A Lawyer’s Perspective on Why Copyright Infringement is So Hard to Fight

Terence Ward over at The Wild Hunt wrote a great piece, “You call it sharing but pagan authors call it stealing,” on copyright infringement in the pagan community and more specifically, pagans thinking it’s okay to upload the entire books of pagan authors and sharing it on Facebook.

A Facebook group called The Wiccan Circle has uploaded the digital files to hundreds maybe thousands of books by pagan authors and are disseminating those copyrighted books for free download. I wanted to get to the bottom of it on my own, so I put in a request to join the group. Unfortunately, I still haven’t been let in, hehe, so truth be told, at this point I don’t actually have any personal knowledge of the allegations. I’m relying entirely on Ward’s reporting of the facts.

For this particular post, I want to address why copyright infringement claims under the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) are so difficult to follow through with, from a lawyer’s perspective. I’m a corporate transactions attorney who works in-house at a venture capital firm in the Silicon Valley, so I know my way around intellectual property law. I’ve tried major copyright infringement, trademark, and patent suits in both state and federal court, some of those cases making headlines in the news. I’ve worked in entertainment law and represented independent artists and writers against major production companies in Hollywood, major cosmetics companies, and more. That’s the background context I’m coming from in writing this post.

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On Tarot Reading Ethics, Part II: Third Party Readings and Onerous Clients

Deck Pictured: Russian Tarot of St. Petersburg (US Games)

I started a post series on tarot reading ethics last week and if you missed it, here is Part I on health, legal, and financial readings. I’ll be subdividing the discussion of tarot reading ethics into three parts. These posts will explore some of my personal thoughts and also professional opinions on certain oft-adopted ethical rules.

This is Part II of III, in which I’ll be tackling third party readings and reading for an onerous client.

7/11/17 Update: This is Part II of II only. I’ve decided against publishing Part III. Explanation at the end of the post.

7/18/17 Update: I’ve decided to proceed with sharing Part III, but it is a password-protected post. Please do not ping me with requests for the password. It is made available in closed circuits to those who have access to those circuits.

Continue reading “On Tarot Reading Ethics, Part II: Third Party Readings and Onerous Clients”

On Tarot Reading Ethics, Part I: Health, Legal, and Financial Readings

Deck Pictured: The Awakened Soul Oracle by Ethony

Not one to miss a tarot bandwagon, I figured I’d work in my own thoughts, or at least a few of them, on tarot reading ethics. If you’ve been out of it all month and would now like to catch up on what the heck I’m talking about, check out this recording of a live episode of Spread This, Witches (STW), “The Ethical Tarot Reader,” featuring Allorah Rayne, Chase from Two of Owls, Nico of Scarlet Moon, Ethony, and hosted by Avalon. Ethony then put out this educational video, “Is Your Tarot Reader Scamming You?” to continue the conversation on tarot ethics. Chase also talked independently about the topic, starting a discussion vlog here, “Discussion: Tarot Ethics.” Allorah Rayne added more from her perspective here, on “Red Flags of Unethical Spiritual Practitioners.”

Here’s a Model Code of Ethical Conduct you can download and use in any way you like. A text version for you to edit and revise, and yes you are free to use, copy, or modify in any way whatsoever for your own personal or commercial uses is here, on my Holistic Tarot Study Guides page, under “Advanced.”

I’ll be subdividing this topic into three parts. These posts will explore some of my personal thoughts and also professional opinions on certain oft-adopted ethical rules.

This is Part I of III, in which I’ll be tackling the question of reading for medical, legal, and financial concerns.

7/11/2017 Update: This is Part I of II only. I’ve decided against publishing Part III. Explained at the close of Part II.

7/18/17 Update: I’ve decided to proceed with sharing Part III, but it is a password-protected post. Please do not ping me with requests for the password. It is made available in closed circuits to those who have access to those circuits.

You often hear readers say that it’s against tarot ethics to do readings on health or legal questions. But why? Why are tarot readers discouraged from reading on health and legal issues?

It’s for legal reasons and, as far as I understand it, that’s pretty much the only reason. In most jurisdictions, there are codified laws against the “Unauthorized Practice of Medicine” and the “Unauthorized Practice of Law.” At best, it’s a misdemeanor and a fine of thousands of dollars. At worst, either one could be charged as a felony and carry several years of jail time. To get charged with such an offense would be the worst day of your tarot reading life.

