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Topic: Trademark & copyright trick questions?
Message: Posted by: 12345 (Sep 12, 2003 01:06AM)
Hi...

I was wondering how this is...you know the guy from Illusionist....he did not create some of those tricks like "the classic card wrap" he calls it "vodoo zone" or something... how does he and others get away with this???

and others have talked about making your own Invisible Deck for buskers to sell (wouldnt we get in trouble?)

I ask because I do want to make my own Invisible deck and sell it at fairs and events, etc...
Message: Posted by: MacGyver (Sep 12, 2003 01:53AM)
all you have to change is a VERY SLIGHT THING to get around copyright issue's.

Another big thing is that the holder has to take the person to court, and in most cases tricks either aren't copyrighted, or the owner doesn't bother to prosccute.

When you talking about crediting and permissions and the like, you are talking ethics and not legalities. It is perfectly legal to rip off a lot of things as long as you make slight changes.

As far as ID's are concerned, don't sweat it.

it isn't like all the money from all the other ID's on the market are going to the creator....
Message: Posted by: eddieloughran (Sep 12, 2003 06:22AM)
Sorry I can't agree with the above view. Doing things like this will only get you a bad name. Just because other people get away with breaking the law and cheating the creator doesn't make it right.
Eddie
Message: Posted by: MacGyver (Sep 12, 2003 10:08PM)
Um... cheating the creator of the Invisible Deck? Can you even purchase it from the creator?????

Many people make their own Svengali and Invisible Deck's and sell them, I don't see a problem with that.

I am not saying to go out and rip off people's tricks, but Svengali and ID's are in public domain IMHO
Message: Posted by: lperna (Sep 13, 2003 07:16AM)
I don't think I like the idea of selling invisible deck, or other magic secrets for that matter, at a fair. Is it a good idea to make such strong magic easily accessible to laymen?

Lloyd
Message: Posted by: MacGyver (Sep 13, 2003 12:34PM)
All magic is easily accessible to laymen, you just goto a magic store online and some stuff arives at your house.

The catch is that they have to spend money. I wouldn't ever advise someone to give away a pamphlet on how to make an ID for free because many people won't care, but as long as they plunk down money they have put forth the EFFORT to procure a magic effect, and there is no problem with that.

I am sure thousands if not millions have "easy" access to things like thumbtips, Svengali decks, even hot rod's, and yet are still entertained when they see it performed.
Message: Posted by: lperna (Sep 13, 2003 01:30PM)
The difference is that Magic Shops (brick and mortar, or online) don't market to laymen (most of them anyway). A layman has to seek this out and make an effort. As opposed to selling things like this at a fair or flea market, where you are marketing this stuff to laymen in general. Personally, I'd rather not see the ID advertized on cable as Improved TV Magic Cards.
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Sep 13, 2003 03:27PM)
The problem with the Invisible Deck (and even a Svengali deck) is that when "dad" gets home and opens the package and decides to do it for the kids... he will not be able to to it.

It is not a self working item.

Ken Brooke, a master pitchman, would never sell tricks like that, that can't be done immediately by the buyer.

He would pitch things like the small coloring book, or the flap card 3-card trick "The Dutch Looper" as he called it.

:wow:
Message: Posted by: redstreak (Sep 13, 2003 03:57PM)
[quote]
On 2003-09-12 02:06, 12345 wrote:
Hi...

I was wondering how this is...you know the guy from Illusionist....he did not create some of those tricks like "the classic card wrap" he calls it "vodoo zone" or something... how does he and others get away with this???

and others have talked about making your own Invisible Deck for buskers to sell (wouldnt we get in trouble?)

I ask because I do want to make my own Invisible deck and sell it at fairs and events, etc...


[/quote]

That's why Ellusionist has a very bad name. I would never rip off another person's trick just to make money.

In your case I wouldn't sell something like an Invisible deck to a layman. Unless they are REALLY interested in doing magic, all you will be doing is making someone who will say "I know how he does that".
Message: Posted by: Dennis Michael. (Sep 15, 2003 12:56AM)
When does a trick become public domain? Who calls that one? If you want to sell something, sell yourself. Make a break through with an effect, credit those who came before you, and then offer the new and improved twist on the effect to your peers.

