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Topic: An interesting exchange regarding Intellectual Property Rights.
Message: Posted by: Bob Johnston (Jul 26, 2005 07:05PM)
I just received (and corresponded) with a new forum member that PM’d me.

I have removed his name and age references to protect his identity, but I think it gives an interesting insight into how some people view Intellectual Property Rights.

New user:
[quote]
Hi,
I am just starting out studying magic ( a newbie). I love things that involve money, such as dollar bill tricks and coin vanishes, etc..etc. Anything and everything I learn has to be free because of my financial situation. So far, another magician gave me copy of Modern Coin Magic by JB Bobo. I study it and practise the concealments and vanishes in it.

Because I love things involving the use of money, I was wandering if you would be willing to teach me 'Misleading Mislead'? I will not reveal the secret to anyone, and I will practise it religiously. Please?

Thank You.
Wellington[/quote]

My response:
[quote]Why wouldn’t you want to learn it from the video that the creator has available?
Bob [/quote]

New user
[quote]I would love to learn it from the video, but unfortunately, I can not afford the video because of my financial status. Everything I learn about magic comes from someone teaching me the trick, or from the internet for free, or from books from the library.

That is the reason, I ask you if you will teach me 'Misleading Mislead', please?

Thank You.
Wellington[/quote]

My response:
[quote]You are 3X years old and want other people to spend their money purchasing trick so you can freeload them for nothing.

The forum is for the exchange of ideas between magicians not a place to cheat creators out of their fair income.

I can not help you.

Bob [/quote]

New user
[quote]No, I am 3X not 3X, anyways.....I am not asking for other people to spend their money so I can freeload a trick off of them.

But I do beleive in helping people that are down on their luck. And for your information, all my money (from disabilty check) goes to put food on the table and clothes on our back and pay our bills for me and my wife.

I can barely walk and my wife can not walk at all, so when I want books from the library, I call a friend who works there and he brings them to me when gets off of work. If I need food from a store, I call the store and my cousin who works their comes and gets my money on his break and does the shopping for us.

We only have internet access so we can pay our bills online, otherwise we would have no way of paying them.

And I would have been willing to do website work for you in exchange for teaching me the trick. I didn't state that up front, and for that I am sorry.

But before you go passing judgement on someone and calling them a freeloader, you should find out their situation first.

I do not want you to feel sorry for me or my wife, I don't. But the way you said what you said to me, allmost made me turn away from magic altogether. But then I realized, one bad apple doesn't make the whole tree bad!

Just one last thing again, Don't judge someone until you have walked in their shoes, because someday you just might have too!

Have a nice day!
Wellington[/quote]

My response:
[quote]You must think your situation in life is unique.

I live on Social Security alone and am legally blind. I can not drive and must depend on others to get everywhere.

This does not give me the right to steal from people that have taken the time to develop a trick and are trying to make a living by selling the trick.

Bob [/quote]

New user
[quote]
No, I do not think my situation in life is unique. I realize that everyone has problems, and a lot are worse then mine.

If you are truly blind, can not drive and must depend on others, I do not condemn, I actually APPLUADE YOU. You have found a way to live life, and that is great. I know a blind man who actually has a specially made braille keyboard on a computer. His wife reads everything on the computer to him, and he use the special keyboard to type. So I will not doubt that you are blind.

But you are accusing me of wanting to steal and/or asking you to steal from people that have taken the time to develop a trick and are trying to make a living by selling the trick, that simply is not true! I am not, nor am I asking you or anyone else to steal anything from anyone! I was only asking you to help someone who is aspiring to become a magician (me), and who is down on their luck (me), to teach me a trick, to help me on my way.

Let me ask you this...When someone shows YOU a trick, one that you did not pay for, do you go hunt down the original creator of the trick and offer him/her money for it? I highly doubt it! If someone buys a can/bottle of pepsi or coke, or even a cup of coffie, they are entitled to drink it. But what about when they GIVE that can/bottle of pepsi or coke, or cup of coffie to you, do you go to the manufacture of the drink and give the manufacture the money for it? I highly doubt it! I don't know if you smoke or not, but if you do, if you ask someone for an extra cigarette/cigar and they give it to you, they paid for them, but you didn't. Do you go to the tobacco manufacture and give them the money for that one cigarrete/cigar? I highly doubt it! Do you understand my point, I hope so.

In life, you get what you give, not what you can buy! If you don't understand and agree with that statement, you must be a very bitter individual. Now I don't mean anything mean, bad, or hateful by that, it's just simply the truth.

Maybe YOU DON'T beleive in helping a stranger when they are down on their luck, that is your choice, and I will not try to change your mind. I on the other hand, I do beleive in helping a stranger who is down on his/her luck, EVEN IF MY SITUATION IS WORSE then theirs.

There is an old saying that was taught to me by my grandfather when I was just a child, and it has been passed down from generation to generation in my family, it goes like this...."Follow the SPIRIT of the law, not the letter of the law. For the SPIRIT of the law will guide you through life, but the letter of the law will lead you to destruction." I also beleive in what my mother told me from some passages from the bible...."Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" and "It is more blessed to give then to receive".

I am not trying to put you down, bad mouth you, or disrespect you for not wanting to show me the trick. That is your choice, and I DO RESPECT you for that! All I am trying to say to you, don't close your eyes to someone just because your situation is bad, and don't think the actuality of something is the best and only way.

I do not wish to argue with you on this, that was not my point and is not my point. I asked, you said no, I respect you for that. But please stop disrespecting me, ok?

I will leave it as it is and bother you no further. I will you all the best, and may you prosper in life.

Have a nice day!
Wellington[/quote]

[quote]This subject (intellectual property rights) has been discussed on the forum many times. If you don’t get it, you just don’t get it.

Legaly blind is a legal and medical term that means I have very little vision. I type this PM in word at 36 points and copy and past it into the forum. Everything I see is blurry and dark. I still do shows and teach magic, but I do not steal property from others.

I demonstrate magic in a magic shop (without pay) every week. I teach people magic all the time, I have for 45 years, BUT I DO NOT TEACH SOMETHING PROTECTED BY INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS. No reputable magician does.

If someone comes to me after they PURCHASE a trick, and ask for help in performing it, I will teach them without pay.

Your analogy (can of soda) is bogus, you clearly do not understand intellectual property rights.

If you purchase “Misleading Mislead” and turn around and share it with others, YOU ARE A ORDINARY THIEF. [/quote]


Bob
Message: Posted by: gdw (Jul 26, 2005 07:27PM)
Some people . . .
Message: Posted by: kregg (Jul 26, 2005 07:31PM)
"If everybody skims from the top, we all end up at the bottom" CW
Kregg
Message: Posted by: flobiwan (Jul 27, 2005 05:51PM)
Here's an idea. Wellington said he'd be willing to do website work in exchange for being taught the trick. You could always take him up on the offer and, in lieu of payment, order Misleading Misled for him and have it sent to his address. Then it would be no problem if he asked for pointers. This is of course assuming you had work for him to do.

Fredd
Message: Posted by: Bob Johnston (Jul 27, 2005 06:04PM)
Flobiwan:


I do not do website work. And, I would not be interested in working with someone that so completely misunderstands what stealing is and is not.

"New User" somehow thinks there are exceptions to your right of intellectual property rights. I do not.

Note: "new user" thanks me by using my name at the end of his posts (PM's) and it can be confusing.

Wellington

Bob
Message: Posted by: Larry Barnowsky (Jul 27, 2005 06:29PM)
Some in the current generation raised on MP3 players, internet downloads, and Ipods have become rather insensitive to intellectual property rights (some of the older generation too). They feel music like air is free, and once they have it, they can share it with anyone. Quality music and magic both require creative minds. Those who create should be entitled to payment for their work. If it's all given away for free, those creative individuals will divert their endeavors to ones that properly compensate them. They'll be gone and all we'll be left with is more mediocre music and magic.
Message: Posted by: Bob Johnston (Jul 27, 2005 07:50PM)
Larry:
You are right with one note, if you please.

I use (and depend on) my (HP) 40GIG iPod for all my NPR programs.

I have never downloaded any unpaid for music.

Bob
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jul 27, 2005 08:48PM)
I wish the quid-pro-quo approach had been tried with the new guy. Finding a way to trade value for value enhances the lives of both parties.

Nice to hear some folks might have read some Ayn Rand. I hope you also put down that fan of three coins and disavowed all who have touhed a certain "borrowed" coin trick. Likewise have spit upon the Hoffmann books and burned your copies of Expert Card Technique.

Honest collectivists irk me less than hypocrites.

If you really want to swear off stolen stuff, check youself first. When you are done makeing sure you are living by your own standards, then perhaps others might follow your example.

Okay, shower time here, I seem to stink of something.
Message: Posted by: DaveB (Jul 27, 2005 10:35PM)
The problem with his "buying a can of coke" for someone argument, is that you bought a can of coke.. but have already drank it! Yes if you are feeling charitable you could buy him a coke, or go to a magic store and buy him 'Misleading Mislead'(for $24.95), although I can think of several other charities that would benefit more from your donation.

By teaching someone a trick, you are essentially making a copy of it.. or stealing another can of coke.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jul 28, 2005 05:30AM)
If I felt it would truly help someone advance in their studies to know something, I might GIVE them a book.

A trick though? With all the goodies to be found in the library already, it seems unlikely a trick would make a difference. The local libraries have all sorts of books. Lybrary.com sells many classic texts full of goodies too.

Besides, If someone really wanted to get moving in magic, I would give them a copy of [i]The Stars of Magic[/i].
Message: Posted by: bootweasel (Jul 28, 2005 07:19AM)
[quote]I might GIVE them a book[/quote]

How is this different to giving an individual the instructions to a trick? We are after all paying for the secrets, not the media that contains them.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jul 28, 2005 07:25AM)
[quote]
On 2005-07-28 08:19, bootweasel wrote:...We are after all paying for the secrets, not the media that contains them. [/quote]

Hardly, wait till you find out the price of secrets.

What you can do is buy a product in a market that uses the word "secret" to offer some glamour to the consumer.
Message: Posted by: Bob Johnston (Jul 28, 2005 08:28AM)
[quote]
On 2005-07-28 08:19, bootweasel wrote:
[quote]I might GIVE them a book[/quote]

How is this different to giving an individual the instructions to a trick? We are after all paying for the secrets, not the media that contains them.
[/quote]

Two points, hear is the diference.

One:
If you give three people books, you have PURCHASED three books. That is the only compensation the author seeks.

Two:
The trick in question HAS NO GIMMICK. The trick is the secret, the secret is the trick. To share it is stealing.

If someone purchases the trick (the secret) you can help them learn how to do the trick without stealing.

Bob
Message: Posted by: bootweasel (Jul 28, 2005 08:49AM)
Okay, perhaps a little mis-understanding.

The situation that I was alluding to, is where the book given is your own copy. Not an additional copy, bought for the purpose.

In addition, I assumed that the trick in question has no gimmick, therefore written instructions, whether bought seperately or as part of a collection of works inside of a book, amount to the same thing - the secret.

I should have been clearer.
Message: Posted by: Partizan (Jul 28, 2005 01:56PM)
And if said book is in library for public consumption? You look inside and see it has been borrowed over 30 times. This is 29 times that the author looses out.
Message: Posted by: Larry Barnowsky (Jul 28, 2005 03:37PM)
The magic books we are referring to are not found in public libraries. If you buy a limited edition magic book (not sold in bookstores etc) you are certainly entitled to sell it to another magician. What we don't want to have happen (in the extreme)is magic books to be distributed freely in a file sharing scheme like what is done for music on-line as with Napster. It's not fair to the author of the book and it trivializes and demeans the value of the secrets and techniques these books contain.
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (Jul 28, 2005 03:46PM)
I do not think the author would loose out if the library purchased the book. Often I have read books from the library and then after that gone out and purchased the book.

When I was starting magic I started learning from three different books. The stars of magic, Erdnase and close up card magic. I met other magicians and one I was lucky enough to me was a guy from Wisconsin Bob Rath. He showed me Christ's Aces out of the Cliff Green book. I put the book on my must buy list and went out to get it the next day!

Well I forgot most of the routine the next day so I added some stuff and changed the ending. And then to get the performance rights to do it I went out and purchased the book. After reading it I decided I liked my way of doing it because it was better for me. So I never did the routine Henry Christ’s way. But I got the book because I wanted the performance rights.

The point is that I feel that there should be some kind of an investment made by the student for the ideas.
Message: Posted by: JimMaloney (Jul 28, 2005 03:58PM)
[quote]
On 2005-07-28 14:56, Partizan wrote:
And if said book is in library for public consumption? You look inside and see it has been borrowed over 30 times. This is 29 times that the author looses out.
[/quote]

You may wish to look up information on Public Lending Rights. While not universal, a number of countries, including yours, have adopted it.

-Jim
Message: Posted by: oagwood (Jul 28, 2005 04:22PM)
I think the guys fundamental understanding of what intellecutal property is is lacking.

when he said that if you had a soda and wanted to give it away would you contact the manufacturer? of course not, you are dealing with the physical properties of the soda, the can, and the tasty liquid contents.

however if you knew the secret receipe used and the method used to create the tasty beverage and you tried to give that away, you would be in a lot of trouble. while the contents are physical, the idea of combining them and the methodology in the combination are not physical, but are the intellectual properties that the object contains.

bob, I think you did a great job of setting that guy on the straight and narrow.

oliver
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jul 28, 2005 04:40PM)
Oliver, we have not heard from the "newguy". I for one won't take sides in this, and instead post some suggestions about things we can do.

Given that most people don't offer cogent and forthright arguments in casual discourse, there is much to question and discuss in the correspondance as presented. We can use the meta-model to ask questions from "newguy"'s side and still only come to some questions "newguy" may not wish to hear much less answer.

Where I lose some comfort in this is how a guy down on his luck would be helped by that one trick as opposed to so some help getting things together. It takes a while to get a new trick into action, and someone who is not doing well needs to focus upon making things better for their family.

I was not entirely joking in my post about respecting inventors and respecting their intellectual property. Joe's Zombie, Alan's chop-chop cup, my coins across, Peter's wildcard... long list of things that folks take for granted. Likewise outright "borrowing and publishing without permission" is there in the Hoffmann books, the Germaine books and his tricks and Expert Card Technique. What then?

For now my thoughts go to "newguy" who may actually be asking for help to change his lot for the better. How then to help?
Message: Posted by: Partizan (Jul 28, 2005 05:13PM)
You get my point about material in the public domain?
Message: Posted by: Bob Johnston (Jul 28, 2005 07:42PM)
[quote]
On 2005-07-28 17:40, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Oliver, we have not heard from the "newguy". I for one won't take sides in this, and instead post some suggestions about things we can do.

Given that most people don't offer cogent and forthright arguments in casual discourse, there is much to question and discuss in the correspondance as presented. We can use the meta-model to ask questions from "newguy"'s side and still only come to some questions "newguy" may not wish to hear much less answer.

Where I lose some comfort in this is how a guy down on his luck would be helped by that one trick as opposed to so some help getting things together. It takes a while to get a new trick into action, and someone who is not doing well needs to focus upon making things better for their family.

I was not entirely joking in my post about respecting inventors and respecting their intellectual property. Joe's Zombie, Alan's chop-chop cup, my coins across, Peter's wildcard... long list of things that folks take for granted. Likewise outright "borrowing and publishing without permission" is there in the Hoffmann books, the Germaine books and his tricks and Expert Card Technique. What then?

For now my thoughts go to "newguy" who may actually be asking for help to change his lot for the better. How then to help?
[/quote]

I did not solicit this set of PM’s from “new user.” He picked me (and not Mr. Townsend) perhaps because I looked like a nice old guy that would teach him the SECRET, plain and simple.

I am not sure how much more of his point of view one would need.

I think all the posts on this thread have been interesting and noteworthy, but I choose who I help, and I help people all the time. This is not someone that I choose to help.

He taped me after only a few posts on this forum. I thought his ATITUDE would be of interest to the forum members. I did not care if someone sided with his point of view about stealing or not.

He is a long way from being able to see this thread, but if someone wishes to engage him in a discussion on theft, I would be glad to forward your user name to him.

Bob
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jul 28, 2005 08:10PM)
It's cool Bob. Given the chance later on a public thread perhaps we can guide him toward more socially acceptable patterns of behavior.


Posted: Jul 28, 2005 9:11pm
---------------------------------------------
Partizan, if I had my way, the [b]only[/b] thing that would be in the public domain about magic is that "if you want to know more, ask a magician."
Message: Posted by: Lee Darrow (Jul 29, 2005 02:05AM)
[quote]
On 2005-07-28 08:19, bootweasel wrote:
[quote]I might GIVE them a book[/quote]

How is this different to giving an individual the instructions to a trick? We are after all paying for the secrets, not the media that contains them.
[/quote]

Simple. In this instance, the material, the original, bought-and-[aif-for material, has been bought and paid for and given as a gift to the receipient, as opposed to the original material being taught to the person without the originator (or their representing agency, the publisher, distribution house, etc) being paid for it, according to the rules of copyright law.

