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So I talked to Peter David.

Went and found Peter David today, asked him what he thought about scans_daily.

His position is, and remains, that when he is faced with evidence of copyright infringement he is morally obligated to act on it. I tried to introduce the ideas that copyright law is a constantly changing thing, and that scans_daily is not in any way proven to violate the law -- rather, we were shut down pre-emptively because livejournal didn't want to argue with Marvel's lawyers and we couldn't hire lawyers of our own. The question of whether or not s_d violated copyright law has never been settled.

Mr. David said posting one page is certainly fine (and there was a lawyer there who agreed with this). Half an issue was obviously questionable, or at least too questionable. A third of an issue may be legal, may not; we don't know.

But it is only questionable. The question has not at all been answered.

I seem to have communicated to him that in the practical world, copyright law does not work for him as it does for us. Copyright law protected his work at the expense of ours. Corporate fiction preceded private review, and whether that's right or wrong is not an easy question. It certainly is not an answered question, because it never came near a courtroom. The idea that we could mount a legal challenge to Marvel's legal department is laughable and was never mentioned seriously by anyone there. That's not the world we live in.

He agreed on the timeline of the s_d kerfluffle, although with one caveat -- he read the fatal X-Factor post, alerted his editor, and it was apparently his editor who called legal, legal called Livejournal, and that's all she wrote. The beginning and the end of it. I didn't know the editor was involved, but that says little. We've always known that PAD wasn't the one who shut s_d down, (just the instigator and apologist).

We also established that he did not actually feel threatened by DIAF, only offended. I'd also like to point out that he knows Godwin's Law, and practices it. That impressed me. We discussed his upset over people using pseudonyms on the internet, though I don't think we made any headway there. He feels the internet is "rude" and has caused a "new rudeness" and that posting behind a pseudonym shows a lack of sincerity. I disagree with this, obviously, but I respect it as a coherent point of view.

I'm sorry to say that we got mired in debate about copyright law and infringement, when I really wanted was to discuss the larger picture of the internet and where the technology is going. Though the conversation got a little heated sometimes (at one point he, and a fellow named Bob, and I, all said "let me set you straight" to each other five or six times in a row) but I don't think anybody actually got angry, and maybe if I see him again I'll be able to build on this and get him to think about the internet as a tool that he can use, instead of something that offends and annoys him.

Toward the end Richard Pini wandered over and I have to say he was a heck of a nice guy. Seems like a very decent and very thoughtful man.

On the whole, I'm not sorry I approached him about it, but I wish it'd turned out a little friendlier. I should have stuck to discussing the internet and where things are going, not the law and where things have been.

By the way, sales on X-Factor did go up after the kerfluffle. Which proves that there is no such thing as bad publicity.

(ha, we do not seem to have a Peter David tag.)

Comments

( 135 comments — Leave a comment )
megatexas
Jul. 25th, 2009 03:33 am (UTC)
Oh, he said he couldn't remember which editor. Apparently X-Factor's been through five editors in the last few years and he honestly couldn't recall who it was.
shadwing
Jul. 25th, 2009 03:40 am (UTC)
This whole thing STILL irritates me, Peter David is not some green rookie to either the net or the fandom. I beleive he was also at least aware of the old SciFi and Trek Zines from the pre-Internet days.

He knew the fans were out there, knew they were doing stuff that was in the gray area of copyright law and this in the long run didn't adversely hurt anybody and was in essence free press for his stuff.

He knew what would happen if he alerted the PTB about S_D. Again he was a vet of the Trek fans and back in the day the Fandom was walking a razorwire in regards to Paramount who was just LOOKING for a reason to shut down any and all Zines they could get. Paramount has gotten better but back then...*whistles*...you screwed with them at your peril and any fan that crossed the line was slapped back by fellow fans before Paramount got wind.

