Monday, January 30, 2012

Internet Censorship and Digital Piracy

by David Griffin

On his Talking About Ritual Magic blog, Frater Barrabas just wrote an interesting article discussing Internet censorship and Internet piracy. You can read it here

Like Frater B., I too am against misguided attempts to censor the internet like SOPA and PIPA. As occult authors, however, we do have good reason to be concerned about piracy. As you likely know, there are a group who call themselves "Digimob" and are dedicated to scanning every new significant magical work that comes out, and releasing in immediately in a torrent file on Pirate Bay and the like.

The "Digimob" means well, wanting to make occult works available to people with limited resources. I wonder, however, if they realize how much work goes into producing a quality occult work and how limited our financial return actually is for all of our effort?

I spent, for example, five fulll years in the research and writing that went into the Ritual Magic Manual.

I also wonder if Digimob realizes, that they are actually sawing off the branch they are sitting on. Moreover, each of us makes important decisions based on what they are doing.

For example, I have already written and for years have had ready for release, a revolutionaly book on Rune magick based on research I did living in Scandinavia using sources not at all available in English translation. 

The occult community, however, continues to be deprived of this knowledge and the fruit of my research, because, in response to Digimob piracy, I personally refuse to release it only to have it given away without my permission in a torrent file.

Unlike many occult authors, I have no real need to publish any information at all. Firstly, I do not need the money. Secondly, I do not need to promote of my name. The Ritual Magic Manual stands on its own merits and my reputation is already solid as the Chief Adept of the A.O. In other words,  I have neither financial, professional, nor even ego investment in kudos for releasing information, including a book already finished that will revolutionize thinking on rune magick.

My choice is instead to simply deprive the esoteric community of the fruits of this essantial research. I have been sitting on the manuscript already for years while using its contents in my own magical practice and sharing it with select others who know how to respect secrecy.

But wait ...

There is more!

In fact, most of the esoteric community is already well aware that as Chief Adept of the A.O., I am sitting a vast treasure trove of other traditional occult information available nowhere else. Granted, much of this is information is protected by initiatic secrecy, but there is plenty of stuff that I actually could release to the public.

However, with the Digimob pirates around, why should I? 

What the Digimob pirates fail to realize is that they are actually depriving THEMSELVES of essential and astounding occult information as the direct consequence of their misguided actions.

When the Digimob pirates stop destroying the already tiny market for occult works, I will resume releasing occult information that the public will otherwise never have access to. 

Meanwhile, I will continue to simply sit on a vast treasure trove of secret information, sharing only bits and pieces in initiatic circles...

While the pirates eat the goose in one single meal, and go on missing out on entire hen houses of golden eggs!


  1. Care et GH Frater,

    this all reminds me of something i have read nearly 20 years ago in a book of Robert Anton Wilson, who said that war in the future time will be a war on information.
    The whole web and how it shapes our access and digestion of information is a very interesting phenomenon and fits nicely into the dawning of the aquarian age.
    There are a lot of good as well as bad aspects about it.
    One of the bad aspects surely is the piracy you speak of. Many creative people suffer from that.
    The task for all people in our connected world is to think about responsibility and to develop the faculty of discrimination to a high degree.

    Yours fraternally,
    H. Frater L.e.N.e.

  2. Obviously, Paul Coelho has a different experience:

    ‘Pirating’ can act as an introduction to an artist’s work. If you like his or her idea, then you will want to have it in your house; a good idea doesn’t need protection.

    The rest is either greed or ignorance

  3. You are making an invalid comparison - apples and oranges.

    There is a large market for good fiction.

    There is an extremely small market for occult works.

    This is why there are so many works of poorly researched, "pulp magick" compared to magical works using rigorous standards of research.

    Add piracy to the mix and you condemn yourself to pulp magick.

  4. I agree. I don't see any reason why I should publish just to get pirated. I think it's better to circulate ones work privately, to a select circle of friends and members of ones own organisation.

    Also, the results of piracy can already be seen in larger markets too. Writing, making music, movies etc just don't pay enough any more, so more and more people choose other kinds of jobs. It just isn't profitable to produce content any more. The endless reality tv programmes and the like are a living proof of the "success" of piratism.


  5. If you don't need the money or want the ego gratification why do you care how big the market is? Using the word 'market' implies you are looking for some kind of return.

    What is the difference between 100 people who borrow your book from the library and 100 people who share the book over the internet? In both cases these particular readers did not have the initial intent of buying it, but how do you know how many subsequently did go on to buy it?

    Are people who buy it secondhand or borrow it from a friend on your blacklist as well?

  6. @ Frater N

    You are clearly an intelligent individual. I am therefore surprised that I have to break this down for you even further.

    I am a decent researcher with access to initiatic sources not available to most other people.

    I refuse to invest years of labor, however, and to give to the public the fruits of my labor, without being paid for it. Do you work for free? How do you pay for food and shelter? Do occult authors not have the same right that you do to be able to pay their bills with the fruit of their labor?

    Everyone makes their own choices as a consequence of piracy. My choice is admittedly extreme, but it is my personal right.

    As a direct consequence of Digimob piracy, I personally choose to withhold my manuscripts from the public as long as Digimob continues to deprive occult writers of at least a modest income in exchange for all of their labor.

    Please quit trying to play dumb. Clearly you are not.

