The unfolding story of legal action taken against Z-Cult FM continues to unfold.
As many readers already know, last Friday afternoon Z-Cult FM, a popular forum that hosts a tracker to distribute scanned comics for download using the BitTorrent peer-to-peer file sharing protocol, responded to legal threats made by DC Comics and Marvel Comics demanding the site be shut down and its file trackers taken offline. Additionally, a letter attributed to SLG Publishing indicating a permissive posture toward Z-Cult FM members' distribution of SLG products has since been revealed to be unauthorized and not an official communication from the publisher. The full story can be found here.
At the time, Z-Cult FM maintained that because they are based outside the U.S., the law cited in letters received from Marvel and DC's legal departments didn't apply to Z-Cult FM, and the site reinstated its trackers after having taken them down temporarily while considering its situation.
Things got even more interesting today. Z-Cult FM Site Administrator Serj posted an update this afternoon that detailed the site's new decision to remove all Marvel Comics torrents within seven days as well as the site's new 30-day policy concerning all DC Comics torrents, by which no DC Comics may be shared on the Z-Cult FM site until at least 30 days after print publication. The full Z-Cult FM post is as follows:
First Marvel News:
Yesterday Marvel contacted us further in response to our email to them. They provided a direct phone number to we could contact them directly and continue on our communication. We phone them up today first thing (US Time) and enjoyed a chat with them.
They have now followed our removal process kinda but Z-Cult FM and Marvel have decided the following:
- We will remove all Marvel comics from our trackers.
- We asked for 7 days to remove the books from our trackers (due to time it takes to delete them all) and they agreed.
So we would like to thank Marvel for following our removal policy (like all other publishers have done in past) and not going down the legal route once again.
So 7 days from now there will be no Marvel comics on our website.
We asked marvel if they wanted to say anything as the reason for the removal to our users and they mentioned they are doing it because of their new download site.
We won't be providing links back to Marvel's new download service like we have down for SLG etc because I feel what Marvel is offering is NOT a download service but more like a preview site. The users who purchase to read the books can only read them, they can not store them for a later date. So I do not class this as a download service for digital comics so will not be linking to it. If in future Marvel add a download feature to it we will link to it and support the site 100%.
Marvel have also stated their site is a work in progress so if anyone has any comments or suggestions be sure to contact them or start a thread on this site and they will read them.
New 30 Day Policy on DC Comics
DC Comics have not contacted us further about the issues over the last few days, but the staff of Z-Cult FM have agreed among ourselves we find it best if we start a new 30 day policy on all new DC comics.
So as of today no DC Comic publications will be allowed on our site until least 30 days after they have been available in the shops. Any comics uploaded before this ban can remain but any comics that are uploaded since this ban was posted will be removed and the uploader reminded of our new policy.
I must stress the following points before any people read this or news sites pick it up:
- This 30 day ban is only for DC Comic books for time being.
- DC Comics has not replied to our response that we made on Friday.
- Z-Cult FM Staff have come up with this ban.
- This does not come from DC Comics or any other publishers.
I just wanted to clear that up so no confusion is started like the SLG issue that news sites picked up on.