Image Comics launches a DRM-free online comic store

The amazing and iconoclastic Image Comics (already famous for its creator-friendly, author-owned posture) is launching a DRM-free online comics store to challenge Marvel's super-DRMed, you-don't-really-own-your-comics Comixology. I'm so glad to about this, especially as it's coming from Image, who publish some of my favorite comics (including The Walking Dead). And just listen to how they talk about it:

"My stance on piracy is that piracy is bad for bad entertainment," Image Comics publisher Eric Stephenson told Wired in an exclusive interview. "There's a pretty strong correlation with things that suck not being greatly pirated, while things that are successful have a higher piracy rate. If you put out a good comic book, even if somebody does download it illegally, if they enjoy it then the likelihood of them purchasing the book is pretty high. Obviously we don't want everybody giving a copy to a hundred friends, but this argument has been around since home taping was supposedly killing music back in the '70s, and that didn't happen. And I don't think it's happening now."

And while Image comic books will still be offered for sale on ComiXology, iBooks, and every other platform where it was previously available, Image's Director of Business Development Ron Richards says that offering the direct-to-consumer downloads is important. "There's something to be said for the ownership factor. If readers purchase a book on ComiXology, that may be their library [on the service] but from what I understand that could be revoked. And God forbid, if ComiXology goes under or their data center has an earthquake all their hard drives go away — then you've got nothing."

For the First Time, You Can Actually Own the Digital Comics You Buy [Laura Hudson/Wired]