In the gift instance, the actual trick, props, instruction sheets and all are bought and given to the person. In the taught-to (piracy) instance, the material is NOT bought a second time, the creator receives no compensation or credit for their creation and is, essentially ripped off.

Does that clarify the situation?

Lee Darrow, C.H.
Message: Posted by: bootweasel (Jul 29, 2005 03:23AM)
As I posted above, the situation that I was alluding to is where the book given is your own copy. Not an additional copy, bought for the purpose.

Larry said:
[quote]If you buy a limited edition magic book (not sold in bookstores etc) you are certainly entitled to sell it to another magician.[/quote]

Larry may well be right, I'm certainly not trying to cast doubt on anyone's moral character, just raising a point, but I fail to see how this is more ethical than simply giving away the secrets it contains. The originator is only paid once (when you buy the book), then YOU profit from selling on the originator's work.

You cannot un-learn the secret, so you cannot transfer ownership of it. It's not like selling a CD, when you can no longer listen to the music - I can still perform 'Bold Business' long after I've flogged Kuff's DVD to the highest bidder.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jul 29, 2005 08:04AM)
[quote]
On 2005-07-29 04:23, bootweasel wrote:... I can still perform 'Bold Business' long after I've flogged Kuff's DVD to the highest bidder.[/quote]

You could. Some of us chose to own the sources (license) for any works we use.
Message: Posted by: bootweasel (Jul 29, 2005 08:56AM)
[quote]You could. Some of us chose to own the sources (license) for any works we use.[/quote]

I agree, that's definately a standard that we should hold ourselves to.

However, say for example I bought a book and felt that the contents were not quite what I was after, is it ethical to sell it on to recoup my costs given that I still know the secrets?

In this instance, the author gets paid once but the book may get passed around an entire magic society.
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (Jul 29, 2005 09:14AM)
[quote]
On 2005-07-29 09:56, bootweasel wrote:
However, say for example I bought a book and felt that the contents were not quite what I was after, is it ethical to sell it on to recoup my costs given that I still know the secrets?
[/quote]
Try doing some shows to recoup your cost. One of the great things about magic is that you can do shows - make money and then invest it back into getting more magic.

I feel that if a magician gets a book and gets one good idea from the book then the book is a worth while investment. Are magicians buying books just to learn magic secrets or is it an investment in their magic education?
Message: Posted by: Larry Barnowsky (Jul 29, 2005 09:18AM)
Authors print restrictions regarding duplication of their books after the title page. I've never seen one say you can't sell the book. If you sell the book, you will likely get less than you paid for it unless it's rare or out of print. In that sense the book price was paid by two people.
Suppose a magic club buys books for its members to use (like The Magic Castle). It it unethical for members to read these collective books? I think we have use some common sense here. Books should not be duplicated, scanned, or have the contents placed on the internet for anyone to use. Many people treasure their books and enjoy having a magic library available in their home.
My wife is an avid reader. When she finishes a book (she reads one a day) she often sells it on HalfCom or lends or gives it to a friend or family member. The book industry accepts that as reality and have never showed any impression that doing this was illegal or unethical.
We as a magical community should strive to protect the creators of these works by using common sense, courtesy, and good judgement.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jul 29, 2005 09:31AM)
[quote]
On 2005-07-29 09:56, bootweasel wrote:... say for example I bought a book and felt that the contents were not quite what I was after, is it ethical to sell it on to recoup my costs given that I still know the secrets?...[/quote]

That is a good couple of questions.

I can offer you MY anwsers, and as an adult it is up to you to have your own answers on this stuff.

Whether I sell or give away my property (the book is property) is my decision.

Sure I still remember some of what I've read and may make casual reference or citation to the work when it might help someone.

Let's say I decide to work on something that is in that book... do I buy a copy again. My answer is yes. The license for the ideas etc in the book come with the book. That is my approach to the situation.
Message: Posted by: bootweasel (Jul 29, 2005 09:59AM)
[quote]Try doing some shows to recoup your cost.[/quote]

Sound advice, although the situations I'm mentioning are purely hypothetical (I'm not selling my copy of Kuffs DVD!). I'm just trying to debate the ethics of the situation, rather than resolve a personal issue.

[quote]If you sell the book, you will likely get less than you paid for it unless it's rare or out of print. In that sense the book price was paid by two people.[/quote]

I respectfully disagree. Say you buy a book for £25 and sell it for £15, the amount the information cost you was £10. The amount the new owner paid for the information was £15.

Together you paid £25 - the cost of one book. The author doesn't get any richer.

[quote]The book industry accepts that as reality and have never showed any impression that doing this was illegal or unethical.[/quote]

I don't think that Magic books can be directly compared to novels, because you retain the secrets - the essence of the book even though you no longer posess it.

I still think that selling a magic book whilst still using the effects, is as, if not more ethically dubious than simply giving the book away.

[quote]Suppose a magic club buys books for its members to use (like The Magic Castle). It it unethical for members to read these collective books?[/quote]

A club is merely a group of people with a common interest (and possibly badges and a funny handshake). Is it ethical for me to share my Osterlind DVDs with a group of friends? What if I gave them badges? What then?

Seems like double standards to me.
Message: Posted by: Larry Barnowsky (Jul 29, 2005 02:18PM)
Why assume it was a novel? It could be a physics or engineering book. Say I want to learn how to make a device. I get the info from the book. I sell the book for half price. Only one person has the book. Sure, two have the info. So what. The author got paid for the book. He put no restrictions on the use of it, other than duplication or republications. If he had me sign a non disclosure agreement, then that would an entirely different matter.
Say I discover a cure for cancer and it involves taking a combination of readily available herbs and over the counter medicine. I write a book about it. Does anyone who wants to the use this info have to purchase the book? The Supreme Court has ruled that you can't patent an idea.
You buy a magic book limited to 500 copies. Only 500 have it. You create a new routine and publish it. Mr X who bought one of the copies says you shouldn't have published your effect since it was explained in this book. All copies of the book have been sold. Nobody will sell their's because they feel it is unethical and they still use the material. How do you find out what's in the book? Should you have contacted all authors of all books ever written on magic to see if they wrote about a similar effect. These rules are not only unenforceable in any sense but they lead to absurd results. If you believe sharing books in a club is unethical then go ahead and let the magic Circle and The Magic Castle know that they are unethical.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jul 29, 2005 02:30PM)
Larry, you are correct, we do not have protection for intellectual property in our society. Who knows if somebody found a cure for cancer? IF someone does, and they wish to profit by healing... they will not publish or publicize so they can protect their profits.

If we don't institutionalize basic IP rights, we will very soon and very likely see the "secrets" of magic published on the web.

Any cogent arguments against?
Message: Posted by: Larry Barnowsky (Jul 29, 2005 03:42PM)
Jon,
It's a tough problem to tackle. In the past what's kept the secrets out of the public domain is a respect for these secrets by people in magic who care about the art and are careful about who they share these secrets with. Right now, if you have the money you can buy almost any secret you want. Do we want price to be the guardian of our secrets? I think it has to be a community effort by people who love and resepect magic.
The coin moves that I have used for years were never at any threat for exposure because I kept them to myself and taught them to no one. Now they're in a limited edition book. My hope and expectation is that those who are willing to pay $50 for the book will use the information themselves and wisely. If they share it with friends it will diminish the value of their investemnt in the book and more importantly devalue the time and effort learning the material in the book. If they keep the secrets to themselves, the material will stay exclusive, retain value to them, and remain out of the reach of the curiosity seekers or Google searchers. One can only hope.
Message: Posted by: The Mac (Jul 29, 2005 04:18PM)
Wow! that is a different take on the subject of Magic ethics. I have to say I did feel for the person in question and wouldn't have minded giving him a lecture note or something.

However you cannot give what's not yours to give- someone elses property.

Maybe we should think of magic as rental or licencing-it stead of outright purchase. isn't that what you're truly doing - because you can't "own" the trick. If you did you could limit or even stop anyone from having it.

To the man in question - If you are able to do some kind of work - Im sure there are websites that offer work (job forums and boards) check them out.

And magic is a joy that's only expressed when its shared with others.Maybe you could take the magic you know and actually perform - make money that would enable you to buy more magic.
Message: Posted by: Jaz (Jul 29, 2005 06:04PM)
It's highly doubtful that any magi here, or elsewhere, has not done some of the things mentioned here.

Here at the Café', at magic gatherings, magician to magician, at magic clubs, etc, there is a constant reselling and auctioning of books, videos and tricks no longer wanted. There's also the sharing and exchange of techniques and secrets among practicing magicians.

If I buy something and no longer want it, I'll do what I want with it.
[b]BUT..[/b]I will try to be a selective as to who I deal with and wouldn't sell my magic stuff at a garage or yard sale.

As far as giving up a secret goes I'll do that too if I want to.
[b]HOWEVER..[/b] if it would have to be with someone I know is serious about magic.

It's not about obtaining financial gain by secreting a cure for cancer, which would benefit mankind.

The big difference between magic stuff and a majority of other media and items is the secrets magic employs and how, when publicly revealed, it affects working magi, and that's what should be considered.

Yes, I know I may feel some heat from this post.
Let you who are pure cast the first fireball.

P.S.
If I ever send any of you a PM, do not publicly post it here. It will be meant to be Private. Thanks.
Message: Posted by: NJJ (Jul 29, 2005 10:28PM)
Its all a matter of fair exchange. I never expect anyone to show me something they have stolen unless I give them something I have stolen in exchange.


just kiddin'
Message: Posted by: Bob Johnston (Jul 30, 2005 09:13AM)
[quote]
On 2005-07-29 19:04, Jaz wrote:

P.S.
If I ever send any of you a PM, do not publicly post it here. It will be meant to be Private. Thanks.
[/quote]

If you send ME a PM (a long thread of PM’s) that I think would be of interest to the forum. I WILL strip your name and any personal information from it and post it on the open forum, as I did with the UNSOLISITED PM’s I received.

Bob
Message: Posted by: Bob Johnston (Jul 30, 2005 09:32AM)
[quote]
On 2005-07-29 19:04, Jaz wrote:

As far as giving up a secret goes I'll do that too if I want to.
[b]HOWEVER..[/b] if it would have to be with someone I know is serious about magic.

[/quote]

This “new user” is not a friend that I may want to share a trick with. He is someone that I do not know, that wants me to give him the secret of a new trick that a fellow magician is starting to market.

That fact has been missed by some of the posters on this thread.

Bob
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jul 30, 2005 09:37AM)
I reserve the right to mangle any text I come across in any way I see fit to serve my playful and artistic interests.

Jaz, your line of reasoning is intesting. Add the old quote from Senica and we might have something.
Message: Posted by: Jaz (Jul 30, 2005 09:57AM)
[quote]
On 2005-07-30 10:37, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
I reserve the right to mangle any text I come across in any way I see fit to serve my playful and artistic interests.

Jaz, your line of reasoning is intesting. Add the old quote from Senica and we might have something.
[/quote]

Huh? "intesting"? Senica?
We all do have something and that's our own reasoning whether it's up to anyone elses standards or not.
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (Jul 30, 2005 11:12AM)
Are we all made up of the same mind and our difference is out point of view?
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jul 30, 2005 11:19AM)
Jaz, I'm looking for something to convince the folks at wikipedia that magic methods have no place on public forums. The old Senica quote is good, about how magic intreagues till you know how its done. Add that to your statement about our profession and together they are almost an argument that could sway them.
Message: Posted by: Jaz (Jul 30, 2005 02:03PM)
OK Jonathan.
I too would like to see this stopped but really have no idea how to convince anyone to not make our secrets public. Hopefully you'll have better luck.

Bish,
I hope I understand your post.
If everyone were "made up of the same mind" we would still be in living in caves in some valley.
It's the ones who step out of the cave and leave the valley that open new frontiers.

The world is full of gray areas with pro and cons about many, many things ranging from points of view on religion to what color is best for card backs. We can argue and discuss all we want and may never be in agreement. It's just the way it is.
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (Jul 30, 2005 02:20PM)
Jaz in hypnosis theory and in theology the saying is that we are all made up of the same mind the difference is our point of view. The same mind is often called today the theory of the Universal Mind.

Suggested reading the Magic Of Believing - Claud Bristol
Message: Posted by: edh (Jul 30, 2005 08:09PM)
Glenn, is the the author of this book a plastic surgeon? If so I read this book many years ago and it is a great book.
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (Jul 30, 2005 08:15PM)
I don't know. It was on the best sellers list for years and it is still in print.
Message: Posted by: edh (Jul 30, 2005 08:32PM)
I just did a Google on this and it is the same book I read years ago. This is a very good book.
Message: Posted by: Howard Coberly (Mar 18, 2006 12:04PM)
[quote]
On 2005-07-28 09:28, Wellington wrote:
[quote]
On 2005-07-28 08:19, bootweasel wrote:
[quote]I might GIVE them a book[/quote]

How is this different to giving an individual the instructions to a trick? We are after all paying for the secrets, not the media that contains them.
[/quote]

Two points, hear is the diference.

One:
If you give three people books, you have PURCHASED three books. That is the only compensation the author seeks.

Two:
The trick in question HAS NO GIMMICK. The trick is the secret, the secret is the trick. To share it is stealing.

If someone purchases the trick (the secret) you can help them learn how to do the trick without stealing.

Bob

[/quote]




Hi, Bob,
I strongly disagree with the idea that reselling/giving away a trick, video or secret is stealing. Nor do I believe that it is stealing to teach someone a trick.
A secret, once manifested as a trick, lesson on a dvd or in a book becomes a commodity like any other commodity. As long as I am not selling copies of the items, I am doing nothing illegal or immoral.

There are many armchair lawyers and armchair philosophers who go to google and pick up a few terms from these areas and put them on the forum to try to cover the real reason they don't want their commodities resold: They don't want to lose money. There is nothing wrong with this, please don't misunderstand me but to label the reselling as immoral can only truly be justified within one's own subjective view of morality.

If you want to get rid of immorality in magic, I suggest that you go after those dealers and publishers who place blatant lies in their trick descriptions and then hide behind this ridiculous notion that they cannot tell the whole truth because it will give away the trick. This is not true. I have seen many trick descriptions that were completely honest and the tricks have sold very well judging from the reviews I've seen.

My favorite example: "...at the end of the trick, all the other cards are immediately shown to be different" when, in fact, the cards are gimmicked and the rest cannot be shown without a ds or some other sleight. I have seen this same description put more honestly as, "with further handling(described in the instructions) the deck can be immediately examined". They then go on to describe how this is accomplished.
And please don't get me started on the asinine outlook that "the magicians should know better". Again, this is an outlook that magicians apply only to the magic purchases that people make. This implies that a newcomer to our art who is not wise in the dishonest ways of some
dealers deserves to be ripped off until they begin to realize that there is a great deal of dishonesty inherent in the sales aspect of magic. For all of the armchair philosophers out there, keep in mind that the aim of most philosophical ideologies is consideration for one's fellow man and not caring that a newcomer is being ripped off is not in keeping with any philosophical out look that I have ever read of.

I do not believe in copying videos and selling the pirated copies but there is nothing wrong or immoral with reselling any commodity that one has paid for in good faith. As far as the legality goes, I spoke with a lawyer not long ago who told me that most lawyers who specialize in intellectual property rights say that it is a tough area to understand.

Many magicians have a problem with the internet shops pushing the brick and mortar shops out of business. Well, that's life in the world of big business. Oh, I'm sorry, did you not know that magic has a very lucrative sales aspect?? Or do you believe that magic shops should somehow not be affected by the laws of simple economics: Consumers will go where the best prices are and right now that is on the internet.
I don't care if I buy my invisible deck from a 16 year old kid who is selling from his basement and has no overhead. If I can get it for 3 dollars less than in a magic shop, I will buy it. And this is usually the case.
But, again, magicians want their world to be different. Show me a magician who claims that he doesn't look for the best deal in other aspects of his life and I will show you a dishonest or not very intelligent magician.

