(Close Window)
Topic: CHEAPIE FLOATING TABLES
Message: Posted by: mgsmagic (Sep 27, 2011 06:14PM)
I hope my post finds everyone well. I had purchased one of the $350 floating tables from Ebay. I recommend to all NOT TO BUY THEM. They're not durable or well made. I am uncertain weather the Losander ones are any better. Here's just one issue...Where the top attaches to the central support the metal gimmick wears out the Balsa wood resulting in a less than desirable hole. Another problem I see with them is that the gimmick isn't actually long enough to be workable per se (at least w/the cheapies, perhaps Losander puts a little metal sleve/graumet in the holes to prevent such erosion and his gimmick may/might be better). At the end of the day I love the effect it's cool, however if you've never done it before and don't handle this prop gingerly IT WILL BREAK and you can glue it back together. I for one have done that a couple of times now, however I have determined that it's not going to be part of my show/act any longer...FIRE WOOD, lol! Sorry for all those out there who are proponents of floating tables, but I just can't use a prop that's I feel is unreliable and may break/fall apart at a moments notice.
Message: Posted by: makeupguy (Sep 27, 2011 07:08PM)
I could say something sarcastic about getting what you pay for.. or for buying something that Losander has tried very hard to protect as his own and make a living off...

but.... I'm sad for your loss. It's hard to take $300 and toss it in the toilet.
Message: Posted by: The Drake (Sep 27, 2011 09:53PM)
[quote]
On 2011-09-27 19:14, mgsmagic wrote:
Sorry for all those out there who are proponents of floating tables, but I just can't use a prop that's I feel is unreliable and may break/fall apart at a moments notice.
[/quote]
Trust me. NO need to feel sorry for any of us who bought LOSANDER tables. We GOT what we paid for. This is one of the cases where ethics turns out to be a GOOD business investment.

Buy a Losander. Losander will credit you the price you paid for your crap table and you'll have a good prop that will last a LONG time.

Good Luck and thanks for the heads up on the knockoff crap.
Message: Posted by: MagicByRy (Sep 28, 2011 10:13AM)
Losander's Tables are great! I have been performing mine twice a night, almost every night for the last several years and have never had a problem. I even bought another one just to have a back-up, but have never had to get it out!
Message: Posted by: Sam Sandler (Sep 28, 2011 12:44PM)
I have owned both a knock off (was not aware at the time) got rid of that and got a losander. WOW what a differenc. the knock off was like a work out and the losander is like if its really floating.


what I really wanted to comment on was this. my table in the middle of a performance the top separated from the base yup now performing the floating table top. I just took it off and put it back stage and looked at the audience and hey its live show any thing can happen and moved on.
here is the best part of this story. I contacted losander and found out that he would be at a convention not to far away. I went there with the table approched him and he looked at it for a few minutes. then said leave it with me and come back tomorrow morning.

I did and he fixed the problem and guranteed the work saying if I ever have another problem just let him know he would either fix it again or replace it.

that's the kind of quality you get from losander. by the way never a problem again with the table after his fix!!

buy a losander you wont be dissapointed!

sam
Message: Posted by: John Taylor (Sep 29, 2011 02:33AM)
Buy anything from the original creator and you won't be disappointed;)
Message: Posted by: bstokes (Sep 29, 2011 10:20AM)
I am on my third Losander table. Not because they break or wear out, but because I keep upgrading. I now have the Trinity table and boy is it nice. With three legs there is no wobble and the working surface is great. You can actually use the table for other things during your program, and then finish with the floating table.
Message: Posted by: w_s_anderson (Sep 29, 2011 10:58AM)
You wouldn't go into a Bangkok Brothel with a prophylactic that you bought from some guy on the street, you'd want to make sure you were buying quality, you life may depend on it.....why take that chance with your magic props?
Message: Posted by: SpellbinderEntertainment (Sep 29, 2011 11:11AM)
Well... last time I stopped by a Bangkok Brothel.... never mind.

The first post of this thread by the way, is giving almost too much method exposure,
you're new here, so just a heads up to being very careful about posting too much info or secret stuff!

My Losander has lasted for years, it is very deceptive and very well made.
Losander stands behind each and every one of his tables.
There is no alternative for excellence.

And... if you buy any knock-off he'll give you up to a $500 credit when you buy the real deal!
How can you go wrong?

Magically, Walt
Message: Posted by: AllAboutMagic (Sep 29, 2011 11:36AM)
[quote]
On 2011-09-29 11:58, w_s_anderson wrote:
You wouldn't go into a Bangkok Brothel with a prophylactic that you bought from some guy on the street, you'd want to make sure you were buying quality, you life may depend on it.....why take that chance with your magic props?
[/quote]
LMAO....That sounds like something I would say.

Walt, we'd all love to hear your Bangkok story!
Message: Posted by: brainman (Sep 29, 2011 01:30PM)
Only Losander!!!!
; )
Message: Posted by: SpellbinderEntertainment (Sep 30, 2011 06:28PM)
What happens in Bang-kok stays in Bangkok!

Meanwhile Losander tables can now be customized with huge variations and combinations of styles, finishes, designs etc. Saw his amazing sample book at Magic Live.

Walt
Message: Posted by: CA-Lynx (Oct 2, 2011 11:26PM)
LOL. Spellbinder is right. Go with Losander
Message: Posted by: John Taylor (Oct 3, 2011 03:08PM)
Losanders floating table, Jim's Origami, Walters Ladder Levitation and the list goes on... Why do so many people buy a rip off and then end up buying the real deal later I wonder???

Answer is because it's cheaper.

But is it?

Will it last forever?
Will it me more deceptive?
Will it work better?

Or will you end up buying the real one down the road anyway because it didn't last.

Why waste time and money on a fake, save for the real deal and more importantly help support the inventors of magic.

If people keep ripping off anything - what incentive does it give inventors to keep pumping out stuff? Our art will die if we don't get behind the original thinkers and their products which are helping to elevate our art so it continues long after you and I are gone. If you don't think the same way then you shouldn't be here.

Too many Magicians buy everything, that's fine you don't have to create anything to be a good performer but try and invent something... anything... If every Magician did that our industry would change a great deal, as people would want to protect the things they created and then many would realize the importance of respecting the creations of others and the long term harm and impact that ripping off things has on the art we love.

The rip off builders and performers have defiantly hurt my business big time and have even made me question whether or not I should sell anything else ever again. But I know there are many good people out there, that respect and understand the importance of ethics so I will continue regardless of the bottom feeders that don't care about anyone else but themselves.
Message: Posted by: The Drake (Oct 3, 2011 10:06PM)
[quote]
On 2011-10-03 16:08, John Taylor wrote:

The rip off builders and performers have defiantly hurt my business big time and have even made me question whether or not I should sell anything else ever again. But I know there are many good people out there, that respect and understand the importance of ethics so I will continue regardless of the bottom feeders that don't care about anyone else but themselves.
[/quote]
To anyone scoffing at this statement from John. That fact is that John Cornelius quit developing effects for that very reason. His latest effect was knocked off and on the market from China in only a few weeks from the time it was released. That was it for John. He quit the business. DONE! Gone! No more great effect from John Cornelius.
Message: Posted by: Matt Adams (Oct 3, 2011 10:34PM)
Just bought a Losander table...Got it for 937 bucks on eBay. :D BRAND NEW! Crazy excited. Losander is going to mod it for me cause this doesn't have the gravity box attachment. It's a super deluxe version minus gravity box. So basically 937+250 for gravity box mod and I got me a 2000 dollar table for under 1200! :D

(and for all the nay-sayers - I asked and Losander told me himself to buy this one because it was a steal!)

Just my 2 cents worth on the "buy from creators" discussion. I agree that it helps magic to purchase from the original creator of an effect. I also agree that it isn't always feasible because of price.

I had a knock-off table (well, technically still do until my new one comes in) and it worked great for me. Actually, I had a few of the 350 dollar versions from eBay. I think they worked very well. I broke them and didn't have any "customer support" to turn to so I had to just sell them "as-is" on eBay and let the woodworkers out there get them for cheap and fix them up. I can't speak about the "Losander" table yet but I'm sure it'll be great. Honestly, I'm glad I learned on a knock-off because it will make me appreciate my original table more AND I have learned how NOT to perform the floating table. Haha. I have dropped mine before and know how to avoid that. I also had the unbelievable misfortune of having a boy come ON STAGE after the show, pick it up, yell about the weight, and then drop it and crack the base. Unbelievable.

