Saturday, March 28, 2015

Tips for Living Wicca: Be Fair to Our Fellow Wiccans/Pagans

A lot of Wiccans will copy & paste lists, spells, even whole articles they find on the web. They want to share it with their favorite social media group or post it on their own webpage. Some Wiccans start a website or blog, and think, "I'm going to look for the best of Wicca on the web and present all that information in one neat little place for everyone! That way I'll get tons of followers (and maybe some revenue to boot!"

The problem is that sometimes it's stealing. 

When you write something original, you automatically have 'intellectual property rights' to it. If someone else copies and pastes it without your permission, it's called copyright infringement. If they paste it without crediting you, it's called plagiarism. Both copyright infringement and plagiarism are crimes. Even if the original content is offered on a free website, it's still protected by copyright. 

You might think it's a silly law because it's not hurting anyone-- wrong. Search engines online penalize writers if their work shows up in multiple places. This is called 'duplicate content'... so when you take Whisper WillowTree's great potion from her website and post it on your own, you're making it harder for people to find her website, and if she makes a living off of it you are effectively lowering her income. 

Not a great way to show gratitude for a person who's work you enjoy, huh?

Same goes for photos, and music-- we should be supporting our Pagan artists who serve our community, not kicking them in the backside when we like their work.

My Tip for You Today: Be mindful and be fair to our Pagan artists, be they writers, photographers, musicians, etc.

If you want to repost something, ask permission. That is the respectful thing to do. 

If you get permission, give them proper credit. 

If you can't get permission (either can't contact them or they say 'no'), then just post a title and a link to where they originally published the work if you want to share it. 

The internet has made it very easy to exchange information-- too easy maybe, because it's made it easy to steal intellectual property. Just because we can do it doesn't mean we should. We are still Wiccans; we have ethics, and stealing (even when it's easy and there's little chance of repercussion) is still wrong.

Let's play fair.


Have you been guilty of copyright infringement in the past?

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