Written for the Unofficial Church of Satan group on Facebook
Once in a great while, a person will stumble on to this forum and ask where they can get a "free" copy of The Satanic Bible, otherwise known as an electronic copy (.pdf, .docx, etc.) or ebook. This is probably one of the most painfully stupid questions a person could ask here. This little essay explains why.
- At the time of this writing, the publisher of The Satanic Bible (HarperCollins) has not authorized an electronic copy of the book. Like most books, The Satanic Bible is a copyrighted work. Thus, any electronic copies you might stumble across are a case of copyright infringement, and thus illegal.
“Really?” Yes, really!
This concept isn't really all that hard to understand, but you'd be surprised how many idiots hear this and still don't grasp it. Or worse, try to make excuses and look for loopholes.
No, the fact that the author is dead doesn't put the book in public domain.
No, the fact that you live outside of the U.S. doesn't change the copyright status.
No, you don't have some natural right to be entitled to free copies of other people's copyrighted materials. Otherwise, the concept of copyright wouldn't exist in the first place.
No, the fact that millions of people illegally download things, or that the act seems harmless, still doesn't make it any less illegal.
No, complaining that The Satanic Bible "should be" available for purchase as an ebook still doesn't change the fact that the publishers at this time have still not made the book available for electronic purchase.
No, distributing free copies in the name of wanting to educate people on Satanism is still not an excuse, and more importantly doesn't actually help Satanism. This religion isn't for everybody, which is why we don't proselytize or distribute tracts. If you want people to learn the basics of Satanism, send them to ChurchofSatan.com.
And finally, no, the Church of Satan doesn't make any money off of sales of The Satanic Bible, and still wouldn't make any money from electronic sales either. That money goes to the heirs of the author.
“But what about this other book by Anton LaVey?”
A few of LaVey's works have however been made available for purchase in electronic form. These include The Satanic Witch, The Devil's Notebook and Satan Speaks!. These were put out by a different publisher than the publisher who put out The Satanic Bible and The Satanic Rituals.
So once again, an ebook version of The Satanic Bible has yet to be authorized by its publisher, HarperCollins (formerly Avon). Why haven't they yet? I honestly don't know. But if you find some website claiming to sell The Satanic Bible as an ebook, then what they’re doing is simply illegal. If you bought a copy through them, then you gave your money to some scam artist who has no connections at all with the publisher.
- THE CHURCH OF SATAN DOES NOT CONDONE ILLEGAL ACTIVITYOver the decades, many people have spread lies about Satanists and Satanism. Numerous Christians, crooked journalists, corrupted law enforcement, and sensationalist TV talk show hosts have all claimed that we Satanists sacrifice animals, eat human babies, vandalize churches, encourage the use of illegal drugs, and so on. Through all of this, The Church of Satan has maintained a very simple and clear position: we do not condone illegal activity.
People who think that this stance of ours is somehow antithetical to Satanism, have clearly never stopped to think it through. It's easy enough to dream up some silly imaginary scenario of extreme circumstances where breaking the law is deemed the “right” thing to do. The reality however is that any organization, Satanic or otherwise, who would publicly say “Yes, we condone breaking the law in some cases” is really just asking for trouble. This trouble would not only include getting even more false accusations of criminal activity (as if we didn't already get a mountain of that in the 1980s), but also possibly accepting a lot of criminal associates that we're much better off not having in the organization.
But even in addition to all that, criminal activity simply goes against the Satanic ideal of self-responsibility, and in some extreme cases can go against survival as well. Satanism doesn't embrace hedonism on the reckless, self-defeating level. This brings us back to the topic of this article. Simply put, it makes no sense to want to break the law (in this case, copyright infringement) in the name of a religion and organization that is against breaking the law, no matter how harmless you may try to rationalize the crime out to be. This is especially true when it’s concerning our own literature.
- SATANISM IS AGAINST FREELOADINGSatanism advocates "responsibility to the responsible", reciprocity, and stratification. Many people these days seem to think that they're entitled to anything they can get their hands on without having to work or pay for it. This is especially true with the Internet, with people thinking that if they can find something on-line then it must be free for the taking. Satanists are self-sufficient, not charity cases. Simply put, it makes no sense to expect a free copy of literature that condemns being a freeloader.
- WITH AN UNAUTHORIZED EBOOK, YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT YOU'RE GETTINGSome "loving" Christians and other malicious people have been known to create virus-infected files labeled "The Satanic Bible" and distribute them. Also, some electronic copies I've seen of The Satanic Bible are actually incomplete and often poorly formatted. I even saw one copy that was an entirely different book by a different author, with just the same title. These are more reasons to avoid such alleged bootleg copies and stick with the printed version.
- THE PRINTED BOOK ISN'T THAT DIFFICULT TO GETThe Satanic Bible isn't some rare, out-of-print book or ancient tome. It's a paperback that costs under $10 (USD). It's available for order and shipment from popular on-line stores such as Amazon. It's also carried in most major physical book stores (where did you think those of us got it before the Internet?). So if you want The Satanic Bible, you really have no excuses to not buy the printed book.
Still, people try to make excuses. They'll claim that they're broke, or even simply too lazy to go through the process. Well, if you can't figure out a way to save up ten bucks to buy a damn paperback book, or are too lazy to get up and go to a book store or order the book from a place like Amazon, then I'd say Satanism isn't for you. Not all Satanists are financially wealthy, however Satanism still advocates foresight and making the effort to responsibly get what you want. An act as mundane as going to the store and buying a book should not be seen as some treacherous Antarctic expedition.
- DON'T YOU LIKE PRINTED BOOKS ANYWAY?This brings me to something which I simply don't understand: why wouldn't somebody just WANT to own the printed version of the book anyway? Aside from the aesthetics of owning a nice printed book, again, book buying shouldn't be some unheard of activity for you. Isn't this something that most grown-ups do anyway? Buy the occasional book from the book store?
Satanists on the whole tend to have fairly big personal book collections. The same goes for most bright people in general. As it has been said, "Satanism demands study, not worship", and Satanists by their very nature are typically anxious to explore, research, and learn about different things that interest them. I don't know any Satanists who don't enjoy browsing a bookstore now and then. It’s not that buying books itself makes a person smarter, but you can usually tell something about a person by looking at his or her book collection, and owning next to no physical books tells you a lot about that person. If you think "Barnes & Noble" is the name of a wine cooler, or are quick to tell people that you're "not much of a reader", then chances are you're not going to get much out of an illegal electronic copy of The Satanic Bibleanyway.
- SUMMARY OF HYPOCRISYTo sum it up, this is a forum (albeit an unofficial one) for an organization and in turn a religion that supports self-responsibility, self-motivation, and aesthetics. It also condemns freeloading, breaking the law, and stupidity. Therefore, it would take a truly astonishing amount of stupidity, ignorance, and hypocrisy to come to a Satanism forum and ask where you can get an illegal copy of our very own literature for free.
Go buy the printed copy. It’s worth it.
Magister Bill M.
October XLIX A.S. (2014)
Magister in the Church of Satan
We Are Legion
A Moment In Time
CHURCH OF SATAN!
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