Howard
Message: Posted by: Howard Coberly (Mar 18, 2006 12:30PM)
For anyone who read my post before I caught my mistake, yes, I did say "whose" instead of "who is" and all I can say in my defense is...D'OH!!!!!!!!!!
Message: Posted by: Sergey Smirnov (Mar 21, 2006 10:15AM)
I am no lawer, but from what I've heard and read about intellectual property, telling a secret of a trick to anyone is not a violation of it. There are two types of intellectual property: copyright and patents. A secret of a tick is not subject to copyright protection (books, DVDs, VCRs and instructional videos however are), and unless the method of the trick is patented, the secret is not protected at all (otherwise we could all sue the masked magician, right?). Not revealling secrets is part of the magician's ethical code, and has nothing to do with intellectual property. I agree that telling a secret of, say, Asher Twist to someone who hasn't bought it is not moral as this will potentially reduce the amount of DVDs sold by Asher, but legally there's absolutely nothing wrong with it.
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (Mar 24, 2006 11:27PM)
In addition to copyrights and patents, there are also trademarks. Any trick that requires an originally creative gaff should have copyright protection. That is to say, the originally created gaff should have copyright protection; not the trick itelf. It's an original expression in a tangible, fixed medium. Whether enforcing any rights that may accrue would be cost-effective is another story. There is also, perhaps, a reasonable question as to patentability on a trick that DOESN'T require a gaff. While "purely mental processes" cannot be patented, "methods (processes)" can. I imagine that a magic trick, with both a mental and physical component, could be patented. That's a process that requires application, and is almost certainly NOT worth it (as opposed to copyright, which is automatic upon creation, if the work qualifies). Also, a unique phrase as part of a trick COULD be trademarked; Basketball coach Pat Riley, for instance, has trademark protection with respect to the word "Threepeat," the winning of a sports championship in three successive years.


Posted: Mar 25, 2006 12:28am
------------------------------------------------
I think Jay Sankey should get a trademark on "chocolate-covered midgets." (The phrase, not the midgets.)
Message: Posted by: leapinglizards (Mar 25, 2006 07:31AM)
Ok, so, here is a pie in the sky idea to toss out there. Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer

A few comments/ rants

A- Copyrights protect the printed or recorded word, NOT the idea. In other words, if I write a book and put a secret in it- Legally no one can copy that information as written HOWEVER- the idea is NOT protected. If someone copies the text, it is a federal offense. (Assuming they are in the USA) This is true/legal weather or not a person has registered the copyright- though proving you wrote something if it comes in to question can get dicey. An example... I can't copy the text in an encyclopedia- but I can most certainly teach that information to someone else. I can read Guerilla Marketing books, and teach those techniques- but I can't use trademarked names or quote/copy the text.

B- Patents can protect the Sale, Manufacturing and Distribution of ideas/ inventions BUT not necesarily the use of them. Ie... if someone pattents the XYZ illusion- I can't build one for you or sell it. BUT, if I build one for myself and perform it, you probably don't have a whole lot of recourse. Of course anyone can use anyone for anything- BUT if I want to make my own VELCRO I pretty much can for my own use. YES, I could be stopped via legal action but that gets expensive. I just can't sell it.

C- Trademarks are for business identity items such as names, slogans and logos- but they have naught to do with pretecting a magic idea.... Soooo

Why not form an organization, just like those who register plays etc, where one can register "intellectual magic rights" or something like that.

The trick would be that one would have to get the dealers, magic circle, IBM and SAM to buy in on it and agree to sanction, boot out, etc those who violate said rules.

I admit this is not wholey practical- or any more practical than the idea of copyrights and/or patents- but it MIGHT offer a degree of protection and reference as to who invented what.

Bottom line of course, only the Andre Kole's of the world can afford to enforce their rights in courts- so it is up to us to police our own.

With regards to the ORIGINAL post- of the guy that asked to be taught a particular commercial effect- It probably (though who knows given this individual) could have been handled by explaining that: Oh I can't teach you that trick- because it's a commercial effect still for sale by the creator. But I'd be happy to teach you how to do trick X I know with a dollar (or coin.) Or- I have a money trick I came up with I don't mind sharing. or- If you're willing to contact the originator- and ask them if it's OK, maybe they'll give you permission.

Copyright and IP laws get trampled on all the time- it's sad but it really is a self policing thing. How many performers out there use music in their shows WITHOUT paying ASCAP fees? How many folks photo copy a part of a book or magazine. Now adays almost everyone has made a copy of a music CD, Video, or DVD and given it to someone. All of these things are against the law.

In many cases, there really aren't a lot of laws that directly apply to our field since there are not a lot of other fields where the product is ONLY information, and that information is the value. Most of the things of that nature get pattented- BUT- pattents are expensive and enforcing them even more so. And of course, pattenting things just makes them public domain. You can do a patent search for levitation and come up with full schematics of Flying, Gamalo levitation and more.

So, what it comes down to, think, is a matter of teaching and encouraging integrity. We simply need to explain within our books, magazines and media the idea of integrity and promote it within our ranks, without anger or admonishments.

One of the definitions of a "culture" is that there are rules within it that are not broken SIMPLY becaue to do so would meet with disapproval of the members within that culture.

In that respect, we in America really don't have a culture since we base most standards of what is or is not OK on laws and the idea of punishment or liability.

So, perhaps, we should isn'tead promote a culture within our community.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Mar 25, 2006 08:20AM)
[quote]
On 2006-03-25 08:31, leapinglizards wrote:...perhaps, we should isn'tead promote a culture within our community. [/quote]

There you go. Big smile here. Took a while to get there didn't it?

We have the Golden rule in our lager culture. Might want to start there.

Have you considered what is most precious in magic?
Message: Posted by: p.b.jones (Mar 25, 2006 09:16AM)
Hi,
I think that the real problem we have with magic dealing is that we want protection of our secrets yet at the same time we want to sell the secret. this is why the law fails to protect. once you sell the secret it is no longer a company secret!
Phillip
Message: Posted by: Dave Le Fevre (Mar 25, 2006 10:00AM)
[quote]
On 2006-03-25 09:20, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
We have the Golden rule in our lager culture.[/quote]

I'm honestly not sure whether or not [i]lager[/i] is a misprint for [i]larger[/i].

Dave
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Mar 25, 2006 10:31AM)
Yes folks, was typo and spell checker did not catch it.

P.B. those are about three or four ideas you've almagameted into a paradox. If you split them apart you might make more progress.
Message: Posted by: Steve Martin (Mar 25, 2006 10:47AM)
Orignal post:
[quote]...I was wandering if you would be willing to teach me 'Misleading Mislead'? I will not reveal the secret to anyone, and I will practise it religiously.[/quote]

Funny how he thinks it is important to say that he himself would not reveal the secret to anyone. He evidently thinks that secrets of this type are not to be shared, and yet asks someone to share one. That's the main flaw in his request.

As regards whether we should teach each other tricks that one of us has paid for, it simply comes down to respecting the originator and your view on the legitimacy of the marketed trick. I don't think there are any hard and fast rules. Some dealers try to package and market tricks that are little more than simple routines that have been published before, or that rely on well-published and well-known principles. Often they pass these off as something really new, and I don't think that is right in the first place. (By the way, be sure to look out for my new packet trick coming out soon, called "Twisting the Kings" - it's a killer). I don't know for sure, but I have a feeling that "Misleading Mislead" does not fall into that category.
Message: Posted by: landmark (Mar 25, 2006 11:14AM)
[quote]By the way, be sure to look out for my new packet trick coming out soon, called "Twisting the Kings" - it's a killer.[/quote]

That better not be a rip-off of my "Twisting the Queens!"


Jack Shalom
Message: Posted by: Steve Martin (Mar 25, 2006 11:21AM)
No, it isn't. I had my idea first.
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (Mar 25, 2006 07:10PM)
[quote]
On 2006-03-25 08:31, leapinglizards wrote:
Ok, so, here is a pie in the sky idea to toss out there. Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer

A few comments/ rants

A- Copyrights protect the printed or recorded word, NOT the idea. In other words, if I write a book and put a secret in it- Legally no one can copy that information as written HOWEVER- the idea is NOT protected. If someone copies the text, it is a federal offense. (Assuming they are in the USA)
[/quote]
You also get copyright protection in any country that is a signatory to the Berne convention (which is just about all of the ones you'd care about).
Message: Posted by: Sergey Smirnov (Mar 27, 2006 07:57AM)
Here's a thought/question. If I figure out the secret of some original trick myself, should I still purchase it from its creator before starting to perform it?
Message: Posted by: Dave Le Fevre (Mar 27, 2006 08:35AM)
[quote]
On 2006-03-27 08:57, Sergey Smirnov wrote:
If I figure out the secret of some original trick myself, should I still purchase it from its creator before starting to perform it?[/quote]

I am now going into mentalist mode. I predict that you will receive several replies, nearly all of which will say "no". And quite a few of those will be abusive.

I hope that I'm wrong about the abusive responses. But, then again, I'm no mentalist.

Dave

PS - My own personal opinion is that one shouldn't perform material professionally if one doesn't own it. But what a hobbyist does is up to him. I expect abuse for that opinion too.
Message: Posted by: Steve Martin (Mar 27, 2006 09:28AM)
I agree with you - If the trick truly is original in some significant way, then it can only be the right thing to do to pay the originator what is due to him before perfoming it professionally (or using it to make a name for yourself) - whether or not you worked out the secret for yourself.

Whether or not a trick is truly original in some way will always be a matter of opinion. That's where good judgement and respect for each other comes into it.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Mar 27, 2006 10:07AM)
[quote]
On 2006-03-27 08:57, Sergey Smirnov wrote:
Here's a thought/question. If I figure out the secret of some original trick myself, should I still purchase it from its creator before starting to perform it?
[/quote]

Try putting yourself in the shoes of the person whose work you wish to copy and perform. How would you feel if you spent years to get an idea working, were using it to make a living and then and found others performing your routine?
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Mar 27, 2006 10:15AM)
[quote]
On 2006-03-27 10:28, Steve Martin wrote:...Whether or not a trick is truly original in some way will always be a matter of opinion. That's where good judgement and respect for each other comes into it. [/quote]

I treat magic as an art and work on/at projects which have significant personal contribution on the presentation and/or method side. As you can well imagine I think very little of people who copy what they could likely have for the asking.
Message: Posted by: Sergey Smirnov (Mar 28, 2006 02:28AM)
[quote]
On 2006-03-27 11:07, Jonathan Townsend wrote:

Try putting yourself in the shoes of the person whose work you wish to copy and perform. How would you feel if you spent years to get an idea working, were using it to make a living and then and found others performing your routine?
[/quote]

It was a hypothetical question related to the discussion, I just wanted to know what people think about it. Even though I am no professional, I do not perform original tricks I haven't payed for.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Mar 28, 2006 06:58AM)
Does that mean you can't put yourself in their position?
Message: Posted by: Dave Le Fevre (Mar 28, 2006 07:22AM)
Sergey has stated that he does not perform effects that he doesn't own.

And he's said that he just wanted to know what people thought about it. Which strikes me as a perfectly reasonable question - quite often, I have an opinion on something, yet I also ask the opinion of others.

So he obviously [i]has[/i] put himself in their position. He [i]is[/i] in their position - there are effects which is capable of performing but which he doesn't own. I'm sure that we're all in that position. And we all make our own decision.

I don't see why on earth you should extrapolate from the fact that he's asked the opinions of others to the conclusion that he cannot put himself in the position of others. That genuinely puzzles me.

Dave
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Mar 28, 2006 12:27PM)
Mentalist or not, it is better to ask when one has questions.

The moral sense we take from "The Golden Rule" comes from doing what I suggested above, putting yourself in the other person's position and forming some opinion of how it would feel to be on the other side of the hypothetical transaction.

Till one can refer to one's own moral compass for direction, the words and suggestions of others fall upon deaf ears and may even serve as excuse.

Do we really want nine of out ten move monkeys opinion that "monkey see monkey do" is honorable in magic to be our guiding principle?
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (Mar 28, 2006 04:01PM)
Did the person who coined the prhase "move monkey" do so after consulting his inner compass, or reflecting upon the Golden Rule?
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Mar 28, 2006 06:26PM)
[quote]
On 2006-03-28 17:01, LobowolfXXX wrote:
Did the person who coined the prhase "move monkey" do so after consulting his inner compass, or reflecting upon the Golden Rule?[/quote]

No idea. But if the banana appeals, it sticks.

Seems a decent label for those who want to demonstrate skill yet avoid eye contact with the audiences, sort of watching their hands while mumbling or worse, expecting you to care if their pass is invisible while forgetting to present their magic.

Yeah okay that term is insulting to monkeys and apes.

Besides the issue raised was that of avoiding a consensus of uninformed opinion as guide to civic policy.
Message: Posted by: Howard Coberly (Apr 1, 2006 11:17AM)
[quote]
On 2006-03-27 11:15, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
[quote]
On 2006-03-27 10:28, Steve Martin wrote:...Whether or not a trick is truly original in some way will always be a matter of opinion. That's where good judgement and respect for each other comes into it. [/quote]

I treat magic as an art and work on/at projects which have significant personal contribution on the presentation and/or method side. As you can well imagine I think very little of people who copy what they could likely have for the asking.


[/quote]





For the asking, eh....hmmmm. I wonder...

Could I please have one of your 600.00 linking finger rings? Just thought I'd ask.
I actually had a chance to see one and they are beautiful!

On the point, though...at the beginning of this thread, someone mentioned his belief that it is wrong to teach someone how to do a trick since this is tantamount to buying a used dvd or book, which the poster felt to be wrong as it takes money out of the hands of the creators. Well, I was taught a James Swain trick by a friend which led to my eventually buying several of his books. My argument being that sometimes it can be the best form of advertising.

I have to say also that I'm always amused by the professional magicians who claim that they consider magic an art and who decry all of the "...laymen with rabbits on their business cards". They go on with their diatribes against magicians who buy and re-sell their "artistic" secrets while spewing out blanket insults against anyone who does not have at least 20 videos to their name. So, on one hand, I am to be insulted by these self appointed arbiters of what is right and wrong and good and bad in the magic world, while on the other hand, they want the same people whom they just insulted to buy the videos and products that they are selling. Oh, I'm sorry, did someone on this forum not know that the majority of people who buy these items are not the top level pros but the "laymen with rabbits on their business cards"?

So, basically, they don't want their art to be mangled by the masses but they want the masses to buy their art.

Wake up ladies and gentlemen: The pros who sell the products are selling the products for...cover your ears kids...MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If these same gurus really had the courage of their convictions, they would stop selling their wares to those terrible "laymen with rabbits on their business cards" all together in order to preserve the dignity of their art. But wait a minute...that would mean giving up...hide your unwed daughters...MONEY!!!

I have no problem with this in and of itself. But! Don't try to misdirect me into thinking that you hate me using your stuff and giving magic a bad name because of your love for the "art of magic". You cannot reconcile your supposed love of the art side of magic and a strong desire for the art not to be diminished by ..."laymen with rabbits on their business cards", with selling products to those same people.
Anyone who believes that he can is, in my humble opinion, a hypocrite. And believe me, there are many of them in the ranks of the pros.

The mind set that allows for this outlook is the same hypocritical mindset that believes re-selling a magic video or trick is immoral or dishonest but re-selling a car is not. THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE!!!

Now, about that linking finger ring.....
Message: Posted by: Lee Darrow (Apr 1, 2006 01:40PM)
Okay, as a working pro, and someone invilved a bit with the protection of intellectual property rights, let's take a look at that argument.

A car is not, generally, a trade secret that allows someone to make a living through the exclusive knowledge of its operation. The purchase of a magic effect, book or DVD, however, is. You are comparing apples to Apple computers.

Secondly, yes, it IS about money. The SECOND word in the term "show business" is the word "BUSINESS," so please, disabuse yourself of the notion that it is all about the art alone. While the art and its preservation IS a concern (which is why these Banquet Rooms ARE locked off to all but those who have shows at least some persistence by their demonstrating that they can post at least 50 posts of substance here, it is also about ripping off someone's intellectual property.

In this way, it is more akin to illegally copying computer software or illegally ripping music.

However, out of print works that are in the public domain, where copyright protection has run out, is another thing, altogether, at least in my opinion.

Now, if I purchase a book, say Duvivier's book, which is really nothing more than a dealer's ad disguised as a magic book (because all but about two effects in that book REQUIRE you to purchase equipment that HE makes) and decide to re-sell it, then I really see no problem - because it amounts to a catalogue of instructions for equipment that someone has to purchase to make use of anyway - the "artist" gets his money from the purchase of the props and I walk away feeling a little less ripped off.

If, on the other hand, I were to do that with a book or DVD that I was actively using material from in my act, that would be, in my opinion, unethical primarily because I AM using that material and the DVD or book is an implicit permission to perform that material (except, perhaps on TV, depending on what the author says in the copyright statement IN the bood or DVD, of course). Also, it would be pretty silly of my to sell that book or DVD because it amounts to reference material that I will undoubtedly use in the future.

Does that help?

Lee Darrow, C.H.
Message: Posted by: Howard Coberly (Apr 1, 2006 03:12PM)
Hi, Lee,

I strongly disagree with your assertion that re-selling magic videos is different from re-selling anyhing else.
Once a magic secret becomes a tangible object in the form of a video, book, etc., it ceases to become a secret to anyone who pays for it in good faith.