Anyway, the thing that made me want to buy Losander's table was watching him on his Levitation DVD. I purchased "Animate Me" and his floating table DVD (Secrets of a Modern Wizard) from his website. I SO appreciated his attitude about knock-offs and how he views them. He was NOT preachy about them and acted rather like it was completely expected. He wasn't necessarily condoning purchasing them, but he was so understanding of those of us who couldn't spend 2000 bucks to get one of his right from the get-go. Let's face it, the $350 tables on eBay are not bad. They are getting better and better and reputable dealers are now selling them. BUT - Losander is also known as the rolls royce of the floating tables. He completely won me over after watching that DVD. I can't explain it, but I just wanted to give him my business and my money. He was so great. He genuinely wanted to help those of us watching that DVD - even if we were using knock-off tables. SUCH a class act. I immediately went to eBay (I spend plenty of time on there) and found one for 750 bucks (finally sold for 937). I've actually never seen one on there before, but I was thrilled to get it! :D I wondered what he'd think about me not purchasing through him, but he said as long as it was an original (he even checked it out for me via pictures) then he'd be good with giving me customer support on it and everything. So cool. The guy is great. He'll be getting more business from me now other than just 2 DVDs through his website. Haha.
Message: Posted by: John Taylor (Oct 4, 2011 03:07PM)
Matt Adams in regards to this statement you wrote-

so I had to just sell them "as-is" on eBay and let the woodworkers out there get them for cheap and fix them up.

It's not cool to sell a knock-off prop to someone else. It just makes it someone else's problem. It doesn't help our industry.

Good to see you've bought a real one now, you won't look back.
Message: Posted by: Matt Adams (Oct 4, 2011 03:42PM)
[quote]
On 2011-10-04 16:07, John Taylor wrote:
It's not cool to sell a knock-off prop to someone else. It just makes it someone else's problem. It doesn't help our industry.
[/quote]
I mostly agree...but I'm one to be a bit more on the fence of the issue than others. I'm still a business man too, so I wasn't going to lose money on the deal. If it were truly a matter of ethics (i.e. being illegal), then there wouldn't be a question. Naturally my old table would have become firewood. Actually, I wouldn't have purchased it in the first place if it were an ethics question. But it isn't an ethics question to me. I KNOW that there are many people who totally disagree with my last statement and we could all argue til we are blue in the face and not change anyone's mind, so I'm not going to do that. It's TRULY unfortunate that we can't better protect our secrets. Anyway, long story short - I do make a lot of sacrifices for the art of magic that hurt me, but this wasn't one of those times. :)

But I'm sure I'll become a "purist" or "elitist" now that I was fortunate enough to cough up the dough for a real Losander table. ;)
Message: Posted by: The Drake (Oct 4, 2011 03:46PM)
[quote]
On 2011-10-04 16:42, Matt Adams wrote:
Anyway, long story short - I do make a lot of sacrifices for the art of magic that hurt me, but this wasn't one of those times. :)

[/quote]

No but it hurt a lot of others.
Message: Posted by: illusionman2 (Oct 4, 2011 03:57PM)
[quote]
On 2011-10-04 16:46, The Drake wrote:
[quote]
On 2011-10-04 16:42, Matt Adams wrote:
Anyway, long story short - I do make a lot of sacrifices for the art of magic that hurt me, but this wasn't one of those times. :)
[/quote]
No but it hurt a lot of others.
[/quote]
Tim : he bought one what else do you want??
Message: Posted by: The Drake (Oct 4, 2011 04:02PM)
The one thing that I don't think anyone has brought up yet regards knockoff tables or any other knockoff prop for that matter is how they saturate and dilute the industry and the impact the illusion has for the owners of the legit props.

I was the very first person in my area to have a Losander Table. It cost me a pretty penny and back then was a stretch for me to afford. I thought of it as an investment however because I wanted to stand out as " the guy with the floating table" in my area and market that as something unique. I had a pretty good run for a while and my table paid me back many times over on both durability, investment and "WOW" factor.

Eventually knockoffs started to pop up and every newbie, kid and wanna be was getting one and including it in their act. Poorly I might add. Most of the knockoffs don't come with any sort of instruction or coaching tips and you can sure tell from the crappy performance. In addition to the terrible performances is the fact that almost EVERYONE has a floating table (because of the knockoffs ) now and it's becoming something that audiences have seen before.

Every time a knockoff is purchased or sold Losander is getting ripped off and those who paid the legit fee to the legit person are also getting ripped off because their investment is being diminished. This goes for every proprietary illusion out there.
[quote]
On 2011-10-04 16:57, illusionman2 wrote:
Tim : he bought one what else do you want??
[/quote]
Hello James,

Long time no talk. Good to hear from you. To answer your question..... GOOD for him that he bought a legit one. I just wish he hadn't sold the knockoffs and contributed to the problem.
Message: Posted by: illusionman2 (Oct 4, 2011 04:08PM)
[quote]
On 2011-10-04 17:02, The Drake wrote:
The one thing that I don't think anyone has brought up yet regards knockoff tables or any other knockoff prop for that matter is how they saturate and dilute the industry and the impact the illusion has for the owners of the legit props.

I was the very first person in my area to have a Losander Table. It cost me a pretty penny and back then was a stretch for me to afford. I thought of it as an investment however because I wanted to stand out as " the guy with the floating table" in my area and market that as something unique. I had a pretty good run for a while and my table paid me back many times over on both durability, investment and "WOW" factor.

Eventually knockoffs started to pop up and every newbie, kid and wanna be was getting one and including it in their act. Poorly I might add. Most of the knockoffs don't come with any sort of instruction or coaching tips and you can sure tell from the crappy performance. In addition to the terrible performances is the fact that almost EVERYONE has a floating table ( because of th knockoffs ) now and its becoming something that audiences have seen before.

Every time a knockoff is purchased or sold Losander is getting ripped off and those who paid the legit fee to the legit person are also getting ripped off because their investment is being diminished. This goes for every proprietary illusion out there.
[/quote]

Tim I will tell you when I was a teanager I put a zombie gimmick on EVERYTHING I mean everything.
Message: Posted by: The Drake (Oct 4, 2011 04:11PM)
[quote]
On 2011-10-04 17:08, illusionman2 wrote:

Tim I will tell you when I was a teenager I put a zombie gimmick on EVERYTHING I mean everything.
[/quote]
WOW... that must have hurt! ;)
[quote]
On 2011-10-04 16:57, illusionman2 wrote:

Tim : he bought one what else do you want??
[/quote]
Ok.. I had my little laugh now so I will answer the question better. Well James to be perfectly honest with you I have a lot more respect for someone when they put the art of magic, fellow performers and respect for inventors ahead of a few measly bucks. I remember when someone I have a lot of respect for was faced with a similar situation and he did this!
http://illusionman.8k.com/photo_1.html Now that is what I call CLASS!
Message: Posted by: illusionman2 (Oct 4, 2011 04:24PM)
YES.. Nice to have you back, like old time.
Best
James
[quote]
On 2011-10-04 17:23, The Drake wrote:
[quote]
On 2011-10-04 16:57, illusionman2 wrote:

Tim : he bought one what else do you want??
[/quote]
Ok.. I had my little laugh now so I will answer the question better. Well James to be perfectly honest with you I have a lot more respect for someone when they put the art of magic, fellow performers and respect for inventors ahead of a few measly bucks. I remember when someone I have a lot of respect for was faced with a similar situation and he did this!
http://illusionman.8k.com/photo_1.html Now that is what I call CLASS!
[/quote]
my point when I think something is wrong I trash it.., that tell you how I think about this??
Message: Posted by: The Drake (Oct 4, 2011 04:58PM)
HI James,

It's been a while and my memory is poor on the subject but I am guessing you are speaking of the " does Losander deserve credit for the floating table" debate. I'd like to keep that for a different thread I consider that a different topic. The $350 tables we are talking about here are total copies and were made to look exactly like authentic losander tables. They are not just a table with a zombie gimmick but exact clones, copied from the original design. I am assuming they event have the special Tommy Wonder/Losander Gimmick that didn't exist before Tommy invented it so in that case I think they can truly be classified as knockoffs. Losander pays the Tommy Wonder estate for each table sold.

Best,

Tim
Message: Posted by: Matt Adams (Oct 4, 2011 05:05PM)
[quote]
On 2011-10-04 17:02, The Drake wrote:
Every time a knockoff is purchased or sold Losander is getting ripped off and those who paid the legit fee to the legit person are also getting ripped off because their investment is being diminished. This goes for every proprietary illusion out there.
[/quote]

Here's my thoughts on this. It'd be AWESOME if we could just limit secrets (and we used to do a better job) but people are smart nowdays and the internet can tell you almost everything. :) So knock-offs are bound to start. But what if the creators didn't charge so much? I mean...what if they were actually creating magic and then figuring out a better way to produce it in volume. Heck, the Chinese are doing SOMETHING right over there. If the creators weren't charging such crazy expensive prices then I'm quite sure that people would pay a little extra for the original effect. But come on...look at "Wow" by Masuda. Really? $70? Dude...it cost him a buck to make. Figure out a way to mass produce it and sell it for 10. Many people would happily pay 10 bucks for a real one instead of buying a fake at 5. But $70?!! And that's just a closeup effect. And even after knock-offs it's STILL going for about $50. And when guys are charging thousands for a prop that doesn't even cost a hundred bucks to make then they are ripping US off. They can certainly charge whatever they want...but it only leads to knock-offs because there's no real value there.

