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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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Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2006-04-02 10:03, Howard Coberly wrote:...I strongly disagree with your assertion that re-selling magic videos is different from re-selling anyhing else...


With all due respect, let's consider the matter from a simple perspective of utility.

Under our law, all drivers have licenses. Also, all drivers are insured. At any given time, a car has at most one driver.

For the sake of this argument, consider the knowlege of now a trick is done as a car, ie you have the full utility of the item. Where is the license and where is the insurance? This is pretty much the hole or hill most in this discussion have walked around.

As a commonsense workarond for explicit licensing, we have material posession of the work from which the magic item is cited. The thing is the license.

By way of counterargument, we can all pretty much agree that just because someone can obtain a key for your car does not mean they should driving it.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Mystician
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Interesting how this discussion has bloomed into a complete examination of ethics and laws. Smile
Looking solely at the original post, and the text of the "Unnamed PM'er", it reminds me very much of one of those nigerian money scams.
Quite pathetic, and not in a sympathetic way.
Just hanging out with the rest of my fellow dregs.
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bsears
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Everytime these discussions get going I'm shocked by how greedy and unfeeling we magicians can be.

As I have mentioned before, I have DONATED magic to youths who could not afford it. Yes, I have given them secrets for free and asked nothing in return. (I was also the recipient of such generosity before I was old enough to get a job).

And doesn't the IBM have a program for giving magic to those less fortunate in other countries? Maybe that has something to do with the whole "brotherhood" thing.

Knowledge should be available. This is why libraries exsist. The concept is that people can have access to knowledge about anything from gardening to surgery without needing to have a lot of money. It's very, very important to the fabric of our country.

Look, I don't think this guy should have been given the secret out-right, but it sounds like he's down on his luck and maybe we could have gotten a few books or used magazines together or something. Some kindness to fuel his interest in magic rather than the bashing, greed, and fear.
LobowolfXXX
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Quote:
On 2006-04-04 14:08, bsears wrote:
Everytime these discussions get going I'm shocked by how greedy and unfeeling we magicians can be.

As I have mentioned before, I have DONATED magic to youths who could not afford it. Yes, I have given them secrets for free and asked nothing in return. (I was also the recipient of such generosity before I was old enough to get a job).

And doesn't the IBM have a program for giving magic to those less fortunate in other countries? Maybe that has something to do with the whole "brotherhood" thing.

Knowledge should be available. This is why libraries exsist. The concept is that people can have access to knowledge about anything from gardening to surgery without needing to have a lot of money. It's very, very important to the fabric of our country.

Look, I don't think this guy should have been given the secret out-right, but it sounds like he's down on his luck and maybe we could have gotten a few books or used magazines together or something. Some kindness to fuel his interest in magic rather than the bashing, greed, and fear.

I think it's reasonable to ask, though, who has the right to make the decision about what to give away; the creator, the person who purchased from the creator, someone else, some combination therein, or different answers for different situations. I could "donate" David Regal's Prophecy Pack to anyone I want, but I could still use it, because I know the effect, and it's dead simple to re-create. That's NOT the same as "donating" $100 to charity, when I'll never have THAT hundred again. It would be very generous, from the point of young or economically deprived magicians, for me to give all of them the Prophecy Pack (or show them how to make their own, for appreciably less than the price as a marketed effect). Not so generous to David Regal, who came up with it, marketed it, demo'ed it, etc. Would it be good for the art, in the long run, if I gave 5,000 kids Prophecy Pack? Dunno...you'd have a lot of new people who would be able to do a killer effect. On the other hand, one of the things that keeps killer new stuff coming out is the fact that people like Regal are willing to share their effects with other magicians, in exchange for monetary compensation. If his sales were cut by 90%, as we all "generously" gave away his trick (or is it "our" trick to give everyone, since we bought one copy, that we can keep using even after we give it away?!), then most likely, the next time, he just keeps it to himself. Double-Back, as an even less expensive effect to make, once one knows the secret, would be perhaps a better example. I'm not against charity; I just think there's a distinction as to types of things that are given away, and as to people who have different moral rights to give them.
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

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Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2006-04-04 14:08, bsears wrote:...Knowledge should be available. This is why libraries exsist. The concept is that people can have access to knowledge about anything from gardening to surgery without needing to have a lot of money. It's very, very important to the fabric of our country...


Ah... but to magic?