Automobile designs are also kept secret until the tangible object is marketed. At that point, I can buy the solid manifestation of the former secret and I can do whatever I want with it within the constraints of the law.

As far as the magic items are concerned, as long as I'm not renting it, copying it and selling the duplicates, charging people to watch it, etc. I can do whatever I want with it.

The money issue comes into play when magicians who verbally insult us "laymen with rabbits on our business cards" continue to sell their products to the same people whom they claim shouldn't be performing them. This is where I take issue. As I believe I stated above and in all of my other posts on this subject, I have absolutely no problem with the business aspect of magic (beyond the dishonest trick descriptions-see my posts on this subject. I am addressing the blatant hypocracy of magicians claiming to love magic as an art form which they don't want to see tarnished by "laymen with rabbits on our business cards", who continue to sell to these people for whom they hold such disdain.

I would completely respect these same magicians and their art theory if they refused to market their products. At that point they are no longer Hypocrites but people who have a belief structure in place and are abiding by that structure.

Look at Ricky Jay. I have heard that he has a severe disdain for most professional and all non professional card magicians and that is why he has released almost nothing to them throughout his career.

I have always held him as the best card magician alive and I also have a great deal of respect for him for not selling his material to the very people he dislikes just to make a dime.

The world of magicians cannot be held to a different standard than the rest of the world. Because we deceive with our magic does not mean that we can use deception to sell our goods. Magicians should not be permitted the luxury of acting hypocritically without censure just because they are magicians.

[b]Don't insult me with your innuendos that I am damaging your beloved art by messing up your material and then continue to sell me the material. If you really love the art and really feel that laymen are hurting it, have the courage of your convictions, even if it means giving up some money, and stop selling to the "laymen" who make up 90 percent of your business.[/b]

As I said above, I do not mean to imply that all the top pros are hypocrites in this regard. I have dealt with Michael Ammar and Daryl on several occassions to name just a few and can tell these people have true respect for everyone in magic regardless of how many shows you do a month.

Howard


Posted: Apr 1, 2006 4:25pm
-----------------------------------------------
P.S. I believe the only prohibitions posted on DVD and videos is that they may not be duplicated for sale of the duplicates, rented out or shown for a profit. I can resell a car but I cannot duplicate patented aspects of that car and try to sell them.

I don't think I've ever seen anything saying that a dvd cannot be re-sold. If this were illegal, I would think that many of the shops that are now selling used magic videos would be fined. I have not heard of this happening. And considering the number being sold right here on this forum, I would venture to say that ther are many people who don't agree with the morality issues raised by many in the magic world who want their world to conform to different laws of economics than the rest of the world.


Posted: Apr 1, 2006 4:44pm
-----------------------------------------------
P.P.S.
So, Lee, as a mentalist, what do do you think my chances are of getting that free linking finger ring from Pete Biro??
Message: Posted by: gdw (Apr 1, 2006 04:42PM)
[quote]And I would have been willing to do website work for you in exchange for teaching me the trick. I didn't state that up front, and for that I am sorry.
[/quote]
But before you go passing judgement on someone and calling them a freeloader, you should find out their situation first.

I do not want you to feel sorry for me or my wife, I don't. "

I find these statements interesting as one, if was willing to do website design in exchange, well then why doesn't he look at doing website design for money, and then he can exchange the money for magic? Just an idea.

Also, he mentions not wanting you to feel sorry for him, but he does want your charity. Generally people seaking charity, for themselves or others look to make us feel sorry for those we are to give our charity too.

In regards to just helping out a fellow magi, then he should simply be looking in different directions. Looking at furthering the process of getting involved in magic, the things one would need for that can be found at his library and here on the Café. Individual tricks are not the things to be seaking.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Apr 1, 2006 08:09PM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-01 12:17, Howard Coberly wrote:...For the asking, eh....hmmmm. I wonder...

Could I please have one of your 600.00 linking finger rings? Just thought I'd ask.
I actually had a chance to see one and they are beautiful!...
[/quote]
As it happens I don't sell magic. I don't have any retail merchandise to sell or offer you gratis.

However, if you are working on a project that parallels one of mine and you can promise NOT to show my work to other magicians, nor to publish the ideas involved I am likely to give you what I have on the subject and would be pleased to see you develop it into something that suits you and enhances your magic for lay audiences.
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (Apr 1, 2006 08:40PM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-01 16:12, Howard Coberly wrote:
Hi, Lee,

I strongly disagree with your assertion that re-selling magic videos is different from re-selling anyhing else.
Once a magic secret becomes a tangible object in the form of a video, book, etc., it ceases to become a secret to anyone who pays for it in good faith.
[/quote]
I believe there is a clear distinction between re-selling a magic video and re-selling "anything else." If you sell your car to someone else, you can no longer get any use from it. This discourages you from selling it (and if you ARE going to sell it, you're going to probably buy another car), and if you keep it, it forces people who need a car to buy one. On the other hand, if you guy, say, "Double Back," and learn the effect, you can sell it to anyone who can sell it to anyone who can sell it to anyone, all the way down the line, and everyone in the distribution line can make their own sets for a couple of bucks, with Jon Allen recording one sale. In essence, once you learn the secret, you get all of the advantage of purchasing the car, while recovering some of the costs. That's not remotely comparable to the situation where five people own car, in succession. They don't all have simultaneous access to the car. Even with respect to books or movie DVD's, while you can sell the book or the DVD, and relive it in your mind, it's not the same as having the book or the DVD and being able to reread or rewatch it. The "used magic" market allows an almost infinite amount of simultaneous utility, even after the effect is re-sold, to anyone in the line, and in that respect is almost unique. Whether that distinction merits a different legal treatment or ethical model is one thing, but I don't see how one could even argue the position that it's "no different."
Message: Posted by: Howard Coberly (Apr 2, 2006 08:32AM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-01 21:09, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
[quote]
On 2006-04-01 12:17, Howard Coberly wrote:...For the asking, eh....hmmmm. I wonder...

Could I please have one of your 600.00 linking finger rings? Just thought I'd ask.
I actually had a chance to see one and they are beautiful!...
[/quote]
As it happens I don't sell magic. I don't have any retail merchandise to sell or offer you gratis.

However, if you are working on a project that parallels one of mine and you can promise NOT to show my work to other magicians, nor to publish the ideas involved I am likely to give you what I have on the subject and would be pleased to see you develop it into something that suits you and enhances your magic for lay audiences.
[/quote]
Sorry Jonathan,

I was thinking that you were the one with the porper linking finger rings when it is Pete Biro.

But it never hurts to ask.
Howard


Posted: Apr 2, 2006 10:03am
-----------------------------------------------
[quote]
On 2006-04-01 21:40, LobowolfXXX wrote:
[quote]
On 2006-04-01 16:12, Howard Coberly wrote:
Hi, Lee,

I strongly disagree with your assertion that re-selling magic videos is different from re-selling anyhing else.
Once a magic secret becomes a tangible object in the form of a video, book, etc., it ceases to become a secret to anyone who pays for it in good faith.
[/quote]
I believe there is a clear distinction between re-selling a magic video and re-selling "anything else." If you sell your car to someone else, you can no longer get any use from it. This discourages you from selling it (and if you ARE going to sell it, you're going to probably buy another car), and if you keep it, it forces people who need a car to buy one. On the other hand, if you guy, say, "Double Back," and learn the effect, you can sell it to anyone who can sell it to anyone who can sell it to anyone, all the way down the line, and everyone in the distribution line can make their own sets for a couple of bucks, with Jon Allen recording one sale. In essence, once you learn the secret, you get all of the advantage of purchasing the car, while recovering some of the costs. That's not remotely comparable to the situation where five people own car, in succession. They don't all have simultaneous access to the car. Even with respect to books or movie DVD's, while you can sell the book or the DVD, and relive it in your mind, it's not the same as having the book or the DVD and being able to reread or rewatch it. The "used magic" market allows an almost infinite amount of simultaneous utility, even after the effect is re-sold, to anyone in the line, and in that respect is almost unique. Whether that distinction merits a different legal treatment or ethical model is one thing, but I don't see how one could even argue the position that it's "no different."
[/quote]
Hi,

Again I must disagree. I feel my example is completely justified in this instance. By your argument, which is a popular one on this forum, it would be wrong for a doctor, architect, musician or any other educated person to practice concepts learned from books after they sell the books upon graduation(if this is the case).

Again, this is magic logic wherein magicians feel that their world should be governed by rules different from the rest of the world.
I am not a lawyer and I try not to be one of the armchair lawyers who are so pervasive on this forum but I have personally never heard of, nor could I find on the web anywhere, any law or moral belief that precludes re-selling of anything that has been purchased in good faith. Of course, there are laws governing how the object can be used (guns for example)but that is all.

As far a chain of profit resulting from re-selling objects, well, this is something that a mature producer of an item for sale must take into account before releasing the item for sale in a free society. The law allows for the re-selling of legal substances/items in this country as long as it is done fairly and without breaking copyright/ patent laws. If the original producer does not want this, then he should use common sense and not put the item up for sale. Don't sell something to someone in good faith on the part of the buyer and then complain because he re-sells it.

Everything in the history of the world that has ever been sold was once the intellectual property of one person or a group of people. Once it is sold in good faith(as a product) the buyer has the right to do whatever he wants with the item as long as he stays within the limits set by the law.

As far as the morality of re-selling is concerned, I would ask anyone on this forum who subscribes to this theory to provide proof of any legitimate moral ideology that speaks against re-selling something that someone has purchased in good faith and we can argue that after I have read it. Although, so far, I have yet to see any specific moral codes mentioned by anyone on this forum who posits this theory.


I will rest now.
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (Apr 2, 2006 12:13PM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-02 10:03, Howard Coberly wrote:

HI,

Again I must disagree. I feel my example is completely justified in this instance. By your argument, which is a popular one on this forum, it would be wrong for a doctor, architect, musician or any other educated person to practice concepts learned from books after they sell the books upon graduation(if this is the case).


That's not at all the case "by my argument." I was making no comment either way on the morality of the situation; I was only claiming that there seems to be a clear distinction. - LWXXX



I am not a lawyer and I try not to be one of the armchair lawyers who are so pervasive on this forum but I have personally never heard of, nor could I find on the web anywhere, any law or moral belief that precludes re-selling of anything that has been purchased in good faith. Of course, there are laws governing how the object can be used (guns for example)but that is all.


The fact that you can't find reference to laws or moral beliefs that address the issue actually supports the position that magic is in fact different; the re-selling of anything else does not raise even the hint of an ethical dilemma, thus it is unsurprising that it would not be addressed. -LWXXX




Everything in the history of the world that has ever been sold was once the intellectual property of one person or a group of people. Once it is sold in good faith(as a product) the buyer has the right to do whatever he wants with the item as long as he stays within the limits set by the law.

This paragraph does not refute the proposition that magic is different from other things which are sold; it ignores it. Also, the second half "the buyer has the right..." either ignores the distinction between moral and legal rights, or assumes that moral rights flow from legal rights, rather than vice versa. The reverse is at least arguable; I for one, would take the position that legal rights flow from moral rights (as did, for example, the USA's founding fathers, i.e. "We hold these truths to be self-evident..." - underlying moral rights, taken as givens, FOLLOWED BY setting out formal legal rights) -LWXXX



As far as the morality of re-selling is concerned, I would ask anyone on this forum who subscribes to this theory to provide proof of any legitimate moral ideology that speaks against re-selling something that someone has purchased in good faith and we can argue that after I have read it. Although, so far, I have yet to see any specific moral codes mentioned by anyone on this forum who posits this theory.

-Again, the fact that moral ideology/philosophy is not concerned with the issue suggests that the re-selling of anything else is distinct from the re-selling of magic; nobody suggests that selling a used car is even questionable. That fact in an of itself suggests a distinction between selling a car and selling a trick. The obvious difference, which I put in my post and you completely failed to address, is that after the re-sale of the trick, both people can use the trick as often as they want; not so with the car. I did not state that because of this difference, re-selling a trick is immoral; I stated that clearly, there is a difference. Still not sure how one could argue that there isn't.

-LWXXX


Yes, originally a car was an idea of intellectual property. A car purchaser, however, just wants the THING, not the idea. When they sell a car, furthermore, they don't sell the instructions on how to make the car. Nobody buys a car, figures out how it was made, sells the car to someone else in an as-new condition, then makes his own car. It's a poor analogy.




[/quote]
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Apr 2, 2006 01:43PM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-02 10:03, Howard Coberly wrote:...I strongly disagree with your assertion that re-selling magic videos is different from re-selling anyhing else...[/quote]

With all due respect, let's consider the matter from a simple perspective of utility.

Under our law, all drivers have licenses. Also, all drivers are insured. At any given time, a car has at most one driver.

For the sake of this argument, consider the knowlege of now a trick is done as a car, ie you have the full utility of the item. Where is the license and where is the insurance? This is pretty much the hole or hill most in this discussion have walked around.

As a commonsense workarond for explicit licensing, we have material posession of the work from which the magic item is cited. The thing is the license.

By way of counterargument, we can all pretty much agree that just because someone can obtain a key for your car does not mean they should driving it.
Message: Posted by: Mystician (Apr 2, 2006 02:21PM)
Interesting how this discussion has bloomed into a complete examination of ethics and laws. ;)
Looking solely at the original post, and the text of the "Unnamed PM'er", it reminds me very much of one of those nigerian money scams.
Quite pathetic, and not in a sympathetic way.
Message: Posted by: bsears (Apr 4, 2006 01:08PM)
Everytime these discussions get going I'm shocked by how greedy and unfeeling we magicians can be.

As I have mentioned before, I have DONATED magic to youths who could not afford it. Yes, I have given them secrets for free and asked nothing in return. (I was also the recipient of such generosity before I was old enough to get a job).

And doesn't the IBM have a program for giving magic to those less fortunate in other countries? Maybe that has something to do with the whole "brotherhood" thing.

Knowledge should be available. This is why libraries exsist. The concept is that people can have access to knowledge about anything from gardening to surgery without needing to have a lot of money. It's very, very important to the fabric of our country.

Look, I don't think this guy should have been given the secret out-right, but it sounds like he's down on his luck and maybe we could have gotten a few books or used magazines together or something. Some kindness to fuel his interest in magic rather than the bashing, greed, and fear.
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (Apr 4, 2006 01:54PM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-04 14:08, bsears wrote:
Everytime these discussions get going I'm shocked by how greedy and unfeeling we magicians can be.

As I have mentioned before, I have DONATED magic to youths who could not afford it. Yes, I have given them secrets for free and asked nothing in return. (I was also the recipient of such generosity before I was old enough to get a job).

And doesn't the IBM have a program for giving magic to those less fortunate in other countries? Maybe that has something to do with the whole "brotherhood" thing.

Knowledge should be available. This is why libraries exsist. The concept is that people can have access to knowledge about anything from gardening to surgery without needing to have a lot of money. It's very, very important to the fabric of our country.

Look, I don't think this guy should have been given the secret out-right, but it sounds like he's down on his luck and maybe we could have gotten a few books or used magazines together or something. Some kindness to fuel his interest in magic rather than the bashing, greed, and fear.
[/quote]
I think it's reasonable to ask, though, who has the right to make the decision about what to give away; the creator, the person who purchased from the creator, someone else, some combination therein, or different answers for different situations. I could "donate" David Regal's Prophecy Pack to anyone I want, but I could still use it, because I know the effect, and it's dead simple to re-create. That's NOT the same as "donating" $100 to charity, when I'll never have THAT hundred again. It would be very generous, from the point of young or economically deprived magicians, for me to give all of them the Prophecy Pack (or show them how to make their own, for appreciably less than the price as a marketed effect). Not so generous to David Regal, who came up with it, marketed it, demo'ed it, etc. Would it be good for the art, in the long run, if I gave 5,000 kids Prophecy Pack? Dunno...you'd have a lot of new people who would be able to do a killer effect. On the other hand, one of the things that keeps killer new stuff coming out is the fact that people like Regal are willing to share their effects with other magicians, in exchange for monetary compensation. If his sales were cut by 90%, as we all "generously" gave away his trick (or is it "our" trick to give everyone, since we bought one copy, that we can keep using even after we give it away?!), then most likely, the next time, he just keeps it to himself. Double-Back, as an even less expensive effect to make, once one knows the secret, would be perhaps a better example. I'm not against charity; I just think there's a distinction as to types of things that are given away, and as to people who have different moral rights to give them.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Apr 4, 2006 02:02PM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-04 14:08, bsears wrote:...Knowledge should be available. This is why libraries exsist. The concept is that people can have access to knowledge about anything from gardening to surgery without needing to have a lot of money. It's very, very important to the fabric of our country...[/quote]

Ah... but to magic?

