The iPad - Making Comics Piracy Easy?

Apple's new iPad device is just a few weeks old, but has already made waves in the world of comics. iPad users now have the ability to download and read thousands of comics from a variety of publishers, either through dedicated applications (like Marvel and IDW have released) or third party applications by companies like comiXology and iVerse.

One feature that may not be readily apparent or welcome by comic companies is the ability to easily capture high-resolution screenshots of whatever is displayed on the iPad - including comic or book pages.

The iPad comes with a built-in screen grab feature that takes a picture of what's on the screen. So if a user wanted to capture each page of a comic, all they would need to do is download one of the many available comic book applications on the device, download a comic and start taking pictures with the screen grab function - which is activated by holding down the Power button on the top right corner of the iPad and clicking the "iPad Button."

In fact, that's what we did here at Comic Book Resources headquarters. Once we synced the iPad with a computer, we were able to download the pages into the Mac's iPhoto application. The pages are all 1.3 MB and 768 x 1024 in size - high quality screenshots that could be passed on to friends via email or saved into the appropriate file types for uploading through BitTorrent. None of the images presented here have been changed or altered in any way other than being converted from .PNG format to .JPG.

We tried it out with some of the free comics available in Marvel's iPad application. Take a look at the first three pages of a "Fantastic Four" preview:

We also tried it with comiXology's digital comics application, on a free preview of "Chew #1":

And it isn't limited to comics; it also worked with novels downloaded from the iBookstore:

We also confirmed that you can take pictures of and download comics and books you paid for as well.

The screen grab feature is built in to the iPad itself, so it seems like an option to limit its use in certain applications would help developers to limit piracy of their content. The way it has currently been implemented makes it extremely easy to get good, quality scans of comics without much work at all.

CBR Executive Producer Jonah Weiland contributed to this story.

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