Thanks Copyright Culture: Web Comic '8-Bit Theater' Releases Book With No Pictures Out Of Fear

from the promoting-the-regress dept

We tend to talk about many of the nuanced and intricate problems with our current copyright culture, but the 10,000 foot view of the problem is essentially that copyright tends to make culture disappear. It can do this in lots of ways, but one of the least recognized of them is simply that with a culture of copyright maximilism, many content producers simply don't release the content they want to release it out of fear of the reprisal that has been seen in other cases.

That's something of the case when it comes to 8-Bit Theater releasing a book featuring the entirety of the comics that were released, just without the pictures. Instead, it's just a "script" release. Why? Well, because those pictures are based on old Final Fantasy assets.

From 2001 to 2009, writer Brian Clevinger of Atomic Robo fame produced a hilarious webcomic called 8-Bit Theater, which follows the misadventures of a dysfunctional adventuring party. Unfortunately, that adventuring party is comprised of Final Fantasy game sprites, so Clevinger can’t reprint them without getting sued to hell by Square Enix. That is unless he leaves out the images and creates a 20th anniversary book featuring just the scripts. That’s what he’s doing. The script thing.

According to the Kickstarter page for the 8-Bit Theater 20th Anniversary Complete Script Book, which is just now reaching its $28,000 goal after less than a day since being posted, fans have been clamoring for some sort of print edition of the beloved series for years.

Now, to be clear, Square Enix didn't seem to have any problem with the web comic being produced to begin with. But it seems clear that no deal was worked out with the company to allow this physical book to be published using the images from the comic. And, as the Kickstarter results indicate, this is a book people very much want. Unfortunately, they very much won't get it in its original form, due to fear of copyright reprisal.

Instead, backers will get the 8-Bit Theater 20th Anniversary Complete Script Book Do Not Sue Edition.

Funny? Sure, in a way. But it's also a little sad and a lot irritating that something as transformative as this comic, still very much in demand by the public, cannot be produced the way it should in book form simply out of fear of being sued for copyright infringement. After all, Square Enix loses nothing by the production of this book.

But we all lose out on the loss of culture due to the fear of copyright culture.

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Filed Under: 8-bit theater, brian clevinger, chilling effects, comics, copyright, script
Companies: square enix


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  1. icon
    crade (profile), 23 Apr 2021 @ 2:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I'm happy to be corrected, I'd rather be attacked and insulted and learn something than stay ignorant if I'm in the wrong but seriously, that stuff is completely beside the point. I just printed the image from the link that you sent me full size on letter and you can see the picture and read and understand the text and image context just fine with no manipulation whatsoever. The point wasn't that image manipulation for printout (which I need to do all the time for work, although it's beside the point entirely) is so easy or that it's so easy to get a perfect printout or a great printout or even a good printout.. The point is that you are comparing something to nothing here at least in terms of the images.

    The title on the thing is "Do Not Sue Edition", which I took as jokingly referring to them wanting to release the actual strip, but releasing this instead due to copyright concerns.. This edition is a compromise and the joke in the title is pointing out the compromise, they are completely up front about having to make the compromise.

    I should not have said they promised something and couldn't deliver though. I misunderstood this from the article
    "Instead, backers will get the 8-Bit Theater 20th Anniversary Complete Script Book Do Not Sue Edition."
    To mean that backers were getting this instead of what they signed up for which is completely not the case


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