I completely understand about craftsmanship and time and all that...but you can't expect people to not copy you just cause you are clever enough to make an effect. And I'll tell ya, the BIG guns (Steinmeyer, Gaughan, etc) aren't as concerned as all of us because they keep creating specialized effects for individual customers that can pay the extra for the sole performing rights. So anyway, I guess my main point is that the creators need to be a bit more realistic and figure out a way to produce their magic more "in-mass" if they are TRULY concerned about knock-offs. It's easier to sell ONE illusion for a thousand bucks than selling a a hundred illusions for 10 bucks. But it's still the same amount of money. They aren't losing out IF they capitalize on the mass production, but that's another side of the business that many don't want to think about.

Anyway, some rambling thoughts.
Message: Posted by: illusionman2 (Oct 4, 2011 05:09PM)
Tim ;; have you seen the look alikes???mine looks nothinging like his table
Message: Posted by: Matt Adams (Oct 4, 2011 05:17PM)
Mine does... :P

That's one thing...knockoffs don't try to be different at all. Lol

Posted: Oct 4, 2011 7:33pm
Thought about this some more. The real problem I have with knockoffs is that they are selling the secret too cheap. Basically you buy a prop and get the secret for free. In an original, you buy the prop and pay out your nose for the secret. I have no problem with that! But I hate that guys will come along and sell the secret for cheap. It's just business to them, I suppose. But I wish there was a way to keep the secrets out of the hands of the "normal" people.
Message: Posted by: The Drake (Oct 4, 2011 07:05PM)
[quote]
On 2011-10-04 18:09, illusionman2 wrote:
Tim ;; have you seen the look alikes??? mine looks nothing like his table
[/quote]
I know. It's the ones that look JUST like his that I have the biggest problem with.
Message: Posted by: The Drake (Oct 4, 2011 07:06PM)
[quote]
On 2011-10-04 19:33, Matt Adams wrote:
But I hate that guys will come along and sell the secret for cheap. It's just business to them, I suppose. But I wish there was a way to keep the secrets out of the hands of the "normal" people. :P
[/quote]
With all due respect Matt. Didn't you do exactly that when you put your knockoffs on ebay?
Message: Posted by: Matt Adams (Oct 4, 2011 09:39PM)
Thanks for the respect! :) Great question and very valid. Here's my view on it. I don't get to set the prices. The creator does that. And then NEW prices are set by the guys in China (typically). So the secret of the floating table is now worth about 300 bucks. Technically you can find it for free if you look hard enough, I'd imagine. But it goes for 300 or more on eBay depending on the quality of the table. Anyway, now that the market has been saturated and the going rate has been established, enter the businessman. Me. I'm just joining the fray at this point. I neither dictate the prices nor lower the values of the going rates. HOWEVER, I wouldn't DREAM of putting an effect on the market that isn't widely distributed already. So basically I would NOT take a market of ONLY Losander tables and then find a wholesaler who sells an authentic Losander for 200 and then turn around and resell for anything less than Losander would himself. That wouldn't be fair. Similarly, I wouldn't take an illusion that isn't widely available and just randomly set a price to simply make 50 bucks on the sale. I'd sell it for retail or not at all. Does that make sense? So in this case, I cannot stop the knockoff floating tables, neither can I set the value. And since the market is already saturated, it's just business to get in on the action. I'm not selling the secret for cheap. I'm selling it for the "new" retail which is (VERY unfortunately) now about 300 bucks. :P

And I totally know that many people wouldn't agree with that idea. But that's just where I am at the moment. But I may change my mind later! ;)
Message: Posted by: The Drake (Oct 4, 2011 10:11PM)
Hello Matt,

WOW.... I don't really know in which direction to go next as there are so many forks in the road. I'll take a stab at it if you don't mind.

So you say that those who pirated Losanders table are setting the price? Does this mean if I study your act and replicate it and offer it to clients in your area for a fraction of what your cost is that is " just business"? Now.. I'm talking about an act that didn't exist on the market before you spent time and effort creating and perfecting it. Sure... magic acts existed and maybe some that were close to yours but I'm talking about an exact copy word for word of your patter, presentation, message, costuming... everything. Would it be ok for them to set the price that you charge clients? Would you think that's just business or unfair since YOU created a unique show designed to support you and your family for some time to come.

If someone started doing that and offered YOUR exact act to others for sale to other magicians so they could also perform it would that be ok as well? I imagine you don't have a patent on it and it would be legal but would you think that is right?

Now the kid next door wants to make a few bucks and starts to put your act on ebay to sell to other magicians and asks you what you think. Would you say... " Sure that's business.. go for it" or would you say.. " Please don't because it will cheapen my business and also affect my bookings"

Matt... I want to thank you for keeping this topic civil. It can be a hot topic and I am one who believes everyone has their opinion, sometimes they change and sometimes they don't but disrespect and flames serve no useful purpose. Thanks for not falling into that trap.

I'd love to hear your answers to the above questions when you have a chance.

Best,

Tim
Message: Posted by: John Taylor (Oct 4, 2011 10:45PM)
Well said Drake and I also loved this point.

_________________________________________________
The one thing that I don't think anyone has brought up yet regards knockoff tables or any other knockoff prop for that matter is how they saturate and dilute the industry and the impact the illusion has for the owners of the legit props.
_________________________________________________

I love it when people that have owned a knock -off Suspended Animation or any other prop for that matter turn around after they own the real thing and say to me that there are other rip off performers in there area (home town) and can I please do something about it. It's only then that they realize how much harm the knock off damage our business or as you put it Drake dilute the effect.
Message: Posted by: The Drake (Oct 4, 2011 11:19PM)
Gentlemen ( John and Matt )

I will be away for a show for most of Wednesday so I won't be able to participate in much discussion then but look forward to returning to the topic when I return.

Take Care,

Tim
Message: Posted by: Matt Adams (Oct 5, 2011 01:07AM)
Tim, I too appreciated the non-flaming route. ;)

To answer your question - you may not believe me, but if someone "stole" my show I'd just go talk to them. I'd tell them that it doesn't help "magic" and that while I appreciate the flattery, the world already has a Matt Adams. It needs one of THEM. If they still didn't listen and then started profiting by selling my act on eBay then I'd do two things - kick myself for not selling my patter earlier and come up with a completely new act. In fact, I try to change my show SUBSTANTIALLY every single yearto keep things fresh for my repeat clients. So when someone steals "my" material, I'd just make more. It's a never-ending cycle, but the only ones who truly hurt there are the rip-off artists who rarely are as good as the original, and the clients, who are not getting a quality program because it's much harder to present someone else's program than to present your own!

Love the analogy, but I imagine you can see my point. But it's probably much easier to come up with a strong program year after year rather than a brand new effect. But then, Callen Morelli did it every DAY! ...and thus landed a job with my idol - the great DC himself. Heh. ;)

Posted: Oct 5, 2011 2:20am
Talking about secrets - I hate (and love?) that the Internet is so easy for people to use to figure out magic. They could watch my show, google the floating table on their iPhone and have the method before I even finish my routine. BUT most people don't. It's weird. There are actually a LARGE number of people that don't want to know how it's done! I can hardly believe that because I'm the total opposite. Lol. But there are several types out there - the puzzle solvers who like the challenge, the magicians who just gotta know, the tv junkies who love magic cause it's like tv without the camera effects, an so on. I realize that while I hate the masked magician with a passion, he has not been able to single-handset destroy magic (though he is trying).

...man, why is it my fav topics are religion and politics. (in magic, that's knock-offs and the masked magician)

[quote]
On 2011-10-04 23:45, John Taylor wrote:

The one thing that I don't think anyone has brought up yet regards knockoff tables or any other knockoff prop for that matter is how they saturate and dilute the industry and the impact the illusion has for the owners of the legit props.
[/quote]
Well, we mentioned that but I guess in regards to ME personally, I don't participate in an unsaturated market just to make money. If the market is already saturated, I may throw in my hat with a decent price and try to make a few bucks. I don't see it actually causing the problem (as the problem is already there). I couldn't argue in any way that it HELPS the problem...but I don't think it hurts us much either at that point. Well, wait...how 'bout this argument - I'm helping magic because I'm taking business away from the knock-off artists by becoming one myself. ...no wait, that argument sucks. Just thinking out loud. Haha. ;)

Posted: Oct 12, 2011 10:11pm
So I got my Losander table! Got to say, quality is MUCH better than the 300 dollar ebay tables. The table is slightly heavier and also just "feels" more durable. The craftsmanship is very good. The only "worry" I'd have is that the cheap tables have a nice locking mechanism for attaching the table top to the rest of the table. Losander's does not. It's just fit together...yikes. I believe the original author of this thread was actually complaining about the locking peg, but I love it. It really gives you a feeling of security. But we'll see how the Losander works for me. I've heard of people left with flying table tops instead of tables and that scares me a bit. Anyway, the table cloth is nicer and the gimmick I'd say is a bit weaker than the "cheap models." I LIKE the gimmick, however, in that it potentially gives you more range of motion. I can't describe why here. The suitcase that the Losander table comes in is almost half the size of the cheap ones and it's much more durable. It also locks. MUCH nicer case. I had intended on keeping my knock-off table for plane trips and overseas tours BUT now that I see the Losander case, I might brave the carryon with my Losander since the case is so great. It's going to be easier to travel with AND I think it will keep the table more secure.

