Archive for the ‘piracy’ Tag

Online Piracy? – Give Me a Break!   13 comments

Greetings Ye Scurvy Knaves Who Read My Blog For Free!

Today I was directed to an awesome link at the homesite of Baen Books.  It is called the Baen Free Library.

I had heard about this project in the past, and fully support it – though I hadn’t taken the time to go to the site and see what they had to say.  Today I decided to give it a look, and I’m very glad I did.  It’s not just a library page of books you can read online, but a lengthy explanation of both how and why the free library came to be.

I strongly urge you to read the page – especially if you are an author or publisher!

The subject of the page is online piracy and what we should do about the “problem.”  Many of you already know how I feel about this issue.  And those of you who are authors and publishers generally scoff at me for it.  “Why, you must not want to make money from your books!”  “Boy, I bet you’d change your tune if it were YOUR books being stolen!”

Well let me handle those two comments one at a time.  First, I’ll put aside the sad commentary on the attitudes of capitalism the first comment makes.  I mean,  what a society I live in that thinks “not making money” is the ultiamte sin, and that a person who isn’t concerned about losing out on a buck is somehow mentally ill.  Welcome to the Feringi homeworld, folks!

Fuck Everything - Acquire Profit

But I digress…  For all of you Quarks out there, you can calm down and put away your torches.  I don’t believe in giving away free material because it loses me money.  I believe in giving it away becasue it makes me money.  And if you can’t figure out how that could be – then I urge you once again to read what the good folks at Baen Books have to say on the matter.  They are a business, they’ve applied the model, and they have reported their results.  It. Makes. Them. Money.  ;) 

Not only that, but the author of that page does a great job of putting the entire issue of online piracy into proper perspective.  (For example, he points out that book loans – between friends and from libraries – far outweigh what online pirates get for free.  Sure, lawyers love to hype the whole thing as the worst thing to ever happen to their fellow Feringi – but Baen Books more sanely compares online piracy to kids stealing bubble gum.  It’s minor, and no authors are going hungry because of it.

As to the second statment – which in essence says “put up or shut up.” – I have the perfect answer.   Try this little experiment.  Head over to Google, and type in these words:  Leitch Angelical Langauge

Now enjoy the FREE PDFs of both volumes of the book you will find hosted on many file-sharing sites around the web.  :)

No, I didn’t put those PDFs up myself.  I’m sure Llewellyn would have a few nasty emails to send me if I did such a thing.  However, am I upset those PDFs  have turned up?  Have I sent out a single cease-and-desist letter?  Have I alerted Llewellyn so their legal department can do it for me?  Have I even tried to keep quiet about the fact they are out there?  The resounding answer to all of these questions is NO!

Why?  Because those PDFs are great free advertisement for the books.  People who have never seen the books before, or knew about them but weren’t sure if they were worth the price (nearly $100 for the set) can now sample them and see just how awesome they are.  The word gets spread.  My work reaches a greater audience.  And, yes folks, it Makes. Me. Money.  because it increases the sales of “dead tree” editions.  Not to mention the fact it increases the number of people who know about me and thus attend my lectures and workshops!  (cha-ching again!)   ;)

So far, I’m still waiting on some dedicated Pirate to make a PDF of my Secrets of the Magickal Grimories and release it.  I recently heard one exists, but it is supposedly hosted on an invitation-only pirate website – and I don’t think anyone believes my sincerity when I ask to be invited so I can get a PDF of my own book.  :(  So I don’t really know the book is there for sure.  If it is, perhaps someday it’ll make it onto file sharing servers, which will result in several further sales of “dead tree” editions for me.  :)

So, kudos to Baen Books for showing both sanity and vision in this regard.  And, while I’m at it, I happen to know the good folks over at Scarlet Imprint hold similar (not identical, but similar) views to my own.  So they are worth checking out as well.

Meanwhile, enjoy The Angelical Langauge along with the host of essays and articles I make freely available on my webiste.   And don’t shed a tear for me!  I’ll cry all the way to the bank.  ;)

Zorge,

Aaron

Posted June 26, 2012 by kheph777 in books, Intellectual Rights, social commentary

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Wikileaks is Dead – Long Live Wikileaks!   Leave a comment

I just recieved the following email from a friend of mine, and I think it is worth sharing with all of you:

——————————-

From:  “Steve Kinney”

Wikileaks is dead, long live Wikileaks. 

