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Topic: I.T. Exposure?
Message: Posted by: EvilScallion (Dec 17, 2006 04:44PM)
Steve Johnson freely posted his book on I.T. work recently --
http://www.grandillusions.com/floating_freely.html

My question -

I realize he's trying to fight an unethical crook who's stealing his intellectual property. But in doing so, has Steve ironically committed an unethical act himself? Is this exposure? The page he posted is available to the unworthy eyes of anyone whos curious.

I'm confused and sitting on the fence on this one. Please convince me to one side.
Message: Posted by: Daegs (Dec 17, 2006 05:20PM)
The page isn't linked from their main site and AFAIK only given to Café members and whatnot, all who could have just as easily bought the rip-off.

Also, you would have to seriously read the text to understand what is going on, a laymen isn't going to go through that...

Are you trying to say that magic creators shouldnt have the option of giving their work away freely?
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Dec 17, 2006 05:52PM)
It is a strange situation. I have no idea what I think about it.
Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Dec 17, 2006 06:01PM)
Hmmm... y'know IBM rules about selling things for at least 2 bucks to give the work meaning - one thing he coulda said and I will do if he puts up a link is "If you find the work pleasing to you, please send me $2 via paypal" - or something like that - I'd send him more - this material is very good.
Message: Posted by: edh (Dec 17, 2006 06:25PM)
He is giving his own material away to members here at the Café. It is his material to do with as he wishes.

I interpret, and correct me if I'm wrong, the IBM rules to mean that if you intend to sell something that it must be sold for at least $2. He is not selling this he is giving it away.
Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Dec 17, 2006 07:23PM)
Hmm EDH, I think you are correct. Still, I'd love to give him a monetary tribute for such a kind deed anyway!
Message: Posted by: edh (Dec 17, 2006 08:20PM)
Dr. Spektor, very nice gesture. I may do the same.

BTW who is the fellow that copying and selling the material? Should it not be known who this guy is? If not what's to keep him from doing it again?
Message: Posted by: Suppo (Dec 18, 2006 12:06AM)
Would love to hear Bill Palmer's take on this. I wonder how many other books the seller is doing this with and at what point it is no longer a civil issue but a criminal issue if ever it changes over.
Message: Posted by: balducci (Dec 18, 2006 08:23AM)
FYI:

[url=http://insidemagic.com/magicnews/The_News/Latest_News/Free_Magic_eBook_Controversy_-_Don%27t_Download_it_Yet_200612173047/]SEE HERE[/url]
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Dec 18, 2006 09:46AM)
Interesting situation as there are some additional claimants about the invetion of the modern ITR.

It gets strange.


Is there really any good reason to publish other people's material without permission?
Message: Posted by: balducci (Dec 18, 2006 10:52AM)
[quote]
On 2006-12-18 10:46, Jonathan Townsend wrote:

Is there really any good reason to publish other people's material without permission?
[/quote]
Actually, I think there probably are. But they are probably few in number, and rarely applicable.

In this particular case, though, the question is who owns the rights to the material and who has the right to sell it? It sounds as though several parties may have shared rights. More facts and details are needed to develop an informed decision.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Dec 18, 2006 11:17AM)
I don't recall reading anything that suggests the material origins are in dispute. It's the claim of inventorship of the IT reel that is awkward.

As to who's been using IT... gosh that goes back to when it got real popular when Bruno Henrig (sp) let loose the Floating Cork back in the early 1970s and then Finn Jon released his silver stick and Ken Brooke sold the Nemo Card rise. At that time LOTS of clever people were teasing threads out of silk stockings and exploring what it takes to effectively move and float all sorts of things.

But back to that book... it's awkward all the way around. Gotta get all the facts on this one.
Message: Posted by: David Nelson (Dec 18, 2006 11:41AM)
Having been there, I feel I've got to chime in.

First, Sorcery Mfg paid Steve $300. But, Steve wasn't paid $300 to write the book. Steve received $300 to do the editing on the second ITR video.

