Jack over at Dionysian Atavism posted a response to an Andrieh Vitimus post about Piracy. Now pretty much everyone has weighed in with opinions one way or the other. See Don Michael Kraig, Mike Cecchetelli, Frater RO, the list goes on.
I was going to Hyperlink to everyone above, and more, but The Laughing Magus, has already provided an exhaustive list of links. Just go there.
Usually I don’t comment on the piracy arguments, but if you look closely at Jack’s, Mike’s, and Andrieh’s arguments – there are other issues here as well. So, here we go:
Speaking strictly about the file sharing of books that are currently in print and available. I really just wish people on both sides would stop debating it endlessly.
For the people who argue against it:
- It is not going to stop.
- It is not, strictly speaking, simple theft. You downloading a copy of my book does not make a copy disappear off a shelf anywhere.
- Bringing attention to the issue with your argument likely causes just as many people to give illegal downloading a try because “everyone does it” as it does convince people not to do it.
- I am not convinced that it actually negatively effects sales. Amazon selling books at near cost and using their muscle to get publishers to lower their price to unreasonable levels does more to hurt the industry than piracy does. Pirates just make a sexier excuse AND its not bood business sense to complain about the people moving 70% of your product.
- Most people, even those who complain, have done it to one extent or another. For instance The final chapter of Donald Michael Kraig’s book Modern Sex Magic does not publish the text, but is based off of a pirated copy of Emblems and Modes of Use that appeared in a Mezlim newsletter that was distributed at festivals in the summer of 1985. I know this because it was part of the Genesis of the Chthonic Auranian Temple, and my initiator was the one that supplied the document, whose copyright is owned by the OTO. In light of his recent comments, I wonder what he would say about this?
For the people who argue for it.
- C’mon dude. You know its not right. You also know it’s not the end of the freaking world, so you do it anyway. Just man up, and do what you are gonna do despite that fact that it is unethical.
- No, really, that’s all I got. Stop pretending that you have a right to it. Stop pretending that the technological capability makes it ok. You are doing something ever so slightly to the left side of the ethical line. If you are gonna do it, be a man (or woman) about it and just accept what you are doing.
One of the arguments set forth by Jack, and further expressed by Mike Cecchetelli, is that certain publishers produce so much crap that it is ok to or at least understandable to pirate in order to know that you are getting good stuff.
Leaving the piracy aside, I have never looked at publishers as the arbiter of what is good or not. The way that publishers have become gangs that you belong to and are defined by is kind of a weird concept.
I am the only strictly practical magic author at New Page. Most of what they do is Paranormal and New Age. But honestly: they treat me well, they let me write the books the way I want to, they DO fact check (questioned me a lot on the math and policy statements I made in FS), they have decent distribution, good PR people, and pay me the industry standard. I am happy with them. I have never felt “defined” by them and find it really odd that people are looking at who an author publishes with as being almost more important than what the author has to say himself. As much as I respect Jack, and Mike (and they both have my overwhelming respect as occultists, mages, scholars, and gentlemen of noble quality) I think this is total bullshit.
Mike lists SI, Nephilim, Teitan, and Hadean as quality publishers that care about what they publish. I would add Three Hands, trident, Xoanon, and a host of others to the list. BUT, those publishers are still small in terms of distribution and some things of quality are meant for a larger audience. Also, I wonder where they will be 10 years down the road as they grow and attract more authors.
When New Falcon started up, they published only what was then the hippest stuff – some of which looks like crap by today’s standards. Weiser was the publisher of choice for serious Thelemites, but they are currently the exact people that are publishing Christian Day. That does not lower the value of other authors they publish like Lon DuQuette or Draja Mickaharic.
Andrieh has reported publicly that people have treated his book like shit because it is from Llewellyn. That truly is a shame. I mean, with today’s tools for previewing legally, viewing people lists of good reads and essential books, reviews that come out the moment a book is released, etc, etc – you really need the author to be with the “cool” publisher?
We are going to deal with what is good and to whom in another post, as that is yet another facet of this. But it’s my bed-time