Are spells, rituals, and rites intellectual property?

So as someone who has helped out more than one person with occult websites and stores as I am pretty tech savvy and loves doing research to help others out I’ve had a lot of questions about the legality and market side of the occult.

I’m one who likes to help people out with spells or practices as I have many books to look through for help but then something always comes to mind, do we consider these magick practices the intellectual property of the magician? If you buy a course in some magick aspect it’s illegal to distribute that course out but does that apply to the teachings in said course?

Even on this forum, if we give out a spell from one of the anthologies, a ritual from the GOM, or a practice from a video course is it, for lack of a better term, allowed? as illegal doesn’t seem to fit it.

If you ordered a consultation from another occultist and they gave you info from a BALG boom is that illegal? They are making money, yes but they aren’t disrupting the book in its full form just giving a ritual from it. Almost like if you were quoting a passage of a book in some therapeutic session is that passage considered Intellectual property.

I am not sure if it is defined or not since most legal stuff you see in all occult stores is just “we are not lawyers, doctors, etc” or “we can’t guarantee results” because you can definitely get sued by anyone. If I’m wrong and there is a distinct law that would incorporate what I said above please do correct me.

If not then I guess it’s up for debate. If when a magician releases a book is the information contained in the book (not the book itself) free game for anyone to teach others even if they make a profit on it? I just thought it was an interesting topic.


I can’t imagine why all those things would be considered intellectual property.

I mean, if your business had a particular name, then yeah, that could be it, but I don’t think that spells, rituals etc. would be considered such. It’s like being in a certain industry; everyone has to go through similar training. Some people make a lot of money off of it, some don’t.

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Yeah that is my leaning towards it as well as it seems if there laws in place to stop those individual things from getting into others hands it would constricting and I’m a big promoter of freedom.
I get you can sell another’s book but the question of whether or not the author, in a sense, owns the teachings in said book seemed… not as clear (by a legal stand point at least)


The spells are probably somewhat in equal standing to poetry, legally

I’m not sure exactly the legal standing of poetry (though I should I’m a aspiring fiction writer).

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I’m not totally familiar with it either. Even less with american laws. As far as I know in Finland you just cant publish other people’s poetry, but can use it as material for educational classes, smaller scale entertainment and such without express permission, even if you make money of it. Though I could be totally wrong

I can totally see not being about to post a ritual (or poetry for that matter) from someone else on a blog without the person permission but if you’re in a consultation and they’re just telling you how to do the ritual then I see it more as material for entertainment (would say education but legally I think some things occult based have to be labeled as entertainment purposes)


There is the fair use standard.

For example, you can post a ritual from a book on a blog or a forum (it could technically be called a quote), as long as you give credit to the source, and don’t try to pass it off as your own, or try to make money from it. Anything that is published is usually copyrighted, which means that you cannot copy the whole or part of it in any form without permission, but fair use covers discussion, criticism, and analysis of the ideas and concepts it contains so a single ritual would most likely be covered.

Books are protected by copyright automatically, but most ideas, symbols and concepts do not have any intellectual property protections unless their authors or creators deliberately trademark them. We are all the sum of everything we have read or heard, so it is impossible to not bring up the ideas from consultations, courses, books, etc, because they are mixed with our own thoughts.

We quote from EA’s work all the time here and have posted exercises from some of the courses. The anthologies, however, being books, are copyrighted and the rituals belong to the individual authors, rather than to BALG, so posting them would violate copyright (mainly because to post a ritual you would practically be posting the entire article so it would not be covered under fair use). We had someone on here going around asking people to post a certain ritual from Anthology 3, and it wasn’t allowed so it is not covered by fair use. The rituals in the GoM books would be a violation of copyright as well (because of the original seals that are used).

Poetry is copyrighted, but educational discussion, criticism, and analysis is covered by fair use.


Okay thank you because I’m a bundle of knowledge but since we live with copyright I know I can’t just go posting rituals from others but I can recommend them rituals more or less.

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Great question! Yes and no. You might want to check and see if these spells and other written work is protected it could be, check out the title page or other introductions and see if the author list a copyright number or simply states copyrighted by author or uses the copyright logo. If so the work is protected. Even if the author did not formally copyright his work it is covered under the Berne Convention rules and agreements covered under any published work.

In the United States, since 1978 there has been no formal requirement to mark your work with the copyright symbol in fact, and with the Berne Convention in play no formalities at all. Copyright is created in a work once it is fixed into a tangible medium of expression.

This means once your story, casting, ritual, spell or story is protected the second you hit the “save” button. This saves the formality of being registeted with the U.S. Copyright Office in Washington DC, but if you want to enforce that copyright in a court, you need to register it.

However, copywriting your work is an easy process and you can do it online with both the government office in question or others that provide that service and protects the original authorship.

I would encourage people to put formal copyright notices on their sites it is something that is free and easy to do that prevents a lot of innocent infringement. It may not have any legal standing, but it can definitely save some headaches as enforcing copyright and intellectual property rights and laws and statutes is near impossible and costly.

Is there any chance that an author of an obscure occult text will come after you? I would doubt it. But there are other consequences for plagiarizing someone’s work that could go against you.

If there is a violation of copyright the owner of the copyright may be entitled to damages, penalties and reimbursements if the owner’s work is duplicated without authorization a copyright owner supposedly may be able to get damages and the profits an infringer has accrued. However, if there is no money involved with the copyright violation which is how they add up damages technically there is no suit. The author could still come after you in court by asking for declaratory relief by asking the providor to forcibly take down the online posting of his copyrighted work. But with the huge costs involved that is also unlikely.

The author could potentially get websites pulled down, blacklist competitors from advertising and draft “cease and desist” letters to help scare off infringers. There are many complications finding the guy who is using someones copyrighted work or intellectual property is near impossible to get him served so they would probably go after the provider. However new laws prohibit this as the provider is no longer responsible for various individuals posting online.

Copyright does not apply to names or short phrases. If you are using that for the purpose of identifying yourself or your casting or ritual.

Many simply change or reworked short stories and even screenplays thereby hoping to side step copyright provisions. Writing something or creating it yourself does not automatically mean that it is not a copyright infringement. For example, if you write a story based upon another book or take a photograph of a painting, even though you created a new work, it could be what is known as a derivative work and infringement.

This is a very tricky that simply doing your own work does not protect you from copyright infringement so long as that work is based heavily upon the work of someone else.

Lastly the Fair Use Act. This is used by many students to display copyrighted work for school or in an educational setting. Fair use is a very narrow exemption under copyright law where an infringer is not liable for using someone else’s copyrighted work without permission.

Fair use strongly favors uses that are transformative, meaning that the copy is a new work, one not designed to replace the original, and that the fact your use was or was not commercial i.e. you are using film clips from a Hollywood A List film for a student documentary film on making it in Hollywood.

A know this is long but i think it covers all the bases.


Thank you very much! I’ve always found myself helping with occult websites or sharing the knowledge I know. I’m soon going to be an consultant for one of the websites and I got to thinking what I can and cannot use when helping people. Ex. If I could tell someone a ritual or by law have to recommend them that they get the book with that ritual in it since I don’t own said ritual.
I think a lot about how to make the site profitable and safe from copyright issues but at last I’m not a lawyer just a knowledge tech guy who doesn’t mind putting in mundane work for magicians who might not be as tech savy (which is alright, not everyone is)


The best way to cover yourself if you are using someone else’s work is to give the author credit and list that the information you are providing is for “Educational Use Only”. This will cover you under Fair Use and prevent any hassle or legal issues.

yeah that is what I’ll probably do, Thank you all for the insight!

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