And does available mean available to anyone on demand?

IMHO of all the kinds of knowledge, magic should bring the most responsibility. Once given it cannot be ungiven, and once attained, it alters the perspective of the holder away from being able to experience magic.

Sometimes I wonder why folks want that knowledge. It robs one of delight and brings only the possibility of bringing an echo of that delight to others. Such a burden. Why do folks fuss over it so?
Message: Posted by: gdw (Apr 4, 2006 04:05PM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-04 14:08, bsears wrote:
Everytime these discussions get going I'm shocked by how greedy and unfeeling we magicians can be.

As I have mentioned before, I have DONATED magic to youths who could not afford it. Yes, I have given them secrets for free and asked nothing in return. (I was also the recipient of such generosity before I was old enough to get a job).

And doesn't the IBM have a program for giving magic to those less fortunate in other countries? Maybe that has something to do with the whole "brotherhood" thing.

Knowledge should be available. This is why libraries exsist. The concept is that people can have access to knowledge about anything from gardening to surgery without needing to have a lot of money. It's very, very important to the fabric of our country.

Look, I don't think this guy should have been given the secret out-right, but it sounds like he's down on his luck and maybe we could have gotten a few books or used magazines together or something. Some kindness to fuel his interest in magic rather than the bashing, greed, and fear.
[/quote]

You see now, the best thing to do here is to pass on a book though.

There really is no nneed for someone to be trying to freeload an individual effect. these people should be focusing on learning their basics, and from there, heck they can make themselves a self fuleling machine when it coes to magic. Use what they learn to make a bit of extra cash, and all of that cash can go back into the art and expanding their repetior.
Message: Posted by: bsears (Apr 5, 2006 12:19PM)
Lobowolf - I would agree with you regarding the marketed effect. I actually posted in another thread that noone should be making up "in a flash" decks and giving them out. What I was referring to would be ideas/concepts. Not props.
Message: Posted by: Lee Darrow (Apr 6, 2006 06:58PM)
Lobo, I guess that we will have to agree to disagree.

Ownership of the DVD especially implies performance rights. In the music business it works the same way, but is honored more in the breach than in the completion. Most people who use music do not pay the royalties that they are supposed to pay when they use it. Look at many magic shows today for some excellent examples.

To my way of thinking, ownership of a magic DVD where an effect that one performs resides is tantamount to paying that royalty. If one sells it off, one has, in effect, sold off the right to do this. Perhaps not in the strict legal sense, but certainly in the moral sense.

Unfortunately, too few people worry about that angle these days.

As to the end of your post where you accuse me of making a statement about someone destroying the purity of our art or somesuch, I never made any such statement. Sorry, but that spin fails.

And as far as my selling to anyone, well, I haven't lectured but to a small coterie of Chicago magicians, ever and sold perhaps only a half-dozen sets of lecture notes. I hardly call my ebook on Safety for Stage Hypnotists or the companion ebook Backstage Considerations for Stage Hypnotists to fall into the same category as the magical secrets that you are discussing as no performance work is discussed in either of those books and they are available only to working professionals and certified hypnotists, students and members of professional hypnosis organizations.

Sincerely,

Lee Darrow, C.H.
Message: Posted by: bloodyjack (Apr 6, 2006 08:01PM)
I am so tired of this argument its the people that *** out the magic secrets that are destroying magic as an art form. There use to be a time were these things were held secret and passed from the older magician to his younger prodigy for the good of the art, but now days every tom dick and harry wants to make money selling secrets to anyone with the money to spend.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Apr 6, 2006 08:35PM)
Tom, Dick and Harry are welcome to their tricks and the works of any foolish enough to buy from or sell to them.

Others have taken their stuff private.

If the payoff of offering one's work in a free public market is seeing those works reduced from art to trivia and then watching as hundreds download your work as "feature of the week".. that's too high a price for fame as far as I'm concerned.
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (Apr 6, 2006 09:52PM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-06 19:58, Lee Darrow wrote:
Lobo, I guess that we will have to agree to disagree.

Ownership of the DVD especially implies performance rights. In the music business it works the same way, but is honored more in the breach than in the completion. Most people who use music do not pay the royalties that they are supposed to pay when they use it. Look at many magic shows today for some excellent examples.

To my way of thinking, ownership of a magic DVD where an effect that one performs resides is tantamount to paying that royalty. If one sells it off, one has, in effect, sold off the right to do this. Perhaps not in the strict legal sense, but certainly in the moral sense.

Unfortunately, too few people worry about that angle these days.

As to the end of your post where you accuse me of making a statement about someone destroying the purity of our art or somesuch, I never made any such statement. Sorry, but that spin fails.

And as far as my selling to anyone, well, I haven't lectured but to a small coterie of Chicago magicians, ever and sold perhaps only a half-dozen sets of lecture notes. I hardly call my ebook on Safety for Stage Hypnotists or the companion ebook Backstage Considerations for Stage Hypnotists to fall into the same category as the magical secrets that you are discussing as no performance work is discussed in either of those books and they are available only to working professionals and certified hypnotists, students and members of professional hypnosis organizations.

Sincerely,

Lee Darrow, C.H.
[/quote]
Lee -

I don't believe I'm the one you're agreeing to disagree with. My initial (and subsequent) posting(s) on this topic were in SUPPORT of your contention that buying a magic video is different from buying a car. I believe that there's a strong moral distinction. Also, I never accused you of making a statement about anyone's destroying the purity of art. Perhaps all the quotes within quotes within quotes confused the issue.
Message: Posted by: jimtron (Apr 6, 2006 11:25PM)
[quote]There use to be a time were these things were held secret and passed from the older magician to his younger prodigy for the good of the art, but now days every tom dick and harry wants to make money selling secrets to anyone with the money to spend. [/quote]

Haven't all, or almost all, magic stores sold effects to anyone willing to pay, for at least half a century? Did Abbot's or Tannen's or Magic Inc. ever restrict sales to the "entitled" few? Wasn't anyone with the dough free to buy Scarne on Cards, or 13 Steps, or Royal Road to Card Magic?

Also, as far as the market today--do you have any issues with L&L Publishing, or Dover Books, or any online or brick and mortar stores? Because they're all, with few or no exceptions, selling to anyone willing to pay. There are people today, like always, who keep their effects to themselves, or only tell a select few. But there has always been an open market of magic books and effects. It's just that it's maybe bigger now, and certainly easier to access with the Internet. But there have been big mail order magic stores for many decades.

If you think it's wrong to sell magic to anyone willing to pay, who do you blame for that?
Message: Posted by: bloodyjack (Apr 7, 2006 12:01PM)
I blame it on 2 things one is the Internet it’s just too easy to find information now
The other is there is not enough places for real magicians to perform anymore because its not very popular with the public.
In fact a very small elite group takes all the big buck magician jobs.
That leaves a lot of talented magicians left with no way of making an decent income other than peddling secrets to the wanna bees by making DVD’s, marketing stuff and doing lecture tours. Magic is in a very sorry state of affairs and the more these once closely guarded methods are out there the less popular magic will become to the general public. The only winners are the secret peddlers because there are enough wanna bees out there to buy most of the rubbish that’s marketed. The sad thing is I had moved to mentalism thinking it was the last bastion but unfortunately it to is going the same way.
Message: Posted by: Howard Coberly (Apr 8, 2006 10:22AM)
Interesting and thought provoking arguments to the contrary aside, I have to stand by my argument that re-selling magic videos/items is in no way immmoral or illegal.

I must also strongly disagree with those who believe that an idea, once it becomes a tangible and marketable item and is, in fact, marketed, regardless of the medium of compilation, is different from any other marketed item. It is not.

There is no differenc between re-selling a trick and re-selling anything else. I appreciate the arguments to the contrary, but in my opinion, they are not compelling enough to sway my outlook on this subject. I categorize these arguments as "Magicians Logic". They are rooted in a belief that the world of the magician should be subject to different rules of morality and economics than the rest of the world.
Many magic producers believe that it's justified to blatantly lie in their trick descriptions when, in fact, they are actually only rationalizing what IS immoral, by claiming that they cannot tell the entire truth without giving away the trick.
This, again, is "Magicians Logic"...It's okay to be deceptive in my advertising because I make my living being deceptive.

For those people who believe that this turnover of magic videos/tricks, etc is damaging the art of magic which they love so much..I have to ask why they continue to put the material out?
It's simple. They are putting the desire and necessity to make money over their love of the art. If I felt that material that I was putting out was being misused in such a way as to damage the art for which I have so much respect (and I do)then I would stop putting the material out. See my other posts on the hypocrisy of selling your wares to people whom you deem unworthy to perform it...ie., "laymen with rabbits on their business cards"

Morality is, in large part, subjective. This argument will always exist. Look on the sales section of this forum if you do not agree. Everyone has his own opinion regarding the re-selling of magic video, tricks, etc.

Personally, I feel magic would benefit more if we were to concentrate our moral magnifying glasses on those magicians who are selling junk items with dishonest trick descriptions rather than on the issue of re-selling. This, I believe, more than anything else, is hurting the art of magic as well as leading to the very turnover that many of you seem to hate so much. We still have to go by trick descriptions when buying magic items and please don't assault me with the ludicrous and shameful belief that "we should know better" as this argument is nothing more than an insult to the intelligence of magicians as a whole and is the strongest example of Magicians' Logic that there is.

Howard
Message: Posted by: Howard Coberly (Apr 8, 2006 11:02AM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-06 19:58, Lee Darrow wrote:
Lobo, I guess that we will have to agree to disagree.

Ownership of the DVD especially implies performance rights. In the music business it works the same way, but is honored more in the breach than in the completion. Most people who use music do not pay the royalties that they are supposed to pay when they use it. Look at many magic shows today for some excellent examples.

To my way of thinking, ownership of a magic DVD where an effect that one performs resides is tantamount to paying that royalty. If one sells it off, one has, in effect, sold off the right to do this. Perhaps not in the strict legal sense, but certainly in the moral sense.

Unfortunately, too few people worry about that angle these days.

As to the end of your post where you accuse me of making a statement about someone destroying the purity of our art or somesuch, I never made any such statement. Sorry, but that spin fails.

And as far as my selling to anyone, well, I haven't lectured but to a small coterie of Chicago magicians, ever and sold perhaps only a half-dozen sets of lecture notes. I hardly call my ebook on Safety for Stage Hypnotists or the companion ebook Backstage Considerations for Stage Hypnotists to fall into the same category as the magical secrets that you are discussing as no performance work is discussed in either of those books and they are available only to working professionals and certified hypnotists, students and members of professional hypnosis organizations.

Sincerely,

Lee Darrow, C.H.
[/quote]
Hi, Lee,

Once again, I have to disagree with your assertion that it is immoral to continue to perform a trick learned from a book or video once you no longer own said item. This is tantamount to saying that it is immoral to work as a CPA if you no longer own your college accounting books or as a dentist if you've sold off your books from dental school. Many magicians will argue this based on "Magicians Logic" but I have to stand by it as the strongest argument against the perceived immorality of re-selling.
By the same token, I disagree with the often asserted belief that it is immoral to teach someone a trick that I learned from a video or book. By this logic, it would also be immoral for me to teach you how to bake brownies using a technique that I learned from a cookbook that I had purchased. Yes, I know...but keep in mind " extreme examples destroy perfect arguments"
There is nothing immoral in passing knowledge of any kind on to another person that you learned from a source that you paid for in good faith.

As an example of how misguided many people are concerning morality in magic I have to mention something that happened to me recently.

I purchased a trick from someone on this forum and this person included a section from an e-book concerning this trick. I wrote to the person asking if he would consider selling another section of the e book separately from the rest to which he responded that he could not do that because "this was not his property to re-sell".
So, basically, this person feels it morally acceptable to sell the trick, and to give away the portion of the e-book but then asserts that he does not have the moral right to sell another section of the ebook.

My point here is that morality in any walk of life is largely subjective and that many people on this forum won't take the time to study the issue of morality or the philosophy behind it. They will, for the most part, just allow themselves to be swayed one way or the other by the arguments posted on the forum, many by people who rationalize their moral beliefs based on their desire to make money and will never make their own decisions.

Howard
Message: Posted by: Dave Le Fevre (Apr 8, 2006 11:43AM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-08 12:02, Howard Coberly wrote
This is tantamount to saying that it is immoral to work as a CPA if you no longer own your college accounting books or as a dentist if you've sold off your books from dental school.
[/quote]
That's an interesting point, and my initial reaction was to agree with you.

But think about it. I went to university, I got my degree, I got the letters after my name (though I don't think I've [i]ever[/i] written them there). And that entitles me to whatever having that degree entitles me (not a lot, in fact). Owning or not owning any of the text books isn't relevant in any way.

And the equivalent qualification in conjuring is owning the effect. If you buy the book, you own the right to perform the effect. Once you sell the book, you no longer have that right.

But it isn't as simple as that, is it? For the sake of argument, I buy a book telling me how to fix some piece of hardware or other. After fixing several such pieces of hardware, I now know how to do it, and so I sell the book. Does that mean that I should now no longer fix such pieces of hardware (either for my own purposes or professionally)? - no, of course it doesn't.

But the difference in the conjuring world is that owning the book not only tells you how to perform the effect, it also (usually) gives you performance rights. And without those performance rights, it's arguable whether or not you should perform the effect. And that argument will run and run, and is also subject to each person's own personal principles. Some people's principles are that if you know how to perform it you're entitled to do so, whereas others hold that if you know how to perform it you're entitled to do so but not professionally. And there are some who wouldn't even perform it at a hobbyist level if they didn't own it.

And that's all well and good. The problem starts when people feel entitled to enforce their own personal principles on others.

Dave
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Apr 8, 2006 11:45AM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-08 11:22, Howard Coberly wrote:...hypocrisy of selling your wares to people whom you deem unworthy to perform it...ie., "laymen with rabbits on their business cards"...[/quote]

It gets worse Howard, some publish ideas not their own and have taken the unpublished secrets of others into print.

And our literature and culture lauds those who do so.

It's not the hypocrisy that bothers me so much as the arrogance and destruction this practice brings to both magicdom and our larger society's ability to enjoy magic.
Message: Posted by: Howard Coberly (Apr 8, 2006 12:38PM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-08 12:43, Dave Le Fevre wrote:
[quote]
On 2006-04-08 12:02, Howard Coberly wrote
This is tantamount to saying that it is immoral to work as a CPA if you no longer own your college accounting books or as a dentist if you've sold off your books from dental school.[/quote]

That's an interesting point, and my initial reaction was to agree with you.

But think about it. I went to university, I got my degree, I got the letters after my name (though I don't think I've [i]ever[/i] written them there). And that entitles me to whatever having that degree entitles me (not a lot, in fact). Owning or not owning any of the text books isn't relevant in any way.

And the equivalent qualification in conjuring is owning the effect. If you buy the book, you own the right to perform the effect. Once you sell the book, you no longer have that right.

But it isn't as simple as that, is it? For the sake of argument, I buy a book telling me how to fix some piece of hardware or other. After fixing several such pieces of hardware, I now know how to do it, and so I sell the book. Does that mean that I should now no longer fix such pieces of hardware (either for my own purposes or professionally)? - no, of course it doesn't.

But the difference in the conjuring world is that owning the book not only tells you how to perform the effect, it also (usually) gives you performance rights. And without those performance rights, it's arguable whether or not you should perform the effect. And that argument will run and run, and is also subject to each person's own personal principles. Some people's principles are that if you know how to perform it you're entitled to do so, whereas others hold that if you know how to perform it you're entitled to do so but not professionally. And there are some who wouldn't even perform it at a hobbyist level if they didn't own it.

And that's all well and good. The problem starts when people feel entitled to enforce their own personal principles on others.

Dave
[/quote]
Hi, Dave,

Thanks for the response. I enjoyed reading it.

As far as the letters after one's name are concerned, I would have to argue that the letters, in and of themselves, don't entitle the college graduate to anything. They simply show that he/she has completed coursework leading to the degree.

I would have to stand by my assertion in this example because we are talking about possession and re-selling of the media from which the information/tricks were learned, not any symbols verifying that we have learned the same.

A degree in medicine simply means that I completed the coursework, not that I have the right to practice medicine, at least, not until I pass the boards and complete residency, etc. (See the number of malpractice suits in this country)(And no. I'm not a doctor...nor do I play one on T.V.)

When I buy a magic video, I am, in my opinion, buying the right to perform those tricks and to re-sell the video which I paid for in good faith. I do not relinquish the right to perform the tricks after I sell the video any more than a lawyer relinquishes his right to practice law if he sells off all of his text books.

