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Web Comic Aggregators

Are there any Web Comic Aggergators other then Comictastic? I know some comics take advantage of RSS feeds, but I was wondering if there were any webcomic specific aggregators.

Uncle Ghastly's picture

I'm a webcomic agitator.

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

I thought you were a webcomic aggravator Ghastly :)

I run this place! Tip the piano player on the way out.

Uncle Ghastly's picture

A little from column A and a little from column B.

There is a perl program called dailystrips which aggregates content into a webpage or caches it locally for offline viewing. From it's man page (as distributed with Debian GNU/Linux):

dailystrips is a Perl script that gathers online comic strips for more convenient viewing. When in normal mode, it creates an HTML page that references the strips directly, and when in local mode, it also downloads the images to your local disk. In local mode, it is intended to be run from cron, and for your own private use only -- redistribution of the images may be illegal.

Wasn't there just an article against things that remove comic strips from their webpage?

Uncle Ghastly's picture

Indeed there was/is. These programs effectively steal the bandwidth from the webcomic artists and violate their contextual distribution rights.

While I admit to not being the sharpest monkey in the tree, can someone explain where "page views" ends and "bandwidth stealing" begins?

Page views is a count of how many times an HTML page has been accessed (not the content of the page -- if the HTML contains 20 graphics it is still counted as one page view).

Bandwidth stealing is deep linking or downloading media files within an HTML file without displaying the HTML file itself.

An example:

comic.jpg is embedded in comic.html. In order to see comic.jpg in a browser, you need to view comic.html. comic.html may have copyright information, a banner ad, etc-- things that are necessary for the context of displaying comic.jpg. When a user looks at comic.html, that's a page hit (though he may not necessarily load comic.jpg, for example, if he was using LYNX or some other non-graphical browser).

However, if one links or downloads comic.jpg without comic.html (and the author's permission) 1) a page hit does not register and 2) that'S bandwidth theft. Why? The owner of that image pays money for the transmission of that file in a way he doesn't give permission for -- outside of looking at it through comic.html.

The question is, does the owner have the right to say how his work is viewed. That is the question being debated.

Quote:
The question is, does the owner have the right to say how his work is viewed. That is the question being debated.

I'd say the artist/writer/whatever damn well has the final say about what happens to their work. It's their hard work that's being ripped and in many cases, they're the ones paying for hosting.

Quote:
The question is, does the owner have the right to say how his work is viewed. That is the question being debated.

eldritchmonkey wrote:
I'd say the artist/writer/whatever damn well has the final say about what happens to their work. It's their hard work that's being ripped and in many cases, they're the ones paying for hosting.

As much as I'd like to agree with that statement, I don't think it's possible at this point in time on the web. It is too easy for any average Internet surfer to "Right Click Copy", "Prt Scrn", "set your comic as a desktop background", "email your comic image to a friend", "so on", "so forth", "etc.", "etc."

Anything can be done with you comic image file once it has downloaded to the reader's computer. Does it mean they can do whatever they want with it? Privately, yes. Commercially, no.

This comic aggregator issue has me on the fence for the moment until I do more personal research to understand the scope of both the app and my rights as a cartoonist.

Ghastly wrote:
Indeed there was/is. These programs effectively steal the bandwidth from the webcomic artists and violate their contextual distribution rights.

There are many more browsers that "violate your contextual distribution rights" such as Opera

I'd like to see how these things work so I'll be sure to check out the perl script. What I want is a comic viewer that has a set of functions and I'm curious how close existing comic aggregators get to these functions.

John wrote:
There are many more browsers that "violate your contextual distribution rights" such as Opera

But Opera gives you the option of blocking the ad or not. It's not like it's Opera's main feature. It's more like a remote control.

Well, isn't posting your image for free, and then complaining when someone uses that image in a way you don't want them to, the same as getting in a huff because you went to all of the trouble of posting your flyers on every lamppost in town and you later found out some college kids were rolling weed with them?

I can see getting mad if you had your "Pay Archives" stolen. You're setting up a trade there and that is money being removed from your pocket. But we ARE talking about material we're giving away for free here, right? I fail to see how damage is being done.

Well, damage outside of our sense of control.

But we ARE talking about material we're giving away for free here, right? It's not free, the cost of the comic is an adview in many of these cases.

