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Topic: Did I steal ?
Message: Posted by: pcl73 (May 26, 2009 09:28AM)
Reading a lot of book, take a look at many DVD, and I've my mind working for creating my own trick.

But, I've see a great trick few day's ago, selling +300$. I can create it myself for less ! Can I do that, or it's not fair to do it while I know we can buy it ?

Thanks for your comment !
Message: Posted by: Rennie (May 26, 2009 09:54AM)
I would think as long as you are not reselling it, it should be ok. Also depends on what you are talking about. Could you be more specific?
Message: Posted by: pcl73 (May 26, 2009 11:26AM)
What if I do a Red Carpet like .... Using Cartoons instead of well know people ? May be I can ask directely to M. Palter ?
Message: Posted by: molsen (May 26, 2009 11:48AM)
Well, if you copy someones idea and pass it off as your own, then it's stealing. If you just want to know whether you can get sued, then someone else may answer, I won't.

If you buy the trick you also buy the right to perform it, not "only" the secret. In the case of the Red Carpet, I think most magicians can easily figure out how it is done, or at least a sane way to do it. You do not earn the right to use other peoples material just by figuring out the secret workings.

If you want to create derivative work, I guess it largely depends what you intend to do with it. If you want to sell it for $95 I am pretty sure the originator will have issues with it. As you suggest, the best course of action is always to talk to the inventor, and be mentally prepared to accept a negative answer if one is given.

Should you want to go ahead and copy the effect anyway, I would urge you to pay for it, at least if you perform it for a paying audience one day.

This is all just opinion (mine), not based on any legal considerations what so ever.

Message: Posted by: pcl73 (May 26, 2009 12:26PM)
I've ask M. Palter directely and share is answer as soon as I get it.

I don't want to sell it. I want to use it only. I want to use Cartoon's or well know people from Quebec instead of well know people from around the World.

I just want to be fair ... That's why I'm asking !
Message: Posted by: HMAC (May 26, 2009 03:42PM)
You could even add a twist in the end and have a mask of Frankenstein after having forced them to pick the name of the PM.
Message: Posted by: HMAC (May 26, 2009 03:43PM)
Or even better !
Force them to pick Jean Charest and have a sheep mask.
Message: Posted by: pcl73 (May 26, 2009 03:54PM)
Lolll !!! For Jean Charest, just having this Giant Afro wig http://www.partymart.com/details.asp?id=090-50681&subcat=75 !!

What about Celine Dion and have one of her song playing in background ?!
Message: Posted by: Ed_Millis (May 26, 2009 04:04PM)
I would think it also depends on what you are looking at using:
-- if you were simply inspired in a new direction for an old principle that you were already using, I don't know that this is stealing.
-- if you want to create something so obviously matching the other item except for a few minor changes, then that's most likely stealing.
-- if you're a small-time performer and anything you create will never appear outside your little world, much less ever be offered for sale, then I don't think you're stealing.

I've seen several posts here on the Café about how someone is marketing an "original" effect that is "clearly" a "rip-off" of something else. This is why most creators go to great lengths to ressearch and give credit. Even then, it's not unusual for two people to independantly create the same thing. Rarely is anything 100% original.

And it's not at all difficult to watch someone's demo video and figure out how a trick was done. Many times you are paying for much more than the secret - you're also paying for the final version of a long, hard road to an audience pleasing routine, and often a professionally-built prop with all the bugs worked out of it.

In the case of a small-time person with zero budget and no market threat, you might be able to contact the creator and ask about purchasing the performance rights to your own home-brew creation based on what you understand are his magic priciples.

For example: if I wanted a Chance Wolf - style Flea Circus, could not afford the price, but thought I could create the whole thing myself, there is nothing to stop me from building such a thing. But I think it would be a great disservice and insult to simply copy everything without contacting him and at least asking permission and negotiating whatever he thinks is fair compensation for the bits I will use. There's also the understanding that I'm not going to paint "Wolf Magic" on my cardboard-and-superglue monstrosity! No, I wouldn't have a Wolf Magic prop, but I'd have something.