You are absolutely right that everyone will have his own opinion on this subject. Mine is that the people who promote this mindset have as their basis, not morality so much as the desire to make a buck. I am a cynic in this attitude based on the amount of garbage that I have seen flooding the magic market in the last few years but more so due to the increasing number of professional magicians who seem to want to constantly tell people like me that I am completely unworthy to perform the material that they present but yet continue trying to sell me the material.

I even had to go out and change the rabbit on my business card to a magic wand. Now I feel validated instead of violated.

Howard

ps Would you be interested in selling me a couple of those used letters after your name ????
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (Apr 8, 2006 01:14PM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-08 11:22, Howard Coberly wrote:

There is no differenc between re-selling a trick and re-selling anything else. I appreciate the arguments to the contrary, but in my opinion, they are not compelling enough to sway my outlook on this subject. I categorize these arguments as "Magicians Logic". They are rooted in a belief that the world of the magician should be subject to different rules of morality and economics than the rest of the world.
[/quote]
I think they're rooted in the fact that if I sell you the trick that I've bought from the originator, you and I can both do that trick forever and ever. If I sell you my car, I have no access whatsoever to that car from that point forward, and thus, if we both want a car, one of us has to purchase a car from the manufacturer, or find someone who is willing to forego having a car. This is an obvious distinction that has yet to be addressed by the "There is no difference" crowd.

If I sell you my copy of "Double Back," we can both still perform the trick. If I sell you my car, I don't have a car anymore. How can it possibly be argued that there's not a relevant difference?

Having said that, I fully respect the position that the difference does not justify viewing the two situations under a different moral framework. But it's still two different situations. If a magician owned a controlling interest in Toyota, he wouldn't use "magician's logic" and take the position that it was even arguable that someone who bought a new Toyota shouldn't sell it to someone else. Cars and tricks are different.
Message: Posted by: Dave Le Fevre (Apr 8, 2006 01:59PM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-08 13:38, Howard Coberly wrote:
You are absolutely right that everyone will have his own opinion on this subject. Mine is that the people who promote this mindset have as their basis, not morality so much as the desire to make a buck.[/quote]

Perhaps you're right. Though my opinion is that those who create and market an effect would probably expect the number of sales to correspond to the number of people performing it. Were I to create and market an effect (on a CD, say), of which I sold 100 copies, I'd be a bit put out if I found that 1000 people were performing it professionally.

[quote]
On 2006-04-08 13:38, Howard Coberly wrote:
Would you be interested in selling me a couple of those used letters after your name ????[/quote]

They're all unused, I fear. But feel free to have an alphabet's worth. (smile)

Dave
Message: Posted by: Howard Coberly (Apr 8, 2006 02:02PM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-08 14:14, LobowolfXXX wrote:
[quote]
On 2006-04-08 11:22, Howard Coberly wrote:

There is no differenc between re-selling a trick and re-selling anything else. I appreciate the arguments to the contrary, but in my opinion, they are not compelling enough to sway my outlook on this subject. I categorize these arguments as "Magicians Logic". They are rooted in a belief that the world of the magician should be subject to different rules of morality and economics than the rest of the world.
[/quote]



I think they're rooted in the fact that if I sell you the trick that I've bought from the originator, you and I can both do that trick forever and ever. If I sell you my car, I have no access whatsoever to that car from that point forward, and thus, if we both want a car, one of us has to purchase a car from the manufacturer, or find someone who is willing to forego having a car. This is an obvious distinction that has yet to be addressed by the "There is no difference" crowd.

If I sell you my copy of "Double Back," we can both still perform the trick. If I sell you my car, I don't have a car anymore. How can it possibly be argued that there's not a relevant difference?

Having said that, I fully respect the position that the difference does not justify viewing the two situations under a different moral framework. But it's still two different situations. If a magician owned a controlling interest in Toyota, he wouldn't use "magician's logic" and take the position that it was even arguable that someone who bought a new Toyota shouldn't sell it to someone else. Cars and tricks are different.
[/quote]



I understand your point but it is here, I believe, where some want to bend the rules of economics in order to make something appear immoral. The fact that some commodities can provide value or benefit to the original purchaser even after the commodity has been sold is of no consequence in determining the morality of re-selling the commodity. Magic videos, like textbooks, continue to provide benefit to the purchaser even after being resold by virtue of the fact that the purchaser has learned the contents and can continue to use it. I can give many examples of commodities that continue to provide benefit even after the tangible item has been sold. To assert that it is in any way immoral to continue to benefit from a commodity that you paid for in good faith is, to me, illogical.

The fact that if I sell my car to you, I can no longer benefit from it but that I can continue to benefit from a magic video after selling it falls into the realm of economics, not morality. The items may be different, but the moral issue in question is not.

As far as my use of the term(which I believe I coined)"magicians logic" I don't mean this as a derogatory term as much as a term for those people in the world of magic who believe that the realities of the non magical world should be bent for those who wish to make money off theor magic related products.

To respond to your Toyota analogy...since we are now talking about the auto industry instead of the magic industry, if this person felt the same about this industry as magicians who decry re-selling their materials, of course, I could not apply the term to them. I would now have to call it "auto manufacturers' logic"

My arguments, I believe, hold for any commodity being sold.

Thanks for the response
Howard
Message: Posted by: Howard Coberly (Apr 8, 2006 03:11PM)
Hmmmmm, is it just me or has anyone else noticed that when these arguments arise on this forum, we never seem to hear from those magicians who state, with such fervor, in the magic periodicals how unethical it is to re-sell their products.

I know many of them read the forums because I see them posting regularly.
Personally, I try to avoid saying anything, especially if it's derogatory like calling someone immoral, in a medium that permits only one way communication.

I also cannot respect the opinion of anyone who states it and then refuses to defend it. I think I will also carry this under the heading of..."Magicians' Logic"

Could it be that they consider us all "laymen with rabbits on our business cards"
who are neither worthy to perform the material that they keep pushing at us nor intelligent enough to debate them because of their status in our very little world?

Could it be that they have never been expected to stand up for their beliefs and justify their assertions rather than just rationalizing them?

Could it be...could it be...NAH !!
Message: Posted by: Howard Coberly (Apr 8, 2006 03:27PM)
Or is it, "N'AH"?

Google time!!!
Message: Posted by: Howard Coberly (Apr 9, 2006 12:36PM)
Perhaps you're right. Though my opinion is that those who create and market an effect would probably expect the number of sales to correspond to the number of people performing it. Were I to create and market an effect (on a CD, say), of which I sold 100 copies, I'd be a bit put out if I found that 1000 people were performing it professionally. (QUOTE)






Hi, Dave,

I consider this as something that, "comes with the territory" when one decides to sell something.
Returning to the college text book analogy, I'm sure that the marketers of these books would like to sell their 80.00 textbooks new each semester to the many students who will use them but the fact is that a large number of students will buy them used from on and off campus bookstores or over the internet for half that price. There is absolutely nothing immoral about doing this.

Again, we cannot bend the rules of basic economics to suit the needs of magicians who are selling products. Economics dictates that the buyer, when faced with competing prices, will generally go with the lowest. The manufacturer/seller of the object in question will not recognize the sales that he would if the buyers did not adhere to this principle and only bought the items brand new from him.

My wife has worked in the retail industry all her life in several different countries and she was the first one to mention how nonsensical it is for anyone, not just magicians, to believe that they are going to earn top dollar from every item of theirs that is sold. That is not the way the market works in the face of re-selling and internet competition. Is it immoral for people to re-sell these items? Again, I say no.

Magicians are basically grasping at the proverbial straws in a futile attempt to restructure the most basic economic principle in the history of the world...the buyer will go where the best price is and that is usually with used items.

Spewing out rhetoric against people who re-sell and buy their items used as being immoral and then refusing to justify their insults when asked to do so is, in my opinion, the only immoral act in this entire situation.

To these magicians I would recommend that you stop arguing this point from emotion and start arguing it dispassionately. Historically, arguments based on emotion have proved fatal.

Thanks for the response
Howard
Message: Posted by: Steve Martin (Apr 9, 2006 01:46PM)
Howard - let's take this scenario:

Jim invents a clever trick - a magical effect using a new concept or technique which has not been published before. He wants to "make a buck" from it so he mass produces it, packages it up and markets it. On the day it comes out, the first person to buy it happens to be speaking at the world's largest magic convention. Before anyone else has the chance to buy the trick, he stands up on a stage and teaches it (exactly as taught in the package he bought) to an assembly of 10,000 people, who - because they then know precisely what they need to do the trick and what props they need to make - no longer have any need to buy the marketed trick. Each one of them goes away and teaches the trick (as it is such a good one) to 10 friends. Each of them, in turn, teaches it to others. Several thousand of these people then go out and regularly earn money by performing the trick in public. The originator of the trick makes a loss, as he ends up not selling his stock to anyone.

I myself am stating no opinion (at this stage) on what has happened. However, I am curious to hear what YOU think about that scenario. Please remember it is an imaginary scenario, so I already know that "it couldn't happen" in that precise way. Nevertheless, it is a useful scenario for testing our views on the issue of teaching someone else's original trick to others (which, remember, was the original question in this thread).

In anticipation of the response...
Message: Posted by: Howard Coberly (Apr 9, 2006 02:33PM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-09 14:46, Steve Martin wrote:
Howard - let's take this scenario:

Jim invents a clever trick - a magical effect using a new concept or technique which has not been published before. He wants to "make a buck" from it so he mass produces it, packages it up and markets it. On the day it comes out, the first person to buy it happens to be speaking at the world's largest magic convention. Before anyone else has the chance to buy the trick, he stands up on a stage and teaches it (exactly as taught in the package he bought) to an assembly of 10,000 people, who - because they then know precisely what they need to do the trick and what props they need to make - no longer have any need to buy the marketed trick. Each one of them goes away and teaches the trick (as it is such a good one) to 10 friends. Each of them, in turn, teaches it to others. Several thousand of these people then go out and regularly earn money by performing the trick in public. The originator of the trick makes a loss, as he ends up not selling his stock to anyone.

I myself am stating no opinion (at this stage) on what has happened. However, I am curious to hear what YOU think about that scenario. Please remember it is an imaginary scenario, so I already know that "it couldn't happen" in that precise way. Nevertheless, it is a useful scenario for testing our views on the issue of teaching someone else's original trick to others (which, remember, was the original question in this thread).

In anticipation of the response...
[/quote]
Hi, Steve,

Yeah, we did sort of get off track, didn't we?

Great scenario!! It's in keeping with the assertion (not mine, by the way)that extreme examples destroy perfect(which mine are not)arguments.
I can answer without hesitation even though I'm sure I will make more enemies with my opinion and will probably get hit in the head one day with someones "Boomerang Card of Death" but..."we pays our money and we takes our chances"

There is nothing immoral in doing this any more than it is immoral for a college professor to teach a lesson that he learned from college text books himself. It may not be a nice thing to do...but because an action is not nice does not make the action also immoral.
There is no difference (except in sheer scale) between this and my assertion that it is not immoral to teach a trick that one has paid for to another person.

As far the legalities involved...I generally assert that as long as one is keeping within the legal constraints listed on the material, he is doing nothing illegal. I cannot comment further in that regard (and I never do)because I'm not an attorney.


By the way, if you visit some of the magic clubs you'll see that, except for the number of people involved, your example is not that far fetched.


Thanks for responsing
Howard
Message: Posted by: Steve Martin (Apr 9, 2006 02:49PM)
Thanks for responding.

Second scenario:

Jim is not a convention speaker. He is a magic dealer. He attends the convention and buys the trick (just one package) from the originator. Before anyone else is able to buy the trick, Jim distracts the originator and steals all 10,000 packaged tricks, leaving him with nothing to sell. Jim takes the 10,000 packaged tricks to his own stand, places them in envelopes and gives them away to convention-goers as "free gifts". In each envelope he includes a piece of paper with the instruction: "The originator of this trick has been paid in full. This trick is now public-domain. Please teach this trick to as many people as you wish!"

Howard - what do you think of this scenario?
Message: Posted by: Howard Coberly (Apr 9, 2006 02:51PM)
[quote]
Jim invents a clever trick - a magical effect using a new concept or technique which has not been published before. He wants to "make a buck" from it so he mass produces it, packages it up and markets it. On the day it comes out, the first person to buy it happens to be speaking at the world's largest magic convention. Before anyone else has the chance to buy the trick, he stands up on a stage and teaches it (exactly as taught in the package he bought) to an assembly of 10,000 people, who - because they then know precisely what they need to do the trick and what props they need to make - no longer have any need to buy the marketed trick. Each one of them goes away and teaches the trick (as it is such a good one) to 10 friends. Each of them, in turn, teaches it to others. Several thousand of these people then go out and regularly earn money by performing the trick in public. The originator of the trick makes a loss, as he ends up not selling his stock to anyone.
[/quote]
Let's now make it it even more interesting. Let's say that this person didn't pay for the trick...the creator gave it to him. As my dad used to say,"that's food for thought and a toothpick, too"

He is still not acting immorally, in my opinion, because he received the video fairly. It and the material on it, are his to do with what he wants based on his conscience. Screwing the the creator over may not be nice...but it is not necessarily immoral.
Spitting on the sidewalk in front of someone may not be nice and is even illegal in some states, but it is in no way immoral. (This has nothing to do with the example. It goes to showing the difference between something not being nice and being immoral).

Howard


Posted: Apr 9, 2006 3:59pm
-------------------------------------------
[quote]
Jim is not a convention speaker. He is a magic dealer. He attends the convention and buys the trick (just one package) from the originator. Before anyone else is able to buy the trick, Jim distracts the originator and steals all 10,000 packaged tricks, leaving him with nothing to sell. Jim takes the 10,000 packaged tricks to his own stand, places them in envelopes and gives them away to convention-goers as "free gifts". In each envelope he includes a piece of paper with the instruction: "The originator of this trick has been paid in full. This trick is now public-domain. Please teach this trick to as many people as you wish!"

Howard - what do you think of this scenario?
[/quote]
Another good example but much easier to answer. By stating that the person "stole" the items you are automatically making the rest of the example mute.
He can do whatever he wants with the one he paid for in good faith and not be acting immorally. This is not true for the other 10,000

Stealing, as opposed to buying and re-selling or buying and giving away, is immoral in any sense. If he gives away something that he himself stole, he is now acting immorally. If, however he does not tell the buyer/receiver that he stole the item, the receiver is not acting immorally in accepting the item. If the receiver takes the item knowing that it was stolen, then, in my opinion, he is acting immorally and I believe illegally as it is against the law to receive stolen goods. Whoops, I'm not a lawyer so I shouldn't make that assertion.

I'm anticipating where this is going.

Thanks, Steve
Message: Posted by: Steve Martin (Apr 9, 2006 04:12PM)
In the first scenario, Jim's actions prevented the originator from selling his product. In the second scenario, Jim's actions prevented the originator from selling his product. Both outcomes were the same.

Howard - you say that you believe that stealing is immoral.

In the second scenario, Jim stole some goods, and you think that therefore he acted immorally. To quote you: "He can do whatever he wants with the one he paid for in good faith and not be acting immorally. This is not true for the other 10,000 [which he stole]."

In the first scenario, Howard, do you think that Jim stole anything?
Message: Posted by: Howard Coberly (Apr 10, 2006 04:37PM)
Hi, Steve,

No. In the first example nothing, in my opinion, was stolen. The person may have prevented the maker from earning money due to his actions and while there may be a legal term for this, morally, he did nothing wrong. It wasn't very nice-but he did nothing morally wrong.

In order to steal something, there must, logically, first be something to steal. In this case there was not.

To your question I would give a true life example. I was peforming street magic in Santa Monica, California and many times during my performance, other performers would start their shows and lure my audience away along with the potential income that they represented to me. Were these other performers acting immorally? By your argument they were. In your example we are dealing with "Potential" income. This is income that nobody can prove would have existed whether the other man had shown shown how the item worked or not. I was once doing a coins across routine with a shell and a spectator said out loud that I was using a fake coin that fits over the other coins. I could claim that by exposing my method, this person acted immoraly and prevented me from making money. It is not so, however

We are only surmising that the seller in the first example would have made any money. What if nothing had happened and then he had not sold anything anyway??
By the audience's action of not buying anything, would he have said that they were immoral because they prevented him from making money off his product. It's not as much of a stretch as it seems on first glance. Different scenarios, same outcome: the seller made no money.

I would take this one step further: Can the seller in this case prove without a doubt, that it was entirely due to the actions of the individual that his product did not sell?

In the first example, nothing was stolen by the strict definition of the word. In my opinion, the person did nothing morally wrong and he definitely did not steal anything in any sense. Simply preventing someone from earning income is not prima facie evidence of an immoral act.

In the second example, 10,000 items were physically stolen (by the strict definition of the word. Therefore, an immoral and illegal act occured.

Because two different actions may (or may not) have resulted in the outcome of the seller losing money does not mean that they must both be immoral.