From the present Wikileaks site at http://www.wikileaks.ch/Submissions.html

“NOTE: At the moment WikiLeaks is not accepting new submissions due to re-engineering improvements the site to make it both more secure and more user-friendly. Since we are not currently accepting submissions during the re-engineering, we have also temporarily closed our online chat support for how to make a submission. We anticipate reopening the electronic drop box and live chat support in the near future.”

This is possibly a Good Thing, since for at least a year Wikileaks’ secure online submission  channels have been broken.  Ever since Wikileaks “went on strike” to focus on fund raising for a couple of months in 2009, there has been no secure method for submitting documents to the project, and very weak excuses were given for fundamental deficiencies such as Wikileaks’ refusal to publish a PGP/GPG cipher key for use by correspondents and leakers.  Some ex-insiders have speculated that this “strike” reflects compromise of the Wikileaks project by German intelligence services, motivated by a leak that named some German politicians as former members of Stasi, East Germany’s infamous “secret police.”  It may be a coincidence that everything Wikileaks has published since then has been harmful to Germany’s adversaries in the realm of diplomacy and foreign policy.

Every aspect of the Wikileaks project has been turbulent.  Originally, it was intended that the project would have a real Wiki format and that volunteers from the general public would participate in free and open analysis of leaked materials.  This idea fell by the wayside quickly and the job of reviewing leaked materials was given to a small closed circle of authorized volunteers.  Since that time, the only thing “Wiki” about Wikileaks is its name and the general appearance of its web page layouts.

Originally, it was intended that Wikileaks serve as an open public archive of all materials submitted, the only restriction being that submissions would have to pass review to meet the site’s criteria that leaked documents be of public interest, appear to be authentic, etc.  Now only a few items selected for their publicity and fund raising value are available from Wikileaks.  The original Wikileaks archives are only available through third parties who downloaded the documents while Wikileaks “still existed” as a free and open public service for whistle blowers.

Recently, Wikileaks has started supporting censorship by crawling into bed with mainstream news outlets and allowing them to determine which documents Wikileaks shall and shall not publish, and what parts of the published documents to censor.  Although it is possible to make arguments in favor of this move, it is certainly alien to the stated goals and methods of the Wikileaks project and adds weight to the observation that Wikileaks is already dead. 

Looking at Wikileaks from the viewpoint of people who have risked permanent job loss, crippling lawsuits, and in some cases prison time or worse to submit documents, the project has failed utterly:  Documents submitted at high risk, under security conditions much more dangerous that Wikileaks acknowledges, are not being published.  It is possible that they are not even being warehoused for “eventual” publication.  This is a serious breach of trust.  People who helped start Wikileaks have unresolved questions about secretive management of the project’s finances, and the personal authority of Julian Assange.  Internal mailing list posts from the early days of the Wikileaks project “leaked” by John Young at cryptome.org, indicate that Assange rapidly evolved from a leader into the autocratic ruler of the project, and at that point some of the most trustworthy and useful people involved dropped out of the project.

But in a wider context Wikileaks has been a dramatic success even in its epic failure.  Because of the Wikileaks project, the world has been informed of the fact that large scale organized crime can not be hidden from public view forever.  Once a criminal enterprise grows large enough to require extensive internal communication, somebody motivated by conscience or looking for revenge is going to spill the beans.  All those “somebodies” who have access to documents worth leaking are now aware that they can do that thing, and almost certainly get away with it.  The other side of this coin is that the leaders of criminal conspiracies are on notice that they must reduce the size of their human networks and tighten up their communication security dramatically, or face almost inevitable exposure.  This additional security will carry a large price tag, slowing down and limiting the flow of information necessary to the success of the criminal enterprise. 

