Is piracy bad for magic? The debate has raged on for years, and will no doubt continue regardless of what I say here. The issue of piracy has affected not just magic, but all media. Television, movies, music, porn, you name it, it is being shared ‘illegally’ between friends and peers.
The issue of piracy is much larger than just our little cottage industry, so large that I can’t claim to know all of the issues. Because of this, I will stay focused on piracy in the magic industry; however I do believe the logic I apply here can be applied to all industries.
Personally, I think the answer is yes… And no.
You see, we look at piracy in magic like it is something new, something that only came into being with the invention of the internet. This simply is not so. Magicians have been ‘illegally’ sharing magic for as long as they have been buying it. I personally know a guy who has literally THOUSANDS of pirated videos. From what I understand (I don’t speak with this guy, I just know him), he has recently digitized every video, so they are all on his PC, but prior to that, they were all dubbed video tapes and DVD’s.
You see, before the internet, magicians still copied videos, and gave said copies to friends and peers.
It seems, from my observation anyway, that those that will buy a video, will always buy a video, and those that will find a torrent, will always find a torrent.
You see, the ‘loss’ of sales that companies often complain about is not actually lost revenue; these ‘pirates’ had no intention of buying the product in the first place. If they couldn’t find a torrent, they simply didn’t get the product.
The companies cite the number of files being shared as being representative of lost revenue, when in fact they are more representative of interest in the product. If 10,000 people download a trick, you know that trick is popular.
You see, I view piracy as free advertising. If someone goes and downloads Saw, and posts in on a torrent site, and 400 other people download it, well that is 400 more people that are seeing ME, my PRODUCT, my BRAND, my WEBSITE, etc. You can’t buy that kind of marketing.
What do you think? Do you download magic? Do you buy magic? Where do you stand on piracy in magic? Holler back in the comments section.
Keep it clean guys; lets have a good fight, but come out swinging.