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Topic: Legally stopping piracy of magic show? Any lawyers on-site?
Message: Posted by: Will L. (Feb 22, 2008 05:54PM)
Is there any way to legally protect a magical show from piracy? Theatrical plays, movies, musicians, and broadcasters are all legally protected from piracy.
Message: Posted by: MagiUlysses (Feb 23, 2008 07:51AM)
Greetings and Salutations,

I am not an attorney. However, I am familiar with the laws of copyright, which is what you are trying to protect. Copyrighting your show is relatively straightforward. You submit the script of your show with all the proper paperwork, etc., and you have something to protect. It gets expensive after that, when you have to hire an attorney to enforce your copyright against some pilfering dog who was stolen your act or a substantial portion of it, as a copyright is only as good as your protection of it. So, unless your show is making you good sums of money, it's not likely to be worth keeping an attorney on retainer to keep the thieves at bay.

I know of a magician who has copyrighted a specific portion of his act, and he has and does send letters to performers who steal that portion of this show. I do not know if he has ever gone any further than sending the letter threatening legal action, but he has indicated that the letter has persuaded those errant performers that the bit was copyright protected and not a stock bit.

Would this be of assistance to you? I don't know. As always, the best advise is to contact an attorney, one familiar with copyright laws and their enforcement, and go from there. If that expense seems daunting, find the US copyright "office" on the web and find out how to submit material for copyright and submit it. When you find someone has stolen your show, send them a letter noting that the material is copyrighted and that legal action could be taken to protect the material. That may be enough. However, you may have to find that attorney, and then the question is, is it worth it? Only you can answer that question.

And while I'm not certain of my knowledge in this instance, I think if someone changes 10 percent or more of the copyrighted material, that material is now "different" enough to be considered someone else's property.

This, or a similar question, came up in discussion amongst a group of magicians. I pointed out that nearly anyone with minimal skills could steal my act. However, no one can steal my personality, which is what sells my act and makes it mine.

Just my $.02 (USD) worth. YMMV

Joe Zeman aka
The Mage Ulysses
Message: Posted by: leoillusion (May 21, 2008 12:04PM)
Make sure that your repertoire has a full written script, videotaped and copyright it as a small play. Then you have a lot of legal ground to stand on!
Message: Posted by: NJJ (May 21, 2008 08:41PM)
I'm pretty sure that protecting your copyright is an expensive and long process.

The best way to do it is to follow the lead of a famous magic duo. Threaten to kick the living snot out of the pirate!
Message: Posted by: sethb (May 22, 2008 07:25AM)
You would also have to prove infringement, which would most likely require videotaping the copyist -- another hassle to contend with. SETH
Message: Posted by: leapinglizards (May 22, 2008 07:38AM)
This also assumes you actually originated, created and wrote what it is you are trying to copyright. If you are using any licensed music, there may be issues there.
Message: Posted by: sethb (May 22, 2008 10:04AM)
Good point! Just because you copyright something, that doesn't mean that you necessarily have the exclusive right to use it.

Someone else can come along and challenge that copyright, by proving that he/she created it first. And if they are successful, then you are actually the infringer! SETH
Message: Posted by: Neznarf (May 22, 2008 02:18PM)
Hey Will L.

Get a PM and I'll tell ya.

or PM me!