In the wake of Wikileaks’ collapse several similar projects are now under development, each taking a somewhat different direction from the others, all informed and strengthened by the examples of success and failure present in the Wikileaks story.  The real objective of the Wikileaks project – to make it reasonably safe and easy for insiders to disclose criminal activity in corporate and government operations – has been well served by Julian Assange’s grandstand tactics, even though Wikileaks itself has not survived.  Where we are going next is difficult to predict with any confidence, but your guess and mine should probably be made in the context of three famous quotes:

Information wants to be free.
— Stewart Brand

The Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.
— John Gilmore

We do not forgive.  We do not forget.  Expect us.
— Anonymous

Posted December 21, 2010 by kheph777 in Intellectual Rights, politics, wikileaks

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Is Wikileaks a US con-job or not?   Leave a comment

> Here is another take on the import of the Wikileaks US cable story.
>
> http://www.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net/Geopolitics___Eurasia/US_Con_Job/us_con_job.html

This is a subject that has me watching very closely.  I am an avid supporter of Wikileaks and the philosophy for which they appear to stand.  Yet I have to admit a couple of points give me pause.  For example, Julian Assange’s insistence that the official story of 9-11 is accurate.  Also, a trusted friend of mine (with vast experience in computer and internet security) tells me that you are NOT truly anonymous or secure when you upload info to Wikileaks.  Perhaps worst of all is the fact that Wikileaks seems to have the aid and support of several media outlets that are fully owned and controlled by the bad guys… I don’t know what gives there.

But it isn’t all so cut and dry.  I can’t comment on the security of Wikileaks uploads, but I can comment on the other points:

Why would Julian speak out against 9-11 Truth?  Because if he didn’t, Wikileaks would have been dismissed as yet another “conspiracy theory” website and that would have been the end of it.  Who is to say that the real story of 9-11 won’t come out after Wikileaks is well established?  For that matter, who is to say that the Insurance File doesn’t contain everything we need on that very subject?

And what about the mainstream media cooperating with Wikileaks?  That’s a tougher question.  Assange himself pointed out that Wikileaks had been around for several years before “Collateral Murder”, but few people knew or cared about it.  He has expressed his frustration over the fact that Wikileaks was revealing tons of crimes and scandals, but no one came to see it.  That is the very reason he did the Collateral Murder publicity stunt, and why he finally involved the mainstream media.

What I can’t figure out, though, is why the mainstream media paid him any attention.  That, I admit, is damn suspicious.

Then there is the whole issue of Bradley Manning.  Supposedly this ONE man was able to smuggle out every scrap of info that Wikileaks is currently publishing – without raising any suspicion in his department.  (It wasn’t a one-shot deal.  He allegedly spent hours a day, for several days or weeks, burning the info onto CDs that he *pretended* were playing Lady Gaga.  Really???)  He then sent it all to Wikileaks and, for some reason, bragged about it to a non-military hacker friend of his.  That hacker then turned him in.  Yet, the footage of this hacker explaining his actions is obviously footage of a person under heavy drug influence.  We’ve never seen anything of Bradley Manning but one photo, and we’ve never heard from him.  Fuck – does this guy even exist, or was he made up?

(For the record, even if Wikileaks turns out to be everything they claim to be, I still think the US Government would be willing and able to create “Bradley Manning” as a scapegoat to save face and upon whom to hang their censorship and anti-free speech campaigns.  Even if Bradley Manning exists, he may have had nothing whatsoever to do with any of this.  It would be the US Government’s M.O. to pin the whole thing on him and torture him for the rest of his life.  Ref. Jose Padilla.)

So, yes, there are some good questions here that need to be answered – if they ever will be.

LVX
Aaron


Posted December 20, 2010 by kheph777 in Intellectual Rights, politics, wikileaks

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Cablegate – What’s REALLY going on?   1 comment

I keep hearing that the leaked cables “contain nothing new or shocking.” That’s not actually true (for example, were YOU aware that Dyncorp – an American security company – was organizing boy-parties for Iraqi police recruits?) – but for the sake of argument, what if it were true?  What if there really were nothing earth-shaking to be found in all the thousands of leaked docuemnts? 

It would make no difference whatsoever!

The content of the cables is of little importance when compared to the fact that they are *leaking at all.*  It represents a significant break-down of the system as it is currently intended to work.