We are magicians and our job is to create magic in the lives and minds of our audiences. By giving them (or rather selling them the secret) We do them wrong and from that point are no longer magicians but money grubbing pitchmen. Why not just sell them something else useless like snakewater. :fruity:
Message: Posted by: MacGyver (Sep 15, 2003 01:56PM)
I would personally say a trick becomes public domain, when the creator/creator's heir isn't receiving any money from it because they have stopped making it and others have taken the idea to sell...

Now this might upset people, but the whole reason copyright laws were invented, was to make sure that the creator didn't get ripped off and get denied money they they deserved. It was not to make sure that you can't listen / perform / create their idea without permission.

I am not trying to get into the ethics or morals involved in selling laymen magic, but mearly the legal side.

Let's face it, magic stores NEED to make money or they can't stay open. If they refused to sell a trick to someone becuase they just wanted to know the secret then they couldn't stay open.

Like it or not, Laymen can get 99% of magic tricks, books and video's with no prior magic knowlege. It hasn't ruined magic beacuse everyone knows how its done, and it won't in the future.

Most people don't remember magic or know the applications. You could tell them the secret to an invisible deck and still fry them awhile later on with a properly used routine that disguises the ID(not "oh look your named card is face down").

I think the original poster was asking if he could "get into trouble" by selling an invisible deck at a fair, and the answer to that is NO WAY. I don't think ANY of the ID proceeds goto the creator, and if he isn't sueing the major companies from mass producing them, he won't care if you sell them at some fair.

There is also a big difference between selling an ID, Svengali, ect deck and selling something like "Sankey's In a Flash" or "Aronson's Red Sea Passover". Those effects DO still give money to the creator, and should NEVER EVER EVER be sold by anyone other than them to anyone.

-MacGyver
Message: Posted by: Marshall Thornside (Sep 15, 2003 09:39PM)
its a patent. you can request a copy of the patent. it gives a complete directions and layout. in order to consider something of you own approximately 10-20%. a patent is good for an X amount of years like the copyright [i believe its still 50].

unless you are doing something drastic to the trick its probably not even worth trying to pursue in case of legalities.

there's plenty of things my dad has built and re-built to perfection that many magicians use even today and they don't know it, and he never patented anything.

i have only dealt with copyrighting my own music. you should research all avenues before pursing anything.
Message: Posted by: Dr_Gonzo (Sep 16, 2003 08:16AM)
I think disney had copyright extended again (and will do ad infinitum) so you can treat copyright these days of being effectively endless (in the US).
Message: Posted by: Eldon (Sep 16, 2003 05:58PM)
I have met a lot of great magicians that got started by purchasing a Svengali or Stripper Deck at a fair or carnival.
Message: Posted by: Dennis Michael (Sep 17, 2003 06:05AM)
If one changes the item significantly, but the outcome is still the same it could be OK. For instance, there is the Walsh spring steel appearing cane and Fantasio plastic appearing cane. Did Fantasio rip off Walsh's cane idea? The magic society accepted this copy, even though many thought it was inferior to the spring steel. Now there are many variations of the spring steel cane and the plastic canes.

The Mirage deck is a Svengali Deck with Roughing powder, yet the magic society doesn't look at that as a rip off. Where is that acceptable line? No one knows for sure, however, the law is pretty clear in that any change creates a new product.

A rip off is the India made What's Next effect. The cover is so close to the origional, that it appears to be an exact copy. The effect is a black card with red spots. Technically different only in color, and it's an inferior product.

What is the Answer or Solution? Who really knows for sure? The courts are the decision makers in these situations. Emit Kelly, the clown, sued his son for copying the look and the routines he created and the courts ruled against the father because there is sufficient differences in facial shape. Which leads me to believe, he who has the better lawyer wins!
Message: Posted by: Eric Grossman (Sep 17, 2003 09:08AM)
[quote]
On 2003-09-13 13:34, MacGyver wrote:
All magic is easily accessible to laymen, you just goto a magic store online and some stuff arives at your house.