Steve wrote the book himself, while working in his shop. Steve had the book printed through his shop, Grand Illusions. He sold copies of the book to Sorcery Mfg. He also sold copies of the book to Magic City, another jobber that distributed the book for many years. Anyone looking at a Magic City catalog from the early to mid 1990's will see "Floating Freely in a Fine Fashion" - Steve Johnson.

Steve is doing this because he is sick of others profiting from his work and in this one instance it's very clear that Steve has the right to do as he has done.

Steve has researched this before doing it. He knows that converting the book to electronic format by anyone other than the valid copyright holder violates the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, among other things. He, as the valid copyright holder, chose to do this rather than pay money to lawyers and go through a lawsuit to defend his copyright.

Much of the time, people get ripped off in the magic community and there's no legal recourse. Ideas get taken, tricks get copied, lines get stolen but it all falls within that grey area that isn't illegal but may be immoral.

Here's an instance in which things are clear and Steve chose to take a stand. Steve wrote a book which means that the contents of that book are protected by his copyright which is automatically granted. When he saw large segments of his book being sold in electronic format on the internet he decided that the easiest way to prevent that was to give his material away for free.

It's that simple.

Dave
Message: Posted by: Suppo (Dec 18, 2006 12:40PM)
Stealing ideas is definitely different that stealing a book. It is difficult to prove where an idea originated, but much easier to prove who wrote a book.

I still say that if the person who is selling the "new" book is willing to sell one thing that is not his, he is undoubtedly selling others. It is a civil issue for one copyright infringement, when would it become a criminal issue? Perhaps that is more subjective as well.

Not knowing what Steve has or has not done, why not at least call the nearest DoJ or FBI office, just to put the issue into the database? Could the seller be guilty of mail fraud? Most likely he is guilty of income tax evasion. There are probably several angles the Feds could and would pursue if many authors were being harmed. If, of course, he is even in the US.

I will be buying Steve's book just because, not that I really mess with IT all that much. So, Johnathan, yet another useless trick I have now purchased :).
Message: Posted by: Steven Johnson (Dec 18, 2006 12:56PM)
Follow along…we’re going to keep things simple:

As Mr. Townsend has accurately expressed above, there is no dispute as to the originator of my book. No one on this planet is saying that “Floating Freely…” is not composed of my original words created by my hard work.

What’s being disputed is whether or not I sold the rights.

Clearly and for the record: Anyone who believes that they have a claim to my work should immediately produce proof. A transfer of copyright, a bill of sale, a receipt on the back of a cocktail napkin, ANYTHING with the title of the book, a dollar figure and my signature.

Short of this, I don’t see how anyone can dispute who owns the rights to my work.

In summary: There really shouldn’t be any confusion in this matter. It’s very clear-cut. This text is mine to do with as I choose.

I chose to give it as a gift.

I’ve received hundreds of e-mails from people all over the world. Their words were kind and encouraging. A great number of them are recommending that I sue. Some demand it, some offer to sue on my behalf, some offer less legal solutions. (Please don’t do those things!) Let me tell you why I’m not terribly interested in another solution:

1: Stones don’t bleed no matter how hard you squeeze them.

2: I wrote this manuscript a decade and a half ago. By my modern standards the work is…Well, amateurish. Honestly, I’ve written better. Had I dug this book out of the archives without any provocation I might have given it away to the community anyway. As Dave pointed out, I sold them for years to Sorcery and Magic City. The sales of the book were slow but satisfying…I’m pretty happy.

Lastly, to EvilScallion. You’re absolutely right on the issue of exposure. But, as Dave said, I did my homework before I acted. The free text page on my website is tagged as “No Index No Follow” to the robots. My friends who are bigger nerds than even I am tell me that this will keep the general public from being able to find it with search engines. In short: You have to know where it is and, if you do, some magician told you. So, I’m ok with that. I hope that you are too.

