But in June, two US Appeals Courts ruled that National Geographic did have the right to sell back issues on CD-ROM. The said digital archives were like library microfiches, which freelancers never got paid for either. (More about this here.)
I'm not going to argue for or against the courts' decision. I'm just glad that I'll be able to start buying complete back runs of famous magazines. I already have the complete run of Mad, and am looking forward to getting the the complete run of National Lampoon (all 246 original magazines from 1970 through 1998), and the complete runs of Silver Age Marvel comic books.
In a couple of days, Bondi Digital Publishing (which published the complete run of The New Yorker as a DVD set and as portable hard drive) will release a DVD of all the 1950s issues of Playboy and all 40 years of The Rolling Stone.
Other magazine and comic back issues I'm hoping will soon be offered on DVD: Scientific American, Popular Science, Harvey Kurtzan's Trump/Help/Humbug, Carl Barks' Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge.
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. Come and hear Mark speak at the ALA conference in Chicago on July 1.