Here's something to consider. You still have to be looking for it. I don't remember any magic retailers knocking on my door, or sending pop-up adds to any layman's computer.

Selling effects at a fair, is basically throwing them in front of those who were probably not looking. As a magician, I don't support this.

I think magic should be a "seek and ye shall find" endeavor, not a "hey let me expose you to this" one.

Eric Grossman
Message: Posted by: Billgussen (Sep 17, 2003 03:40PM)
[quote]
Now this might upset people, but the whole reason copyright laws were invented, was to make sure that the creator didn't get ripped off and get denied money they they deserved. It was not to make sure that you can't listen / perform / create their idea without permission.
[/quote]

Actually, a copyright does make sure you cannot perform or create copyrighted material without permission, or at least, the threat of legal recourse. A play is copyrighted material, and performers must get (and usually pay for) permission to perform it.

Although it has not come up in magic that I am aware of, it could be argued in court that with purchase of an effect (or a book or video that describes an effect) is a license to perform that effect. However no license or permission is explicit or implicit for you to create your own knock-offs of the effect in order to sell them.

I do not know if there is a copyright held on the standard gimmicked decks, and considering the number of manufacturers that produce them, I'm inclined to believe that they have fallen into public domain. A lot of intellectual property, especially from the early 20th century fell into public domain before copyright laws were modified. (There are some that are privately held though -- it turns out that Happy Birthday is still held by an estate.)

Performance is probably okay. Recreating for profit is certainly not. And listening...I know several stores (non-music stores) that have been sucessfully sued by the music publishing industry because they had the radio or recordings playing in the background. Yes, you can be sued for listening.

If you sell knock-off items, don't get caught.

Bill
Message: Posted by: carla (Sep 17, 2003 07:00PM)
I am an intellectual property attorney so I thought I would weigh in with some general comments here. This is not legal advice directed to any particular situation, but rather my general observations on the state of (United States) intellectual property laws as they might apply to magic effects and performances. (Other countries' laws are similar but not identical.)

First, a little on the difference between the subject matter of copyright, that of patents, and that of trademarks:

Copyright protects original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium. Subject matter of copyright can include artwork, text, and audiovisual works, among other things. The idea or concept behind an effect is not protected by copyright. Only a particular expression of an idea is proper subject matter of copyright. The protection afforded by a copyright is the right to prevent others from making unauthorized copies of the work.

Copyright exists the moment the work is fixed in a tangible medium; the author does not need to register with the Copyright Office to obtain rights, but it is advisable (and sometimes necessary) to do so if you anticipate ever enforcing your rights in court. An individual author's copyright lasts the life of the author plus 70 years. Copyrights in older works may have expired sooner than that, depending upon when the work was created. Thus, the question of when a work enters the public domain can be very complex.

A patent protects compositions of matter or processes that are new, useful, and would not be obvious to someone skilled in the art to which the invention pertains. The patent can protect an "idea" to the extent that the idea is described in particular and generalized embodiments in the patent document.

Patent protection does not exist as soon as the invention is made; only after an application is filed in the patent office, examined, and allowed, does the patent issue and rights commence. This process is technical and can take years, depending upon the field and complexity of the invention. The patent term expires 20 years from the date the application was filed. A patent provides the owner the right to exclude others from making, using, or selling the invention described.

A trademark is just that: a mark used in trade. It protects the brand names under which products or services are offered. To obtain a trademark you need only use your mark in trade. However, to enforce a trademark under the Federal trademark laws you must register with the Patent and Trademark Office, and you can obtain registration only for the use of the mark in connection with particular goods or services and only if your trademark is not generic or merely descriptive or a few other prohibited categories. Trademark protection lasts as long as you keep using the mark, and affords the owner the right to prevent others from using a mark that is likely to cause confusion in the marketplace as to the origin of goods or services.

