From this week’s Lying in the Gutters comics gossip column:
Months ago, I read an advance script for the “Astonishing X-Men” comic, in which the X-Men character Armor was seen posting on Twitter as XGirlA. I wanted to see if the writer Warren Ellis or Marvel Comics had registered a Twitter identity. They hadn’t. So I did.
I mirrored her posts in the comics, then wrote a kind of meta-commentary on the San Diego Comic Con, and was considering writing an ongoing narrative bouncing off on events in “Astonishing X-Men.”
However last week, Marvel Entertainment sent a legal claim to Twitter and the small start up kowtowed, dumping the Twitter ID. After asking what was happening, a Twitter representative told me, “I’d rather resolve this issue without getting Marvel’s legal department involved because we are a very small start-up and lack a legal department.”
Shame, if they had I wonder if Twitter could make a case that Marvel had infringed their copyright in the comics.
Don’t Fuck With The House it seems. Still, Twitter sent me a T-shirt. And I’m a sucker for free T-shirts.
There are a couple of big disappointments I see in this news. First, I’m a bit disheartened by how quickly Twitter caved. It doesn’t give me much faith in them to know they can be so easily bullied on the legal front. While I can understand if Marvel balked at echoing the text of the books, I’m not sure the commentary and such merited immediate account deletion.
This brings me to my second negative assessment of this item. With Marvel’s massive online presence, you’d think this was something they would’ve jumped on from the start. It seems like everyone on the Marvel payroll has a Twitter account these days, as well as accounts on Facebook, MySpace and various other social networking outlets. In this case, it sounds like someone from Marvel dropped the ball – and it’s disappointing that their first reaction was to take the ball and leave with it rather than to figure out a way to have fun with it.