Valiant Entertainment Goes DRM-Free With New Digital Partnership

Valiant Unity Cover - P 2013
<p>Valiant Unity Cover - P 2013</p>   |   Doug Braithwaite/Valiant Entertainment
Superhero publisher follows Image, MonkeyBrain and "2000 AD" with the deal

And another publisher has moved into releasing DRM-free digital comics.

Following the Comic-Con announcement that leading digital distributor ComiXology will allow digital-rights-management-free backups to be downloaded for certain publishers’ titles, New York-based Valiant Entertainment announced a new partnership Monday with DriveThruComics.com to make its entire back catalog available as DRM-free PDF downloads.

As with the publisher’s recent partnership with the Comics Plus platform, first issues of each of Valiant’s ongoing titles will be available at no cost for the next 30 days to promote the launch.

With this partnership, Valiant joins Dynamite Entertainment, Thrillbent, Top Shelf Productions, MoneyBrain Comics, Zenescope Entertainment and Image Comics as American comic publishers offering legal, DRM-free downloads of their material. Prior to last month’s ComiXology announcement, most digital releases were only viewable on specific platforms and could not be downloaded locally to any device.

Image Comics became the first American comic publisher to release material in DRM-free formats in July 2013, with publisher Eric Stephenson rebuffing potential concerns about piracy by declaring that “piracy is bad for bad entertainment” only. (British publisher Rebellion had been ahead of the curve on this issue, having released its digital 2000 AD and Judge Dredd Megazine material DRM-free since 2007.)

While Valiant's new partnership, coming on the heels of the ComiXology announcement, suggests that the industry is slowly warming to Stephenson’s way of thinking, there’s still some way to go. Neither Marvel nor DC, the two industry leaders with more than 70 percent of the print market between them, have shown any signs of offering their material without some degree of digital rights management in the foreseeable future. Could this be an area where the two giants end up left behind by evolution?