Monday, September 20, 2010

If you're doing this already: I'm not talking to you.

It has been mentioned a few times that I left a great deal unsaid on certain matters. I did.

And it works like this: you have a house with a back door without a lock? You buy a fucking lock. You don't trust the innate goodness of your fellow man, because your fellow man is just as likely to nick your wallet as he is to try and steal your girlfriend, or anything else. The odds are all over the place, and most people really do invent their own morals while insisting they're better than they are.

You write a book that you know will get pirated? You buy a lock. You're a “powerful” fucking sorcerer or magician or witch, or what-have-you. Fucking deal with that shit.

A few distinctions need to be made here, though:
  • If you're sloppy? That's your fault.
The spirit had better know the difference between an “uploader” and a “downloader.” It had better understand the distinction between my scanning a page, and my scanning a book. If you don't take care to make these distinctions and someone gets hit that shouldn't? It's on your head. And they get to kick the shit out of you if they're capable or feel like it.

  • Not all curses are death curses.
R.O. has said it a few times, but I actually ended up chatting with a fellow about the subject just yesterday. There's a certain assumption that all tactics are heavy handed. This misses the point, which is that sometimes precision beats power. While a heavy-handed assault on anything might leave someone in a state of shock and awe, a clever or even mean push can be just as effective, if not more so. There's also the point everyone makes about how if you curse once, you're likely to again. I've never really bought this one. I fucked up once, and I never did that again. I almost want to suggest the work “jinx,” but I'm not sure if it applies.

Now then, if you're downloading material written by occultists who have mind-bending powers and want to tell you how to get them yourself? You should assume that some PDFs might or might not come with a ready-made terror just waiting to find you. Maybe not. Who knows? But I've come across some weird shit. I know of one PDF that had a tendency to melt hard-drives shortly after it would be downloaded. The reports may be exaggerated. They might not be. But assuming that people aren't going to work against downloaders, too, is stupid. Cleanse that shit. Give it a good scan on a variety of levels. Don't just assume that because it isn't physical, there isn't something attached. I'd say something similar about used books. Some of them do come charged. Because some silly fuckers don't write the shit they use down by hand, and instead carrying their books into their circle or whatever. Fine, I guess. But please don't sell your charged copy of the Goetia back to a used bookstore, all right? That's just fucking cruel. And sloppy.

And if you've draw one of the seals on the inside cover and charged it up, like that one book I saw a few months ago..? I hope something bad happens to you. Jackass.

I consider this shit common sense. I also consider it a right to a person affronted to take measures to protect their wares. I do not; I give what I give away for free, and because that's how I like it. No, it doesn't make me much money. That's not the point. My value as an individual (sorcerer) isn't attached to a price-tag. And if you think it is? We're not going to get along. Because I won't play that game. There is a seriously mistaken perception that the best thing another magician can do for you is to give you cash. I really don't agree with the sentiment, and I'd suggest avoiding those that think along such lines. They will most likely fuck you over given time.

Finally... If you're writing a book? Don't plan to make a boat-load of cash. This is my honest, and bluntest point. It has never worked. I recall all manner of other young Chaos Magicians talking about “when they'd write that book.” For a long time, I had that goal, too. And then I really investigated it, and realized the only reason I'd write a book is for ego reasons.

I can pay for a blog out of my own pocket to do that. It's an indulgence. Thus, that is what I do. It also allows my the side benefit of being able to dedicate various things I write, to various spirits. Or try out crazy shit and see if it works. I happen to like that. There's more use to the 'net than social networking and porn. We've just stumped it's use to largely those things so far. And it is quite fucking sad.

Finally, I am not saying to “work your model” around piracy. I'm saying that you had better, as an intelligent individual, take it into account and use your books wisely for a purpose beyond just making cash on the books. You should also take other factors into account: economic situations, whether or not people like the material you're producing, and whether or not they like it enough... to buy it. Because this is a distinction. And it's a real one.

If you can manage all of the above? I salute you. I sure as hell don't feel like it at the present time. But I do want you to continue, and if I like you and what you sell? I'll buy your product.

Shit. Eventually, I may even try to take Jason's course. If I can ever convince myself that I'd do it all, rather than read it, nod, and continue on my way. Which is the distinction that keeps me from doing it.

But that's the short end of my thoughts. “Don't be an idiot,” would, I think cover that ground quite succinctly. Unfortunately, when I say it, people always tell me I'm being cryptic. I'm not. It's pragmatics. Being an idiot tends to get you hurt. Thus, actively working to avoid that is in your best interest.

And sometimes, you need people to tell you that you're an idiot. Because you're an arrogant fuck. It happens.


Pallas Renatus said...

Something I read years ago just popped into my head; I believe Bardon advocated always buying books new and unread, no matter what their content, to avoid the charges built up from reading them.

I think he also said to wear gloves (silk? or am I making that up?) if you absolutely have to read a used book, though I'm not sure how far that'd get you if you brought a charged Lemegeton into the house!

Rufus Opus said...

I'm pretty sure you've just summarized my approach, so I'm pretty sure you're not talking about me. :D

I was a little concerned about whether I understood the technology of torrents for a minute or two after recent discussions, but I got over it. I reviewed the actual curse I put on my works, and it's targeted at the person who makes it available to others for download, specifically via torrent technology. So, if a person downloads it and then doesn't seed it, no worries, but if they become part of the seeding network, bad shit cometh.

At first I thought I should change that, but since it's targeted specifically at torrents, I decided it didn't really matter.

Because you know what? I've never turned down a request for a free copy of my book, ever. I've gotten very few, but every time someone said they needed something but couldn't afford it, I've made it available. I've had people tell me about problems they needed help with that were addressed in a book I'd written, and emailed it to them on the spot. I've given it to someone who was on the fence with the provision that they give me what they think its worth after reading it. I made more than I regularly charge on that deal.

All those people who download my shit for free without talking to me about it, without even the courtesy of asking for it? I don't really care if my sloppy understanding of the technology affects them too. Their inconsideration warrants my own.