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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Right or Wrong? » » An interesting exchange regarding Intellectual Property Rights. (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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LobowolfXXX
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Quote:
On 2006-03-25 08:31, leapinglizards wrote:
Ok, so, here is a pie in the sky idea to toss out there. Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer

A few comments/ rants

A- Copyrights protect the printed or recorded word, NOT the idea. In other words, if I write a book and put a secret in it- Legally no one can copy that information as written HOWEVER- the idea is NOT protected. If someone copies the text, it is a federal offense. (Assuming they are in the USA)

You also get copyright protection in any country that is a signatory to the Berne convention (which is just about all of the ones you'd care about).
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

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Sergey Smirnov
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Here's a thought/question. If I figure out the secret of some original trick myself, should I still purchase it from its creator before starting to perform it?
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Quote:
On 2006-03-27 08:57, Sergey Smirnov wrote:
If I figure out the secret of some original trick myself, should I still purchase it from its creator before starting to perform it?


I am now going into mentalist mode. I predict that you will receive several replies, nearly all of which will say "no". And quite a few of those will be abusive.

I hope that I'm wrong about the abusive responses. But, then again, I'm no mentalist.

Dave

PS - My own personal opinion is that one shouldn't perform material professionally if one doesn't own it. But what a hobbyist does is up to him. I expect abuse for that opinion too.
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I agree with you - If the trick truly is original in some significant way, then it can only be the right thing to do to pay the originator what is due to him before perfoming it professionally (or using it to make a name for yourself) - whether or not you worked out the secret for yourself.

Whether or not a trick is truly original in some way will always be a matter of opinion. That's where good judgement and respect for each other comes into it.
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Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2006-03-27 08:57, Sergey Smirnov wrote:
Here's a thought/question. If I figure out the secret of some original trick myself, should I still purchase it from its creator before starting to perform it?


Try putting yourself in the shoes of the person whose work you wish to copy and perform. How would you feel if you spent years to get an idea working, were using it to make a living and then and found others performing your routine?
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Jonathan Townsend
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On 2006-03-27 10:28, Steve Martin wrote:...Whether or not a trick is truly original in some way will always be a matter of opinion. That's where good judgement and respect for each other comes into it.


I treat magic as an art and work on/at projects which have significant personal contribution on the presentation and/or method side. As you can well imagine I think very little of people who copy what they could likely have for the asking.
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Sergey Smirnov
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Quote:
On 2006-03-27 11:07, Jonathan Townsend wrote:

Try putting yourself in the shoes of the person whose work you wish to copy and perform. How would you feel if you spent years to get an idea working, were using it to make a living and then and found others performing your routine?


It was a hypothetical question related to the discussion, I just wanted to know what people think about it. Even though I am no professional, I do not perform original tricks I haven't payed for.
Jonathan Townsend
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Does that mean you can't put yourself in their position?
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Dave Le Fevre
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Sergey has stated that he does not perform effects that he doesn't own.

And he's said that he just wanted to know what people thought about it. Which strikes me as a perfectly reasonable question - quite often, I have an opinion on something, yet I also ask the opinion of others.

So he obviously has put himself in their position. He is in their position - there are effects which is capable of performing but which he doesn't own. I'm sure that we're all in that position. And we all make our own decision.

I don't see why on earth you should extrapolate from the fact that he's asked the opinions of others to the conclusion that he cannot put himself in the position of others. That genuinely puzzles me.

Dave
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Jonathan Townsend
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Mentalist or not, it is better to ask when one has questions.

The moral sense we take from "The Golden Rule" comes from doing what I suggested above, putting yourself in the other person's position and forming some opinion of how it would feel to be on the other side of the hypothetical transaction.

Till one can refer to one's own moral compass for direction, the words and suggestions of others fall upon deaf ears and may even serve as excuse.

Do we really want nine of out ten move monkeys opinion that "monkey see monkey do" is honorable in magic to be our guiding principle?
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LobowolfXXX
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Did the person who coined the prhase "move monkey" do so after consulting his inner compass, or reflecting upon the Golden Rule?
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

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Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2006-03-28 17:01, LobowolfXXX wrote:
Did the person who coined the prhase "move monkey" do so after consulting his inner compass, or reflecting upon the Golden Rule?


No idea. But if the banana appeals, it sticks.

Seems a decent label for those who want to demonstrate skill yet avoid eye contact with the audiences, sort of watching their hands while mumbling or worse, expecting you to care if their pass is invisible while forgetting to present their magic.

