Thursday, 21 January 2021

The seven swords that are killing art

Back in spring 2020 a few artist friends of mine were rallying against an increasing trend in the tarot community: pirated decks. 

Online retailers were offering cheap pirated decks, for which the publishers and artists received no payment. 

What shocked me the most was the number of people within the tarot community who jumped to defend their right to buy cheap pirated decks.

Two artists I admire announced that they planned to stop creating new decks, as they could not financially afford to inadvertently give their art away for free. I saw two exciting projects abandoned, and another deck creator said that they were leaving the field as why should they create art for a community that steals from them.

Friends of mine were attacked on line for defending the rights of artists (and publishers, and agents, and assistants, and all the people involved in bringing creative works to life). Things were getting pretty unpleasant.

People were arguing that they had a right to buy pirated decks and that the artists were ungrateful for the praise they should feel that people admired their art work this much!

At this point, I stuck my oar in, and, although I fortunately have never knowingly had my intellectual property stolen from me, I wanted to stand in solidarity with the artists and those being attacked for saying piracy is wrong.


TA poem about piracy based around the Seven of Swords
The Seven Swords of Piracy by Moti Black, March 2020

The background image is based on a skull pumpkin carving I did in 2019. The image can be found on my RedBubble shop here.



Skull Pumpkin Carving on a RedBubble Cushion


The Seven Swords of Piracy

By Moti Black


Ignorance

I cannot be held accountable for the things it is I buy.

How can I tell if it’s genuine, when sellers always lie?

Do a bit of research, check why it’s too good to be true.

Look at the product and the vendor: assess the real value.

 

Foregoing Responsibility

I am not the bad guy here, it’s got nothing to do with me,

I paid money, I did not steal: my friends tell me they agree.

You paid someone to steal for you, you condone the work they do.

Money makes this market grow: the money that comes from you.

 

Consequence Denial

I get something a bit cheap; the artist gets a free advert,

You’re making a fuss over nothing, no one is getting hurt.

You’re handing money to criminals, and what that funds, who knows?

You hurt the artist, reduce investment, and bring fresh art to new lows.

 

Greed

The greedy artists charge too much, they must be rich, don’t you see?

I can’t afford the prices they charge, that’s why there’s piracy.

Most artists aren’t as rich as you think, and you clearly don’t value their art.

Would you be happy working for free for some self-entitled upstart?

 

Compulsion Disorders

I have an addiction and you have no right to make me feel like this.

Publishers should not push their wares when they know that we can’t resist.

If you are being genuine, please seek professional advice.

But it’s not an excuse and don’t tell others to buy fake merchandise.

 

Faux Ethics

There’re always those silly extras, that come with authentic goods.

I’m doing it for the environment, I’m helping to save those woods.

You could buy the item second hand, or not buy it at all.

Your blatant consumerism weakens your claim to a higher call.

 

The Blithe Shopper

Look, I don’t care, say what you want, it’ll have no impact on me.

To be honest, if I could, I’d be printing art out for free.

For all the artists, can I just say, you are not welcome to our art.

To knowingly buy pirated goods, reveals a truly selfish heart.

 


Unfortunately, things went down hill from there. A facebook group was discovered where people were sharing images of decks for others to print them out for free, a publishing house an acquaintance had most of their books and decks published with went under, and a friend who makes a small income from a couple of niche ebooks found their work in several places on download for free websites.

I saw friends and acquaintances suffer financial hardship, stress and depression; jobs lost; the market for new decks and books shrink; and people attacked on the internet.

In the middle of all this, I was writing my first novel and trying to expand my nascent art career. I was sure I must be crazy, but all I have ever wanted to be was a writer, (or an artist if that fell through), and I finally got to have a stab at it now I was north of forty. So embrace the crazy I did.

Whilst writing The Casa Martyrs, I did a lot of research into psychic protection to make sure the magic system I was creating was as authentic as possible. 

I am by no means an expert in the area, but one night I thought, 'Hey! why not put these two things together and create a little meditation for sending new creative works off out into the universe with a little bit of spiritual protective (environmentally friendly) glitter scattered all over it?'


This is what I created... (Piracy and Psychic Protection)

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