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So PCMag posted a bunch of comics to their blog with the heading "The Best Webcomics."

They didn't need to e-mail the authors for permission to post those comics or pay a license for the purposes of review- even though they are making money off of the article... that's fair use.

However, they did e-mail those comic creators AFTER they published the article. In the form of a sales e-mail. To tell them that if they wanted to quote the article, or post a screen shot of it, they had to get permission and pay a licensing fee. Then they offered to take that payment for them.

This is also considered fair use. If someone reviews something you did, you are allowed to talk about and quote it. It's the same principle that allows them to post the comics in the first place. Creating lists just to try to sell you the right to do what they already did is a pretty goofy business model.

Read more here:
 http://fleen.com/archives/2013/11/21/unexpected/
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31 comments
 
Utterly bang out of order - despicable behaviour!
 
That's disgraceful
 
They didn't do anything to me, I just read about it.
 
... I hope they don't see a cent from the creators. Jeebus.
 
If I were one of those webcomic creators, I would post whatever short quotation from that article I deemed relevant. Short passages of reviews are "Fair Use," and any attempt to collect a license fee for the use of  a bloody blurb would be laughed out of court.
 
Hm, given all the "free exposure", I'd leverage that to talk about just such douchbaggery. You know, let them witness the fireower of this fully armed and operational battle station they think they have commandeered.
 
+Ryan Estrada, you should write a book, “Profiles in Douchebaggery”

(I will glad license that title to you for a small fee) ;)
 
o.o im surprised +Matthew Inman hasnt made a comic about it... this is like humortrain all over again... pay us money for quoting us talking about your work :(
 
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This post was intended to come off as eyerolly, specifically about the creepy e-mail. But apparently it came across as militant, and many are taking it as being against comics being republished in the first place. Sharing and talking about comics is great! I just think that dumb e-mail, and the system set up that seems to creates lists JUST to sell licenses is ironic dumb and funny.
 
I totally got that vibe. But it is amazingly tone-deaf to be "Hey look guys, FREELY AVAILABLE STUFF" then turn around and tell the creators they have to pay for the right to "promote" it. They need to be called on it. 

Kind of like the recent JP Morgan twitter thing. Just oblivious.
 
This is SO wrong. Then again, I live in Cambodia where everything is bootlegged. I really loathe Hollywood, and really respect indie artists, so I'm trying to negotiate a balance.  I think Ryan is taking the right approach with a public shaming. This site won't be doing that again if it has any sense.
 
Yeah, I can confirm they did this to me as well. 
 
Certainly appears to be an attempt to bilk the gullible, naive and misinformed out of cash for something they can do for free.
 
Also, this brings to light that they've been doing this to device an app makers too. The same things apply, they have no right to demand licensing for taking quotes from a review of your product. And the idea that you have to get a licence to refer to the name "PCMag" when attributing a quote is absurd!
 
Thinking about this further... Is it possible that this is legally actionable by people who were suckered into this in the past?
 
+Ryan Estrada It's abusive and misleading, possibly even illegal (false advertising, fraudulent claims against copyright). But most of all, it is wrongheaded pushy marketing that abuses "fair use" to extract money from the ignorant and Ill-advised.

This is as bad as the companies that steal designs from independent artisans to take to mass market without royalties. Pirates, the lot of 'em.
 
Curious but, what would have happened had those comic artists just gone ahead and grabbed screenshots and posted links and quoted the article anyway? That would be fair use, would it not? So...nothing. Ziff Davis is asking for $1000 for nothing in return.
 
One of the creators who don't put a CC license on their comic - Please send them a copy-paste e-mail requesting a $10,000 fee for commercial usage of your comic material. Because this is stupidly ridiculous.
 
However each of these authors could write a post criticizing PC Mag on doing this, write that their comic was picked and provide a link to the PC Mag post, EVEN quote arbitrary bits from the article and screenshots of it, and there is fuckall Ziff-Davis/PCMag can do about it since, thanks to failed campaigns by CoS, WBC and other sham organizations, using one's materials in public criticsm is fair use.
 
Wait… if they charge you a fee for the article… then does that not have "the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work"? In other words, their 'fair use' just became an advertisement and… well, they owe you money for using your comic in an advertisement.
 
http://imgur.com/0MkY8 - Hahaha, No.
If Ziff Davis were my mother; this would be akin to her visiting my house without telling me, while I was out, to wash my laundry. Then taking it home and hanging it on her clothesline before calling me to say "If you want to come and collect it, I'd appreciate you paying my car insurance fees for the next twelve months."
#facepalm  
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