Yeah okay that term is insulting to monkeys and apes.

Besides the issue raised was that of avoiding a consensus of uninformed opinion as guide to civic policy.
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Howard Coberly
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Quote:
On 2006-03-27 11:15, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Quote:
On 2006-03-27 10:28, Steve Martin wrote:...Whether or not a trick is truly original in some way will always be a matter of opinion. That's where good judgement and respect for each other comes into it.


I treat magic as an art and work on/at projects which have significant personal contribution on the presentation and/or method side. As you can well imagine I think very little of people who copy what they could likely have for the asking.








For the asking, eh....hmmmm. I wonder...

Could I please have one of your 600.00 linking finger rings? Just thought I'd ask.
I actually had a chance to see one and they are beautiful!

On the point, though...at the beginning of this thread, someone mentioned his belief that it is wrong to teach someone how to do a trick since this is tantamount to buying a used dvd or book, which the poster felt to be wrong as it takes money out of the hands of the creators. Well, I was taught a James Swain trick by a friend which led to my eventually buying several of his books. My argument being that sometimes it can be the best form of advertising.

I have to say also that I'm always amused by the professional magicians who claim that they consider magic an art and who decry all of the "...laymen with rabbits on their business cards". They go on with their diatribes against magicians who buy and re-sell their "artistic" secrets while spewing out blanket insults against anyone who does not have at least 20 videos to their name. So, on one hand, I am to be insulted by these self appointed arbiters of what is right and wrong and good and bad in the magic world, while on the other hand, they want the same people whom they just insulted to buy the videos and products that they are selling. Oh, I'm sorry, did someone on this forum not know that the majority of people who buy these items are not the top level pros but the "laymen with rabbits on their business cards"?

So, basically, they don't want their art to be mangled by the masses but they want the masses to buy their art.

Wake up ladies and gentlemen: The pros who sell the products are selling the products for...cover your ears kids...MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If these same gurus really had the courage of their convictions, they would stop selling their wares to those terrible "laymen with rabbits on their business cards" all together in order to preserve the dignity of their art. But wait a minute...that would mean giving up...hide your unwed daughters...MONEY!!!

I have no problem with this in and of itself. But! Don't try to misdirect me into thinking that you hate me using your stuff and giving magic a bad name because of your love for the "art of magic". You cannot reconcile your supposed love of the art side of magic and a strong desire for the art not to be diminished by ..."laymen with rabbits on their business cards", with selling products to those same people.
Anyone who believes that he can is, in my humble opinion, a hypocrite. And believe me, there are many of them in the ranks of the pros.

The mind set that allows for this outlook is the same hypocritical mindset that believes re-selling a magic video or trick is immoral or dishonest but re-selling a car is not. THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE!!!

Now, about that linking finger ring.....
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There used to be famous actors and singers, while today, God only knows! Nobody visits except magicians and organ-grinders. No esthetic satisfaction."
Lee Darrow
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Okay, as a working pro, and someone invilved a bit with the protection of intellectual property rights, let's take a look at that argument.

A car is not, generally, a trade secret that allows someone to make a living through the exclusive knowledge of its operation. The purchase of a magic effect, book or DVD, however, is. You are comparing apples to Apple computers.

Secondly, yes, it IS about money. The SECOND word in the term "show business" is the word "BUSINESS," so please, disabuse yourself of the notion that it is all about the art alone. While the art and its preservation IS a concern (which is why these Banquet Rooms ARE locked off to all but those who have shows at least some persistence by their demonstrating that they can post at least 50 posts of substance here, it is also about ripping off someone's intellectual property.

In this way, it is more akin to illegally copying computer software or illegally ripping music.

However, out of print works that are in the public domain, where copyright protection has run out, is another thing, altogether, at least in my opinion.

Now, if I purchase a book, say Duvivier's book, which is really nothing more than a dealer's ad disguised as a magic book (because all but about two effects in that book REQUIRE you to purchase equipment that HE makes) and decide to re-sell it, then I really see no problem - because it amounts to a catalogue of instructions for equipment that someone has to purchase to make use of anyway - the "artist" gets his money from the purchase of the props and I walk away feeling a little less ripped off.

If, on the other hand, I were to do that with a book or DVD that I was actively using material from in my act, that would be, in my opinion, unethical primarily because I AM using that material and the DVD or book is an implicit permission to perform that material (except, perhaps on TV, depending on what the author says in the copyright statement IN the bood or DVD, of course). Also, it would be pretty silly of my to sell that book or DVD because it amounts to reference material that I will undoubtedly use in the future.

