Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Unauthorised Online Availability Of Cerebus

Sketch: Cerebus In Hell for Murray Roach (2006)
Art by Dave Sim
(from Cerebus TV Season 3 Episode 17, 24 February 2012)
I don't consider unauthorised [online] availability of the 6,000 page Cerebus graphic novel to be illegal, rather I do consider it free advertising and an acknowledgement that poverty is both endemic and recurrent in our society. That is, over Cerebus' 35 year history many readers and fans of the book have purchased, sold and then repurchased the same material time and again in alternating periods of personal prosperity and personal impoverishment, that to me reflect what are now in-built patterns of modern western life - tuition and text books for the university student, financial pressures of the newly married couple, the obligations of responsible parenting both single and traditional, the expense of home-ownership, and, yes, divorce and child support - are just a few of the many reasons that Cerebus fans and readers are forced to prioritise what possessions they retain and what possessions they sell. I suspect that in the future this will become even more wide spread and it seems to me a responsible policy to both acknowledge and accommodate both realities to ensure that life long Cerebus fans and readers, and potential Cerebus fans and readers have access to the story even when they can’t afford to own the print editions.

In a day and age when literally trillions of different forms of entertainment are available with the click of a mouse the only appropriate reaction to anyone accessing your intellectual property isn't "I'll sue you!", it's "Thank you. Thank you for giving the material a fair hearing. Thank you for even considering purchasing the print editions. Thank you for investing one of your most valuable possessions... your time." There are many different views of digital downloads. My view relative to my work is that each individual's time, whatever that individual's political or economic view points, is a rare valuable and irreplaceable commodity and personal investment. So I want people to not only feel free to download my work wherever they can find it, but also to be free to do so. That will be true even if I find a way in the future to offer pay-per-view downloads. And if you do decide, whoever you are, that you want print versions of my work, there’s always the Comic Shop Locator service.

Dave Sim 'Bootlegs The Bootleggers'


Stanley Lieber said...

this is great news, and much appreciated.

BumbleHipShake said...

I don't know if this is the best idea financially, but I am glad when great artists take the approach that Dave takes to the internet. I've actually read where he has said this before, and this is an astonishingly knowledgeable viewpoint from someone who barely participates on the internet. Only recently (since around 2006 or so) has Dave been posting online through intermediaries.

Dave is a great man, and my favorite creator, and his attitude on this wonderful, but I'm unsure if it is financially sound (which isn't to say that lawyering up and suing is sound either). I'd like to think that Dave is right and that this course of action will be considered with good will by the comic reading populace.

Anonymous said...

As featured on http://Cerebus.TV all 300 issues are available online and as bootleg DVDs in CBR format...