Update: they seem to be on top of the problem and handling it in a prompt, professional way. I hope that everyone affected received an email like this! And hopefully everyone’s content is being handled appropriately and will be removed soon…
My name is Min Kim and I am the…
And here’s a response to their official Copyright Infringement letter from Gibson Twist, whose comic is still being hosted on Comic Panda illegally:
This is all well and good, but it overlooks some very important things.
First, we are not interested in you asking users to remove our comics, you should simply be removing them yourselves and dealing with the offenders harshly. This should have been done immediately and without question. Every minute these comics are on your site, your site is violating our copyrights. You may not want to be judged by a few bad apples, but you will be judged on how you handle them.
Second, many if not all of the authors of the comics used here without permission were contacted by representatives of your site, be they staff or simply users, and specifically denied permission for their comics to be used. The person by whom I was contacted claimed to be one of the site’s co-founders.
Third, alpha testing or not, this site is live to the interne
t and being promoted. There is not even a sign-in required to view content. You have an obligation to ensure that material posted is being posted by the copyright holder, and in cases where those comics are hosted elsewhere, this would be very easy to do. I’m sure we all appreciate that policing every comic posted is difficult, but considering your newness and the large percentage of your titles that have been posted illegally, a big ball has been dropped.
I am glad to hear that steps are being taken, but I would encourage you to make those steps more urgent and more drastic. I would also encourage you to abandon the Curator aspect of posting comics, as that is exactly what has created this problem. The person who uploaded TWO of my webcomics, one of them in its entirety, has also uploaded four and possibly five other comics without permission. There seem to be several of your users who have done the same thing. The more lenient you are with these users, the more likely this is to happen again.
In future, I would suggest a more strict process for allowing new creators to host work on your site. I would also suggest that you contact each of the creators of the comics your site hosts, not simply the users who uploaded them, and be sure that permission has been granted. I can offer no further specific solutions to avoid this problem, but I urge you to find those solutions yourselves.
I am willing to accept that this happened without the administrator(s) knowledge, and that this has all been simply a very unfortunate learning event. In turn, I hope you understand the extreme violation many of us consider this to be, and that you will act accordingly.
Which I agree with 110%. Take down the comics yourselves, don’t wait for the users who uploaded them to do it. Also, offering any and every Anonymous Jane or Joe the opportunity to rehost webcomics without the creator’s permission seems like a bad business model and it’s just asking for this sort of thing to happen again.
Furthermore, I’m a little unclear on what benefit Comic Panda is offering creators, even if all goes well. From their ‘About’ page, it seems like an entire site that runs on the “we won’t pay you, but you get exposure!” scheme, which is like poison for creators
. I’m skeptical of their business model and I don’t think their plan of not double-checking with comic creators is a good or fair one. They insist they want to create ‘The YouTube of Comics’, and forge a good relationship between themselves and indie creators, but how can they pull that off if they’re just ripping creators off from Day 1?
If your site is live, it’s not ‘in development stages’. You’re already getting revenue from other people’s hard work. Do the right thing first so you don’t have to apologize for it later.