Does that help?

Lee Darrow, C.H.
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<BR>"Because NICE Matters!"
Howard Coberly
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Hi, Lee,

I strongly disagree with your assertion that re-selling magic videos is different from re-selling anyhing else.
Once a magic secret becomes a tangible object in the form of a video, book, etc., it ceases to become a secret to anyone who pays for it in good faith.

Automobile designs are also kept secret until the tangible object is marketed. At that point, I can buy the solid manifestation of the former secret and I can do whatever I want with it within the constraints of the law.

As far as the magic items are concerned, as long as I'm not renting it, copying it and selling the duplicates, charging people to watch it, etc. I can do whatever I want with it.

The money issue comes into play when magicians who verbally insult us "laymen with rabbits on our business cards" continue to sell their products to the same people whom they claim shouldn't be performing them. This is where I take issue. As I believe I stated above and in all of my other posts on this subject, I have absolutely no problem with the business aspect of magic (beyond the dishonest trick descriptions-see my posts on this subject. I am addressing the blatant hypocracy of magicians claiming to love magic as an art form which they don't want to see tarnished by "laymen with rabbits on our business cards", who continue to sell to these people for whom they hold such disdain.

I would completely respect these same magicians and their art theory if they refused to market their products. At that point they are no longer Hypocrites but people who have a belief structure in place and are abiding by that structure.

Look at Ricky Jay. I have heard that he has a severe disdain for most professional and all non professional card magicians and that is why he has released almost nothing to them throughout his career.

I have always held him as the best card magician alive and I also have a great deal of respect for him for not selling his material to the very people he dislikes just to make a dime.

The world of magicians cannot be held to a different standard than the rest of the world. Because we deceive with our magic does not mean that we can use deception to sell our goods. Magicians should not be permitted the luxury of acting hypocritically without censure just because they are magicians.

Don't insult me with your innuendos that I am damaging your beloved art by messing up your material and then continue to sell me the material. If you really love the art and really feel that laymen are hurting it, have the courage of your convictions, even if it means giving up some money, and stop selling to the "laymen" who make up 90 percent of your business.

As I said above, I do not mean to imply that all the top pros are hypocrites in this regard. I have dealt with Michael Ammar and Daryl on several occassions to name just a few and can tell these people have true respect for everyone in magic regardless of how many shows you do a month.

Howard


Posted: Apr 1, 2006 4:25pm
-----------------------------------------------
P.S. I believe the only prohibitions posted on DVD and videos is that they may not be duplicated for sale of the duplicates, rented out or shown for a profit. I can resell a car but I cannot duplicate patented aspects of that car and try to sell them.

I don't think I've ever seen anything saying that a dvd cannot be re-sold. If this were illegal, I would think that many of the shops that are now selling used magic videos would be fined. I have not heard of this happening. And considering the number being sold right here on this forum, I would venture to say that ther are many people who don't agree with the morality issues raised by many in the magic world who want their world to conform to different laws of economics than the rest of the world.


Posted: Apr 1, 2006 4:44pm
-----------------------------------------------
P.P.S.
So, Lee, as a mentalist, what do do you think my chances are of getting that free linking finger ring from Pete Biro??
"Our town used to be more fortunate...not a single winter passed without the visit of some star.
There used to be famous actors and singers, while today, God only knows! Nobody visits except magicians and organ-grinders. No esthetic satisfaction."
gdw
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And I would have been willing to do website work for you in exchange for teaching me the trick. I didn't state that up front, and for that I am sorry.

But before you go passing judgement on someone and calling them a freeloader, you should find out their situation first.

I do not want you to feel sorry for me or my wife, I don't. "

I find these statements interesting as one, if was willing to do website design in exchange, well then why doesn't he look at doing website design for money, and then he can exchange the money for magic? Just an idea.

Also, he mentions not wanting you to feel sorry for him, but he does want your charity. Generally people seaking charity, for themselves or others look to make us feel sorry for those we are to give our charity too.

In regards to just helping out a fellow magi, then he should simply be looking in different directions. Looking at furthering the process of getting involved in magic, the things one would need for that can be found at his library and here on the Café. Individual tricks are not the things to be seaking.
It's amazing, people will criticize you for "biting the hand that feeds you," while they're busy praising the hand that beats them.

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On 2006-04-01 12:17, Howard Coberly wrote:...For the asking, eh....hmmmm. I wonder...