  7. @ Mikeal

    Thankfully, I have another job as well in which I make a very good income. Therefore, I am not forced to go on selling my manuscripts only to have them pirated. There is nothing wrong with creative artists being paid for their work. Even pirates ought to have a "pirates code"

  8. Unfortunately piracy is a part of this material world. Thank you for a great post. Encouraging higher value behaviors through education and "spreading the light" will foster more to do the right thing to find their material legitimately.

    To that end, Mr Griffin, will you make your book available soon in e-format? I'd love to have your book in my Kindle, always with me for study. Is that an upcoming possibility, even if more than a normal Kindle book (but still less than the $200-$1000 for old copies floating about)? I'd surely pay $30-$60 or even slightly more for an e-copy, so much more convenient than a heavy tomb, and a way for me to legitimately purchase it, and a way for many to legitimately purchase it. Having it below $50 should discourage many from trying to find various PDF's about on dangerous sites. I love having my GD library in my bag…..Please say yes!

  9. @ Anonymous

    Considering that the Ritual Magic Manual is already floating about in torrents in a pirated .pdf edition, there is no point in releasing it as an e-book, now is there?

    Instead, I will merely sit on my other manuscripts that are ready for release until to occult community matures a bit more and gets fed up with a steady diet of nothing but "pulp magic" which is just about all that is still being published due to the the misguided actions of the Digimob Pirates.

    Sorry, guys ...

    No more golden eggs!

    How did you like the goose?

  10. Humbly and respectfully I disagree. I do not download pdf's online, mostly because it is wrong, and added because it is dangerous to my computer's health. Give us a legitimate channel for purchase too to show there is another way to those tempted. Attract thus those that are more mature in spirit and looking to grow in the Order. And I am a newbie to GD looking (to pay) for authentic information without such obstacles, and would love to buy your ebook. I have begun a daily practice but would love your book in e-format. I have applied to the Order and would prefer the book with me for study instead of in pieces online. I will not download it illegally. I see you are up against many, but know that there are also many nonvocal of us out here looking not to fight, but simply have access to information that will help us grow and add more light to the planet. The music industry did not stop producing music because of piracy. The movie industry did not stop producing movies. Please reconsider, knowing there are many of us who are not part of stealing, not part of this fight, who are looking to leaders for a legitimate way to be in possession of study materials….and thus your spirit blesses the planet in a greater way than perhaps resistance, again, humbly and respectfully…..Love and light to you sir.

  11. Fr. Griffin wrote:

    "Considering that the Ritual Magic Manual is already floating about in torrents in a pirated .pdf edition, there is no point in releasing it as an e-book, now is there?"

    Yes, the point would be to release it in a high quality version that people can buy directly from the author, rather than obtain on some digital street corner.

    As the comments above indicate, people will pay for digital content even if it is freely available. iTunes and Amazon have proven this. You say you want to be paid for your work, but are not making it available in a form that customers are requesting.


  12. @ Frater N

    What I actually said is that I would like to see creativity in the occult genre no longer seriously impeded by piracy. You keep framing this issue as though it were only about money. It is not. However, it is indeed compensation for one's labor that allows said labor to continue, namely the production of high quality occult works.

  13. Fr. Griffin,

    The world is becoming increasingly more digital and portable. Even laptops are on the wane. It is becoming commonplace to carry around a collection of audio, video and a library in a small tablet or pad. With access to the cloud, we will soon have the ability to have the Library of Alexandria in the palm of our hand.

    As evidenced by comments above there is a demand for magical texts to be part of the Initiate's e-reader library. To reach as many candidates as possible, the day will surely come when you find it is of benefit to make it so.

  14. Thank you Frater N, yes, I am one "newbie" (of perhaps thousands, or upcoming tens of thousands?) who is not part of this GD blog-war…only 2 weeks into day and night reading on GD material, knowing it is my path, and only looking to have this material available to me. I do not support piracy, and any legitimate student of the GD path would not either, or would be "cleansed of that" as he/she started on the path…..I ask Mr Griffin as a potential leader and example to me to at least some of the time take his eyes off the war and look to the much bigger masses at his side, awaiting a pointing-of-the-way, awaiting materials legitimately, awaiting a way-shower, awaiting a strong leader looking to the throngs instead of assuming all are part of the word war. I understand I cannot know the weight of leadership to protect and keep secure what is built, so all I ask is for Mr. Griffin to know that there are masses of us waiting a leader who lets us buy the message in a legitimate fashion, instead of jump through hoops to access the information. If I have the material in my bag on my Kindle and cell phone Kindle app always, there will be more light on the planet sooner as I will absorb the messages and learnings and spirit-raising-energies faster, and that will spread like ripples in the Pond….as our focus goes, so goes matter…so focus on spreading knowledge and way to the Path will foster more light, instead of focus on word war fostering more word war. I choose to buy the material legitimately.

    I appreciate this open forum of conversation and posting of comments here, as a newbie. I appreciate it greatly and send grateful energies back through the All-That-Is for what all GD offers.

  15. @ Anon

    There is no blog war. Do not overlook the value of actual initiation. The sad thing is that solitary practitioners mistakenly believe that they can learn ev erything in books or on the net. Thus they will never know what they missed by missing out on the spiritual boost that only traditional initiation can provide.