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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Right or Wrong? » » Scam School Exposure (41 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Pop Haydn
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How should I select my customers, Terrible Wizard?

Do you have a group that I can trust to sell to? How is this "trust" established? The cheats and thieves are always the first to join such groups. How do you keep them out?

Say, I need to sell 300 units at $20 each in order to double my money--my cost for producing and editing and distributing a video. How do I find 300 people who want my routine, and fit your criteria for being a "selected" group?

How do I keep someone from that group from marketing a knockoff "improved" copy of the routine or black marketing my video?

If I only sell to a limited group, say 10 people, how much would I have to charge to double my $3000 investment?

Why should I not just price my video out of the market, so only the richest and most successful magicians have access to it?
mastermindreader
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I'm sure glad that Harlan Tarbell, Henry Hay and Ted Annemann didn't limit access of their material to a "special group."

I might have had to get a real job.
Terrible Wizard
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Pop:

Possible suggestions off the top of my head (if the principle of selective sales is agreed upon we can move into discussing pragmatics, otherwise it's moot):

a) don't sell to known exposers
b) sell only to those with current membership in magic societies which enforce a no-exposing ethic

"How do I keep someone from that group from marketing a knockoff "improved" copy of the routine or black marketing my video?"
You don't. But they then lose membership and can't buy anyone's magical stuff again.

"If I only sell to a limited group, say 10 people, how much would I have to charge to double my $3000 investment?"
If a magical creation doesn't have a viable market it's better not to sell it than to unselectively sell it (IMHO), but I see no reason why such a highly limited market as 10 would exist for a decent product. How many members do all the magic societies have combined?

"Why should I not just price my video out of the market, so only the richest and most successful magicians have access to it?"
Because I don't think that deals with exposure as effectively as the suggestions above (indeed, it might accidentally increase it as it would have massively increased desirability along with massively decreased availability), and disproportionately negatively impacts poor but ethical magi.

mastermindreader:
There would be (and already are) enough materials in the public arena for any starting magi to be able to join a magic society and agree to not expose secrets. There would have been nothing that would have held you back from accessing those resources once within the society. Selling to a more selective audience wouldn't have altered your career one bit.
0pus
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Quote:
On Dec 11, 2014, Terrible Wizard wrote:
0pus: could you please quote the post where I discussed 'rights'?


To answer that question, I offer the following:

Quote:
On Dec 10, 2014, Dannydoyle wrote:
Creators can do what they like with their creations.

As an immediate rejoinder,
Quote:
On Dec 10, 2014, Terrible Wizard wrote:
Still disagree.

My comment was
Quote:
On Dec 10, 2014, 0pus wrote:
Wow. You think that someone who creates something of value should NOT have the right to realize that value as he sees fit?

Your categorical rejection of /disagreement with Dannydoyle's posts led to my conclusion.


Also, you later proposed, as a criterion for potential sellers, that creators might only sell to members of "magic societies which enforce a no-exposing ethic." I was wondering whether you know of any magic societies actively enforcing their policies of non-exposure.
Terrible Wizard
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So, I never used the term 'rights' then? Because that would change the context of the discussion somewhat, as the word' rights' comes with a whole baggage of legal and ethical theory. So I agree with you that I never said 'rights', nor said anything that entered into that arena. I try to be very careful with my words. Not that I'm perfect, of course, but I make the effort to be precise - and I avoided 'rights' language.

Regarding magic societies that enforce ... Nope. Don't know anything about any of them. Seems an irrelevance to a hypothetical discussion on what we would like to see put in place given that such a thing could easily exist, and such an enforcement is trivially accomplished.
Terrible Wizard
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Let me also add that there appears only two alternatives here:

a) exposure isn't an issue, forget about it - carry on as we are.
b) do something about it.

If anyone has a plan for b) better than selective selling please let's hear it. I'm not wedded to the specific mode of solving the problem, I'm just in favour of addressing it in a serious manner. Or you can try and convince me that a) is best, as Pop has done - and he may well be correct. But I'd like more argumentation first before I change my mind.
0pus
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I agree with Pop.

On your b) alternative, the "bell the cat" posts indicate that the various "somethings" you have proposed are ill-considered, unworkable and call for costly restrictions on the seller's ability to do what he sees fit with his own invention.

The upshot is that alternative b) is tantamount to telling a magic inventor not to sell at all.

A case in point is the Fitch Kohler Holdout. It is only sold at a high price and subject to a formal License and Confidentiality Trade Secret Agreement. They claim that such has been 100% effective, and that the design and training materials have remained as one of the last great magic secrets.

