Monday, April 9, 2012

Beware of Work for Hire in esoteric Orders

This post is inspired by a couple of comments that Neo G. made to a previous post.

One of the danger signs that I have seen over the years is when an Order makes you sign over all control of something that you wrote over to them. Or as it is called in the writing trade "work for hire"---a writer being paid (or not) for all the rights to something that they wrote. In other words, the buyer controls the entire copyright, not the writer themselves.

The person that Neo mentioned is not someone I can picture doing such a practice for two reasons.

One, they work with Protected Confidential Restricted information (substitute whatever term that your county uses for the lowest level of Classified [Secret] information). And they treat their entire system in that manner; the amount of Unrestricted (Unclassified) public information is...well, you can put it in a teaspoon. I can't imagine them allowing anyone to have access to anything that might reveal their sources...whether in print or the form of a contact person. In that group, everything is filtered through a single person.

Two, and more importantly, they are not the least bit interested in anything that a modern person can assemble. In fact, if a modern researcher can put it together, then it is automatically rubbish. The only good stuff is hundreds, if not thousands, of years old and requires "special skills" to translate into the modern languages.

That more or less eliminates that person from my list of usual suspects. I am not saying that it could not happen (because groups have gone surprisely bad before, so you can NEVER declare a group free from any defect), but that person and their group are nowhere on my chart as a probable violator in this manner.

On the other hand, there are two people that make the top of my list.

One is because of the number of reports I have heard that ordinary rank and file members were writing all the material and the leader was claiming all the credit. I have a rule that you don't hear the same story from a dozen people without there being a good reason for the details to match.

The other person, well, I experienced it firsthand, so I know that it is true. As a writer, it alarmed me when they asked for ALL RIGHTS, and I could not even show others what I was working on (and by others, I mean people who have swore the same set of Oaths that I had). Later, I confirmed that the person was claiming authorship of material that other people wrote. It is sad when many of your lessons are being written by students on the same Grade level that you are on.

(For the record, there were other problems that made that one look minor in comparsion, and so it goes.)

Of course, I cannot mention actual names because someone might mistake them for another group. And so it goes.

Now, I can understand an esoteric Order asking for limited rights. Some of the material I have written has the note that Fraternal Rights has been granted to the BIORC. It is part of my "if a bus runs over me" insurance plan. It allows the Order to continue to use selected material if something unforeseen happens to me. But it only allows them to use the material in ritual or in the lessons, they have no other publication rights. After all, I am one of those evil writers, who insists that my copyright has a monetary worth. And my wife will need money if I suddenly die.

But a leader or an Order asking to control the entire copyright of something that you have written, well, I have never seen any good come of it. Therefore, it is one of the things that I warn people to look out for when they are trying to figure out the relative evil of an esoteric group.


Deanna Bonds said...

If I were in an order, or any group, and a leader wanted to take my work and put their name on it, that would be a deal breaker for me. I wouldn't mind if the leader wanted me to contribute to the group and wanted to use my work, but not put his/her name to it. I don't think I would even mind if the work was put into the group library without any name but the groups, although I might like some verbal props for writing it. But a leader taking credit for other's work is a sham I don't want to be part of.

neo gnostica said...

Thanks Morgan, I appreciate your insight on this matter.

I think at the end of the day, my opinion stands that a body of work, that we will simply label "outer order theurgy" was produced, then published. Then taken off the market despite the tremendous value (US900USED).

Then a strong focal point directing attention away from this aspect being persisted onto the golden dawn community, constantly diverting us away from the "dull, boring, outer-order magick", and towards the flame war concerning super-secret-super-ancient-super-magickal-documents, that somebody profaned.....

My research tells me that the inner order stuff they argue about are worthless to the profane anyway.....

And that the outer-order-theurgy is where its at......

And weirdly enough, that seems to be the true agenda: bury cosmic theurgy and its possible relation to the true 33 degrees hidden in common masonry. . . . .

That one perspective from a practioneer/researcher/and even solitary GOLDEN DAWN hierophant.

"alucinare concordia veritate et LVX ophion"


Morgan Eckstein said...

That particular work is very interesting. For instance, people are asking for a high price for a copy of it (and the writer claims that it is selling for that much), but I have never actually seen one actually get sold at that price. And I have tracked numerous eBay actions and whatnot watching the price of that particular book (I used to be in the used book business). Personally, it seems to be all hype without a single confirmed sale at that hefty price. It is probably "bait" to get people into their Order (where you get the contents for free over the space of several years provided that you keep paying your Order dues). In fact, if it was allowed back into print, there would be less reason for people to join that particular Order, and the writer would lose one of his selling points for himself and his Order. Yes, I am a cynic---I have been in the business; I know the tricks.

This is not to say that some people do not find it valuable; it is just to say that its value is inflated beyond its actual fair market value.

In fact, I would point out that most out-of-print occult books are priced well above their fair market value. After all, it only takes a single sale to make up for years of listing fees.

neo gnostica said...

Ahhh, makes sense, I've never considered that.

For me it was a little weird as I was a young solitary. The only GD that I knew of was the one I read about in Crowley and Regardie books.

Then out of the blue my teacher (Lord Russell of New Orleans, Louisiana) gives me a brand new hardback of this book. He told me, "your ready, and it had been authorized", he would say no more.

After years of research into everything Crowley and GD, I finally started my Theurgy.

That book changed my life in so many ways.

Then I left my solitary way, and met the Golden Dawn online community. (with high expectations)

In many ways, y'all have really welcomed me in very nicely. Thank you.

And as a newbie, I was in awe to meet the author of the book that changed my life.

I feel that I should end that aspect of my story right there.

Because from that point on in my developmental knowledge of the GD situation, up until now; I would imagine that the majority of the GD community's story is a very similar one of ongoing disappointments.

Thanks again for your insights Morgan