Quote:
But we ARE talking about material we're giving away for free here, right?

It's not free, the cost of the comic is an adview in many of these cases.

So that means I'm a bad guy for using a pop-up blocker?

Bryan Prindiville's picture

Heck no, Block with your bad self.

I do, however, feel I need to agree with William but I guess that is where the difference between hobby and living comes in. If my site was a main source of income and someone was doing something to stop that income I'd be looking for some heads to roll.

-bry

grinningdog wrote:
Heck no, Block with your bad self.

I do, however, feel I need to agree with William but I guess that is where the difference between hobby and living comes in. If my site was a main source of income and someone was doing something to stop that income I'd be looking for some heads to roll.

-bry

I can see that being the main reason for why I'm failing to be outraged.

And I can see it as the main reason for some being outraged.

Money is good.

I like women.

Uncle Ghastly's picture

Living, schmiving, I've already got the best dayjob in the world. However it is important that webcomic artists generate enough income off their sites to cover the production expenses of creating the comics and the bandwidth expenses of hosting them. Comic-rippers screw the artists on both counts.

RPin wrote:
But Opera gives you the option of blocking the ad or not.

And allowing me to view ads is 1 very important feature I would want in any comic viewer I used ;)

William Beckerson wrote:
Well, isn't posting your image for free

Nothing for life is free. Not even websites ;) Not even images.

I block my ads mentally. Right now as we speak, I'm blocking the huge ad on top of Comixpedia.

William Beckerson wrote:
Well, isn't posting your image for free

John wrote:
Nothing for life is free. Not even websites ;) Not even images.

Is it okay for me to gloat about my free hosting?

I normally wouldn't since I keep suggesting I pay for bandwidth costs to my host and he keeps telling me, "Ppppth! I got tonnes of gigs left before I have to care."

Ghastly wrote:
Living, schmiving, I've already got the best dayjob in the world.

Kick-ass ninja?

Uncle Ghastly's picture

Even better. I'm a professional accordionist.

What? Stop laughing! It is too cooler than being a kick-ass ninja. You're all just jealous 'cause you're not professional accordionists too. My mom told me so. She said I'm very cool.

A ninja accordionist would still be cooler than you.

Uncle Ghastly's picture

I.... I....

Alright, you got me there. A Ninja-Accordionist would be pretty sweet.

Not as sweet as a SheMale-Ninja-Gunslinger-Accordionist.

Uncle Ghastly's picture

Now that is possibly the ultimate in sweetness.

Preventing bandwidth theft

It's possible to prevent bandwidth theft using something called a .htaccess file--I use one with my site, and every day my stats show that it's blocked random Myspace users from adding my drawings to their pages.

Of course, whether this is useful to you will depend on what kind of web hosting you have. This Google search brings up lots of tutorials on the subject.

--
Wesley
http://www.superdoomedplanet.com

A webcomic aggregator is not the same as a feed aggregator

Greg Carter's picture

I have an RSS feed of my updates and news items. I do NOT incluce the actual comic graphic in the feed only a link to it. Sites that do that are my friend - OnlineComics.net, Comic Alert, The Web Comic List, etc. Some creators do include the comic in the feed, but it should be the creators choice on where and how it is displayed.

Scripts like the one mentioned above take the comic out of context and display it in an unapproved manner. Whether I charge anything for my content does not loosen my grip on the copyright or the right to display said work. If I write a song and play it in a free concert I wouldn't lose the rights to it.

If I print the comic in a book and give those away it doesn't mean someone can reprint them without my permission.

It's really sad that letting people read a comic for free on your site isn't enough for some people. Some days I hate the internet because of all the spoiled brats. And I don't mean people just looking for freebies because that's one of the best things about the internet - the low entry cost. It the people that think because it's free it has no value. Then why do they want it so badly?

Greg Carter
UpDown Studio

Greg Carter - Abandon: First Vampire - Online Graphic Novel

Webcomic Aggregators

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

This hasn't provoked nearly as much controversy in recent memory as it seemed to a few years ago.  Maybe that's in part because a number of more recent websites of this type actually add value like providing a list of comics that have recently updated or because they've included ads from the site.

Or maybe it's just that RSS now gives people interested in this type of thing all they want.... ?

 

____

Xaviar Xerexes 

I am a Modern Major Generality.

I run this place! Tip the piano player on the way out.