Anyway, that's my review. They all work the same...but Losander has done a great job with the quality - no doubt.
Message: Posted by: SpellbinderEntertainment (Oct 13, 2011 11:36AM)
Ah, then there would be that tricky work “Ethics” Mr. Adams,
let alone another tricky one, individual “Scruples”.

Those aside-- I remember telling mom as a kid:
“If you can’t beat them join them.”
She said:
“If they all jump off a bridge will you do that to.”

So, they are “all” doing a heinous thing-- why not everybody?
Because many want to be an honest light in the darkness.

Facts, not flames,
Walt
Message: Posted by: Matt Adams (Oct 13, 2011 02:39PM)
What does all that mean, Walt?

To argue that it's "unethical" then you have to define ethics. Some people would argue that it's not ethical because Losander is widely regarded as the developer of the floating table so he gets the rights to it. Unfortunately we know that doesn't hold up in court or anywhere else. We can scream and cry all we want, but it doesn't make it unethical just because other magicians "feel" it is. So how do you define the ethics/scruples?

Not "arguing" per-se ... actually curious as to WHY you guys believe it's unethical. I could be convinced...I've just never heard a good argument for or against it. The easiest thing (not necessarily right...) is to look at what's actually legal or not. If it's truly illegal, then many people would stop selling them. Anyway, thanks for your input!
Message: Posted by: The Drake (Oct 13, 2011 02:45PM)
[quote]
On 2011-10-13 15:39, Matt Adams wrote:
What does all that mean, Walt?

To argue that it's "unethical" then you have to define ethics. Some people would argue that it's not ethical because Losander is widely regarded as the developer of the floating table so he gets the rights to it. Unfortunately we know that doesn't hold up in court or anywhere else. We can scream and cry all we want, but it doesn't make it unethical just because other magicians "feel" it is. So how do you define the ethics/scruples?

Not "arguing" per-se ... actually curious as to WHY you guys believe it's unethical. I could be convinced...I've just never heard a good argument for or against it. The easiest thing (not necessarily right...) is to look at what's actually legal or not. If it's truly illegal, then many people would stop selling them. Anyway, thanks for your input!
[/quote]
Still very limited on time here but I have to jump in. Matt you brought up the " christianity angle" earlier so I feel it is ok for me to touch on that subject. Fair?

I could find a lot of things that are NO-NO's in the bible but they are perfectly legal. Does that mean they have no weight in your view and its open season to do what ever is legal? Would you advise your kids and loved ones that .... If it's Legal ... go for it. ?

Best,

Tim
Message: Posted by: ClintonMagus (Oct 13, 2011 03:28PM)
[quote]
On 2011-10-13 15:39, Matt Adams wrote:
What does all that mean, Walt?

To argue that it's "unethical" then you have to define ethics.
[/quote]
From Dictionary.com:

1. A system of moral principles: the ethics of a culture.
2. The rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group, culture, etc.: medical ethics; Christian ethics.
3. Moral principles, as of an individual: His ethics forbade betrayal of a confidence.
4. That branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct, with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions.

From Merriam-Webster:

1. The discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation
2 a : A set of moral principles : a theory or system of moral values <the present-day materialistic ethic> <an old-fashioned work ethic> —often used in plural but singular or plural in construction <an elaborate ethics> <Christian ethics> b plural but sing or plural in constr : the principles of conduct governing an individual or a group <professional ethics> c : a guiding philosophy d : a consciousness of moral importance <forge a conservation ethic>
3 Plural : a set of moral issues or aspects (as rightness) <debated the ethics of human cloning>

I like this one: "The rules of conduct recognized in respect to a... particular group..." Ethics among magicians seems to be much more of a gray area than ethics among many other groups such as doctors, etc. I think that magicians would be less likely to steal the original creation of a friend than the original creations of a stranger.

Someone once said "Character is what you have when no one's looking." Someone else once said "If you have to ask, you probably shouldn't do it." To me, that's ethics in a nutshell.
Message: Posted by: Matt Adams (Oct 13, 2011 04:46PM)
[quote]
On 2011-10-13 15:45, The Drake wrote:

I could find a lot of things that are NO-NO's in the bible but they are perfectly legal. Does that mean they have no weight in your view and its open season to do what ever is legal? Would you advise your kids and loved ones that .... If its Legal ... go for it. ?

Best,

Tim
[/quote]

I was waiting for that point to be brought up. You are spot on. Just because it's legal doesn't mean it's ok to do. Now that we have that off the table - WHY...WHY is it wrong? I just don't understand!

Let's break it down. We aren't stealing anything physically. We ARE taking an idea. But the idea isn't protected at all. If it was, then it would be wrong to take it. I just can't figure out how an idea can be "stolen" if you don't go the route of protecting it legally. To say you invented it would be completely stealing...because you didn't. But let's use this example. Just because Newton "discovered" gravity, it doesn't mean NO ONE else can use his discovery. That's dumb! It's just an idea. Losander used OTHER PEOPLE'S ideas and made something new. Cool. I'm sort of arguing about creating "new" material, but I think the point is that using the idea itself isn't stealing, IMO. Am I off here? I'm SO cautious about ethics and things of that sort and I sleep very well at night on this issue. (That does NOT make me right...the point is just that I truly "believe" I'm not wrong. But Hitler believed he was right too. Haha.)

Anyway, thanks for giving me your viewpoints. Here's what I need to know:

If it's "wrong" - tell me the rule we are breaking (and please don't quote "Thou shalt not steal" because I still don't see how this is stealing. If that IS your argument, then show why you consider it stealing.) Who made up this rule? Why do we have to adhere to the rule? Who enforces the rule? Answering these questions will probably help me figure out your "side" of the argument. Thanks again, guys!
Message: Posted by: Matt Adams (Oct 13, 2011 06:17PM)
To think of it in another example...each of us buy knock-off products every day. We buy knock-off cereal, drugs, personal items, etc. But we don't see a moral dilemma there. Why not? Is it simply because it's a corporation that's selling the knock-off instead of an individual? Or maybe because it's only hurting the original corporation who "invented" the product and it's not actually hurting an individual with whom we can more easily relate? Right is right. Period. Wrong is wrong. Period. If we REALLY thought it was wrong to buy knock-offs, I'd think it'd apply to all areas of our lives, but I seriously doubt that's the case. We see it as "wise spending habits" to buy cheap. But by the only arguments I've ever heard from magic forums, this would be stealing.

(Remember, I DO support the creators...this is simply for discussion to help us all gain a better understanding of the beliefs we tout.)
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Oct 13, 2011 06:36PM)
Hey Matt!

Typically the ethics discussions fall into another category on this board and are discussed at length there, so that would really be a better place to gain insight into magical ethics. That being said I don't believe you HAVE to adhere to the rule, but then again you don't have to be accepted in any shared group. In addition to the many performers in magic, there are people who spend an amazing amount of time creating, developing, work shopping and perfecting magic ideas for us all. It is fairly simple to understand that there is value in this work they do. Rather than going to the trouble of spending the sometimes years of time necessary to accomplish this ourselves, it is frequently easier to use the ideas of others. To be fair, the creators of those ideas should be compensated for the work and time they have put in to save us the time of doing the same thing. Many times they are accomplishing things that we could have never come up with even if we had all the time in the world.

You might be in an isolated area and have no reason to ever work with anyone else in magic. You might never need the assistance of anyone else in this field to work your entire life. On the other hand if you do, it would be nice to have a good reputation for behaving ethically as most others in the field do. In a nutshell, magicians as a whole tend to be a social group. You can go into any city in the country, find some local magicians and you'll typically be welcomed with open arms. If on the other hand you have a reputation for taking ideas that aren't yours and knocking off other's effects with no consideration or compensation... It would be fair that you would not be as welcome.

Again, if I leave a swaying or chair on my front porch and it's not locked down or secured, is it okay to take? Maybe legally but not ethically. I know the laws regarding private property and this is just an example. There are a few people on here who made their position very clear on stealing material from others without compensating them and they are here as this is a public forum but I have no desire to engage them in a discussion. It is always your choice and in those choices we are defined as principled moral human beings.

For most professionals in magic we work within the ethical boundaries of what is normally accepted in this field. If someone comes up with an idea they should be compensated for that idea if we decide to use it. It doesn't matter if he has a piece of paper or other document... we do it because it is the right thing to do. There are people around the world who argue that if an idea is not copyrighted or patented they have the right to take it. They do but then we have the right not to accept them as a peer and share ideas with them. In fact most are ostracized and viewed in a very negative light. This impacts their dealings with builders, consultants, and other professionals in the field.

Yes ideas have value and merit. In some fields they must be protected and guarded legally, but in magic we like to think we have a gentleman's agreement to protect each other in the brotherhood. In another thread I mentioned that it was like having some nice statuary in your front yard. Neighbors watch out for each other and protect each other's interest as they have a shared benefit. What if someone from the outside came in and decided to steal something from your front yard? After all it's out in the open, it's not locked down, no one said you couldn't take it. Just because you can doesn't make it right.

