ComiXology: free, digital and rights revisited

Last week I posted about ComiXology’s 20 days of free comics campaign dubbed Summer Reading. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by some of their offerings, including a My Little Pony collection and a Jason graphic novel from Fantagraphics. Much more than a free first issue hook; nicely done.

When I clicked through to get these free comics the following was already checked and sitting by Complete Order.

ComiXology purchasing digital comics


It’s not often you see an acknowledgement already checked for you, which makes me suspicious. The big question is just how many people using ComiXology thought they were getting print comics when checking out of the site: so many that they felt the need to put a notice up. Odd indeed. I unchecked the box and clicked Complete Order, receiving this message.

Ackknowledge purchasing digital books

Since I took the opportunity last week to rant about digital “purchases” I had a look see through ComiXology’s terms of service. Here’s the interesting item.

2. Limited License to Digital Content

Subject to your complete and ongoing compliance with all the terms and conditions set forth in this Agreement and any applicable Supplemental Terms (including, without limitation, payment of any applicable fees, including fees for Digital Content you license), the Company grants you a limited, non-exclusive, non-transferable, non-sublicensable, revocable license to access the Digital Content for your personal, non-commercial use. Such license does not confer on you any ownership interest in such Digital Content. Words such as “purchase” or “sale” (and similar terms, including all tenses), as applied to Digital Content (including any Digital Content the Company makes available for free), refer to the grant to you of a limited license as described herein.

That’s pretty clear: spend your money and you get to use the material, as long as they feel like letting you. This is not unique to ComiXology: Apple, Amazon and the rest have similar terms. It is an important term to be aware of when spending your money.

If you want to always have a copy, be it music, book or movie, buy a physical copy. If you want to enjoy it once then roll the dice and get digital; it will be available when you buy it and may be there the next time you want it…

Scott VanderPloeg
Scott VanderPloeg

Scott works in I.T. but lives to eat and read. His other ramblings can be found at AE Index and eBabble. Art collection at Comic Art Fans.

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