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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Zuda: Day Twoda -- So Newsarama has posted an interview with DC Comics Preznit Paul Levitz about Zuda Comics, the AOL/Time Warner International Entertainment Megacorporation's online webcomics initiative, the announcement of which broke the internet in half -- or possibly quarters -- yesterday.

Preznit Levitz hardly seems to be any kind of expert about comics and their relationship to the internet and computers. For example, he tells Newsarama:

"I haven’t seen a lot of evidence yet that people want to read 20 pages of a comic book on their computer screen."

Well, Mr. Preznit, I have. Try searching Demonoid or Z-Cult for comics sometime. You might find a few of your own on there, even. Here's some. The fact is, thousands of people read 20 page comics online for free every week. I wonder how much more positive press DC might have gotten out of this story if instead of the still-murky copyright questions and vague plans that have been laid out, DC had issued a bold and definitive plan for competing with BitTorrent sites, offering a legal, low-cost alternative to capture the attention of those who want to read their comics online in downloadable .cbz and .cbr format?

Ah, well. Coulda-shoulda-woulda. At least Preznit Levitz is effusive with his deeply moderated praise for people who blazed the trail Zuda hopes to ride on the coattails of:

"You do have guys like Fred Gallagher or Scott Kurtz that are just terrifically competent at building the business and technological means around that to do something that works not only creatively, but profitably for them."

I hope someday someone calls me terrifically competent. That seems like high praise, indeed.

And I realize that Newsarama's Matt Brady has to go along to get along with the AOL/Time Warner International Entertainment Megacorporation, but Jesus, Matt, you couldn't at least ask about copyright and creators rights? Oh, wait, I found two references to copyright on the page the interview appears on:

Copyright ©2000 - 2007, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright 2006 Newsarama.com, LLC

Well, at least someone understands the importance of copyright.

Update: Tom Spurgeon explains reaction to the Zuda announcement in plain English. Spurgeon wins.

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