Marvel Opens Comic Database to Developers

It remains to be seen what someone clever can come up with — and whether some truly clever options get shut down once someone does something Marvel didn’t think of and doesn’t agree with — but Fast Company has the news. Marvel has released an API allowing access to its database of comic information.

Marvel developer API

If you read the terms of use, there’s one big snag: You can’t make any money from the app or website you build with their data unless Marvel agrees. (And I bet getting their agreement requires paying them.) I quote,

No advertising or sponsorship of any kind may appear on or be associated with any App (unless included in the Content made available by Marvel)…. All Apps must be offered free of charge to download or otherwise access and may not contain any in-App purchase features or any other method of monetization, unless approved in writing by Marvel pursuant to a separate written agreement as described below.

They go on to say that you can’t use the content “for any commercial purpose”. You have to link everything back to them, though, driving their web traffic. They also have to approve any press releases you put out mentioning your use of the Marvel API.

Now, I haven’t examined other programs of this type, so perhaps all these requirements are typical. But the example they give in the article, “print comic retailers that want to pull Marvel’s new releases onto their websites”, would seem to me to fall afoul of the commercial purpose restriction, unless the website doesn’t actually sell comics.

Still, I’m curious to see what kinds of activities people dream up for this data, and whether other comic companies set up similar programs.

2 Responses to “Marvel Opens Comic Database to Developers”

  1. Perry Tanko Says:

    Would make for a nice app on the iPhone.

  2. Augie De Blieck Jr. Says:

    Another limit of the API is that you can only hit it 1000 times a day.

    Basically, the API seems like a great tool for individual developers to hone their skills programming against an API (I plan on giving it a shot), but not of any practical use in any application, either as a website or an app.




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