A post on our forums alerted us to this thread on TWC about a program called ComicReaper which is designed to take only the images of several webcomic websites and display them on the user’s computer. These types of programs come and go but frankly, this is the first time I’ve heard of one aimed squarely at webcomics.
Just for the record, these programs (1) might be illegal and (2) are very uncool to the artists who give the comic away and rely on advertising to help pay for bandwidth costs.
Why are they illegal? Publication of a website means the website is copyrighted. Use of a selected part of that is arguably a “derivative work” which one cannot create without the permission of the copyright holder. So a program that “rips” the images out a website without the ‘toonist’s permission is arguably violating the copyright.