For today’s Witchy Wednesday I was going to feature a couple of nice items that I’d spotted at quite a well-known Wiccan store, but instead I’m going to talk about IP infringement and copyright theft, because it is pretty rampant amongst the in-world Pagan community, and no one seems to be addressing it.
Seek out a Pagan/Witchy store in Second Life and you will probably find some textures there being used on posters, pictures and even rugs that shouldn’t be. Some of the most recognisable names in esoteric art are being ripped off, probably unbeknownst to them, and I’m sick of it.
Last night I received a notecard from a store to announce some new items for sale, and off I trotted to take a look. Within seconds I’d found texture rips of images by artists like Anne Stokes and Lisa Parker. There were other images too by artists I am not familiar with, but you can bet your bottom dollar that none of these people had given permission for their work to be used in this way. They may not even be aware that it can be.
As long as I’ve been in Second Life I’ve seen textures used upon items for sale that aren’t legitimately sourced. It’s nothing new sadly, and is a difficult issue to fight, as I am sure we all know by now. But visit areas of interest particular to those of us of a Pagan/Wiccan persuasion and the volume seems to increase tenfold. It seems that the stores aimed at our demographic just can’t exist without ripping off someone else’s work.
It seems strange to me that the in-world Pagan community hasn’t been more strident in insisting that people take a stand against this, and yet many of the well-known markets and meeting places are drowning in stolen imagery. It’s incredibly depressing. There are content creators in-world who are Pagan and create original content for sale, for example Robin Sojourner, so if she can do it, why can’t everybody else?
And therein lies the rub; despite the spiritual beliefs that we as a community hold so dear, there is always someone trying to make a fast buck. Or in this case a fast Linden. And for that we should be ashamed.
Please, don’t buy from such places. As tempting as it may be, it’s not right that someone can profit from someone elses artistic creations. Even if it is just a few Lindens, it doesn’t matter. Making money from someone else’s hard work is unethical, plain and simple. I’m also mindful of the Wiccan Rede applying to this situation too.
I don’t want to name and shame, that’s not really my style, but I do think we should take action. Therefore I’m asking that as a reader of this blog, if you spot textures and artwork being abused in this way challenge it. Often people don’t think that they’re doing any harm by reproducing works without permission, and feel embarrassed when you point it out to them. But there are some people that just don’t care, and it’s only by standing together and making a point about these actions that we can make a difference. It’s my firm belief that our sacred in-world communities will not suffer through this, but become stronger.
Think of all the original mesh creations and textures that should be used instead, and how they can enrich the virtual world that we call home. A tantalising prospect indeed…let’s make it happen.