Could I please have one of your 600.00 linking finger rings? Just thought I'd ask.
I actually had a chance to see one and they are beautiful!...

As it happens I don't sell magic. I don't have any retail merchandise to sell or offer you gratis.

However, if you are working on a project that parallels one of mine and you can promise NOT to show my work to other magicians, nor to publish the ideas involved I am likely to give you what I have on the subject and would be pleased to see you develop it into something that suits you and enhances your magic for lay audiences.
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LobowolfXXX
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On 2006-04-01 16:12, Howard Coberly wrote:
Hi, Lee,

I strongly disagree with your assertion that re-selling magic videos is different from re-selling anyhing else.
Once a magic secret becomes a tangible object in the form of a video, book, etc., it ceases to become a secret to anyone who pays for it in good faith.

I believe there is a clear distinction between re-selling a magic video and re-selling "anything else." If you sell your car to someone else, you can no longer get any use from it. This discourages you from selling it (and if you ARE going to sell it, you're going to probably buy another car), and if you keep it, it forces people who need a car to buy one. On the other hand, if you guy, say, "Double Back," and learn the effect, you can sell it to anyone who can sell it to anyone who can sell it to anyone, all the way down the line, and everyone in the distribution line can make their own sets for a couple of bucks, with Jon Allen recording one sale. In essence, once you learn the secret, you get all of the advantage of purchasing the car, while recovering some of the costs. That's not remotely comparable to the situation where five people own car, in succession. They don't all have simultaneous access to the car. Even with respect to books or movie DVD's, while you can sell the book or the DVD, and relive it in your mind, it's not the same as having the book or the DVD and being able to reread or rewatch it. The "used magic" market allows an almost infinite amount of simultaneous utility, even after the effect is re-sold, to anyone in the line, and in that respect is almost unique. Whether that distinction merits a different legal treatment or ethical model is one thing, but I don't see how one could even argue the position that it's "no different."
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

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Howard Coberly
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Quote:
On 2006-04-01 21:09, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Quote:
On 2006-04-01 12:17, Howard Coberly wrote:...For the asking, eh....hmmmm. I wonder...

Could I please have one of your 600.00 linking finger rings? Just thought I'd ask.
I actually had a chance to see one and they are beautiful!...

As it happens I don't sell magic. I don't have any retail merchandise to sell or offer you gratis.

However, if you are working on a project that parallels one of mine and you can promise NOT to show my work to other magicians, nor to publish the ideas involved I am likely to give you what I have on the subject and would be pleased to see you develop it into something that suits you and enhances your magic for lay audiences.

Sorry Jonathan,

I was thinking that you were the one with the porper linking finger rings when it is Pete Biro.

But it never hurts to ask.
Howard


Posted: Apr 2, 2006 10:03am
-----------------------------------------------
Quote:
On 2006-04-01 21:40, LobowolfXXX wrote:
Quote:
On 2006-04-01 16:12, Howard Coberly wrote:
Hi, Lee,

I strongly disagree with your assertion that re-selling magic videos is different from re-selling anyhing else.
Once a magic secret becomes a tangible object in the form of a video, book, etc., it ceases to become a secret to anyone who pays for it in good faith.

I believe there is a clear distinction between re-selling a magic video and re-selling "anything else." If you sell your car to someone else, you can no longer get any use from it. This discourages you from selling it (and if you ARE going to sell it, you're going to probably buy another car), and if you keep it, it forces people who need a car to buy one. On the other hand, if you guy, say, "Double Back," and learn the effect, you can sell it to anyone who can sell it to anyone who can sell it to anyone, all the way down the line, and everyone in the distribution line can make their own sets for a couple of bucks, with Jon Allen recording one sale. In essence, once you learn the secret, you get all of the advantage of purchasing the car, while recovering some of the costs. That's not remotely comparable to the situation where five people own car, in succession. They don't all have simultaneous access to the car. Even with respect to books or movie DVD's, while you can sell the book or the DVD, and relive it in your mind, it's not the same as having the book or the DVD and being able to reread or rewatch it. The "used magic" market allows an almost infinite amount of simultaneous utility, even after the effect is re-sold, to anyone in the line, and in that respect is almost unique. Whether that distinction merits a different legal treatment or ethical model is one thing, but I don't see how one could even argue the position that it's "no different."

Hi,

Again I must disagree. I feel my example is completely justified in this instance. By your argument, which is a popular one on this forum, it would be wrong for a doctor, architect, musician or any other educated person to practice concepts learned from books after they sell the books upon graduation(if this is the case).