Thanks to everyone who supported the project.

- Steve
Message: Posted by: Gilgamesh_The_Librarian (Dec 20, 2006 10:07AM)
Not sure that I am getting anything other than a one sided picture on this one so I will reserve judgement until the facts are out. This certainly doen't feel like somebody being ripped off by some anonymous stranger but rather a bit of a falling out.

Like divorces these things can get messy and I would just advise all parties to talk nicely together and try and resolve. They obviously had a relationship at some point in the past.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Dec 20, 2006 11:21AM)
Some marriages were just not meant to be.

And some falling outs can be civil and courteous.
Message: Posted by: Suppo (Dec 20, 2006 12:02PM)
The system wide PM made it very clear Steve had no knowledge of this person beforehand. If anyone did not receive it I be more than happy to forward it. Of course Steve might not be telling the entire story, but he is a known quantity of some repute and credibility.
Message: Posted by: David Nelson (Dec 20, 2006 01:34PM)
[quote]
On 2006-12-20 13:02, Suppo wrote:
The system wide PM made it very clear Steve had no knowledge of this person beforehand. If anyone did not receive it I be more than happy to forward it. Of course Steve might not be telling the entire story, but he is a known quantity of some repute and credibility.
[/quote]

I have to add that any of the story that has been left out is in order to avoid airing someone else's dirty laundry. There is a lot of background to this story that doesn't need to get told. There is a pattern, going back 15 years of one guy continually stepping over the line in an effort to profit from the magic community. There is a lot more to this that doesn't need to be aired on a public forum but if you read the intro to the booklet I can say that Steve has been charitable.

Steve Brooks sent out the PM because he knows the facts and he knows that Steve has the right to do what he's done and agrees that it was a good solution to the problem. Brooks is very protective of the Café and wouldn't have sent out the message if he had any doubts about Steve's veracity.

Dave
Message: Posted by: eggshell (Dec 20, 2006 02:09PM)
[quote]
On 2006-12-20 14:34, David Nelson wrote:
[quote]
On 2006-12-20 13:02, Suppo wrote:
The system wide PM made it very clear Steve had no knowledge of this person beforehand. If anyone did not receive it I be more than happy to forward it. Of course Steve might not be telling the entire story, but he is a known quantity of some repute and credibility.
[/quote]

I have to add that any of the story that has been left out is in order to avoid airing someone else's dirty laundry. There is a lot of background to this story that doesn't need to get told. There is a pattern, going back 15 years of one guy continually stepping over the line in an effort to profit from the magic community. There is a lot more to this that doesn't need to be aired on a public forum but if you read the intro to the booklet I can say that Steve has been charitable.

Steve Brooks sent out the PM because he knows the facts and he knows that Steve has the right to do what he's done and agrees that it was a good solution to the problem. Brooks is very protective of the Café and wouldn't have sent out the message if he had any doubts about Steve's veracity.

Dave
[/quote]

I trust Steve on this, not least because with the huge membership he has got and the potential impact on this dealers business I know he would always get his facts right before going public and risking possible legal action.
Message: Posted by: Suppo (Dec 20, 2006 05:00PM)
[quote]
On 2006-12-20 14:34, David Nelson wrote:

I have to add that any of the story that has been left out is in order to avoid airing someone else's dirty laundry. There is a lot of background to this story that doesn't need to get told. There is a pattern, going back 15 years of one guy continually stepping over the line in an effort to profit from the magic community. There is a lot more to this that doesn't need to be aired on a public forum but if you read the intro to the booklet I can say that Steve has been charitable.

Steve Brooks sent out the PM because he knows the facts and he knows that Steve has the right to do what he's done and agrees that it was a good solution to the problem. Brooks is very protective of the Café and wouldn't have sent out the message if he had any doubts about Steve's veracity.

Dave
[/quote]

Yeah, to clarify I was referring to Steve Johnson not Steve Brooks, I agree with your position emphatically.