I hope this makes a little sense, at least it did to me when I wrote it!
Message: Posted by: Matt Adams (Oct 13, 2011 07:18PM)
That makes a lot of sense Ray. To sum it up - if you want to be widely accepted in the magic community, play nice. I could totally appreciate that stand. I suppose I bristle a bit when people attack others and call it stealing. It's only defined as "stealing" because it's "widely accepted in the magic community to be so." So THAT is the "rule" I was looking for, so to speak. It's not stealing to the rest of the world, so I suppose if we are ok being ostracized by our "magic friends" then we could support knock-offs. Makes a lot more sense.

I may browse the other threads you mentioned for more insight later. I enjoyed THIS discussion because you guys were all reasonable without calling me a thief and attacking my Christianity just because you believe I'm stealing by previously buying and using a knock-off. :) Doesn't work too well to call names and not explain why. It's similar to trying to convert someone to Christianity. The "hell fire and brimstone" approach is tactless. To tell someone straight up that they are going to hell just makes people mad. But when you present God's law and show how we have all broken it, then people have a much better understanding of WHY God would send a person to hell. There's a basis for the accusation. Anyway, cool thoughts you gave. Thanks again.
Message: Posted by: Matt Adams (Oct 13, 2011 07:20PM)
PS - of course the "God sending a person to hell" isn't the whole message. Haha, I was just drawing a parallel. God delights in saving! If you are curious as to how that works, feel free to PM me.
Message: Posted by: The Drake (Oct 14, 2011 12:04AM)
[quote]
On 2011-10-13 17:46, Matt Adams wrote:
[
I was waiting for that point to be brought up. You are spot on. Just because it's legal doesn't mean it's ok to do. Now that we have that off the table - WHY...WHY is it wrong? I just don't understand!

Let's break it down. We aren't stealing anything physically. We ARE taking an idea. But the idea isn't protected at all. If it was, then it would be wrong to take it. I just can't figure out how an idea can be "stolen" if you don't go the route of protecting it legally. To say you invented it would be completely stealing...because you didn't. But let's use this example. Just because Newton "discovered" gravity, it doesn't mean NO ONE else can use his discovery. That's dumb! It's just an idea. Losander used OTHER PEOPLE'S ideas and made something new. Cool. I'm sort of arguing about creating "new" material, but I think the point is that using the idea itself isn't stealing, IMO. Am I off here? I'm SO cautious about ethics and things of that sort and I sleep very well at night on this issue. (That does NOT make me right...the point is just that I truly "believe" I'm not wrong. But Hitler believed he was right too. Haha.)

Anyway, thanks for giving me your viewpoints. Here's what I need to know:

If it's "wrong" - tell me the rule we are breaking (and please don't quote "Thou shalt not steal" because I still don't see how this is stealing. If that IS your argument, then show why you consider it stealing.) Who made up this rule? Why do we have to adhere to the rule? Who enforces the rule? Answering these questions will probably help me figure out your "side" of the argument. Thanks again, guys!
[/quote]


Hi Matt,

Interesting discussion to say the least. I'd like to address a few of your comments if I may.

Firstly.. Losander does combine OTHER PEOPLES ideas .. YES.... but did you know he pays a commission for those ideas. He pays Tommy Wonders Estate a fee for each table sold. That is a fact.

I don't agree that you can't steal an idea. When an idea is created it EXISTS and therefore can be stolen. If I had an idea for a book an wrote the novel of all novels and you read it before I had a chance to publish it and then had it published yourself that would indeed be stealing. You could say... I didn't steal the physical book! but it would still be theft. Actually many times people have sued because someone else stole their idea and have won in court so in a sense the law also agrees that you can steal an idea.

Losander didn't discover an existing thing like gravity... he created something new. Anyone who says different is not acknowledging the special elements that Losander added to an existing gimmick to make it new. Of course I can't discuss them here but you discovered one of them when you got the legit Losander. ;)

I don't think magicians use ethics as a way to stay popular with other magicians. I think good behaviour is just that.... good behaviour. I wouldn't cheat with my neighbours wife. And not just so others will like me down at the bowling alley..... I don't cheat with her because its wrong. Legal yes... but wrong. I could say.... Hey... she agrees to it so its ok as I am not married to her but there would be a victim (s) in the picture some place which makes it wrong from the start. The same goes for a Losander Table. Each knockoff victimizes both Losander and all those who paid the price to own an original ensuring the creator got his due share.

Regards protecting an idea legally or not..... I am reminded of a friend who told me about a guy he went to school with. They were walking home from school and he saw a walkman ( yes this was years ago before ipods) on the front seat of a car as they passed by. The window was open so the guy grabbed it and walked off. When my friend asked him why he did that the answer was... " Well .. it was just sitting there and if the owner didn't want it stolen he should have protected it better and not left the window open." Yes he actually said that... it was a case of shifting the blame on the owner of the walkman. For whatever reason the owner had to leave the window open and not protect the walkman it was not an invitation or excuse to justify someone stealing it.

For the record. I don't think you are a hypocrite. I think you are wrong in your line of thinking and hope you come around in the long run. It is for that reason I even bother to type this. There are many others I wouldn't waste the effort on . With you I don't think its a waste.

Best,

Tim
Message: Posted by: SpellbinderEntertainment (Oct 14, 2011 10:52AM)
--We don’t buy “knock-off” cereals (at least I don’t) there is a differentiation between “generic” and knock-off, first many brand companies duplicate their products in their own generic form, it gives them two products and two price points, second cornflakes are not registered, trademarked, or copyrighted foods.

--I’m starting to believe you are hiding behind nitpicking and splitting hairs with definitions, you request widely understood words to be defined in detail, and take up tiny bits of information to prove your view.

--Losander not only pays fairly for his rights, but worked with permission of Wonder during his lifetime. Their product is unique and one-of-a-kind. No Spirit Table ever actually floating in anything close to this method. No floating ball method had ever been used with this large an everyday object before, many of the moves were innovative and original, for instance the spinning move and the peek move. They did not reinvent the wheel, few do, but they brought so many wheels into play so as to be totally original in concept and delivery.

--Cheap things fall apart as a rule, they generally mimic, not achieve the quality of the original they knock-off.

--No need to answer, one can lead a horse to water but one cannot make him drink/
I am so very happy that I do not attend your christian church or any other that so stretches generally accepted rules for living and accepted standards of behavior.

I am so over this now. All has been said and rehashed now.
Walt
Message: Posted by: Matt Adams (Oct 14, 2011 11:05AM)
I agree 100% with everything you just wrote.

To clarify my position -

You CAN steal an idea (exactly as you described above).

Just because something is legal doesn't make it right - you can ALWAYS appeal to the Scriptures with me. Just because it's not "legally" wrong to sleep with another man's wife, it's morally wrong because God says so.

I wasn't clear on these before, but I wanted to be clear here.

Ok...so let me ask this - I obviously agree 100% with what you said. But I think the actual POINT of theft is in question here. What I mean is this - Obviously if I stole Losander's idea at any point in the creation process, created my own version, and started selling it, then I could see that as stealing. But that's not really what's happening here. What's happening is that someone ELSE stole it. They broke the moral code there. Since it's not illegal, they aren't punished (by man, at least). Now they start selling it.

Enter me, the consumer. It gets tricky here because I guess I'd technically be supporting thieves if I buy the knock-offs they sell! But we do it everyday with larger corporations when we buy knock-off products. So you can get really extreme with the details like, "I'm not shopping at Wal-mart because they sell knock-off products." We'd die. Haha. So how do we draw a reasonable line? It's MUCH more difficult for a little ole magician who's created a cool effect like a floating table than for a huge corporation (say Apple). If someone rips off an Apple idea legally (however that would work), then Apple isn't going to be doomed because they have tons of products. But if someone steals an idea from a magician who has ONE product, it's really bad. (I'm not arguing right/wrong. I think both cases here are wrong, FYI. Just talking about impact.)

You're helping me think through this better than anyone I've talked to before on the issue. Like I said, usually it just ends up in them calling me names because I don't understand their position. Heh.
Message: Posted by: Matt Adams (Oct 14, 2011 11:12AM)
[quote]
On 2011-10-14 11:52, SpellbinderEntertainment wrote:
I am so very happy that I do not attend your christian church or any other that so stretches generally accepted rules for living and accepted standards of behavior.

I am so over this now. All has been said and rehashed now.
Walt
[/quote]

Exactly why you cannot convert people who buy knock-offs. Attacking their faith/church/personal values/etc. is not the best approach.