Again, this is magic logic wherein magicians feel that their world should be governed by rules different from the rest of the world.
I am not a lawyer and I try not to be one of the armchair lawyers who are so pervasive on this forum but I have personally never heard of, nor could I find on the web anywhere, any law or moral belief that precludes re-selling of anything that has been purchased in good faith. Of course, there are laws governing how the object can be used (guns for example)but that is all.

As far a chain of profit resulting from re-selling objects, well, this is something that a mature producer of an item for sale must take into account before releasing the item for sale in a free society. The law allows for the re-selling of legal substances/items in this country as long as it is done fairly and without breaking copyright/ patent laws. If the original producer does not want this, then he should use common sense and not put the item up for sale. Don't sell something to someone in good faith on the part of the buyer and then complain because he re-sells it.

Everything in the history of the world that has ever been sold was once the intellectual property of one person or a group of people. Once it is sold in good faith(as a product) the buyer has the right to do whatever he wants with the item as long as he stays within the limits set by the law.

As far as the morality of re-selling is concerned, I would ask anyone on this forum who subscribes to this theory to provide proof of any legitimate moral ideology that speaks against re-selling something that someone has purchased in good faith and we can argue that after I have read it. Although, so far, I have yet to see any specific moral codes mentioned by anyone on this forum who posits this theory.


I will rest now.
"Our town used to be more fortunate...not a single winter passed without the visit of some star.
There used to be famous actors and singers, while today, God only knows! Nobody visits except magicians and organ-grinders. No esthetic satisfaction."
LobowolfXXX
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Quote:
On 2006-04-02 10:03, Howard Coberly wrote:

HI,

Again I must disagree. I feel my example is completely justified in this instance. By your argument, which is a popular one on this forum, it would be wrong for a doctor, architect, musician or any other educated person to practice concepts learned from books after they sell the books upon graduation(if this is the case).


That's not at all the case "by my argument." I was making no comment either way on the morality of the situation; I was only claiming that there seems to be a clear distinction. - LWXXX



I am not a lawyer and I try not to be one of the armchair lawyers who are so pervasive on this forum but I have personally never heard of, nor could I find on the web anywhere, any law or moral belief that precludes re-selling of anything that has been purchased in good faith. Of course, there are laws governing how the object can be used (guns for example)but that is all.


The fact that you can't find reference to laws or moral beliefs that address the issue actually supports the position that magic is in fact different; the re-selling of anything else does not raise even the hint of an ethical dilemma, thus it is unsurprising that it would not be addressed. -LWXXX




Everything in the history of the world that has ever been sold was once the intellectual property of one person or a group of people. Once it is sold in good faith(as a product) the buyer has the right to do whatever he wants with the item as long as he stays within the limits set by the law.

This paragraph does not refute the proposition that magic is different from other things which are sold; it ignores it. Also, the second half "the buyer has the right..." either ignores the distinction between moral and legal rights, or assumes that moral rights flow from legal rights, rather than vice versa. The reverse is at least arguable; I for one, would take the position that legal rights flow from moral rights (as did, for example, the USA's founding fathers, i.e. "We hold these truths to be self-evident..." - underlying moral rights, taken as givens, FOLLOWED BY setting out formal legal rights) -LWXXX



As far as the morality of re-selling is concerned, I would ask anyone on this forum who subscribes to this theory to provide proof of any legitimate moral ideology that speaks against re-selling something that someone has purchased in good faith and we can argue that after I have read it. Although, so far, I have yet to see any specific moral codes mentioned by anyone on this forum who posits this theory.

-Again, the fact that moral ideology/philosophy is not concerned with the issue suggests that the re-selling of anything else is distinct from the re-selling of magic; nobody suggests that selling a used car is even questionable. That fact in an of itself suggests a distinction between selling a car and selling a trick. The obvious difference, which I put in my post and you completely failed to address, is that after the re-sale of the trick, both people can use the trick as often as they want; not so with the car. I did not state that because of this difference, re-selling a trick is immoral; I stated that clearly, there is a difference. Still not sure how one could argue that there isn't.

-LWXXX


Yes, originally a car was an idea of intellectual property. A car purchaser, however, just wants the THING, not the idea. When they sell a car, furthermore, they don't sell the instructions on how to make the car. Nobody buys a car, figures out how it was made, sells the car to someone else in an as-new condition, then makes his own car. It's a poor analogy.




"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

"...as we reason and love, we are able to hope. And hope enables us to resist those things that would enslave us."
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