The current copyright system is the subject of intense debate among creators, consumers, technology companies and corporate copyright holders. Here's an interesting article on the subject from Tim O'Reilly of O'Reilly Publishing that makes the excellent point that the current system is tilted to the few have-a-lots and that "obscurity is a far greater threat to authors and creative artists than piracy." There are also reports that at least one of the major record corporations is considering releasing music unrestricted in the MP3 format.
Considering that webcomics are essentially the comics-equivalent of unrestricted MP3 files, I suppose comics are a little bit ahead of the curve here. Although comic book companies have not jumped in with both feet, newspaper syndicates largely have and many major creators have already embraced the obscurity is worse than free perspective of O'Reilly.
I'm going to use this post as an excuse to link to a great roundtable interview on comics and copyright that Comixpedia previously published in 2005. Still very relevant if you missed it the first time.