If a magician devises a new effect, performs it before audiences, writes up lecture notes, and offers the lecture notes and the gimmick on the market, the magician's intellectual property rights are implicated in several ways. There may be copyright in the patter or script or story of the effect, provided it is fixed in a tangible medium. There is copyright in the lecture notes themselves - the description of how to perform the effect and the figures provided with it. And the gimmick itself, or the method of achieving the effect, might be patentable if the creator chooses to file an application. If the gimmick is a gaffed card, for example, the design of the card may be also be a copyright protected work.

These copyrights would mean that the purchaser would not be entitled to make unauthorized copies of the notes and possibly the gaff. It would also mean that, without a license, any patter published in the notes could not be used in performance, because that performance would amount to an unauthorized reproduction of the text in the lecture notes. However, it is certainly the custom or practice in the industry that the purchase of lecture notes or a book comes with an implied right to perform the effects disclosed. If I were selling effects, though, I would make very clear which of my rights I was reserving (the right to duplicate the notes and the gimmick) and which I was licensing (the right to perform).

Phew. I could say more, but I need to get back to work. I hope this was informative and cleared up some common misconceptions about copyright and patent protection. Probably, though, it raised more questions than it answered, so please fire away. And remember, there are grey areas in the law, so your questions are likely to get very hard very fast, and my opinions are just that; others may disagree. If you have a real (not hypothetical) legal question, consult a lawyer.
Message: Posted by: 12345 (Sep 18, 2003 01:00AM)
In the world of business....
You can take an exisiting product and make it better..

That new product becomes yours.

Look at the soda pop industry.... so many choices, but has the same "effect" just different names and ingredients right?

How about jeans?? cars, etc...

I think in magic, it's hard to get a patent, only copyright of the BOOK or VIDEO, the secret behind the trick is tricky to patent, and I don't think the secret can be copyright?

Lets say someone watched a performance of the "elevator levitation" one could successful agrue in court (if need be) they created their on effect, that being a magician - we are trained to understand and acheive how things are done - we could say "your honour, My son and I were practicing magic in our garage and figured a way to acheive the same effect (or an effect similar) to so and so's Elevator Levitation... it is not identical in methods, but has the same effects... we are not copying and reselling his video or book, it is our own methods in which to create a self levitation...

unless so and so has a patent pending on Levitations in general, one could find a loop hole (they always exist) ... im not saying go rip of the elevator, but making a point that I don't think you could patent a secret or more specifically a "effect" same results, different means
Message: Posted by: MacGyver (Sep 18, 2003 02:29AM)
again there is a big difference between ethical and legal.

You can definatly weasle around the law and rip someone off, but you would be a big goober if you did so.

AFAIK, the reasons I stated above were WHY the copyrights were made, not what they are used for today.

I am not a law major or history major, but for some reason I am pretty sure that when copyrights were first envisioned, it was to protect the creator, not prevent you from listening to it/ performing it as LONG AS IT DIDN'T HURT THE AUTHOR.

This whole stuff about you can't use someone's music to make new music, or that you can be sue'd for listening to something is all the work of big companies to get the almighty dollar.

anyway... as far as the Svengali deck is concerned don't worry about it. but DON'T GO AFTER MARKETED EFFECTS(ones that are being sold by creator). Peter is a member of the Café and you shouldn't rip off his elevator just if you came up with a similer idea.

Besides you wouldn't have come up with the method had you not watched the video of it.

And yes you CAN patent secret's, a lot of Copperfields things are patented with some large illusions. The secret is how broadly you define your patent.

