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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Shuffled not Stirred » » Stacks, MemDecks and Fair Use: A question. (4 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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ddyment
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MrEmagic asked:
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... what would be the problem about giving the stack order without saying anything you can do with the order? Take the Redford stack for example, I wouldn't have known how to use it if I hadn't bought the book.

This is why I wrote, "It depends". A stack like Aronson's, for example, doesn't suffer by widespread dissemination. The sequence could as well be random if you don't know why the cards are in that particular order, and for that you need to read the book(s).

A quite different situation occurs with, say, an algorithmic stack (which employs a usually-simple algorithmic method to produce a sequence that meets one or more particular criteria, such as a random appearance). Publishing such a stack may enable others to reverse engineer the algorithm, thereby rendering the published version of considerably less value (even if the reverse engineering yields an incorrect/uninformed solution).

Thus ... It depends.

[All that said, I would still request Simon's permission before publishing his stack. It's his stack, and common courtesy applies.]
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Claudio
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Quote:
On Sep 8, 2017, doug stated:
Tom wrote:
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Do you consider the card-sequence part of your IP?

Is it a secret? It depends; there is no universally applicable answer. It's up to the creator to decide how much secrecy is warranted/requested.

Is it protected? It's definitely protected by copyright, but as in many magic-related things, it's usually not cost-effective for individuals to pursue legal remedies. It should certainly be protected by magic ethics, though in this modern everything-is-free world, the term "magic ethics" is rapidly becoming an oxymoron. With the emphasis on "moron", because few things are more self-defeating.


This all seems perfectly reasonable.


I have a genuine question for you. At some point there was controversy about the emergence of new stacks such as your DAO and others.

I know that DAO relies on some well-known concepts developed, among others, by John Cornelius and Richard Osterlind. Did you ask them permission before publishing it? Do you accept that their ideas and methodology are copyrighted?
landmark
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These are great questions.

The most important answer to all of them is as so many have said: ask the creators. You are obviously part of the magic community and wish to remain so.

That said, the legal issues are interesting.

I'm not a lawyer, but I don't see how a stack sequence would be covered by copyright law. If I write down a 100-digit number here, is that protected by copyright? Books and instructions containing the sequence could be copyrighted, and even arguably a performance of magic that involves the sequence, but the sequence itself? I don't think so. I'd be surprised if there's any precedent there. At best, perhaps there could be a patent of an invention. AFAIK, ideas in themselves cannot be protected by copyright, only a specific expression of an idea (including performance). Patents, on the other hand may protect ideas.

Does the revelation of just a stack, reveal a secret? Well it could. For example, imagine that someone has come up with yet another way to disguise the repeating suits and alternating colors in a Si Stebbins stack. It's a commonly attacked problem, and there have been several solutions. Even if one was not aware that the secret of the stack was to improve Stebbins, it wouldn't be surprising if most people who read this thread could look at such a sequence, and realize the creator's intent. On the other hand, an inspection of Aronson or Tamariz would not reveal much without a bunch of work.

But again, the real answer, in my opinion, is always, "ask."
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ddyment
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Claudio wondered:
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I know that DAO relies on some well-known concepts developed, among others, by John Cornelius and Richard Osterlind. Did you ask them permission before publishing it? Do you accept that their ideas and methodology are copyrighted?

As the name suggests, the DAO stack evolved from concepts associated with (D)yment, (A)yres, and (O)sterlind. The connection with Osterlind relates to using elements of the target card to complete the specification of that card, a discovery first published by Osterlind in connection with his BCS stack, and used by others since then. It is just that, however, a discovery of something that is defined by the mathematical properties of playing cards; it is not an invention or creation, or anything copyrightable or patentable. It's like the discovery of gravity. We pay homage to Newton (as we should to Osterlind) for his insightful observation, but nobody ever had to get his permission to use it.

The connection to Ayres' work was indeed to something copyrighted, and I obtained Mick's permission before publishing the material. In fact, I originally offered it to him to publish himself, but he felt that (a) my contribution was sufficiently noteworthy to bear separate publication, and (b) that it might cause confusion with his own work if he published it, so he encouraged me to publish it on my own. And as many people know, it has become one of the most widely-used items that I have ever published. All of this (and more) is carefully documented in Tricyclic, the book that describes the DAO stack.


landmark opined:
Quote:
I'm not a lawyer, but I don't see how a stack sequence would be covered by copyright law.