And if he thinks "fair" is full price, and I get usage rights PLUS a prop, then that's my answer! Personal integrity is the key - if I care enough to worry about it, then I will care enough to ask and live by the response. Those who don't care enough have a personal defect, and it will eventually catch up to them!


PS - Just for the record, I am *not* considering copying the Flea Circus or anything else of anyone else! Yes, I have figured out a few things that I can do for watching videos - and I figured out the methods because I've already purchased a similar effect or read the book. I have a hard enough time making a professionally-polished prop and routine work without doing much of my own!!
Message: Posted by: pcl73 (May 26, 2009 09:44PM)
Great post Ed !

I'll pick option #3 ! I'm a small-time performer (Always at same venue), not selling this product for sure !

Taking this option, I know I don't have all secret I can found on DVD. I will use my own way to do it.

Thanks !
Message: Posted by: HMAC (May 27, 2009 03:32AM)

You should have a look at this. Apparently, it looks like it is worth buying.
Message: Posted by: pcl73 (May 27, 2009 08:20AM)
Thanks HMAC ! I've already read this post. My main concern is I want to use it with kids and use cartoons instead of well know people ! What about Flash McQueen and Bob the Builder ? I've set a "prototype" and give a try with my kid. They love it !!!! But can I produce it more professional and use it ? That's my main concern !

Message: Posted by: Gweedo (May 27, 2009 03:18PM)
Wow looks like a lot of people from Quebec on here......(me too)
Message: Posted by: pcl73 (May 28, 2009 02:12PM)
Update : I just want to let you know I've changed my mind after some communication (email) with M. Jason Palter. I have a lot of respect for M. Palter and I will use his product "The Red Carpet" for my next show !

Thanks everybody for your comment on this post !

Message: Posted by: Mr. Woolery (Jun 2, 2009 06:27PM)
I know the issue is resolved, but I wanted to chime in here because the concepts brought up are relevant to anyone wanting to add a trick to his act. Philosophically, the concept of stealing/copying/reverse-engineering an effect is an interesting one to me.

I'm really new to magic, but my college degree was in Journalism, so the concepts of plagiarism are important to me. I think that's what this thread is about, really.

When an effect is recognizable as being a reworking of another guy's signature piece, that's blatant copying. For example, if I tried to sell a knock-off of Color Monte with yellow and purple diamonds, there's no question that I'm ripping off another guy's idea. However, the moves in that routine are basic card moves that you can learn from any good card book and several DVDs. There's nothing really new or innovative there. The concept of 3-card monte is so old nobody konws who started it. So, if I start with a basic monte concept and decide to change it around a little (say with "two" aces of spades and a red queen, like I've seen it done with actual gambling) and work up a different story to go with it, I'm not ripping off the Color Monte at all. Even if the basic moves are the same as what's used there. Perhaps I was even inspired by CM. So long as the routine is not so similar as to be a copy of CM, I'm probably clear, both legally and morally.

BUT, if I take the same moves, different cards, same story presentation, and try to say I created a brand-new trick, that's not right. That's copying CM and being too cheap to buy the cards. (If I bought CM and decided to perform it with normal cards, there's no real problem, as far as ethics, since I bought the rights to use the presentation with the trick itself. It is if I use the method without anything going to the originator that I am a thief.)

So, not sure exactly what the magical community thinks about the above, but from my memories of Journalism Law and Ethics courses, I think the above is pretty close to the mark. If I want to write a poem, I can be inspired by Walt Whitman, but changing his birds to my dogs won't make me a poet of his caliber. Learning from his use of the language to create similar sorts of images is fair and even a compliment to the poet. Seeing the power of a particular trick and learning from it to improve my own magic is a good thing. Seeing a trick and stealing the method is not.