I don't know if peter patented the elevator, but i'm sure you could define it broadly enough that a slight change in the method would be covered, since you are still using the "base method"
Message: Posted by: 12345 (Sep 18, 2003 02:49AM)
I would never rip off the creator, but I am going to make my own ID and sell it... I was just making a point of its trickey to patent a effect and the loop holes and such, like look at Ellusionist.CON what a joke! why are people in the magic community letting his team CON get away with that?? I guess he used a loop hole...man if that guy ever punked of Andrew Mayne or Fearson I will hack his site and direct it to some porn site
Message: Posted by: MacGyver (Sep 18, 2003 06:07PM)
yeah.... that's what you'd do.... lol

You are an evil mastermind!
Message: Posted by: Billgussen (Sep 18, 2003 06:57PM)
[quote]
On 2003-09-18 03:29, MacGyver wrote:
I am not a law major or history major, but for some reason I am pretty sure that when copyrights were first envisioned, it was to protect the creator, not prevent you from listening to it/ performing it as LONG AS IT DIDN'T HURT THE AUTHOR.
[/quote]

What the lawmakers who created copyright law envisioned is irrelevant -- what's relevant is what is written in the law and how judges interpret those writings.

Carla wrote a long, intelligent, and pretty eye-opening post. Pay attention to it, especially if you thought that the world worked differently. She's the the one with the experience in this field.

Way to go Carla!
Bill
Message: Posted by: p.b.jones (Sep 19, 2003 02:45AM)
I would personally say a trick becomes public domain, when the creator/creator's heir isn't receiving any money from it because they have stopped making it and others have taken the idea to sell...

Hi,
But this is also a difficult thing to truly know. Many performers sell there product to a dealer who gives them a royalty/one off payment or combo of both lets say the performer goes down the royalty or combo route. the dealer may be the sole distributer but many supply other dealers giving the immpression that it is in the public domain if we follow your criteria. however to rip it off is 1. hurting the inventer 2. hurting the original dealer who bought it from the inventer (though the dealer buying new products is often overlooked new magic owes a lot to them too)
3. it is hurting any dealer who bought it from the genuine distributing dealer.
Phillip :cry:
Message: Posted by: Thom Bliss (Mar 2, 2010 11:16AM)
The problem with making your own invisibles or Svengalis is not in the manufacturing and sell of the deck. They were invented long ago (much more than 20 years ago). It's with the instructions. They may very well be copyrighted. And don't think that just the text and pictures you're copying doesn't have a copyright notice on it doesn't mean it's not copyrighted. The person your copying it from may have copied it from somebody else and left the copyright notice off. To be safe, write your own instructions and draw your own illustrations, or have somebody do it for you. And be sure to pout a copyright notice on it.

As far as making small changes. That doesn't work. If it did, people could publish, say, "The DiVinci Code," with a minor revision on page 33, and get away with it. Or produce a version of "The Sound of Music," by changing the name of one of the kids.

When you make a new invention, it's yours - sorta. But the old invention is still the inventors, his heirs and assigns, until the patent runs out. Suppose that I invented and patented the chair. You decide to add rockers to it, making it a rocking chair. You'd still need to get my permission to manufacture your invention (or have to buy the chair part of your rocking chair from me), until my patent on the chair ran out. Now suppose somebody else figured out a different way to make a chair rock (springs and such). If my patent of the chair was still enforce, they'd need to get my permission to make their invention, same as you. But they wouldn't need your permission to make their version of the rocking chair, because even though the effect is the same or similar, it's achieved in a different way, a different mechanism.

Thom

Thom
Message: Posted by: Clay Shevlin (Mar 27, 2010 02:59AM)
Carla, many thanks for your good post. :applause: I'm definitely no IP expert, but as one who's dabbled in small-time publishing, do have a couple of comments/questions.

[quote]On 2003-09-17 20:00, carla wrote:
... Copyright exists the moment the work is fixed in a tangible medium; the author does not need to register with the Copyright Office to obtain rights, but it is advisable (and sometimes necessary) to do so if you anticipate ever enforcing your rights in court. ...[/quote]
Here’s the very general way I’ve thought about it: a work is “fixed in a tangible medium” if it can be retrieved and seen or heard, directly (like in a physical book) or indirectly (like hearing/seeing the contents of a DVD by using a DVD player).