The result for them has been as Pop suggested -- limited sales at a very high price. I assume that Fitch and Kohler are happy with that result. They were free to make that choice. But that choice cannot and should not be imposed on the inventor of the next Color Monte, which would likely require high volume/low price to succeed economically.
Terrible Wizard
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If you believe that to be true (I remain unconvinced, but you're welcome to provide support for your statement 'is tantamount to telling a magic inventor not to sell at all'), then that is fair enough. I'm not here to convince you otherwise, though I'd still like to see your reasoning as I still think that IF belonging to a magic society WAS the only legitimate way to access new magic material THEN selling to members only WOULD be a more than large enough pool of sales (thus high volume/low price CAN be accomplished selectively).

However, if you are not prepared to sign off on the only apparent alternative - 'a) exposure isn't an issue, forget about it - carry on as we are' - then I would like to see what other solutions you suggest.
misterbill
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Selective selling? I am reminded of a Reiss magic kits and books I had as a young kid... they all included somewhere on the packaging or on the covers the following phase: "Purchaser Agrees Not to Disclose Secrets Contained Within." Which I thought was cool... to get this item you were under some sort of contract not to tell how the tricks were done! Looking back on it now, it was patently ridiculous.

(heh... Upon looking at the box for the "Hat Full of Magic," the box art features photos of a little boy performing with the props from the box and the fine print at the bottom notes "Little boy not included" ...)

I don't think that limiting anyones access to marketed tricks, books, and methods will stop the youtube videos and any other exposers from exposing. Making the material that much harder to get will only increase the exposure, because now you are making a big deal about how hard it is to find and/or how super secret it is. Back in the 30's Camel cigarette packs exposed the secrets of many of the popular stage illusions of that time. An exposer if determined enough will get the secret and expose it, even spending his own money to get it and give it away fro free... and with magic methods, there really is nothing to prevent them from doing so. There is no actual law that prevents it. Argue all you want about copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, whatever... go ahead, try to sue the exposer and see where that gets you.

The only real way to keep a method secret is to never reveal to anyone how it is done, ever... EVER! And even that doesn't work if someone clever enough works out how you did it! The next best way to keep a method a secret is to write it in a book... A book! Never release it to video... EVER. No one reads anymore, if they ever did!

All this discussion is merely a pointless mind exercise.

So you get all the sellers to agree to only sell to a certain approved clientelle (impossible but for the sake of arugument lets suppose you pull it off...) and you get the existing world wide "offical" magic clubs (Magic Circle, IBM, SAM, et. al.) to be the ones making the lists of approved clientelle for the "offical magic sellers" to sell to (again impossible, but lets suppose this one happens too...) What then?

Here is what I have trying to get accross here... it won't matter... a blackmarket will emerge and "hedge" magicians that don't give a crap about the "official magic clubs" will trade on it. These so called "hedge" magicians will most likely end up being as good if not better than their stuffy "officially approved" bretheren in the magic clubs buying the so called "real magic" from the so called "approved dealers." Uh oh some of the blackmarket unapproved effects are popular and/or better than the ones sold at the "offical dealers" now some of the magicians on the "offical approved list" are sneaking around buys stuff from the blackmarket too (and selling and trading on it). but if they get caught they get kicked out of the club and scratched off the list! So what? they not only have what they have already bought and access to the blackmarket, which also includes stuff from the "offical market" too. After a while none of it will matter except in someone's imagination And all the while exposers will be and will continue to expose, anyway.

So just do what you feel is right when buying magic. Do what you think is correct with the secrets you have been entrusted with. And quit b!tching about the exposers! There isn't anything that can or will be done about them.
"To let understanding stop at what cannot be understood is a high

attainment. Those who cannot do it will be destroyed on the lathe

of heaven." - Chuang Tse
Dannydoyle
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Why the desire to restrict the behavior of others? Where do you get that power? Until that is answered ALL of the points made by Terrible Wizard are moot.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
misterbill
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Quote:
On Dec 11, 2014, Dannydoyle wrote:
Why the desire to restrict the behavior of others?

It is just the way of humans in there desire to create order, I guess.
Quote:
Where do you get that power?

History tells that that those who have tried in the past have just seized the power by force!

These really aren't answers to the questions but I gave it a shot, Danny Smile


Quote:
Until that is answered ALL of the points made by Terrible Wizard are moot.


His points are moot anyway. Tyrants eventually fall, people rebel when held down too far or too long.

Look I am not saying that I like that our secrets are exposed all the time, but I can admit there really isn't anything constructive we can do about it. And even if there actually were a way, there would be terrible unintended consequences.

So Wizard I guess I pick option A. But not for your reasoning.

edited to add: Terrible wizard seems to be at this point merely arguing for sake of argument. Also I believe (Wizard please correct me if I am wrong) he isn't advocating actually having these things come about (selective selling, etc.), he just wishes that the people doing all the loudest b!tching about exposure would just realise there really isn't anything that can done about it so just quit b!tching about it. I also think though he is trying to make people admit defeat by choosing answer A.