Remember ‘V for Vendetta’? The first thing V did was take over the city’s PA system. It wasn’t to give a specific message to the people, it was merely to show them that the government was not in absolute control. Then he blew up a few government institutions to punctuate his point. Essentially, Wikileaks has done the very same thing here. If you want a real clue into what Julian and his crew are up to, read this essay:

Julian Assange and the Computer Conspiracy; “To destroy this invisible government”

Posted December 19, 2010 by kheph777 in Intellectual Rights, politics, wikileaks

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The First Global Cyber-War   3 comments

A friend of mine on Facebook (that is, a real friend who happens to also be on Facebook) just posted a comment about a link I shared concerning Julian Assange and Wikileaks.  His view of the situation (and Julian’s future) are understandably grim.  However, the news isn’t quite as dark as you might think.  Here is my reply to him:

————————-

Don’t be too sure it’s all that easy for the bad guys.  There are a LOT of issues at stake here, and a LOT of organizations unconnected to Wikileaks realize their livelihoods are at stake too.  Various big players are raising their heads now, some against and some FOR Julian.  As we speak, the Australian government is in turmoil as pro-Wikileaks members of Parliament are beginning to rebel against the anti-Wikileaks Prime Minister.  Other governments are becoming polarized as well – including America and Britain, though much more quietly.

The media community also realizes they are in danger.  If Julian goes down, they are ALL going to be subject to the precedents and any new laws created to get him.  Never before in American history has a media outlet been prosecuted for releasing information that was acquired (even illegally) by another party.  (For example: the Pentagon Papers.)  So the media will fight if the government tries to prosecute someone for it now.

Same goes for any organizations that focus on human rights, free speech, democracy, etc, etc.  To take down Wikileaks, the very basis of freedom of speech has to be destroyed.  They will all unify to fight that.

Then there are big companies like Paypal, Mastercard, Visa, Amazon, etc.  These guys have exposed themselves as tools of a corrupt system, and they are suffering accordingly.  Visa and Mastercard are likely going to have their licenses to do business suspended in Iceland.  And several companies that served as proxies for Wikileaks donations are preparing to sue Visa (at least).

And THEN there are the hoards of cyber-activists out there, such as Project Payback that arose from Anonymous.  Project Payback decided to target any company, government or bank that attempts to censor or stop Wikileaks – and they have shut down websites from Paypal to government offices to international banks.  Even outside of the “hacktivists”, there are people out there that have mirrored Wikileaks, offered them server space (such as Pirate Bay!) and otherwise made it all but impossible to ever remove from the Internet the information that Wikileaks has put out there.

And, last but certainly not least, there is the Insurance File.  Before Wikileaks began this global campaign, they sent out a massive encrypted file to anyone and everyone who wanted a copy.  It is called “Insurance.”  Julian has stated that the information contained therein would be akin to a political thermonuclear bomb- and the key to decrypt it will be released automatically the moment Julian or anyone connected with Wikileaks is harmed.

We are witnessing the First Global Cyber-War.  And it looks like Wikileaks might win this one.

Posted December 14, 2010 by kheph777 in politics, wikileaks

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If You Plan to Buy My Books this Christmas…   2 comments

Greetings, faithful readers!

If you’re reading this, then you’re likely aware of the current global Info War raging over Wikileaks and Julian Assange.  The world’s tyrants are angry, VERY angry.  As I have said in the past, tyranny depends on darkness – and the tyrants know it!  What Wikileaks represents is black death to these kinds of parasites and all of their interests.

Recently, several organizations have proven their cowardice and worthlessness – or perhaps even their outright support of internet bullying and censorship – by denying service to Wikileaks or its volunteers.  Paypal has shown their true yellow but cutting off dontaions through their service to Wikileaks – and I suspect Anonymous (who has finally joined the battle!) will take care of them:

http://www.neontommy.com/news/2010/12/war-internet-anonymous-defends-wikileaks-after-cablegate

https://uloadr.com/u/4.png

Amazon.com is another example of a pathetic weenie organization that supports tyrants and censorship – and that is where this blog comes in.  If you are going to buy my books this Christmas, or anytime in the foreseeable future, I ask that you go directly to Llewellyn to buy them (or to your local bookstore) – please do NOT buy them from Amazon.