I could definitely see the advantage of registration in cases where priority was a critical issue in a copyright suit, but the “sometimes necessary [for enforcement]” comment roused my curiosity. Isn’t registration always necessary in order to bring a U.S. copyright dispute to the courts? And once in the U.S. court system, are there situations where the failure to register a work would, in and of itself, prevent enforcement of an otherwise legitimate copyright?
Message: Posted by: Lawrence O (Mar 27, 2010 09:12PM)
Hello Clay

Nice talking to you here.

Carla, what would we need to do for our associations like the SAM IBM or Magic Castle, MMagic Circle... being able to launch class actions about the disclosure of trade secrets which are already well delineated?
Message: Posted by: landmark (Mar 27, 2010 11:40PM)
Informative as carla was, the post was from seven years ago :)
Message: Posted by: NabsS (Mar 31, 2010 03:17PM)
I am not a lawyer, but I have studied IP rights for quite a while now (in the IT field where they are very much abused), and I have a few views about intellectual property in Magic.

First of all, trademarks are no use in protecting magical effects. They only protect the name (and other identifiers such as logos, etc.).

Secondly, copyright, as said before, does not protect ideas, only their expression. It can protect patter, instruction manuals, etc. It lasts a very long time (too long, IMHO).

Thirdly, patents can be used for protecting magical inventions. But they have the following drawbacks.

1) Patents are PUBLIC! If you want to keep an exclusive secret, don't patent it. (Of course, you can patent part of your invention, and keep the rest as trade secret, but that's bordering on abusing the system)

2) Patents only last for 20 years, not more. And since patents are public, after expiry anyone can use it.

3) Patents are not cost-free. You need to apply for one, and it cost money PER COUNTRY in which it is applied.

Then there are trade secrets. These may apply to methods, not to effects. I am not an expert with these laws, but what I know is that you need "reasonable measures to keep the secret undisclosed", and I just read on Wikipedia about it. That includes signing an NDA with each person to whom you teach the effect to, and shredding all documents, etc. And you cannot sue anyone that reverse-engineers your method, and then you LOSE YOUR SECRET, with no legal recourse. And if someone discovers your method independently and patents it (since it is secret, it can not be found as prior art), not only will your secret be lost, YOU SOMETIMES WILL LOSE THE RIGHT TO USE IT.

What's the solution: Lobby the parliament in your country to make laws protecting magicians, defining the status of a magician, defining a magical secret and preventing both knowledge of secrets by non-magicians and using secrets from other magicians. Good luck with that one:)

More seriously, the solution is: KEEP INVENTING. Don't worry if someone borrows your idea, keep working on the next one. Magicians of the past haven't stopped inventing, even with no legal recourse against exposure and copy.

Nabil

PS: Class actions against exposure of trade secrets? Again, I am not a lawyer, but I doubt it is possible.
Message: Posted by: aechecop (Jul 2, 2010 06:32AM)
The magic industry is of such a small size that is is almost impractical to copyright or patent effects and even more impractical to enforce any infringement. Sad but true...
Message: Posted by: Dan Bernier (Jul 6, 2010 06:26PM)
What an interresting thread. :)

As far as E goes. I have to hand it to Brad for doing something that everyone didn't think of until he started making millions at it.

What Brad did was open up the Brick and mortar style of magic shops, and widely marketed and made available tricks to the general public. He cashed in on the popularity of David Blaine and Chris Angel, and now owns a very lucrative business.

Brad has had many well known magicians and creators work for him and publish their material through him.

Before you knock Brad or E keep in mind that you are also talking just about almost every other magician, creator, or dealer today. Most of them now sell tricks in very much the same way. One trick DVD's, downloads, custom decks, etc. All to anyone who has the cash to buy. Do you really think Theory11, Penguin, Murphy's, etc care who they sell too?

E doesn't have a bad reputation, and I'm not hear to defend them either. I just finished reading several ignorant( not knowing the facts) posts and thought I would chime in.

I have seen both Svengali and Invisible Deck's sold in the malls many times in my life. And anyone is legally allowed to make their own, and legally choose to sell them if they want.

Jay Sankey makes and sells his own ID, and so do many other dealers. If "they" can do it, so can anyone else.

