In a recent letter written by "Far Side" creator Gary Larson, the author laments the fact that his most loyal fans have taken it upon themselves to post his comics on various websites:
Although my immediate reaction to the letter was sympathetic - "Poor Gary, his works are being posted all over the Internet without permission or compensation" - that reaction quickly dissipated. It occurred to me that instead of scolding his fans for being loyal and energetic, Gary and his publisher should be encouraging them instead.
I mean, who wouldn't love to have such an enormous, adoring fan-base, after all?
So instead of obliquely threatening legal action, I suggest Gary first try a few of the following:
- Create embeddable "Far Side" widgets that include discrete bits of advertising. Encourage fans to embed these widgets on every blog and website they like. Fans get an easy method of sharing, Gary gets some advertising revenue.
- Sell "Far Side" paraphernalia directly on the website. T-shirts, mugs, stickers, books, etc. If you visit Thefarside.com, you get only a few links to places where you can buy stuff.
- Create a searchable, browsable online Far Side archive with plenty of social media sharing buttons - Twitter, Facebook, etc. that link back to the official Far Side website (which could include advertising).