Choosing answer A isn't admitting defeat, it is just realising the way life /is/.
"To let understanding stop at what cannot be understood is a high

attainment. Those who cannot do it will be destroyed on the lathe

of heaven." - Chuang Tse
Dannydoyle
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I suggest buying a donkey and finding a windmill.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Terrible Wizard
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Actually, I genuinely wanted to see a constructive discussion as to what could/should be done about reducing exposure, though I also wanted to see if people who complained about exposure were willing to do something about it (even if that something hurt their own bank accounts, or if it meant thinking creatively about potential solutions).

Do people really think that there is absolutely nothing that can be done to reduce exposure?

I guess I have to admit defeat: there is no solution if the mentality is already settled and people have already given up, and, to be frank, hardly anyone seems to want to think seriously and constructively about potential solutions. I really didn't expect it to be this hard on here of all places.

Anyway, good discussion, but I know when I'm beaten. I won't talk about exposure again here.
Dannydoyle
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Why not think creatively about magic so exposure does not touch you?
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
silvercup
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What can be done about exposure can also be done for World peace.
You, individually, do your part. By not exposing.
That's all you can do.
misterbill
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Quote:
On Dec 11, 2014, Terrible Wizard wrote:
Actually, I genuinely wanted to see a constructive discussion as to what could/should be done about reducing exposure,...

I don't think there really is anything that can be done that would be constructive or helpful.
Quote:
though I also wanted to see if people who complained about exposure were willing to do something about it (even if that something hurt their own bank accounts, or if it meant thinking creatively about potential solutions).


"Belling the cat" as Pop has said... The biggest complainers are just a bunch of mice arguing about what to do about that cat that keeps eating them... any solutions they come up with won't be implemented because that would require one of /them/ to actually go /do/ what they come up with.

Quote:
Do people really think that there is absolutely nothing that can be done to reduce exposure?


Not exactly... what I am saying is that each person has their own choice to make. For me it is to try to buy from ethical sellers, not buy knock-offs knowingly, not try to rip other people off, and not to expose the secrets I have been entrusted with. If we all were to do that, then the risk from the exposers wouldn't be an issue. (yeah, they would still be there, but it just wouldn't be an issue for us).

Quote:
I guess I have to admit defeat: there is no solution if the mentality is already settled and people have already given up, and, to be frank, hardly anyone seems to want to think seriously and constructively about potential solutions. I really didn't expect it to be this hard on here of all places.

No you have it wrong again. We haven't /given up/, our solution is just different from your view of what a solution is.

Also you might want to read the "Tao of Pooh" sometime.
"To let understanding stop at what cannot be understood is a high

attainment. Those who cannot do it will be destroyed on the lathe

of heaven." - Chuang Tse
Pop Haydn
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Another problem is that professionals and amateurs have by and large different needs, values and objectives. Perhaps professionals would want a different solution than the amateurs.

The majority of any magical organization will be amateurs. If you have a purely professional organization, the amateurs would be shut out.

Why on earth would I want to belong to an organization, the majority of whom are amateurs, that might have weird ideas about exposure that completely hamstring an artist?

For example, many magicians are opposed to the Vernon Cups and Balls "exposure" of the vanish. Could I be thrown out of the "guild" for doing a cups and balls routine like Penn and Teller?

Why would I want to put my art as a professional under the control of amateurs with completely different values and objectives than my own?

Can you imagine Van Gogh joining a Painter's Guild and being told how much paint he can use in a work?

It is for the artist to decide what sort of rules he will work under, not some board of dilettantes.

I love amateur magicians and amateur "organized magic," but it is a totally different beast than the work that I do for a living and as an artist.

I think giving any artistic control to a group is a recipe for reactionary stifling of art.
Mr. Mystoffelees
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Well said, Pop!
Also known, when doing rope magic, as "Cordini"
0pus
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If I recall correctly, Tommy Wonder, in the Books of Wonder, wrote that he thought amateurs were in a position to do absolutely stunning magic that a professional could not do -- the amateur could devote an amount of time and expense to a "set up" of an effect that a professional could not introduce into his professional repertoire because it could not be replicated economically and expeditiously, performance after performance.

Obviously, Tommy Wonder recognized how totally different the amateur was from the professional.
Dougini
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Pop Haydn = The Voice Of Reason! That makes perfect sense! Pros/amateurs/hobbyists/collectors all have different goals! Pop said:

Quote:
...It is for the artist to decide what sort of rules he will work under, not some board of dilettantes.


Bingo!

Doug
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