It's like IT. Once dealers found out what it was, they stopped buying it from the originator and started making their own with no regards.

Ethics today in magic business is like a revolving door. There is absolutely no consistancy to it.

One of the things that is happening in the magic business is well known dealers lying in their adds, and making ridiculous claims. Some of the adds border line on false advertising, while others cross the line. They get away with it because none of us report them to the right channels.

I used to think that the magic fraternity had a very solid group of ethics, but it turned out to be just another illusion. The love of money is at the root of the demise of our ethics.
Message: Posted by: aradia (Jul 7, 2010 11:48AM)
[quote]
On 2010-07-06 19:26, Gospel Dan wrote:

I used to think that the magic fraternity had a very solid group of ethics, but it turned out to be just another illusion. The love of money is at the root of the demise of our ethics.
[/quote]

"For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil" -- 1 Timothy 6:10
Message: Posted by: markmiller (Jul 7, 2010 11:53AM)
From this point forward valuable secrets should be kept secret and not be published in any way or the value of our craft will eventually diminish.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jul 7, 2010 12:33PM)
[quote]
On 2010-07-07 12:53, markmiller wrote:
From this point forward valuable secrets should be kept secret and not be published in any way or the value of our craft will eventually diminish.
[/quote]

markmiller, that point was long, long ago. What to do with those whose love of money kept them from noticing the damage done ... that's where we have a question of ethics.

Those who wish to use an idea in performance are most often going to get help when they ask me. Where I draw the line is more about whether I can give a thing, a reference or have to point the questioner to another person who is more likely in a position to give that thing by way of direct ownership or as secrets keeper in that field. Is what someone asks about in my trust to choose whether or not to give and in giving to extend that trust? That is the ethical question IMHO.
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jul 7, 2010 01:35PM)
I own a good many copyrights, as I make my full living as a published playwright. The law is still the author's life plus seventy years...unless the author is a huge corporation, in which case it's ninety years, but let's not worry about that fine distinction at the moment.

Registration of copyright is cheap and easy and I recommend it. As has been mentioned, you can't copyright a device. You COULD copyright a PICTURE of the device, or the printed PLANS for a device, but that only protects the picture or the plans from being copied and sold...and you would have to notice it, because nobody else is looking out for you (In my case, the publisher looks out for me).

The moment a thing is written, you have common law copyright, which means that you can stop someone from using your work (In my case, plays) in any way--copying, performing based on the work itself, etc. BUT, with common law copyright, you can't sue for damages...you can only stop the perp. With registration (I've forgotten for the moment how much it is...thirty bucks, forty bucks, something like that), you can stop the perp AND collect damages.

You could also copyright several individual pieces as a group. For instance, if you write multiple short performance pieces, you could put them all together under a single copyright.

But you can't copyright an idea. Ideas are too nebulous. You CAN patent a thing that is based on your new idea...but that's a different animal altogether.

-Philip

-Philip
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jul 7, 2010 01:35PM)
Hm. I seem to have signed that twice. Go figure.
Message: Posted by: markmiller (Jul 7, 2010 01:36PM)
Certainly pointing someone in the right direction where a thing might be found in print is ethical. Divulging that which you has been entrusted that is not published ethically requires permission from the creator.
Message: Posted by: markmiller (Jul 7, 2010 01:37PM)
Sorry for the poor grammer. Sometimes my fingers don't work in conjunction with my brain. That's why I took up magic..
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jul 7, 2010 04:01PM)
@mm, grammar counts in spelling.

@servante - what was your intent in stating what has been stated on this BBS many, many times about fixed expressions and copyright protection? Or in the grammar of [url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/littlebritain/characters/vicky.shtml]Vicky Pollard[/url] : "yes, but no, but you can't copyright an idea. Ideas are too nebulous. You can patent a thing that is based on your new idea...but that's a different animal altogether." :)
Message: Posted by: markmiller (Jul 7, 2010 05:38PM)
Touche.
Message: Posted by: Servante (Jul 7, 2010 07:42PM)
I was just responding to a query based on my own experience with copyrights.