sure to mention that you posted the SLG statement under the honest assumption it was from us. As for the lifting of the ban, just so you can come away from this with something, you can go ahead and make our stuff available for download. I am not certain what our digital plans are going to be in the coming year, so I may come back and ask you to drop them again.

Glad to see that it all worked out with some communication. And I applaud Dan for allowing them to continue to see what happens. Thanks to Serj for responsibly investigating, and for keeping me updated.

Update: Dan apologizes to everyone.

9 Responses to “The Latest Z-Cult FM/SLG Publishing Information”

  1. Jamie Coville Says:

    New twist: The original SLG approving ZCult torrenting *wasn’t* a hoax. Dan Vado now admits that several months ago he did give (the now named) Landry Walker permission to allow ZCult to torrent their books in exchange for banner ads. Vado apologizes to all involved for his role in the confusion.

  2. Johanna Says:

    Yes, I received that email but didn’t assume Dan intended it to be posted. Notice that Dan didn’t give permission NOW and thought the other message had been taken care of months ago when originally discussed. Personally, I don’t think he has anything to apologize for, but I can see where others would take his journalism comments, particularly, a bit harshly.

  3. Tim O'Shea Says:

    And on the positive side, the whole confusion has brought a great deal of attention to the SLG name in some circles that may have not really noted them before.

  4. Landry Walker Says:

    “Yes, I received that email but didn’t assume Dan intended it to be posted.”

    Dan posted the information in the email to his blog. It’s already a public statement.

    “Notice that Dan didn’t give permission NOW and thought the other message had been taken care of months ago when originally discussed.”

    It’s worth mentioning that the actions I undertook with Z-Cult did not transpire in the last few days. I contacted Serj on this matter weeks ago, and unfortunately the email did not reach him promptly. The time lapse between the conversation where Dan approved of this action and where Z-Cult was formally contacted included both the time I needed to spend on my own work (including deadlines for SLG, which I’m sure Dan would agree were a priority), and the time spent on promotional materials accompanying the lift of the Z-Cult ban.

    I’m not sure how you can interpret this as a granted permission that had somehow expired. I was unaware that such marketing decisions had a definitive expiration date. And certainly, none was ever set between Dan and myself. Would it have been nice if the matter had been dealt with earlier? Of course. But in addition to the volunteer work I have done with SLG, I have my own job and life that require attention.

    So let’s be 100% clear. I’ve worked with Dan for over a decade and he’s a close friend. I would not now, or ever, willfully act against his stated intent. The actions I undertook were with clear permission after lengthy consultation.

    It’s unfortunate that this matter had to become public so quickly. It was a simple misunderstanding between friends that was easily rectified with a few emails. In the end, not exactly news worthy.

  5. Johanna Says:

    Well, we’ll have to disagree on that, obviously — if I didn’t think it was newsworthy, I wouldn’t have written so much about it.

    The time becomes a factor because enough of it had gone by to explain why you were sure you were acting with permission yet Dan didn’t connect that earlier “consultation” up with the message of last week.

  6. Landry Walker Says:

    “Well, we’ll have to disagree on that, obviously — if I didn’t think it was newsworthy, I wouldn’t have written so much about it.”

    That’s why I said “in the end”. Certainly, as the situation unfolded, it appeared newsworthy. I could hardly blame you for reporting what you reported. In fact, I think you did exactly as you should have, given the information you were provided.

    However, from a personal perspective, I certainly wish this had been rectified before being made public. Because what was there really to the news story that makes it worth reporting? Bad communication within SLG? There was no hoax, no malicious intent and no duplicity or out of control freelancer. This was easily cleared up with a few emails.

    As for the rest, Like I said, there was no expiration date set on this project and it was attended to as quickly as possible. Furthermore, the topic of digital distribution has been an ongoing one between Dan and myself for at least four years. I have been involved in Eyemelt since it’s formation and how best to market digital comics material has been at the heart of dozens of conversations. None of the actions either Dan or myself have ever planned in this regard have moved particularly quickly.

    Yes, I understand why there was a disconnect for Dan. He carries a tremendous workload on his shoulders and keeping track of every small detail is difficult for the best of us in simpler situations. So I don’t blame him at all for being caught off guard by this. However, if you meant to imply that the permission he gave me on taking these actions had somehow expired, that the permission he gave a few months ago did somehow not apply to a few weeks ago when I contacted Z-Cult, I must disagree. That perception goes against ten years of an established working relationship. Subsequently, Dan apologized. And while you may feel that apology was unnecessary, you have to concede that Dan is considerably closer to this situation than you are.

    Conversely, Dan is owed an apology from myself as well. Obviously, I should have sent him copies of the dialog with Serj to serve as a reminder of the agreed upon actions. I certainly regret the stress this has caused him. Unfortunately, neither of us could predict that the timing of this would play out the topic so dramatically. That the legal actions taken by Marvel and DC, would help propel what was meant as a quiet promotion into a much heavier spotlight. A year or two ago, when I initiated the Z-Cult ban in the first place, it barely made a ripple in the comics industry. We did not expect lifting the ban to create so much more attention. If we had, we would have been more prepared to deal with it.

  7. Johanna Says:

    What made it worth reporting, even now? The nature of identity and authenticity online, for one thing. At a time when a community is receiving threatening communications, the possibility of someone not being who they represent themselves to be or acting beyond their authority (please note the word “possibility”) is an important reminder to us all.

    Thank you very much for sharing your perspective. I hope I don’t sound short with you; I’m just talked out about all of this.

  8. Landry Walker Says:

    “I’m just talked out about all of this.”

    Believe me, I’m with ya on that.

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