I believe you are scared of actually facing a logical person who doesn't share your viewpoint. Just because you believe extremely strongly on a subject doesn't make you right. That's why I engage in these discussions because I COULD be wrong. I don't think I am...just like you don't think you are. But I'm willing to look inside and analyze WHY I believe what I believe and WHY I act the way I do. I'd encourage you to do the same.
Message: Posted by: Matt Adams (Oct 14, 2011 11:14AM)
[quote]
On 2011-10-14 12:05, Matt Adams wrote:
I agree 100% with everything you just wrote.
[/quote]

This was in response to Tim, not Walt, obviously.
Message: Posted by: The Drake (Oct 14, 2011 11:19AM)
[quote]
On 2011-10-14 12:05, Matt Adams wrote:

Ok...so let me ask this - I obviously agree 100% with what you said. But I think the actual POINT of theft is in question here. What I mean is this - Obviously if I stole Losander's idea at any point in the creation process, created my own version, and started selling it, then I could see that as stealing. But that's not really what's happening here. What's happening is that someone ELSE stole it. They broke the moral code there. Since it's not illegal, they aren't punished (by man, at least). Now they start selling it.

Enter me, the consumer. It gets tricky here because I guess I'd technically be supporting thieves if I buy the knock-offs they sell! But we do it everyday with larger corporations when we buy knock-off products. So you can get really extreme with the details like, "I'm not shopping at Wal-mart because they sell knock-off products." We'd die. Haha. So how do we draw a reasonable line? It's MUCH more difficult for a little ole magician who's created a cool effect like a floating table than for a huge corporation (say Apple). If someone rips off an Apple idea legally (however that would work), then Apple isn't going to be doomed because they have tons of products. But if someone steals an idea from a magician who has ONE product, it's really bad. (I'm not arguing right/wrong. I think both cases here are wrong, FYI. Just talking about impact.)

You're helping me think through this better than anyone I've talked to before on the issue. Like I said, usually it just ends up in them calling me names because I don't understand their position. Heh.
[/quote]

Hello Matt,

Good to see you are at least looking at options. I have to address a few things you said however. Whether or not a person stolen from is doomed because of the theft is a moot point. Wrong is wrong. If I had that affair with my neighbours wife and he never found out then he wouldn't be doomed but it would still be wrong. The first line a kid tells himself when he first thinks about shoplifting is... " Its a big company and it won't hurt them." Of course we all know that the combined shoplifting of all the thieves does add up and we the consumer pay higher prices for it.

I also disagree with the " but I didn't steal it..... I just bought it" argument. If I buy stolen goods from a thief then I am not only supporting his efforts and encouraging him to continue to steal but I am also a participant in the theft. Here's a novel way to stop all thefts world wide... NOBODY buy stolen goods. Then there would be no market for stolen good thus no reason to supply that market. How bout that ? If only it were that simple. LOL

For the record I have seen people suffer from having an act stolen. How would you like to go on stage at a sales convention for the evening show and bomb with an act that not only did you create based on years of trial and error but one that has always been very successful for you. When you ask the client for thoughts on why the audience was not responsive the client says... " Maybe its because the guy we had entertain last night did the exact same act word for word." Yes... this really happened.. not to me but to someone else.

Best,

Tim
Message: Posted by: Matt Adams (Oct 14, 2011 12:31PM)
[quote]
On 2011-10-14 12:19, The Drake wrote:
Hello Matt,

Good to see you are at least looking at options. I have to address a few things you said however. Whether or not a person stolen from is doomed because of the theft is a moot point. Wrong is wrong. If I had that affair with my neighbours wife and he never found out then he wouldn't be doomed but it would still be wrong. The first line a kid tells himself when he first thinks about shoplifting is... " Its a big company and it won't hurt them." Of course we all know that the combined shoplifting of all the thieves does add up and we the consumer pay higher prices for it.

I also disagree with the " but I didn't steal it..... I just bought it" argument. If I buy stolen goods from a thief then I am not only supporting his efforts and encouraging him to continue to steal but I am also a participant in the theft. Here's a novel way to stop all thefts world wide... NOBODY buy stolen goods. Then there would be no market for stolen good thus no reason to supply that market. How bout that ? If only it were that simple. LOL

For the record I have seen people suffer from having an act stolen. How would you like to go on stage at a sales convention for the evening show and bomb with an act that not only did you create based on years of trial and error but one that has always been very successful for you. When you ask the client for thoughts on why the audience was not responsive the client says... " Maybe its because the guy we had entertain last night did the exact same act word for word." Yes... this really happened.. not to me but to someone else.

Best,

Tim
[/quote]

Again, I agree with all that. I was trying to rectify in my mind how buying knock-off products from Wal-mart, for instance, is ok.

But I suppose the main argument is as follows:

Creator comes up with magic effect. Creator sells effect. Effect gets ripped off (STOLEN!). Thief sells magic effect. Consumer buys stolen goods. Regardless of the widespread distribution of stolen goods, they are still stolen intellectual property. Even if it's not easy to protect by man-made laws, it's stealing an idea and stealing is wrong. Buying known stolen goods is supporting stealing and is also wrong.

Man...I'm really close to being a "believer" - haha. My final sticking point is this:

Theft of an idea - who defines this? The Bible was plain and simple with "Thou shalt not steal." But it's man who's come up with these set of laws/rules about what that really means in regards to intellectual property. It'd be easy for me if I could point to either the Bible OR a man-made law that says stealing an idea is wrong...but in this case it's not mentioned in Scriptures AND man-made laws don't cover the intellectual theft used to create knock-off magic effects. So one argument would be to abstain from ALL appearance of evil. If so many people have such an issue with it, even if I don't, then I probably shouldn't partake just for the sake of not offending another. But I'd love to be able to really peg it and say...hey, it's defined as stealing right here in " _____ " and give a reference. If it were that easy though, probably more people would be on board with NOT supporting knock-offs. Do you have any thoughts on who defines this theft of an idea in regards to knock-offs? It sounds like it's just something our "magic community" has made up to try to help protect the creators. What do you think?
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Oct 14, 2011 12:53PM)
Magicians form a society. As in all societies there tends to be a consensus among most people as to the rules and ethics that they will live by. Some of these are written down, some are simply learned as you rise through the ranks as a member of the society. I think we can all agree that some ideas have value. That is why some people go to the trouble to patent them, trademark them and legally protect them any way they can via public documents. As we know magicians tend to be a more secretive organization and avoid public documents as it potentially exposes the method to a wider audience. As a subset of the larger society, we have formed our own rules and ethics to treat the problem internally. If you talk to any of the top professionals you will typically find a fairly even consensus about stealing ideas. They understand the value of these ideas and because they also understand the value of our society they play by the rules we have established whether written down or not. Does it still happened? Of course and in those cases they get called on their actions and judged accordingly. I know many well-known magicians who've had their share of controversy and typically will do their best to make good in the situation to sustain a positive reputation in the community.

I know it is very easy to say that it is stealing only if you take an idea that is patented or legally protected in some way. That is a prime example of following the letter of the law but not the spirit of the law.

Who defines the theft of an idea? We all do. We discuss, debate and reach a consensus in our society. It then becomes an accepted standard if most people agree with it. This is the very essence of situational ethics.
Message: Posted by: The Drake (Oct 14, 2011 01:02PM)
[quote]
On 2011-10-14 13:31, Matt Adams wrote:

Theft of an idea - who defines this? Do you have any thoughts on who defines this theft of an idea in regards to knock-offs? It sounds like it's just something our "magic community" has made up to try to help protect the creators. What do you think?
[/quote]

Hi Matt,

I'd define "theft of an idea" unauthorized duplication of an idea that didn't exist before the originator created it. When a comedian comes up with a trendy new punchline that knocks them dead and was never heard before then its HIS and others using that material are stealing it. I'd call that theft of an idea.

You'll find many want to blur those lines however in their own defence of using it. Lets say that the comedian makes a joke about his mother in law being president of Justin Beibers Fan club. He does his own timing and delivery of it and its new. Other comedians will steal that line and when they are confronted they will say... " Oh c'mon..... comedians have been doing jokes about mother in law's for years!" In fact that very same joke never existed before the first comedian used it and it remains his.

The same goes for magicians. I've had many friends of mine use an original line in a show that kills and I'll ASK them... " Mind if I use that?" Sometimes they say SURE and sometimes they say.. Please don't. I respect their answer because I see it no different than if they have a prop and I ask them if I can borrow or use it in my show. Its there property regardless if its an idea or a physical prop.

I've heard many say a Losander table is a table with a Zombie Gimmick and its nothing new as things have been Zombified for a long time. In fact the Tommy Wonder Gimmick WAS new to the magic world when Tommy created it. It was no ordinary Zombie. In addition to that Losander added a few unique touches to it that never existed on a zombie gimmick.


Best,

Tim
Message: Posted by: Matt Adams (Oct 14, 2011 02:00PM)
[quote]
On 2011-10-14 13:53, Ray Pierce wrote:
Who defines the theft of an idea? We all do. We discuss, debate and reach a consensus in our society. It then becomes an accepted standard if most people agree with it. This is the very essence of situational ethics.
[/quote]

Yeah, I'm not really one to subscribe to "situational ethics." Right is right if no one is doing it and wrong is wrong if everyone is doing it. Of course there are probably exceptions like in most things...but in general, I don't really agree that something is right in one instance and wrong in another.
________________________________________

Tim, I think I'm on board with you. What you said makes sense. I'll be stopping all sales of known knock-off items in my online eBay store too. Thanks for the discussion (and thanks for being reasonable and not attacking me).

