PSA: It’s easier to ask permission than forgiveness

In doing research for another ebook of mine that’s coming up soon, I was googling around for a particular set of seals of the four elemental archangels.  Eventually, I found what I was looking for, but in the process I found something else: my own lamen designs for the planetary angels Haniel and Gabriel.  Now, I’ve made many designs for my occult work, and I share a good number of them freely on my blog, so it’s not uncommon anymore for me to come across my own work when looking for something new while searching Google.  (It’s a curse, truly.)  Add to it, I post my designs on my blog for free so that people who are interested in following the path of a Renaissance Hermetic magician and whatever-the-fuck-else-I-am can make use of the same tools and designs for their own personal experiments.

The thing was, however, that these specific lamens I had come across had been printed out and were being sold as a listing on somebody’s Etsy page.  The Etsy seller had never contacted me for my permission or right of use, and I know them only because I saw some of Asterion’s fine occult art also copied for their own listings (again, as it had turned out, without Asterion’s permission).  Their listing never attributed the designs to me.  That’s not cool.

Don’t get me wrong, of course.  I’m personally thrilled that other people are able to make use of my lamens, Tables of Practice, force compasses, and various other types of seals in their own magical work and practices.  I’m flattered that people find them worthy and powerful enough, maybe even pretty enough, to share around online.  After all, it makes me feel like my time and my productions are useful and well-used, and I share these designs freely for the benefit of everyone.  That said, using my designs and productions for commercial purposes without attributing the design to me, without my permission, and without even asking me if it’s alright to do so is disrespectful, and I will not allow it.  I’m not a fan of taking my ball and going home, but I make my designs free for others to help them out without cost; if you’re going to ruin it for everyone and make it so that I stop sharing these designs, stealing them for your own ends is a good way to do that.

Just to make it explicit: my designs are under my copyright and are provided for personal noncommercial use only.  So, going forward, here’s what my policy is:

  • You are free to download, print, copy, and modify any design I make and post on my blog to use in your own magical workings, public or private.
  • You are free to redistribute without cost these designs while giving due credit for the design to me or my blog.  A link would suffice.  Heck, if you want to pass out my business cards to other people in the flesh, lemme know and I’ll send you a pack!
  • You may not redistribute these designs without linking to my blog or attributing me (polyphanes) as the creator of the design.  Hey, if crazy armageddon-minded conspiracy-theoried Christian bloggers can do that to defame me and my vocation, you can, too!
  • You may not redistribute, replicate, or use these designs in any publication, physical or electronic, without my permission.  This excludes blogs, Pinterest, Facebook, and others, of course, but don’t try putting my lamens in a book you’re writing about conjuration without asking whether it’s okay.
  • You may not use my designs to sell in physical or electronic form for commercial gain without my permission.  This includes printing out the lamen designs and consecrating them to sell for others, making resinated pendants, or simply selling sets of the lamens that you yourself print out.  If you have a commercial idea for a product that uses or incorporates my design, ask me whether it’s okay first.
  • If you do not ask me for permission to redistribute, replicate, or use these designs before using them, I will ask you to remove the designs from your work, take down your shop listings, etc. and you will never have permission to use any of my designs publicly for any purpose.
  • If you do not comply with my requests to remove my work from your commercial work, we’re going to have some problems that will be resolved with lawyers.

Now, as a priest and devotee of Hermes, I understand the power of theft and how it may be needed.  I also realize that, from my point of view here on the end of a computer outside of DC, that I’m not omniscient and cannot see the actions of everyone who comes to my blog.  If you’re going to steal my designs for profit, do it smart and off the radar where I can’t see you and where your pictures won’t come up on Google.  If I catch you, you’re done.

Now, if you want me to custom design you something, by all means, contact me!  I’ll make you a design that’s yours and yours alone; my rates are decently priced and fair, and I’m pretty handy with Adobe Illustrator and a pen.  Publishers, I’m talking to you!

And while I’m at it, about my PDF ebooks I sell on my own Etsy page?  Please don’t redistribute them, either.  I haven’t noticed it becoming a problem, and I’d like for it to stay that way, but if I find people sharing my PDFs, I’m going to ask that you stop and take down whatever links or resources you have to share them.  If you’re going to share my work without my permission and if there’s nothing I can do can stop you, then do it in a way that I can’t track, will never know about, and have no means to change.  I have no way to ensure that it doesn’t happen, of course, but I won’t go to the lengths that Fr. Rufus Opus has gone and put a conditional curse on my PDFs that kicks in if you illegally share them, either.  I understand the benefit that a single copied PDF can give.

Really, in the end, just don’t be a douchebag.  Give credit where credit is due.  Ask me whether it’s okay first if you use something.  If you want to see me make more stuff, help support me so I can make more stuff.  Stealing from me is only going to make me annoyed and make it so that I produce less stuff for fewer people.

5 responses

  1. As an addendum, no, I’m not going to focus on piracy as something that’s utterly killing me. I don’t live by my profits as a magician and have a day job to support me and my magical works, so piracy of my works isn’t going to put me in the red and make me go into the impenetrable night of debt forever. I won’t become some kind of crazy person who puts curses on young boys because they share my PDFs, either; I won’t hunt you down to the ends of the earth to make sure you don’t steal my shit. That said, don’t be a douchebag. Give credit where credit is due and help support me for the things I produce. If you honestly can’t pay for something, let me know and we’ll work something out. If you want to share a text with your friends offline, do it smartly and with people you trust. I’m not innocent of the occasional bit of piracy myself, either, but I also make an effort to support other artists, designers, and authors whenever I can and however I can.

  2. There’s a great wealth of easy DMCA takedown templates. Perhaps getting taken down by Etsy/Ebay/etc. at least once will give the people in question a sufficient wakeup call.

  3. I make no secret of the issues that I have with the implementation of copyright laws at the current time. It’s clear that these are no longer rules put in play to protect creatives, but rules put in play to protect Capitalists.

    When someone who didn’t even create a work, but simply “bought the rights” off a dying man so his lover could afford to bury him, can make many times more money off a work than the creative who actually made it, that’s a broken system.

    But on the good side, that’s not what you describe here.

  4. Pingback: Broke but not Cheap: Supplies and Tools | The Digital Ambler

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