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General Readings and Specific Readings

Deck Pictured: The Dark Tarot

The issue of general readings versus specific readings is pertinent to most divinatory forms, whether we’re talking tarot, astrology, the I Ching, or even in terms of configurations for feng shui analysis. Rather than frame this post as general commentary, I want to talk about my personal approach, and since most of the divinatory work I do for people are in the modes of tarot and astrology, that’s what I’ll focus on.

Let’s start with my definitions.

A general reading is when a seeker doesn’t have a cogent, cohesive question to present for divination, but just wants insight for moving forward at the particular juncture point the seeker is at. For example, a seeker sits down in front of a tarot reader and the reader simply begins casting cards and reporting back what the reader interprets from the cards. Another example is a solar returns or birthday chart reading in astrology. A reading service such as a twelve-month forecast is also considered a general reading. In theory for a general reading, any subject matter that comes up in the reading is game.

A specific reading is when a seeker has a question in mind that is narrowly tailored and will require a direct, responsive answer. For example, the seeker wants to know about romantic prospects up ahead, or which career path to take, or which of three possible office site locations would be optimal for setting up a business. Here, even a broadly-cast inquiry such as “just whatever comes up that’s money related in my life” is an inquiry I’ll tuck under the category of a specific reading.

One more point before we proceed. To debate which is better, general reading or specific reading methods, is absurd. Readers also come with different strengths. No reader is all-powerful. Some excel at the general reading. Others excel at the specific reading. Play to your own strengths. That’s all there is to it.

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Promotional Tactics That Worked and the Ones That Didn’t (For Me)

When you’re running a personal venture that’s heavily reliant on e-commerce, and you’re a small potato like me operating said venture out of your home in your pajamas, with a full face of makeup and nice shirt on only when you’re making a video, choosing which promotional tactics to work on can be hard and–for my fellow professional tarot readers–a very Seven of Cups sort of inquiry. You can’t do it all, because it’s just you. So how do you channel your marketing energies in the most productive way? I can’t answer that question for you, but I’ll share with you my experiences on what worked and what didn’t.

This post will address sponsored ads on Facebook, advertising via your own social media platforms and social media in general, blogging or vlogging content, newsletters or direct mailings, local bulletin boards, and giving away free stuff.

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My Go-To Knick Knacks in a Reading Space

Sandalwood mala prayer beads and a smoky quartz cintamani stone.

My earliest memory of a psychic reading was in Taiwan with a nun at a monastery that my aunt, who is a nun, resided at. (Do I still refer to her as my aunt if she’s now a nun? I have no idea…) When you’re an Asian kid, grown-ups, especially grown-ups of the holy variety, don’t have names. They only have titles. So in Chinese, since we only spoke to her in Chinese, she was Shi Fu, or Teacher, and in English, privately amongst ourselves, she was The Psychic Nun. The aunt who is a nun is Auntie Nun. Auntie Nun is a little bit psychic while The Psychic Nun was full-on knew-your-past-life and knew-your-future psychic plus could-speak-to-the-dead so also medium. The Psychic Nun is referred to in the past tense because she’s no longer with us. I heard of her passing a few years after my maternal grandmother’s passing. It’s okay. She was like a billion years old already anyway and with all that good karma, is off to somewhere awesome.

Anyway, that introduction was way off-track from the subject matter of this post. This post is about go-to knick knacks in a tarot or divinatory reading space. I’m not asking about what you need to get your read on (because inevitably some holier-than-thou advanced tarot reader master will pipe up and say, “I don’t need anything but the power of my mind… I am not bound to materialism… toot toot“)–right, right, we all know that. But I’m asking what kind of knick knacks do you like in your reading space. I don’t need a pink toothbrush for effective dental hygiene but I like it when my toothbrush is pink, so I have a pink toothbrush. Get it?

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What is SEO and How

I know this photo doesn’t convey a post on SEO exactly but it was the best I could do. Your brain doesn’t really care anyway. You just need there to be a picture here. So here you go.

