Thursday, January 14, 2010

Piracy Part 1

Last night, I was looking though the torrent requests over on The Occult Bz. It is a private (limited membership) torrent tracker devoted to occult material.

And I discovered a request for Golden Dawn Rituals Volume One: Neophyte Ritual Three Officer Version.

I experienced mixed feelings about finding this request.

For those who are unaware, this particular book is my creation. Hence the mixed feelings.

I would like to note that the harsh comments that I am about to make do NOT apply to everyone in the file sharing community. There are just a few bad apples that sour my cider.

On one hand, I am flattered that there is any demand for the book. On the other hand, I honestly wish that people would be willing to actually shell out money for the book.

Now, I was not surprised to discover the request. As a writer/artist working on the internet, I realize that the modern idea that no occult writer deserves to be paid for their work has became the rule.

Somewhere along the line, some people decided that being a cheapskate and a pirate is a spiritual virtue. To justify the unwillingness to pay artists for their hard work, we ended up with the theory that charging for spiritual and magical teachings is a vice.

(Actually, the theory says that all artists, writers and creative people should be happy with the virtue of creating and giving away their work, no matter how much time and energy they pour into their creations. None of us, according to the justification, should stoop down and accept payment.)

Now, I have some problems with this modern idea. The least of which is that I have few marketable job skills.

I think that my biggest problem with this theory is that the people who shout this theory the loudest became the people who shout the loudest once they have a creation of their own to profit from. I am sorry: if it is a virtue for others to give up income from their hard work, then it is a virtue for you to do likewise.

Yes, if people actually stuck to this theory when they created things, I would be more open to buying into it.

Now, I will admit that I am involved in the P2P, torrent scene. I got involved because I was looking for some rare, long out-of-print books. I have a tendency to be interested in books that are no longer being supported by a publisher. Often, you are faced with the choice of shelling out hundreds of dollars for a book, or hunting down a PDF of it.

I can see the benefits and uses of the P2P community while at the same time, being well aware that abusing it might result in some bad effects in the long run.

One of the effects is that we are seeing already is that some occult writers are leaving the field (aka will never write a book ever again): "Why write something if it is going to be pirated within a month of publication? It took me a year (or more) to write that book." This is especially true of specialized writing, such as Golden Dawn.

The other effect we are seeing already is writers going to smaller publishers. A result of this is that the prices of occult books are actually going up. (For those who do not know, the price to print a copy of a book actually goes down when you print a bigger number of copies. The smaller the print run, the higher the price tag on a book.)

Now, in my case, I suspect that there will never be a great demand for my work. After all, I am not a dead old guy, nor am I an officer in a Big Name Order.

Despite having some concerns about the effect of the torrent community, I have decided to make a PDF version of my book available to The Occult Bz torrent community. If nothing else, I want the bloody upload credit.

There are other reasons to give my work away; if you are curious, go over to my writing blog and check out why I decided to give some of my work away for free.


Lavanah said...

Think positively-one day you will be an old dead guy!

Imperator David Griffin said...

Care Frater Morgan,

I can fully appreciate your mixed feelings. I felt precisely the same thing recently when you on your blog publicized the pirated edition of the Ritual Magic Manual, which took five years of my life to research and write.

With Fraternal Regards,
David Griffin