So to put and end to this rambling bit...do you think PAD would have been so quick to call in his editor about the infamous X-Factor post if the overall reaction was positive and there was no DIAF remark?
dkphoenix
Jul. 25th, 2009 06:45 am (UTC)
There have been incidents in the past where PAD has shown he's got a temper. (John Byrne, anyone?) Maybe he called his editor in anger, or maybe Marvel had a copyright crackdown brewing at the upper levels as it was.

And, yes, PAD has had an online presence for a very long time. I am 99% sure I can remember him turning up on usenet. From his reaction to the whole s_d kerfluffle, I suspect he must have a more selective presence these days, as he seemed unaware of great swaths of internet fandom culture.
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queenanthai
Jul. 25th, 2009 03:45 am (UTC)
Oy.

Let it go.
megatexas
Jul. 25th, 2009 03:49 am (UTC)
Hey, I promised I'd ask him about it in person and I did. True that the incident was entire eons in internet-time ago, but it still seemed important.

I don't plan on bothering him about it again. If I see him, we can talk about it.

But, after all, it was Sort of A Big Deal. I don't know about you but I lost a lot of writing, and a lot of "valuable" thread. I really wanted to talk to Larry Hama about the GI Joe political posts, and now I can't. :(
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lilacsigil
Jul. 25th, 2009 04:34 am (UTC)
Very interesting, and thanks for posting about your meeting. I'm also pleased to know more about his distaste for pseudonyms, because that indicates someone who is thoroughly out of touch with internet and blogging culture - and all the reasons why non-professionals might use pseudonyms - and it confirms my decision not to read his blog or his comics any more.
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xanykaos
Jul. 25th, 2009 07:09 am (UTC)
Honestly, I don't know much about the man (never heard of him until The Incident, though I'm sure I've read stuff about him before). What I'm gathering now is that he's a pretty decent writer who tells good stories, and that's always something I can respect.

But between The Incident and what's happened recently with Liefeld and Shatterstar, I'm beginning to think the man just does not know how to handle himself on the internet.

I think the Shatterstar move seems like a good idea, and nothing excuses the poor taste and arrogance of Liefeld talking about how he couldn't wait to "fix it" while the writer in question was still on the book. But some of David's comments in response just sounded...I dunno, off.

He seems to expect people on the internet to act like people to in real life, and it's just not the same. It's a completely different kind of culture that's evolved on it's own. I'm not saying he wasn't within his rights to report the comm or anything like that. What always got me was the self-righteous attitude over it. *shrug* It was awhile ago, and I'm not as vehemently opposed to the idea of picking up Young Justice or what-have-you, but something tells me that as soon as another move of his makes a ripple or three on the internet, he'll be right behind, telling everyone that they're acting like jerks.


I dunno, I'm planning on meeting him at the Dragon*Con, but I see no reason to bring up The Incident at all (but that's me; I hate confrontation).
aliasjack
Jul. 25th, 2009 10:57 am (UTC)
From what I've seen of his internet antics, I pretty much agree. He's a misanthropic bully. Liefeld's comments about Shatterstar were obviously in poor taste, but the commentators at Robot 6, PAD especially, were no better for bullying him over it. It was like watching everyone n the schoolyard pick on that one kid no one likes.
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sickinwyoming
Jul. 25th, 2009 07:33 am (UTC)
so what was the x-factor kerfluffle?
kijikun
Jul. 25th, 2009 08:04 am (UTC)
The ending of a issue of X-Factor that PAD didn't want spoiled was spoiled.
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kaetepixie
Jul. 25th, 2009 02:40 pm (UTC)
Well, I gotta respect the guy for being willing to talk to you about the whole kerfluffle for so long.

He needs to get over the thing about pseudonyms, though. I use my real name pretty much everywhere on the internet, but the only reason I can get away with it is that it's a weird, rare name. If everyone used real names things would be even MORE anonymous, because there would just be masses of "Sara Smith"s and "John"s and "William"s out there. Most people these days pick names that are uncommon, since it gives them more of a recognizable identity instead of less. Just to pick something random how many "stubbleupdates" do you think are out there?
cleome45
Jul. 25th, 2009 04:34 pm (UTC)
Besides, what's to stop somebody from using a "real-sounding" name that is not, in fact, their real name?

