I have been thinking for a very long time now about the subject of piracy. Only recently have I discovered yet another website with a lot of my published works for a ridiculously low price. My work being sold and given away as low as three dollars for three full DVDs that sold for thirty dollars each.
That doesn’t happen to me alone, and it happened decades ago, even in the “non-digital” magic world. Think of Ken Brooke, who gave up his business in frustration because his manuscripts and routines were blatantly copied by other magic dealers. Think of the many illegal copies of props and gimmicks that have flooded the market in the past decades. The only difference is that copying digital material is way easier to accomplish. Anyone these days can do it without effort or investing a lot of money into materials. I know of that.
I also know that there is no way of stopping piracy. No technical means whatever will stop people from copying things and distributing them. If there is a new way to protect digital goods, there is a solution to crack it in sight almost immediately. This is the price we have to pay for the globalisation and freedom of the Internet.
I am helpless and angry at the same time. I cannot stop the people from doing this. There seems to be only one way to prevent it, and that is to address people from the ethics side.
If someone thinks of something, puts it into form and offers it for sale to the fraternity, then he expects to make some profit. Because most of the digital goods aren’t high price items, and the distribution is limited to a tiny niche market, the profit is moderate. Therefore, if they rip even that small profit off, the pain is even greater.
Some people depend on selling digital goods, and they make their living on it. It is not a comfortable living, given the small amount of customers and sales, believe me. When some rip-off dealers then sell much cheaper copies, and keep the customers away from buying the original, then these dealers steal the creator’s income.
So there is only one way to go, and that is to appeal to your ethics and understanding. I can only ask you to please not buy rip-offs, and to not share illegal copies.
Otherwise, more and more creators might lose interest in publishing and sharing their creations on the long term. It simply doesn’t pay for the work we have to do to get something finished. And it is frustrating to see your stuff being sold underpriced from people who have no rights to sell it, nor contribute anything to the fraternity, except for the illegal copies.
So – please, play fair, and do not support rip-offs.
Buy the originals from the creators.