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I’m so unqualified to talk to you about search engine optimization that even the idea of this post is hilarious. My own site is not well-polished, littered with typos, I don’t hire any professionals to do any of anything for me, no fancy logo that I hired a freelancer in Portland to design for five figures, no impressive webpage design, no paid-for templates or infrastructure, just me on my home desktop with a mug of coffee, WordPress login, and access to Google search when I need to figure out how to do something.

Yet in terms of getting my name out there and generating buzz, I think I’m doing okay. In fact, I’m doing more than okay and it’s a total hoot how well I’m doing because I have no clue how I got here. Well I had no clue. To write this post, I did some deconstruction and tried to unpack the path I took to see if I might be able to offer some useful insights on, err… SEO.

Damn, I can’t even type that sentence with a straight face. It’s as absurd as me offering expert advice on molecular engineering. Anyway, take it or leave it, here are my observations on how to optimize your SEO.

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A Comparative Analysis of Fortune Telling and Divination: Free Lecture

Click on image for direct link to unlisted YouTube video.
Click on image for direct link to unlisted YouTube video.

A Free Online Course Presentation

Is there any value to making a distinction between fortune telling and divination? How might Chinese perspectives compare to or inform Western perspectives? This free video (or audio) lecture will examine the etymological origins of the words for “fortune telling” and “divination” in the Chinese language, apply medieval esoteric Taoist texts to tarot reading, and propose a theoretical framework through which to read tarot, as either a fortune teller or a diviner, though the two are not mutually exclusive. We will then run a comparative analysis of that with Western perspectives and examine Western esoteric texts on the subject.

The video lecture is about 34 minutes in length. Click on the below to begin watching. Although it is in video form, you can also listen to it as an audio.

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A $15 Online Tarot Course: Tarot as a Tool for Craft

$15 USD

An expansion on the talk I presented at the Theosophical Society of the East Bay, this is a video (or audio) course that covers how a practitioner of craft might use tarot, from triggering intuitive creativity for self-empowerment, divination, and amplifying psychic ability to communion with celestial contacts, mediumship, and summonings. This is an intermediate course that presumes proficiency with tarot. Subject matter also runs into esoteric and mystical applications of the tarot, so the tone of the course might not be right for everyone.

Also, just so you are aware: the tenor and value propositions of this course goes in a diametrically different direction from Holistic Tarot.

Video Lecture Screenshot
Video Lecture Screenshot

I’m really excited about this course and I hope you are, too. If you are a practitioner of craft, whether it’s just dabbling, still finding your path, you identify as a witch, magician, diviner, medium, psychic, or shaman, I just know that this course will deepen and enhance whatever amazing mojo you’ve already got going on.

This course is not about teaching tarot. I do not teach you tarot. In fact, I pretty much assume throughout the lecture that you already know a lot about tarot. Rather, this course is about deepening and broadening your relationship with your tarot deck so that you can get more metaphysical mileage out of it.

What Holistic Tarot taught was only the first of the five pillars that are discussed in this course. This course will deconstruct the form and mechanics of using tarot for:

  1. Intuitive Creativity to achieve self-empowerment;
  2. Divination to connect to what Paul Foster Case called the Cause of Causes—the Universal Intelligent Life Energy;
  3. Psychic Readings both to amplify your innate psychic ability and to use tarot as a training tool for strengthening your psychic ability;
  4. Celestial Contacts to connect with deities, angels, ascended masters, devas, or the metaphysical force affecting physical conditions; and
  5. Netherworld Contacts and using tarot for mediumship, ancestral connections, or connecting to entities of nether-worlds and other-worlds.
Workbook Page Spread Preview
Workbook Page Spread Preview

A workbook with exercises to help you learn and master the mechanics of such tarot operations will also be provided to supplement the video lecture.

Finally, you will have the opportunity to ask questions and the most frequently asked questions will be answered in a follow-up FAQ video that will be sent to you. There may be multiple FAQ videos delivered to you by e-mail from time to time thereafter, dependent on the inquiries that come in.

Deliverables

You will receive:

  • Online private access to a video lecture [length: 1 hour 15 minutes]
  • A PDF digital file of a 49-page workbook
  • Sub-folder files of supplemental reference material
  • Access to subsequent FAQ video(s) or e-mail(s) [TBD]

Continue reading “A $15 Online Tarot Course: Tarot as a Tool for Craft”