I could switch over to the name "Peter David III" tomorrow, but it would still be a pseudonym. Just a less obvious one.
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freddylloyd
Jul. 25th, 2009 03:20 pm (UTC)
As I recall, part of the "kerfuffle" over the closing of LJ's scans_daily were threats or insults directed at David and his wife by anonymous or pseudonymous people. That would make me think more seriously about the value of internet anonymity.
megatexas
Jul. 25th, 2009 05:34 pm (UTC)
ha.

No, for creators, especially established ones, there is no anonymous option. Artists need you to be able to find their work.
janegray
Jul. 25th, 2009 03:39 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry, the more I hear about Peter David, the less I like him.

It's incredibly naive at best, and completely insane at worst, to use your real name on the Internet. Even ignoring the whole "stalkers" can of worms, it's a fact that Companies research their potential employees before hiring them. Considering that Internet Fandoms encourage people to be very open about their kinks and other personal info that would definitely be considered TMI in RL, and also that plenty of us write porn (often with underaged characters, especially in anime and videogame Fandoms), that could very well get you fired.
cleome45
Jul. 25th, 2009 04:36 pm (UTC)
I assume a lot of people get around that by using their real names for certain kinds of online writing, and pseudonyms for other kinds. In some cases, you may very well want a company to know what you've been up to under your real name.
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aliasjack
Jul. 25th, 2009 07:37 pm (UTC)
The "new rudeness" bit is funny to me, as the only thing I'd ever ask him if I met him at a convention is whether he's really as big a jerk as he seems online. I can't really say anything about him as a writer, the only thing of his I've read being the first few issues of his second run on Hulk (i got bored with it quickly and stopped), but he's just as (if not more) guilty of rudeness on the internet as anyone, regardless of pseudonym.
stubbleupdate
Jul. 25th, 2009 07:52 pm (UTC)
What sort of an answer do you expect to that?

No, I'm not a jerk and you're a dick for asking. No fuck off.
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proteus_lives
Jul. 26th, 2009 05:52 am (UTC)
"By the way, sales on X-Factor did go up after the kerfluffle."

I didn't help with that. I stopped buying all PAD related comics after the Incident.

To me it was a classic, "cut off my nose to spite my face" situation. I saw the part where he asked people not to spoil the ending. What arrogance. He actually thought he could put Pandora back in the box?

He got mad and he acted, he feels he was right but I disagree.
sistermagpie
Jul. 26th, 2009 02:52 pm (UTC)
I will say it's a bit ironic that part of the whole argument at the time was that S_D couldn't have the power to influence sales positively no matter how many S_D members explained that it influenced them to buy comics rather than not buy them. So if anyone actually was trying to tie the uptick in sales to the kerfuffle while also claiming it was just a big ad for theft would be a little suspicious. (And no, I wouldn't buy the interpretation that non S_Ders=all comic buyers with integrity just heard about the tragedy and bought the one comic to protest the site's evil ways.
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curlyjo1
Jul. 27th, 2009 05:09 pm (UTC)
We discussed his upset over people using pseudonyms on the internet, though I don't think we made any headway there. He feels the internet is "rude" and has caused a "new rudeness" and that posting behind a pseudonym shows a lack of sincerity.

This from a guy in an industry full of pen names. Nice.

I still refuse to buy any of his books (and unfortunately, it's soured the ones I already had), and will steer well clear of him at conventions. Personal choice. I choose to vote with my wallet.
jwaneeta
Jul. 30th, 2009 04:28 am (UTC)
I commend you for at least trying to talk sense to PAD. I wouldn't have been able to remain civil.
megatexas
Jul. 31st, 2009 02:47 am (UTC)
Ah, it was fun. I like the guy, and he really is an entertaining conversationalist. It's not like any of this is that big of a deal. Except for the work that was lost, it's been harmless.
megatexas
Aug. 11th, 2009 03:32 am (UTC)
I saw: my response is in the comments. But thanks!
( 135 comments — Leave a comment )