As I have stated before, it is in no way immoral, nor is it stealing to re-sell a magic video as long as I acquired in good faith. Again, everyone's opinion will vary on this as anyone following this thread will testify.


Thanks, Steve


ps Another real life example:

I was once scheduled to work over a holiday period at double time pay. At the last minute the President of the company decided that he did not want anyone working over the holiday. He essentially prevented me from earning the double time pay. Did he act immorally???

No, he did not.



In today's world, many people attach the term "immoral" to anything another person does that does not suit the first person. This, I believe, comes from the fact that most people do not study the philosophical ideologies underlying the concept of morality. Their ideas of right and wrong come from what they see on television or what they are told to believe by people whom they regard as justified in deciding what is moral for the rest of us(See "Four Arguments for the elimination of Television". "If you don't like it personally, it's immoral" seems to be the order of the day.

When asked to justify their beliefs, these same people usually cannot provide concrete, logical arguments to support their assertions. They simply want to be right and the quickest way, in their minds, to do this, is to start screaming immorality.
Message: Posted by: Howard Coberly (Apr 10, 2006 11:28PM)
By the way, did I actually write "Mute" instead of "Moot" a few lines above??

Yes I did and nobody corrected me! How am I supposed learn??????!!!!!!


D'OH !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Apr 11, 2006 06:49AM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-08 15:02, Howard Coberly wrote:...some want to bend the rules of economics in order to make something appear immoral. The fact that some commodities can provide value or benefit to the original purchaser even after the commodity has been sold is of no consequence in determining the morality of re-selling the commodity. ...[/quote]

In the case of magic, where the data is the product, I feel there is a legitimate question about this notion.
Message: Posted by: Howard Coberly (Apr 11, 2006 11:05AM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-11 07:49, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
[quote]
On 2006-04-08 15:02, Howard Coberly wrote:...some want to bend the rules of economics in order to make something appear immoral. The fact that some commodities can provide value or benefit to the original purchaser even after the commodity has been sold is of no consequence in determining the morality of re-selling the commodity. ...[/quote]

In the case of magic, where the data is the product, I feel there is a legitimate question about this notion.
[/quote]



Hi, Jonathan,

to me, the key word here is, "product". The data is/becomes the product and the product is sold. It is now no different from any other product available for sale.
This is no different than the intellectual data that becomes a textbook. The textbook can be re-sold and purchased in good faith without any question of morality.

Thanks,
Howard
Message: Posted by: Steve Martin (Apr 11, 2006 01:47PM)
Howard - thanks for your replies. Just one thing: You said: "Were these other performers acting immorally? By your argument they were..."

I will say again (as I made clear) that in my posts I was not putting forward an argument. I simply wanted to hear yours.

As regards my response now to what you have said, it is summed up by saying that you do not appear to acknowledge the same moral code as I do. You see, you talk about morality within the context of legality, but there is more to acting in the right way than obeying the law of the land.
Message: Posted by: Howard Coberly (Apr 11, 2006 02:09PM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-11 14:47, Steve Martin wrote:
Howard - thanks for your replies. Just one thing: You said: "Were these other performers acting immorally? By your argument they were..."

I will say again (as I made clear) that in my posts I was not putting forward an argument. I simply wanted to hear yours.

As regards my response now to what you have said, it is summed up by saying that you do not appear to acknowledge the same moral code as I do. You see, you talk about morality within the context of legality, but there is more to acting in the right way than obeying the law of the land.
[/quote]




Hi, Steve,

Actually, my arguments have nothing to do with law other than to state the basic premise that the items were purchased in good faith which is a necessary starting point for this debate.
If you will go back and read my posts, I mention several times that there is a difference between an action being legal and the same action being moral. Other than using the legality involved as a necessary starting point,I feel my assertions are based completely in my moral ideology and have nothing to do with what is legal.

The entire topic is based on the morality of what happens after the item is initially purchased in good faith. The item in question must me sold(a legal concept) before we can question the moral issue of what the buyer now does with the product that he has purchased. Hence, my legal references to the sales aspect of the question.


As far as your moral outlook being different from mine...of course it is! That's the point that I'm trying to make in my last post. I'm not trying to dissuade anyone from following their chosen moral belief on this subject. I'm simply asserting my belief that the word "morality" is actually used by many people simply to rationalize, not justify (there is a big difference)their personal feelings on this subject.

Thanks for the feedback, Steve.
I appreciate a challenge to my theories even if it never comes from the very people who constantly accuse me of being immoral simply because they say so.

I can have no respect for the assertions of an individual who makes it and then refuses to at least try to defend it.

Take Care
Howard
Message: Posted by: Howard Coberly (Apr 11, 2006 02:56PM)
On 2006-04-11 14:47, Steve Martin wrote:
Howard - thanks for your replies. Just one thing: You said: "Were these other performers acting immorally? By your argument they were..."

I will say again (as I made clear) that in my posts I was not putting forward an argument. I simply wanted to hear yours.

As regards my response now to what you have said, it is summed up by saying that you do not appear to acknowledge the same moral code as I do. You see, you talk about morality within the context of legality, but there is more to acting in the right way than obeying the law of the land.
(QUOTE)



By the way, Steve, I'm a little disappointed. I was really looking forward to hearing your ideas on the examples that you put forward.
"...enlighten me with your knowledge so that I may become wiser"...Socrates from Plato's "Republic"

If you would like, we can start the debate all over again using the idea that the product was stolen instead of being sold as our initial premise.

Don't leave me hang'n, Steve.

After giving some of the most thought provoking examples I have ever received when arguing this issue on the forum your just going to say that we subscribe to different theories of morality as it applies to re-selling magic items and then not explain your outlook. I don't rationalize my moral beliefs, I justify them. That means that I have no problem changing them in the face of incontrovertible evidence to the contrary.




Howard
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Apr 11, 2006 03:07PM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-11 12:05, Howard Coberly wrote:...to me, the key word here is, "product". The data is/becomes the product and the product is sold. ...[/quote]

Okay, for a car, the VIN is data, and the data can be sold, and its utility is attached to the vehicle. What is missing to equate the data in magic to a product that only one person can use at one time attached to a ID of sorts?
Message: Posted by: Steve Martin (Apr 11, 2006 05:53PM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-11 15:56, Howard Coberly wrote:
...the most thought provoking examples I have ever received when arguing this issue on the forum...
[/quote]

I'm glad you have found it helpful.

As I said, the main point in our discussion is that our view on morality is different. My view leads me to the conclusion that Jim - in both cases - acted wrongly, regardless of whether what he did in either case was "legal" (according to the laws of the land) or not. Why do I say that? Because I acknowledge an ancient code of behavior in which respect for others and for God determines everything we do.
Message: Posted by: Howard Coberly (Apr 11, 2006 07:09PM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-11 16:07, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
[quote]
On 2006-04-11 12:05, Howard Coberly wrote:...to me, the key word here is, "product". The data is/becomes the product and the product is sold. ...[/quote]

Okay, for a car, the VIN is data, and the data can be sold, and its utility is attached to the vehicle. What is missing to equate the data in magic to a product that only one person can use at one time attached to a ID of sorts?
[/quote]



Hi, Jonathan,

I'm sorry, I don't understand the question. The VIN isnothing more thatn the id number for car. I don't understand how it can be shown that utility can be added to the car by selling the VIN (????)

Sorry, maybe you could restate the idea.

Thanks
Howard
Message: Posted by: Howard Coberly (Apr 12, 2006 09:31PM)
I'm glad you have found it helpful.

As I said, the main point in our discussion is that our view on morality is different. My view leads me to the conclusion that Jim - in both cases - acted wrongly, regardless of whether what he did in either case was "legal" (according to the laws of the land) or not. Why do I say that? Because I acknowledge an ancient code of behavior in which respect for others and for God determines everything we do.

(QUOTE)


I sort of figured it was heading in this direction. Unfortunately, Steve, this is not the right forum to continue with this debate. Your last sentence prevents me from responding further since this is not the place to argue religious morality versus secular morality, which is a shame because my arguments in that area are even more will developed.
Thanks for the time, anyway.

Howard
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Apr 12, 2006 10:09PM)
Howard,

I was looking at a car as a thing which for administrative and licensing purposes is also the VIN. The car has a title which lists the VIN. What if magic items came with ID numbers, were registered and licensed for performance?

The parallel between what you do in your own home and driveway and den for magic seem pretty close.

Jonathan
Message: Posted by: Steve Martin (Apr 13, 2006 12:12AM)
Howard,

I would be interested to hear what you mean by "religious morality versus secular morality" and the distinction you see in those two terms. My view is that those two terms are redundant. I think that it is a little disappointing that you seem to be reluctant to continue with your point of view following my last post. My mentioning God ought not to deter you from pursuing your line of reasoning. There is no reason why we should find a different forum to continue (as you suggest) based on that. If you feel there is more to say, you are free to say it, as I do not agree that my post has suddenly taken this discussion out of scope. However, what I do acknowledge is that as we talk about these things (as much of the thread has already been about) it opens up some areas which are probably best discussed in person rather than via a messaging forum. I don't spend huge amounts of time here... I dip in from time to time! It is on that basis that the discussion should either continue or not. However, I do stand by what I have already said.
Message: Posted by: bsears (Apr 13, 2006 12:30PM)
Great discussion guys. Rational and unheated debate - I'm in shock.

I think a distinction really needs to be made here in terms of knowledge verus product. As a teacher, if I know something somone has originated and published, it is often my JOB to give, freely, to my students as much of that information as is applicable to their educations. And the creator/discoverer/inventor never sees a penny!

Saleable, tangible products are different.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Apr 13, 2006 12:42PM)
That issue of distinction between knowledge and product is critical in this discussion.

My feeling is that in magic, the knowledge is the product.
I also suggest that the expression of that knowlege in an artifact or its inclusion into a scripted work for performance is in this case a functional definition for a derivative work.
Message: Posted by: Howard Coberly (Apr 15, 2006 08:43AM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-12 23:09, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Howard,

I was looking at a car as a thing which for administrative and licensing purposes is also the VIN. The car has a title which lists the VIN. What if magic items came with ID numbers, were registered and licensed for performance?

The parallel between what you do in your own home and driveway and den for magic seem pretty close.

Jonathan
[/quote]




Hi, Jonathan,

The problem I see with your assertion is that the vin number, in and of itself, serves no purpose except to, as you stated above, trace the vehicle as it progresses from owner to owner and in the event of theft or accident. Other than insuring the identity of the vehicle, it has nothing to do with how the vehicle is used or under what circumstances it is re-sold(other than to insure that if I sell said vehicle to you, I don't try to push another vehicle off in its's place)

Assigning a number of this sort to magic items would, in the absence of any laws prohibiting the re-sale of those items, serve no use beyond allowing the seller, perhaps, to know where the item is being performed, by whom and when the item is re-sold. It defintely does not, in my opinion, speak to the morality of re-selling the material.

I have seen items for sale by magician/inventors who attach a number to the item and then claim that they will not sell any updates or additions to the item unless the purchaser can provide proof, through the use of this registraton number, that they are the original buyer.
Personally, I feel this to be a gimmick to try to deter people from re-selling the item and to make potential buyers feel that they are getting more value for their money by joining the "elite" group of people who have already purchased this item.
It's a good marketing gimmick...but really serves no other purpose. I also feel that it is completely useless due to the fact that it is perfectly legal to re-sell magic items.

I really hate to bring up the legal aspect of this whole topic because, as I stated, I'm really not qualified to do more than speculate in that area. I bring it up here only because I believe that your point about the vin number would only be viable within the realm of legalities.


Thanks,
Howard
Message: Posted by: Howard Coberly (Apr 15, 2006 09:01AM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-13 01:12, Steve Martin wrote:
Howard,

I would be interested to hear what you mean by "religious morality versus secular morality" and the distinction you see in those two terms. My view is that those two terms are redundant. I think that it is a little disappointing that you seem to be reluctant to continue with your point of view following my last post. My mentioning God ought not to deter you from pursuing your line of reasoning. There is no reason why we should find a different forum to continue (as you suggest) based on that. If you feel there is more to say, you are free to say it, as I do not agree that my post has suddenly taken this discussion out of scope. However, what I do acknowledge is that as we talk about these things (as much of the thread has already been about) it opens up some areas which are probably best discussed in person rather than via a messaging forum. I don't spend huge amounts of time here... I dip in from time to time! It is on that basis that the discussion should either continue or not. However, I do stand by what I have already said.
[/quote]




Hi, Steve,

As you can see, nor do I spend much time on this forum. After a year, I still have not reached 100 posts and if you look at my posts, you will see that most of them pertain to selling/buying or discussions of this very topic. I am generally a strong opponent of the internet and especially forums and chat rooms. However, I do have my weaknesses and one of them is this topic.(Believe it or not, I had to have my daughter show me how to access and use this forum a year ago)

I have to reiterate my belief that this is not the forum for going into where our moral beliefs come from. For me to say that my moral belief structure does not hold re-selling magic items as wrong and providing arguments to support my assertions falls, I believe, into the realm of this forum. Going into much detail as to where my beliefs come from, I believe, takes us beyond the scope of this forum and into the scope of philosophy and religion. I'm sorry, but I just cannot do that on this forum because we are then using it as our own "forum" to espouse our religious/philosophical views.
The important thing to keep in mind is that I am not at all reluctant to continue the discussion, I just don't feel justified in doing in on this forum.

Howard
Message: Posted by: Howard Coberly (Apr 15, 2006 09:08AM)
Correction, I have 100 posts.

D'OH !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Message: Posted by: Howard Coberly (Apr 15, 2006 09:09AM)
Correction. I have 101 posts


D'OH !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Message: Posted by: Howard Coberly (Apr 15, 2006 09:10AM)
Correction. I have.....

Hey, What the...........it never stops!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Message: Posted by: Howard Coberly (Apr 15, 2006 12:29PM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-13 13:30, bsears wrote:
Great discussion guys. Rational and unheated debate - I'm in shock.

I think a distinction really needs to be made here in terms of knowledge verus product. As a teacher, if I know something somone has originated and published, it is often my JOB to give, freely, to my students as much of that information as is applicable to their educations. And the creator/discoverer/inventor never sees a penny!

Saleable, tangible products are different.
[/quote]



Hi, (sorry, I don't know your name)

Your post is directly in line with an assertion that I made earlier. Many people believe that it is immoral to continue to use material learned from a certain medium(magic videos in our thread)after having sold or given away the medium.
But these same people refuse to apply that same logic to other areas outside of magic.
By implication, in my opinion, it must also be immoral to continue to earn an income teaching information from sources if you no longer own the sources..in this case that source being the textbooks and other materials from which you learned the material.
From a moral point of view, I think I've made a pretty good case for the similarity.
Once the information /theory/idea becomes a solid, tangible object it is no different from any other object that is available for sale or re-sale.

Howard
Message: Posted by: bsears (Apr 18, 2006 10:31PM)
Howard - exactly.

Just because I sold most of my college textbooks back to the school bookstore doesn't mean that I'm not entitled to benefit financially from what I read in them. Nor is the next student who purchases them going to pay the author a dime, yet will receive all of the knoweldge of the author's work.
Message: Posted by: magicdave777 (Apr 19, 2006 08:50AM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-18 23:31, bsears wrote:
Howard - exactly.

Just because I sold most of my college textbooks back to the school bookstore doesn't mean that I'm not entitled to benefit financially from what I read in them. Nor is the next student who purchases them going to pay the author a dime, yet will receive all of the knoweldge of the author's work.
[/quote]

I agree!
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Apr 19, 2006 08:52AM)
Not the case with magic,
where the value is in the secret
and the grant of performing license is (for now )
given as part of the purchase price for the item.
Magicdom takes a somewhat academic stance on derivitive works.

Consider by contrast how things work when you buy a copy of the script for a play.
You have not bought the right to perform the play in paying theater.
Nor have you bought the right to sell your own variation.

Some appear to be confusing the intent of a textbook, which is to communicate ideas which are public domain in our society at large
with a magic text which is intended to communicate TRADE SECRETS to those who are willing to accept that fiduciary responsibility.
Message: Posted by: bsears (Apr 22, 2006 11:42AM)
Jonathan - I understand you point, but I disagree with you that somehow magic is outside of other professions in terms of the sale of knowledge and skills involved in the trade. Almost all careers have a structure of those who wish to learn and those who wish to provide them with the knowledge for a fee.

For example, the path for a musician, carpenter, doctor, or computer programmer would not look, in my mind, all that different from a magician in terms of the desire to obtain knowledge, the search for those who have it, the exchange of money to provide the knowledge, and the student's eventual profit from the knowledge. Only in magic do we get hung up on the (often ***ized) flow of money from the source to the student.
Message: Posted by: Howard Coberly (Apr 22, 2006 11:29PM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-18 23:31, bsears wrote:
Howard - exactly.