I'd rather be honest about my beliefs even if they aren't "popular." The essence of hypocrisy is what some members here have done by attacking me and my church. It's much more important to me to be real than to try to tell people what they want to hear. I don't know about you, but I'd also much rather go to a church where people aren't perfect than to go to one where they appear to be sinless. Doesn't sound like the place for me since I'm only a sinner saved by God's amazing grace!

Still learning -
Matt
Message: Posted by: The Drake (Oct 14, 2011 02:11PM)
[quote]
On 2011-10-14 15:00, Matt Adams wrote:

Tim, I think I'm on board with you. What you said makes sense. I'll be stopping all sales of known knock-off items in my online eBay store too. Thanks for the discussion (and thanks for being reasonable and not attacking me).

Still learning -
Matt
[/quote]

I KNEW you had it in you! I could tell. Thanks on behalf of anyone who ever created anything original. Magic just got a bit better today.

On a side note.... just watch how walking on the ethics side works wonders for you. It sure has for me.

Regards the attacking.... I have attacked my share of people on this forum. MOST of whom are now close friends because we kept it respectful. Others because we were jerks and manned up and settled it in PM's. Now I try and get my point across in a better manner. You see... I am still learning as well. ;)

Take Care,

Tim
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Oct 14, 2011 02:20PM)
[quote]
On 2011-10-14 15:00, Matt Adams wrote:
Yeah, I'm not really one to subscribe to "situational ethics." Right is right if no one is doing it and wrong is wrong if everyone is doing it. Of course there are probably exceptions like in most things...but in general, I don't really agree that something is right in one instance and wrong in another.
[/quote]

I understand your thoughts. The term "situational ethics" might not be the best for this discussion. I was simply trying to explain how something could be agreed upon by one group of people and possibly not accepted by another. I have found out that spitting on the stage floor is not uncommon in some countries but highly frowned upon here. It is normally accepted in most stages in America that having everyone spit on the stage floor is wrong and unacceptable. Is it legally wrong? Probably not but definitely not tolerated or accepted. In other countries it could be very common. Is it also "wrong" there?

The problem with ethics is that it is constantly dealing in the shades of gray that are not as easily defined as the black and white demarcation of law. "Thou shall not steal" seems to be very black and white yet we have volumes of laws enacted to attempt and define that very simple concept. Adding to the complexity we have situational ethics which make it even more difficult. A restaurant has a bowl of mints on the counter by the cash register. The implication is that these are for their customers as they leave. Would it be right to walk in and take a handful of mints and leave? Possibly. Would it be right to walk into a buffet and take a handful of food and leave? That would more clearly be wrong yet both are technically the same. If things were that simple and man was really that smart the Bible could have been one chapter concluding with the 10 Commandments.

It is because you brought up the ethical dilemma in different situations where one seem right to you yet the other didn't that I use that term but maybe it means something different to everyone.

Life and ethics should be simple yet look at how complex this discussion ends up!
Message: Posted by: Matt Adams (Oct 14, 2011 02:29PM)
[quote]
On 2011-10-14 15:11, The Drake wrote:
Regards the attacking.... I have attacked my share of people on this forum. MOST of whom are now close friends because we kept it respectful. Others because we were jerks and manned up and settled it in PM's. Now I try and get my point across in a better manner. You see... I am still learning as well. ;)
[/quote]

Haha, I noticed that on a couple occasions. :) But I didn't hold it against you because people change all the time. What's funny is that we often assume they don't. ;)

_______________________________________________________
Totally with you now, Ray. Thanks for clarifying.
Message: Posted by: MuleePete (Oct 14, 2011 05:28PM)
*Tim wrote "On a side note.... just watch how walking on the ethics side works wonders for you. It sure has for me."

My experience with sticking to my ethics led me to walk away from a plum job of performing everyday from 4pm until 9:30pm, 7 nights a week, April thru Sept. doing what I really loved. But because of my inablility to "go along to get along" I decided to walk. I have not worked since August 2010. In my area of the country ethics are talked up quite a bit, but seldom followed thru with.

Not asking for a tissue, just a note that ethics do not always work in your favor. However, they should still guide your decisions in your dealings. I retain my honor.

Pete
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Oct 14, 2011 05:53PM)
Pete,

The way I look at it, ethical behavior always works in the long term but not necessarily in the short term. Any time you set your sights on trying to take the high road, you can rest assured it might take a little more effort and longer but you have the satisfaction of retaining the honor you deserve.

I also see many people using the argument of "ethics" to justify some of their decisions just because they're stubborn. Sometimes it takes looking at situation carefully from the outside to really find the correct solution. I know I've made choices in the past that I claimed I was doing to be ethical but in fact were just being stupid and inflexible. I was younger and had my mind set with artificially restrictive standards. Once I took my ego out of the picture, I realized these were not ethical issues at all.

I don't know your particular situation but I can only hope it will lead you towards a better one in the future.

All the best!
Message: Posted by: Matt Adams (Oct 15, 2011 10:10AM)
[quote]
On 2011-10-14 18:28, MuleePete wrote:
*Tim wrote "On a side note.... just watch how walking on the ethics side works wonders for you. It sure has for me."

Just a note that ethics do not always work in your favor. However, they should still guide your decisions in your dealings. I retain my honor.

Pete
[/quote]

Good thoughts Pete. Doing the right thing isn't typically an issue for me - regardless of the cost. In this one particular case, I was merely trying to determine why or why not dealing with knock-offs was wrong. Once I determined that it was wrong, it isn't difficult at all to do the right thing in spite of the fact it will cost me a good deal of business and therefore money. But my integrity can't be bought. Not an issue.

I applaud you for doing the right thing in your case as well. Anyone can "sellout" but there aren't very many people that will stand for what's right nowdays. We need more people who will do the difficult thing and stand up for what's right.
Message: Posted by: Father Photius (Oct 15, 2011 01:35PM)
I've run across several versions of knock offs of Losander's tables. Down here on the border there are folks on both sides cranking them out, and not worth the money. Bad enough they rip off a legitimate artist, but they make poor quality copies. The real rip off isn't what they steal it is what they sell. Go with the original, I've never seen a rip off version that even comes close and there are used ones in good shape available out there if you can't afford a new one.
Message: Posted by: MuleePete (Oct 15, 2011 03:21PM)
Ray & Matt, thank you for your insights. I enjoyed reading your comments.

This continues the debate I have seen playout on many of the MC threads without a conclusion, save for what the individual reader takes away.

If you can build it for your own use, OK. BUT NOT FOR SALE!

Pete
Message: Posted by: The Drake (Oct 15, 2011 04:51PM)
[quote]
On 2011-10-15 16:21, MuleePete wrote:
Ray & Matt, thank you for your insights. I enjoyed reading your comments.

This continues the debate I have seen playout on many of the MC threads without a conclusion, save for what the individual reader takes away.

If you can build it for your own use, OK. BUT NOT FOR SALE!

Pete
[/quote]

Question for you Pete. If you think its wrong to sell IP illusions then why would it be ok to build and own one? Isn't that like saying its ok to steal something as long as you plan on using it yourself and not planning on selling it?

I am asking this respectfully and not sarcastically. You seem to feel strongly its wrong to sell them but not own one. that's the part that confuses me. If you use one and perform with it aren't you benefiting from it as much as a person who sells them? In both cases the originator is NOT benefiting as he should.

Best,

Tim
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Oct 15, 2011 05:30PM)
[quote]
On 2011-10-15 17:51, The Drake wrote:

Isn't that like saying its ok to steal something as long as you plan on using it yourself and not planning on selling it?
[/quote]

I have to agree here. If I see an idea or effect that I want to use for my act, even if I know exactly how it works I'll still purchase it from the inventor because I feel that gives me the right to perform it and/or make any changes and improvements that I want. After all, if I see David Copperfield perform something new I have the right to copy it and do it just because I can figure out a method?

I think we are trying to put this in the same category as purchasing a DVD for home use and then showing that same DVD and a movie theater for profit. When you purchase the DVD you are purchasing the rights to display in your home or your own personal use but if you were to use it an a for profit making venture you have to purchase the right separately for that. It's just not the same when you purchase a magic effect that is intended to be shown publicly. It's not like you purchase A Zig Zag and it says you can use this at home for your own pleasure but don't perform it in public. Now there is an assumption that if you purchase a magic effect it will be used for public performance. I always thought it was funny when you purchase an expensive effect and they make a big deal out of giving a certificate that gives you performance rights to the effect. Why else would I have bought it? Did they think I honestly would buy the trick and did not want to perform it? Maybe for a magical historian are somebody that is interested in methods but I would say most people who purchase it want to perform the effect or they would buy it.

Judging by the amount of bootleg DVDs that exist and music, books and other videos being downloaded by torrents, I'm sure people will always look for a way to cut corners and not pay for products. I just honestly feel that if I am using something weather for my own benefit or for my job I want the legitimacy of knowing that we have a fair compensation system in place. It seems the system will always work if that is followed.
Message: Posted by: MuleePete (Oct 15, 2011 08:51PM)
Drake, Ray, Thank you for the civilized discussion.