If landmark were to consult a lawyer (or even just read the copyright laws), he would discover that it definitely is copyright protected.


Quote:
If I write down a 100-digit number here, is that protected by copyright?

Possibly, but probably not, depending on context (there are certainly books of number strings that are copyright-protected). But a 100-word sentence (a better analogy) is definitely within copyright territory.
Doug Dyment's Deceptionary :: Elegant, Literate, Contemporary Mentalism ... and More
pnielan
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51! or 52! are so big that all stacks are not discoverable systematically.
pnielan
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In academics, once you publish a journal article, others can (and are encouraged to ) build on and cite. They do NOT need to ask permission to build on and cite. Being first to share (i.e. publish) is how Nobel prizes are won. Academic journals are not free, but the profits do not go the authors of the papers within. Many magic books build on earlier effects

But clearly 'citing' would not apply to fiction or music.
pnielan
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Complicated also because, in music, the composer doesn't often publish or sell the thinking that went into the music or the other options that are possible with that combination of chords or the idea behind the music.

Also magic would move pretty slowly if one published an effect using a double lift, but could not tell you what that was. Even with newer sleights, they are often revealed in the "interest of keeping this complete".
magiccube
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Quote:
On Sep 8, 2017, Waterloophai wrote:
"""Is the card sequence part of the secret?"""
Very difficult to answer because USUALLY it is not a part of the secret and sometimes (I know at least one... Smile ) it is.


That's indeed the case! I don't think that the stack itself can be protected, but you deserve to be credited when your stack is getting used on magic teaching DVDs.
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Tim Cavendish
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Bob Farmer is a magician and attorney who works with intellectual property.

He frequents the Genii forum. You might want to ask over there.

http://forums.geniimagazine.com/
JBSmith1978
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Or send him a PM here.
alecStephenson
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On Sep 7, 2017, tom_stamm wrote:
And what is a safe way to share the resources we hold individually? (I'm an old guy and won't be around forever -- What should happen to the data and algorithms I developed around this collection?)


On the above bit: for releasing your software you should use a software licence. It is easiest to use a licence that is already written e.g. GPL, LGPL, MIT, BSD 3-Clause. Understand the different licences and which is suitable for you because once it is released you cannot go back and change it. I used to release software under GPL but now I work for a commercial company I use a different licence for new software releases because if I GPLed it then my own employer wouldn't be able to use it.

There is a trade-off here; saying that you are an old guy suggests that you would like someone to continue your work, in which case you need a licence that allow others to do that.

On the general question....
alecStephenson
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On the general question....

My 2c on the general question: you really need legal advice, and the law depends on where you are. For example, patents for mathematical algorithms have been obtained in some countries but not in others.

Actually a few years back I put up a post on the Café giving a mathematical framework which basically covered every mathematical/algorithmic stack in existence using about four lines of code. It was (correctly, in restrospect) removed by the Café at the polite request of a user (nobody on this thread).

There is a complexity trade off with math stacks, but stacks which satisfy the same or similar criteria are not rare (although they are understandably advertised as such which is fair enough). Given any stack in the magic literature I can produce thousands and sometimes billions of other math stacks with basically the same properties. I wouldn't take up offers of stacks unless the offers are free.
newguy
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A simple procedure:

1) If the "creator" is alive, ask his or her permission and respect his/her answer.
2) If the creator is not alive, try to contact current rights owners (publisher, family, etc) and respect the answer.
3) If it is so early (Stebbins/Galasso) that it is not possible to do the above, credit like crazy.

Why would there ever be a case where anyone needed to do anything other than this?
MrEmagic
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Quote:
For example, patents for mathematical algorithms have been obtained in some countries but not in others.


For a stack to be protected by a patent, the stack first needs to be patented. As far as I can see, not a single card stack has been patented as of today.
landmark
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And... the discussion is also about differentiating whether a stack is protected by copyright on publishing, or whether a patent would be needed.

Some people have responded on the Genii Forum, but I don't know if any of them are lawyers. Various opinions, answers.
"Don't believe everything you read on the Internet"--Abraham Lincoln

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Claudio
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Thanks Landmark. I read the (short) thread and it looks like opinions are divided Smile and are not much different from what can be read here.
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