Just because I sold most of my college textbooks back to the school bookstore doesn't mean that I'm not entitled to benefit financially from what I read in them. Nor is the next student who purchases them going to pay the author a dime, yet will receive all of the knoweldge of the author's work.
[/quote]




Exactly! This is my point. You can morally continue to benefit from the knowledge gained from those textbooks just as I can morally continue to benefit from knowledge learned from a magic video even if Iknow longer own the video. I believe this to be true of both tricks and knowledge learned from those sources.

The argument of those who disagree with me on this is that once a person sells the item, he can no longer morally benefit from the information it contained, ie., use the information.

Thanks for the response!
Howard
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Apr 24, 2006 01:36PM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-22 12:42, bsears wrote:
Jonathan - I understand you point, but I disagree with you that somehow magic is outside of other professions in terms of the sale of knowledge and skills involved in the trade. ... [/quote]

The perception of magic depends upon LACK of that knowledge.

When the knowledge is present, one can admire the skill or delivery of the performance, but the magic is gong.

Hence, magic is unlike any other profession or art.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Apr 24, 2006 01:37PM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-22 12:42, bsears wrote:
Jonathan - I understand you point, but I disagree with you that somehow magic is outside of other professions in terms of the sale of knowledge and skills involved in the trade. ... [/quote]

The perception of magic depends upon LACK of that knowledge.

When the knowledge is present, one can admire the skill or delivery of the performance, but the magic is gong.

I argue that magic is unlike any other profession or art.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Apr 24, 2006 01:43PM)
Let me add a couple of thoughts to this, even though it has strayed quite far from the original post.

1) There is a type of protection for Intellectual Property that has not been covered here. That is the "trade secret." If you have an item that has not been published before, you own it. Under most legal systems, the mere performance of an item, such as an illusion, does not constitute publication. However, sale of that item does constitute publication. If the item is not covered by copyright or patent, it is now, legally speaking, in the public domain.

2) You cannot copyright or patent an idea. That is specifically forbidden in US copyright and patent law. You can copyright or patent manifestations of an idea. You can trademark images associated with an idea. But you can't copyright or patent the idea (for example) of a "no smoking magic act."

3) Many tricks, illusions, etc. have been patented. Sometimes patents hold up, sometimes they don't.

4) In the example of the magician purchasing a trick and teaching it to an audience of 10,000 at a magic convention or other gathering, there are a couple of considerations.
a) I don't know of any gathering that large that has taken place anyhwhere. ;)
If the example refers to P&T's "exposure" of the TT silk vanish, bear in mind that only a handful of the people in the audience actually did the trick. The others just stuffed a hanky into their fists.
b) If you have ever lectured to a group of magicians, you know that half of them won't even like the trick. Another group won't understand it, even if it is so simple that a caveman could do it. Many of them will not have the props necessary, even if they are a rubberband, a TT and a red silk handkerchief.
c) While it may not be illegal to teach a trick of this type at a magic gathering without the permission of the originator, it is against the rules of every magical organization that I belong to. I would also run the risk of physical assault if I did such a thing. I may be able to have the person prosecuted, but I think any jury would acquit him. ;)

Regarding material in public libraries -- aside from Larry, I am one of the only ones who has posted who actually publishes books. I have donated copies of my books to the Magic Circle Library as well as our local magic club library. It has NEVER hurt the sales of any of my material. Why? Because people who are really interested in the stuff I have written will buy the book.

I recently learned that one of the books I was involved with, [i]Paramiracles[/i], is the book that is most often requested to be checked out of the Magic Circle library. Am I angry? No. Is Ted Lesley angry? No. The people who want to do the material in the book will buy a copy?

Anyone want to buy a book?
Message: Posted by: Steve Martin (Apr 29, 2006 03:53AM)
[quote]
c) While it may not be illegal to teach a trick of this type at a magic gathering without the permission of the originator, it is against the rules of every magical organization that I belong to. I would also run the risk of physical assault if I did such a thing. I may be able to have the person prosecuted, but I think any jury would acquit him.
[/quote]

I agree. And therein lies the point I was making earlier. It has nothing to do with so-called "religious" and "secular" morality (such as Howard was proposing).
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Apr 30, 2006 10:17AM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-24 14:43, Bill Palmer wrote:... [i]Paramiracles[/i], is the book that is most often requested to be checked out of the Magic Circle library. Am I angry? No. Is Ted Lesley angry? No. The people who want to do the material in the book will buy a copy?

Anyone want to buy a book?
[/quote]

Yes, I did and did and enjoy looking through it at times. Wonderful book. Thanks.
Message: Posted by: Ray Haining (May 2, 2006 01:03PM)
Yeah, Bill, I just checked my copy and there you are on the back cover flap! Now I know what you really look like. "Paramiracles" is one of my favorite books.

One thing about magic is that we do not publicly announce the creators of tricks when we perform them. When we go to a concert, we know that the orchestra will be performing pieces by Beethoven, Mozart, etc. When we go to see a play, we know who wrote it.

In magic, the creators are part of our "secrets." For the most part, even the names of the tricks are secrets. We don't want laymen to go looking up our tricks, finding out how they were done.

Imagine: "Good evening, Ladies and Gentleman. Tonight, in addition to various classics, most notably Charlie Miller's version of the Miser's Dream, I will be performing various original pieces by Vernon, Slydini and Baker. Hope you enjoy."

Just another peculiarity of magic, making it different from other art forms.
Message: Posted by: RickyD (May 2, 2006 02:42PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-02 14:03, Ray Haining wrote:
Imagine: "Good evening, Ladies and Gentleman. Tonight, in addition to various classics, most notably Charlie Miller's version of the Miser's Dream, I will be performing various original pieces by Vernon, Slydini and Baker. Hope you enjoy."
[/quote]

How true! And how many people (besides wannabe pianists like myself) hear a piece at a concert and say, "Man, I've got to get my hands on the sheet music for that!"

Magic truly is a different animal, in many respects.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 3, 2006 07:42AM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-02 15:42, RickyD wrote:...Magic truly is a different animal, in many respects. [/quote]

Yup, based upon secrets and trust as opposed to purely academic or property values. The few who actually do work at this craft tend to be long lived and have very long and accurate memories.

And the price for messing with someone's priavte property in magic is also "different" than outside of magicdom. Make sure you get your tricks directly from the inventor, as it's not wise to associate or even do business with pirates.
Message: Posted by: The Bonnie Kids (May 25, 2006 01:19PM)
Guys, I have been in magic for 20 years AND NEVER BEEN sensitized on this topic!

Is there any (more or less formal) source stating what is under intellectual copyright (I.B.M or FISM or whatever)?

I mean: The double lift must be part of the "public domain", but maybe the "sponge balls oby Goshman no..."

The Bonnie Kids
Message: Posted by: Turk (May 25, 2006 01:42PM)
Three questions:

1. Without your strict, unwavering and inviolate adherence to the moral principle of "If I don't currently own it, I won't watch it, read it or use it", you have engaged in moral relativism and situational ethics. Period. And, if you have, what makes your version of moral relativism and situational ethics more moral or ethical than anyone else's?

2. When the "sale of magic" became a business, did it perhaps lose the moral authority to insist that rules that might have applied to it as an "Art" should continue to apply.

3. In magic, pragmatically and generally speaking, does not the "moral/ethical" arguments seemingly break down primarily into two main arguments or positions?:

A. Those of the sellers/dealers (trying to maximize profits and revenues) and,

B. Those of consumers (trying to maximize "bang for the buck").

Might it not just be a question of whose ox is being gored. (Note: There are, of course, "crossovers" into each camp by some of those in the other camp but, I wonder, how many.)

Just asking.

Mike

P.S. Query. What constitutes a "secret"? If you are the only one who knows the secret (i.e., your invented magic secret) and you tell your best friend after he promises to keep it "secret", is it still a secret? How about if you tell a 2nd person under the same conditions? Still a secret? Howabout 10 people? Still a secret? Howabout 100 people? 500 people? 1,637,389 people? Still a secret? At what point can you "tell a secret" and the secret remains a secret? Should it make a difference if you merely [i]tell the secret[/i] (with the recipient promising to "keep it a secret") versus if you [i]sell[/i] the secret? Again, just asking.
Message: Posted by: emm (Jul 28, 2006 12:18PM)
If you sell a trick you own you can not perform the routine. Having it is what gives you permission to perform it... as written. Now unless there is a patent involved you are free to do the moves involved - but you will have to come up with your own routine. IANAL so I can't advise how much you have to change the routine.

Magic is not much different from software development. Software has secrets and the effect of those secrets has to be available to the public to be useful. The secrets in software are algorithms. If I sell a program on CD, I have to stop using the program because it is copyrighted. But unless there is a patent on the algorithm it uses, I am free to create my own program that does the same thing and use it and even sell it.

There are two lands in the world of software: service and commercial. If I create a new algorithm to speed up the transfer of files between computers I have a choice of which land I want it to be in. If I choose service then I don't give them the program but instead use it myself to transfer files for them. If I choose commercial then I sell the program for people to use themselves and if I don't patent the usage of the algorithm then any company can reverse engineer my program and create their own. Not only is it legal but it is considered ethical and part of the competitive marketplace rules of the commercial land.

In the same token there are two lands in the world of magic: performing arts and commercial. For example - Jason Latimer does a great clear cups and balls routine. He has for the time being decided to keep it in the land of magical performing arts and as such the rules of the magic code apply. It doesn't matter if you can figure out how it is done, it is his and you shouldn't do it or sell it. If he later decides to sell it then he has moved it into the land of commercial and the rules of the commercial marketplace now apply. If there was no patent then anyone would be able to sell the "trick" wrapped in their own routine.

The problem everyone is having with their ethical dilemma is they are trying to keep tricks in both lands at the same time. You can't do that. They are mutually exclusive. If you don't like the rules of the commercial land then don't play there.

The commercial land is not killing the world of magic, the war caused by trying to combine the two lands is. Trying to apply the wrong rules to the wrong land is stifling innovation. Just as opensource and the competitive aspect of the marketplace has advanced software it will do the same for magic. Truly innovative concepts will be treated with value and will have the necessary precautions and price tag. $15 ebooks will not.

Which brings me to my last point. Instead of selling a cheap ebook of some little variation you have created - how about following opensource. Let your payment be the recognition of having your name attached to it and offer it up as the magic equivalent of opensource. There would need to be a structure in place to for the magic community; but that is a different topic.
Message: Posted by: BlackShadow (Jul 28, 2006 12:50PM)
I think this idea of you have to "buy the book to perform the effect" is just put forward as a money making scam.

Take a cookery book for example. Does anyone ever insist that the secrets of the recipe can only be carried out if you buy the book. Or a book on DIY, or playing tennis, or fancy dress costumes, or performing some juggling or any other skill you care to mention. These books will be borrowed from libraries or bought and sold on or maybe someone will watch a TV program based on the book.

When does the author ever say you can watch the TV programme but you must not make any improvements to your tennis game based on the programme without buying the book. Or that you can't borrow a book from the library and act on the information therein, or you can't use the info after you have sold the book. They don't because it is a scam idea. A scam disguised as "ethics" by people who want to sell books.

If a book is really that good it will succeed on its content. The book will be bought because it is good, not because of a scam idea. The only people who subscribe to this scam are sellers of books and those who have been duped by them in this false ethical charade. Don't fall for it.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jul 31, 2006 11:28AM)
[quote]
On 2006-07-28 13:50, BlackShadow wrote:
I think this idea of you have to "buy the book to perform the effect" is just put forward as a money making scam....[/quote]

I argued in favor of this as a way to distribute licenses for the work(s) contained in the book. The book is the license.

Also, unlike any other field or profession our craft is based upon SECRETS. What entitles someone to use a secret? The book is the title and also serves as means of direct contact between the holder and the inventor.

What do you suggest?
Message: Posted by: BlackShadow (Aug 2, 2006 06:07PM)
Sorry if I offended you there. I honestly wasn't getting at any one particular person who likes this idea, just the the general concept itself.

The system I would suggest is to treat magic books like any other book. A book that unlocks the secrets of certain recipes, or the secrets of the golf swing, or the secrets of the Jazz violin is just the same. You can't perform the biz without the book. If you like the teaching, you will surely want to possess the book if it is a part of your life for a while. That's only common sense and is due respect to the author.

But, to say the book is a "licence", and you can't make the recipes, or have to unlearn that fingering, after you have sold the book or lost it or returned it to the library is surely a step too far. It smacks of blatant commercialism over the power of knowledge and achievement. Personal improvement is to be cherished and transcends any licence. There are things more important than money.
Message: Posted by: Philosophry (Aug 2, 2006 07:57PM)
Jonathan, I was interested in this argument:

"Consider by contrast how things work when you buy a copy of the script for a play.
You have not bought the right to perform the play in paying theater.
Nor have you bought the right to sell your own variation."

I don't think it does what you want it to do.

I very recently bought a collect of plays by Albert Camus. Obviously, owning this book doesn't give me the legal right to perform any of them. Nor can I republish any of them. However, it is perfectly right and proper for me to publish my analysis of the plays, details of the plots, etc. I can also write my own plays about Roman Emperors or Russian Nihilists if I choose. "Highly derivitive" would be the probable reviews.

Generally, people have come on here moralising about performing, teaching, explaining, etc. other people's magic but without defended why magicians have a right to such special treatment. There seems to be two reasons against not revealing the secrets and neither of them are moral.

1. To prevent public expose - and so your audience's know how all the tricks are done.

2. To ensure magicians and/or magic stores make the most amount of money.

In the case of (1) magicians telling other magicians won't lead to this. The greater danger is someone buying a magic DVD and then telling all his/her friends. Or attempting to perform the effects, botching them, and revealing the secret. Even taking this into account, this will hardly lead to widespread magic exposure.

In the case of (2) I can't see how anyone is morally bound to the notion that magicians and magic shops must make the most amount of profit.

Magicians and magic shops have a right to make as much money as they can from magic. But this does not mean that others are morally bound to ensure that they do. A magician who sells magic, is entitled to his or her fair dues. The same as any other publisher. Once an effect is on the market, it runs the same risk, as any other product.

These aren't moral choices, they are personal preferences. Do you want to watch Caligula performed onstage or to hear me talk about it? Do you want to be taught an effect by it's original creator in their own words, with their own explanations or do you want someone else's account? Do you want to see Richard Osterlind perform his magic or watch someone who has bought his DVDs?

Magicians have their fair return when they sell magic, the same as anyone else. What is their moral justification for special treatment?

Morally, anyone has the right to sell their own secrets. What right do they have to prohibit others from revealing these secrets?
Message: Posted by: MagicbyCarlo (Aug 25, 2006 02:21AM)
Sorry to interject off topic, but Jonathan, 13900+ posts?! I'm coming down to Ossining to take you out of the house for some air. BTW nice to see your effect in Genii.

Back on topic. I really enjoyed most of this discussion. There were some very salient and intelligently made points. I will say that the price paid for publishing a secret is that once more than one person knows it, it stops being a secret. Frankly the idea of preserving published and widely known secrets is an endeavor worthy of Don Quixote. Those that publish thier secrets for profit risk the integrity of the secret. Moral or immoral is irrelivant to this topic. Had Wellington chosen to teach Misleading Mislead it would have been a choice based on his own ethics. Personally I will judiciously share my knowledge with fellow magi, because by the time I teach an effect I learned from some book or DVD it has my signature on it, meaning I've added my own twists and touches. You may not like that statement (this isn't directed at anyone speciffically but I'm writing in more general terms) but this is my way of helping other magicians. Knowledge is power, my father used to preach, and when power becomes too pripriortary it becomes dangerous. Books on magic have been published for centuries and now Video, DVD and the internet make the secrets of magic an open book for all who seek them, good or bad this is the way of the world. What we forget is that the secret behind the magic while important is only a fraction of what makes magic engaging as a form of entertainment. Get beyond the secret and you'll free yourself from this dilema.
Message: Posted by: Banester (Aug 31, 2006 10:20AM)
Hmmm... had an interesting question on this topic, but let me start off by saying I don't condone what the "new user" was doing. Ok, here is my question on the subject. If the trick is readily available in lets say the library (no charges so nobody actually gets shorted money)would you have a problem teaching it to someone who actually does practice magic? Lets even go as far as saying they read the directions for the trick, but don't quite understand it. Would you be willing to clarify it for them? Now sometimes these tricks maybe for sale (card tricks, money tricks) but the for sale tricks carry the materials as well (cards, silks, etc).

Now before I get flamed for even suggesting it is ok to give out secrets let me state that I do not give out secrets (something I learned from my grandfather when he taught me my first trick at 10).
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Aug 31, 2006 10:25AM)
Perhaps the teacher could also provide the original source so the student could continue their explorations?