The TorrentFreak Website is reporting that Marvel and DC have contacted the popular BitTorrent site Z-Cult FM with 'legal letters' threatening action if the site does not cease and desist facilitating bit torrent downloads of scans of Marvel and DC comic books.  According to the Z-Cult site administrator, 'Marvel and DC have been working together to send us these legal threats.'  Although Z-Cult did initially remove its comic-related trackers earlier this week, on a posting late Friday, Z-Cult site administrator Scrj announced that 'Z-Cult FM Comic Community will re-open all of its Trackers and locked down sections back to how they were earlier in the week before any legal action. We are carrying out this action for the following reasons:  I am (We are) based outside of the US and are not therefore subject to US legislation that was present on the legal documents sent to us.'  It should be interesting to see how Marvel and DC react to this announcement.


It is Z-Cult policy to remove trackers for specific comics upon requests from publishers and the site did exactly that at the request of SLG Publishing.  After Z-Cult removed its titles SLG reversed course and decided to allow Z-Cult to torrent any of the publisher's titles (with the exception of the Disney/SLG titles), and Z-Cult is providing free banner links to SLG's Website.  The site administrator of Z-Cult brought up the SLG case as an example of how Z-Cult can work cooperatively with publishers.


Of course BitTorrent downloads are not the only ways in which the unauthorized downloading of comic books happens on the Web, and it appears that Marvel and DC have also begun to take action at Usenet groups, another key source of comic book downloads.  One of the most prolific scanner/uploaders, who goes by the name of Oroboros, told TorrentFreak that he has been forbidden to post anything on his newsgroup service.  While he can no longer post on his newsgroup Oroboros intends to keep scanning and 'release into the wild' as he did before joining his news group.


The actions by Marvel and DC targeting a prominent BitTorrent site and a prolific newsgroup scanner come at the same time that both publishers have been increasing their own efforts on the Web, with DC creating its online comic Website, Zuda (see 'DC Plans Webcomics Site') and Marvel unveiling its online subscription site (see 'Marvel Launches Subscription Site').