Here is a link to my stuff at Llewellyn:

http://www.llewellyn.com/author.php?author_id=3395

Yes, it costs a little more -but it’s a small price to pay to help in the battle against the bad guys.  Plus, you help me out too – I make more royalties from each book you buy from Llewellyn or a bookstore.  So if you buy my work directly from Llewellyn, you can give it as gifts this Christmas with a good feeling to go along with it.  :)

In fact, I would urge the same advice for any book or item you wish to buy.  Go directly to the publishers or sellers, don’t go through Amazon.  Not only do they not deserve our patronage, they have directly asked for our opposition by their support of internet bullying and censorship,

Thanks for listening,

LVX

Aaron

Posted December 7, 2010 by kheph777 in books, Intellectual Rights, politics, wikileaks

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Piracy and Free Content: Haven’t We Learned Yet?   3 comments

The subject of Internet Piracy and Intellectual Rights has come up on one of my groups.  As an author, I have some very strong opinions on the matter – opinions which my fellow authors and intellectual content creators often simply can’t grasp.   The fact is that the human mind will naturally try to protect itself from novel ideas, especially if those ideas fly in the face of “conventional wisdom.”  Robert Anton Wilson attributed it to “Cognitive Dissonance”:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance

What follows below is my own take on the subject of so-called “piracy” and intellectual property.  If you are an author or musician or other intellectual content creator, prepare to feel some heavy cognitive dissonance!  LOL

————

A member of my group posted:

> I cannot get over the stupidity of pirates. [...] You steal from
> us AND them, and I’m on first name basis with a few of the heads of mine
> cause the publishing companies are that small, and often they’re run
> by single mothers trying to put food on the table for their kids.
I respond:
I can certainly understand where you and many authors are coming from on this one.  However, I’m afraid these authors are currently making the same mistakes the record industry did – and the record industry put itself out of business with the *exact* same kind of thinking.

As the record-industry parasites taught us, you can’t apply the business wisdom of the past to the current market.  That old wisdom says “one downloaded unit for free = one lost sale for me.”  Many authors see it that way too, and those authors simply won’t be around for much longer.

Rather than fighting the inevitable, and thereby making ourselves extinct, we need to be intelligent about it.  Time and time again, it has been proven that offering free content the right way can *increase* sales.  Offering no free content at all can *decrease* your sales.

-Amazon offers a “search inside this book” feature that allows anyone in the world to sit down and read your *entire* book online.  They never have to purchase it.  And yet “search inside this book” regularly increases sales of the books that utilize it.

-Google Books offers some complete books and lots of “previews” that include very large portions of certain books.  Want to read “The Angelical Language Vols. I and II” for free?:

Angelical Language Vol I:
http://books.google.com/books?id=i_SFtUkSlo4C&lpg=PP1&dq=aaron%20leitch%20angelical&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false

Angelical Language Vol II:
http://books.google.com/books?id=sxriNt80nqQC&lpg=PA1&dq=aaron%20leitch%20angelical&pg=PA1#v=onepage&q&f=false

-PDFs can be very powerful when used wisely.  A low-quality scanned PDF of your book released for free can result in increased sales of the book.  Especially if you wait to release the PDF only after its initial sales run begins to peter out.

-Even better, authors who release their *older* work for free find that sales of their *newer* work increase accordingly.  Fiction authors who write serials have figured this one out:  the latest episode in the series is for sale, the previous episodes are free.  Anyone who wants to read my older work for free can go right here:

http://kheph777.tripod.com/  (Click on “Writings.”)

-And if you believe that folks will just print out PDFs and never buy the books, think again.  While there are certainly a small number of people out there who do that, the greater majority of people still want a nice pretty bound book to set on their shelves.  When you release a PDF, it will get into the hands of people who would never have seen it otherwise, or who were on the fence about buying the book in the first place.  The simple fact is that PDFs *sell* books.

Now I am aware that most of what I have said here will fall on deaf ears.  I will be accused of “not wanting to make money.”  I’ve heard it time and again for the last decade at least.  And that’s ok.  We are in a new world now, and those who jump up and down insisting that things *should* still work they way they did in the past will simply be left behind.  Just ask any record company executive what happened to their industry when they decided to fight Napster rather than work with it.  (Same lesson today’s governments are learning by trying to fight Wikileaks.  The examples go on and on…)

So you other authors are free to jump on yesterday’s bandwagon.  I launched my writing career with free content, and I’ll stick with the model that works.  ;)

LVX
Aaron

Posted December 2, 2010 by kheph777 in Intellectual Rights

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