It’s time to talk about digital theft. I’m an aging hippy at heart. I did Grateful Dead tour, sold t-shirts, spun like a dervish… and all the rest. At around the same time the Dead were making their first album a group called the Yippies made themselves knows. For those who are unaware the most vocal member of the Yippies was Abbie Hoffman. You can see him here :
One of the things Abbie Hoffman was famous for was his manuscript Steal This Book. It told readers many creative ways to get things for free. It was an anti-establishment, stick it to the “man” handbook. While the disparity between the rich and the poor is even greater than it was when Hoffman wrote the book, many things have changed. Hopefully most people know that when they download a free ebook off an illegal website, they aren’t hurting the evil powers that be, but instead taking money from hard working writers like myself. I’ve written about this before in the post Tramps and Thieves in the Pagan Community. Here I write ” It used to be back in the day people would just lift something off your table, or copy your handouts and claim the work as their own. The digital era has made theft even more possible and prevalent.”For those who are paying attention to the saga my book Voodoo and Afro-Caribbean Paganism is no longer available. It’s not officially out of print, because then I would have the option to reprint it myself. A few months ago you could buy paper copies of the electronic version ( in a move I don’t understand) from a major internet retailer. These have recently disappeared and used copies are going for around $500. I don’t get paid for either of these sales, unfortunately. Luckily for you it is available in some libraries, including my home library in Brooklyn and Harvard’s library. The link is here. My hope is that someday the publisher will make more copies available. If you feel the same please contact the publisher Kensington Books and let them know.
The Pagan community if full of digital theft. It’s not just books that are getting stolen these days, digital theft means even artwork isn’t safe. Unfortunately many people think it’s ok to use an image that they find on the internet. This is not ok, images have copyrights and licenses just like books. If you would like to understand better the different image licenses please see Creative Commons. If you want to use an image, even if it’s only on your social media page, check the license, contact the artist if possible, and be respectful and responsible at all times.
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