Lets use an example to center the discussion. Sawing/Cutting/Sectioning a person. Starting with what could be argued as the first example, chopping a person, with sword or axe, into peices and rejoining the peices and the person is shown to be restored. Could be 2000+ years old.

Move to putting a person in a box, cutting it in half, then rejoining the halves restoring the person. Selbit 1921 then improved by Goldin, Wakeling, The Great Virgil, on and on to.........

Sawing a person in half with different boxs types and sizes until....

The Buzz Saw, cutting a person in half without the box, rejoining and restoring the person. Blackstone Sr 1930's

Zig Zag, Dividing a person into thirds in a vertical box with metal blades, moving the middle section "out" then back and restoring the person. Harbin. Also done with cans. Mikame (royalties?)

Aztec Lady, Multiple dividsions and foldings with metal sheet dividers and boxs, then restored. Harbin

Visable Sawing in half. No actual seperating, but illusion of a blade passing thru a person.

Modern Art, a 2 part rather than 3 part zig zag. Jim Steinmeyer (royalties to Harbin?)

Audience Dismember, using almost ANY audiance member person is divided in half and restored. (royalties to Selbit?) Very nice culmination I will admit. Jim Steinmeyer & Bill Smith.

I thing that is enough examples. Different window styles on the same theme. Not all of these methods were "handed" down to others, nor sold, not obtained by "ethical" means. It was common pratice for magicians of the not so distant past(at least for me)to hired an engineer to invent or figure out illusions other magicians performed. In this method royalties were not paid to originators and money was made via performance, on the labors of the R&D of the hired engineer. Quite a number of feuds were originated this way. Study Houdini.

Many tell us theirs is the ORIGINAL idea, having sprung to life new and complete. When looked at closely, most are built from ideas and principles that have gone before and added to.

If I act as my own engineer and figure out how to build a certin prop, I follow in the path well trod before me. But as my conscience dictates according to my life experience, I would not sell what I discovered. This forces others to think for themselves or buy the prop from the "originator".

Rail splits have driven religious wars, political battles and divided social groups for all of human history. All I can do is account for my own actions according to my ethics as learned by experience and longevity.

I respectfuly yield the floor and reserve the remainder of my time.

Pete
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Oct 16, 2011 05:15PM)
Pete,

I agree that only by civilized discussion and can we really hope to share varying opinions in order to form a consensus over what can commonly be accepted as a standard.

I do understand that there are only 13 major magic effects and everything is a variation on that. I also know people that spent their lifetime developing effect only to have it ripped off and stolen by other magicians. If the effect appears the same to the audience doesn't matter that the method is slightly different?

I agree that in a discussion of ethics everyone will have different opinions. I also understand that there is a common consensus in most professional magic circles as to what is appropriate and inappropriate with regards to taking other people's material. If someone is generally accepted as the creator of a certain effect (not necessarily method) then it would generally be accepted that you would not steal his effect even if it meant using a slightly different method for it. As an example Chuck Jones is widely accepted as the creator of the Mis-Made Girl illusion. Many people have copied it and some have changed the method and subtle variations but the reality is they stole the "effect" from Chuck. Just because they hired engineers or worked themselves to figure out method does not make it right.

In the comedy world is the same with stealing jokes. If you steal the premise of a joke even if you change three words the premise is where the value is. Do comics set out to prosecute people who steal their material? Typically not, but comics that have a reputation as thieves are not accepted in many circles. It is a closed self-policing society much like magic. As has been mentioned in this and other columns you do not have to play by the accepted rules but you frequently will not be accepted by peers in the community otherwise. That of course is a choice that we all have to make. Any behavior that is considered anti-social has consequences sooner or later. I won't even begin to debate if it is right or wrong, only that it is going against an accepted practice in a certain social community. What is accepted and tolerated in one's social order might be completely inappropriate and unacceptable and another. That is the reason discussions like this are so vital as it serves to illustrate what these norms are with respect to magic.

If I really like this song another performer wrote, I have the ability to arrange and produce that song myself which requires a lot of knowledge and work. If I do want to perform it I still have to pay the rights to the original artist that wrote it however. Even though I went to the trouble to figure out the arrangement right the music haven't played and recorded, there is still value in the original writing. When you go to perform a play, even if you direct the play, build the sets develop all the motivation, entrances and exits and many other facets of the performance... You still have to pay for the rights of doing that particular play to the author. It is the same in magic even if it is only a gentleman's agreement and not written in a legal document. If someone creates an effect they have the option of selling you the rights to that effect and having you or someone else build it, or they might possibly restrict fabrication to certain known vendors that can produce the effect with the quality that they demand. Otherwise their creation could be built with shoddy workmanship and not reflect well on their design. Each creator must decide these things for himself.

If you want to use a Madonna song in the show, it ultimately must go through her and she must give permission for that song to be used as it will reflect on her music. As an example if you want to use one of her songs on some television show such as the X factor, it might not be an issue. On the other hand if you are doing an adult film and wanted to use it as a backing for some scene, she would have the right not to allow that for obvious reasons. We could easily say that her song might not be that original because it uses the same 13 notes that many other songs do. After all it's just a series of connected cords that I'm sure could be traced back individually to other songs. The difference is in music there are legal documents and arbitrators of these claims of authorship as we see by lawsuits constantly claiming that someone stole a melody or hook from another song.

Again the difference in magic is that these are agreements that are known and accepted but not written down on paper as most times it would give away the secret and make it more visible to the public. Of course all of these are choices that we make as performers and we are either accepted or denied in certain groups and social orders based on these choices. This is a public forum so anyone can come in and post any opinion or standard. Just because someone posted here does not make it accepted. I started off in magic on my own and was not connected with other magicians until I moved to California at the age of 20. It was at that time that I learned what was acceptable behavior and ethical choices to be able to fit into the community that I wanted. I could've carve my own past and been a rebel or outlaw but I made the choice to play by the rules and have the shared benefit of working with some amazing performers and learning from them.

Everyone has the same choices available to them, it's just a matter of how you want to fit in.
Message: Posted by: MuleePete (Oct 16, 2011 07:05PM)
I rather think we have hijacked this thread. Perhaps there should be an "Ethics" column added to the Menu. There appears to be many who enjoy a hearty helping of differing discourse.

PS. Ray I am digesting your last post, and not sure what responce (if any) I may have. Lots to chew on.

Pete
Message: Posted by: Matt Adams (Oct 16, 2011 10:00PM)
Ray, great points about the performance of a play and paying rights to the creator. Good analogy.
Message: Posted by: illusionman2 (Oct 18, 2011 10:39AM)
[quote]
On 2011-10-16 20:05, MuleePete wrote:
I rather think we have hijacked this thread. Perhaps there should be an "Ethics" column added to the Menu. There appears to be many who enjoy a hearty helping of differing discourse.

PS. Ray I am digesting your last post, and not sure what responce (if any) I may have. Lots to chew on.

Pete



There is go the Café's --Right or Wrong?
Message: Posted by: SpellbinderEntertainment (Dec 25, 2011 10:55AM)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvPmJzUZEW4&feature=related

Imagine, if he did not have a cheap, ugly rip-off table,
and if he learned to perform it properly,
and if he knew not to drag the routine on and on.
Oh, never mind, don’t imagine…
Just watch Losander perform.

Walt
Message: Posted by: Devious (Dec 25, 2011 11:48AM)
[quote]
On 2011-10-15 14:35, Father Photius wrote:
I've run across several versions of knock offs of Losander's tables. Down here on the border there are folks on both sides cranking them out, and not worth the money. Bad enough they rip off a legitimate artist, but they make poor quality copies. The real rip off isn't what they steal it is what they sell. Go with the original, I've never seen a rip off version that even comes close and there are used ones in good shape available out there if you can't afford a new one.
[/quote]
You are correct Father Photius, I saw them as well whilst I was in El Paso.
Losander was kind enough to personally deliver mine when I was working
a show at a local theatre there several years back. I love it!
Message: Posted by: IDOTRIX (Dec 25, 2011 11:57AM)
Is Losander the inventor of the floating table or just the method of the way he makes his float?
Message: Posted by: Papa Legba (May 15, 2021 06:21AM)
I realise that this is an old thread but I had to chip in because this is an oft used misconception.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
[quote]On Oct 13, 2011, Matt Adams wrote:'''''''''''''
Just because Newton "discovered" gravity,
[/quote]
Newsflash Matt, he didn't. He was not even the first to use the word which can be traced back to the ancient Greeks.
Newton certainly expanded out understanding of Gravity, so much so that NASA and all other space agencies still use his formualae today, but he did not, in any sense of the word DISCOVER it.
Message: Posted by: Dougini (May 15, 2021 08:46AM)
[quote]On Sep 27, 2011, mgsmagic wrote:
...I had purchased one of the $350 floating tables from Ebay. I recommend to all NOT TO BUY THEM. They're not durable or well made...I just can't use a prop that's I feel is unreliable and may break/fall apart at a moments notice. [/quote]

I stopped reading right there! Sometimes there is JUSTICE! :)

Doug