The Problem with Pirates

Just 5 days after release, I woke up to discover that the Drop Shuffle is being sold illegally for two dollars on a pirate site. The feeling I have now is no doubt something that every magic creator has unfortunately had to deal with, but since it’s the first time for me I thought I’d share my feelings. Of the many shitty thoughts I have about the situation, three stand out:

First, there is the simple feeling of having been cheated. All the hard work, the filming, the reshooting, the editing, the audio correction, the fact that all of this effort goes straight into the dodgy bank account of someone who did nothing but post a link and a paypal address on their starter kit website does leave a slightly sickening feeling in my stomach. Since we have complete list of every order up till now (and since we’re a small-scale, fledgling website that number is not exactly sky high), knowing that one of the names on that list bought it with the sole intention of stealing it for personal profit is not a nice feeling.

There is also the feeling of disappointment that every future project we do will likely suffer the same fate. It is a little disheartening to know that much of the effort, time, care and love which our artists put into their videos will not be rewarded. Of course if this becomes the norm then there will be no magic creative industry at all. The fact that this isn’t the case means that either many consumers are unaware that they can buy cheap illegal versions, or (as I’d like to believe) there is still a loyal base of customers who choose to support the artists in their creation.

Finally, anyone buying a rip-off version is also cheating themselves. I like to think that the initial investment we put into something affects our attitude towards it. The reason why knock-off Louis Vuitton handbags seem to only last 5 minutes while people keep the real thing for years is not only that they are inferior in quality, but also because they are treated as disposable by their owners. The same applies to magic. You will treat a video which you bought legitimately from a reputable magic site, complete with chapters, downloads and a direct line to the creator very differently to the same thing bought via illegal download for a dollar on a website that makes MySpace look relevant.

As magicians we all have a choice to make. For the sake of the creator, for the sake of the industry and for the sake of your own magic, please make the right one.