And does available mean available to anyone on demand?

IMHO of all the kinds of knowledge, magic should bring the most responsibility. Once given it cannot be ungiven, and once attained, it alters the perspective of the holder away from being able to experience magic.

Sometimes I wonder why folks want that knowledge. It robs one of delight and brings only the possibility of bringing an echo of that delight to others. Such a burden. Why do folks fuss over it so?
...to all the coins I've dropped here
gdw
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Quote:
On 2006-04-04 14:08, bsears wrote:
Everytime these discussions get going I'm shocked by how greedy and unfeeling we magicians can be.

As I have mentioned before, I have DONATED magic to youths who could not afford it. Yes, I have given them secrets for free and asked nothing in return. (I was also the recipient of such generosity before I was old enough to get a job).

And doesn't the IBM have a program for giving magic to those less fortunate in other countries? Maybe that has something to do with the whole "brotherhood" thing.

Knowledge should be available. This is why libraries exsist. The concept is that people can have access to knowledge about anything from gardening to surgery without needing to have a lot of money. It's very, very important to the fabric of our country.

Look, I don't think this guy should have been given the secret out-right, but it sounds like he's down on his luck and maybe we could have gotten a few books or used magazines together or something. Some kindness to fuel his interest in magic rather than the bashing, greed, and fear.


You see now, the best thing to do here is to pass on a book though.

There really is no nneed for someone to be trying to freeload an individual effect. these people should be focusing on learning their basics, and from there, heck they can make themselves a self fuleling machine when it coes to magic. Use what they learn to make a bit of extra cash, and all of that cash can go back into the art and expanding their repetior.
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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bsears
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Lobowolf - I would agree with you regarding the marketed effect. I actually posted in another thread that noone should be making up "in a flash" decks and giving them out. What I was referring to would be ideas/concepts. Not props.
Lee Darrow
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Lobo, I guess that we will have to agree to disagree.

Ownership of the DVD especially implies performance rights. In the music business it works the same way, but is honored more in the breach than in the completion. Most people who use music do not pay the royalties that they are supposed to pay when they use it. Look at many magic shows today for some excellent examples.

To my way of thinking, ownership of a magic DVD where an effect that one performs resides is tantamount to paying that royalty. If one sells it off, one has, in effect, sold off the right to do this. Perhaps not in the strict legal sense, but certainly in the moral sense.

Unfortunately, too few people worry about that angle these days.

As to the end of your post where you accuse me of making a statement about someone destroying the purity of our art or somesuch, I never made any such statement. Sorry, but that spin fails.

And as far as my selling to anyone, well, I haven't lectured but to a small coterie of Chicago magicians, ever and sold perhaps only a half-dozen sets of lecture notes. I hardly call my ebook on Safety for Stage Hypnotists or the companion ebook Backstage Considerations for Stage Hypnotists to fall into the same category as the magical secrets that you are discussing as no performance work is discussed in either of those books and they are available only to working professionals and certified hypnotists, students and members of professional hypnosis organizations.

Sincerely,

Lee Darrow, C.H.
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<BR>"Because NICE Matters!"
bloodyjack
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I am so tired of this argument its the people that *** out the magic secrets that are destroying magic as an art form. There use to be a time were these things were held secret and passed from the older magician to his younger prodigy for the good of the art, but now days every tom dick and harry wants to make money selling secrets to anyone with the money to spend.
"sir i sent you half the kidne i took from one woman prasarved it for you tother piece i fried and ate it was very nise i may send you the bloody knif that took it out if you only wate a whil longer"
Jonathan Townsend
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Tom, Dick and Harry are welcome to their tricks and the works of any foolish enough to buy from or sell to them.

Others have taken their stuff private.

If the payoff of offering one's work in a free public market is seeing those works reduced from art to trivia and then watching as hundreds download your work as "feature of the week".. that's too high a price for fame as far as I'm concerned.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
LobowolfXXX
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Quote:
On 2006-04-06 19:58, Lee Darrow wrote:
Lobo, I guess that we will have to agree to disagree.

Ownership of the DVD especially implies performance rights. In the music business it works the same way, but is honored more in the breach than in the completion. Most people who use music do not pay the royalties that they are supposed to pay when they use it. Look at many magic shows today for some excellent examples.

To my way of thinking, ownership of a magic DVD where an effect that one performs resides is tantamount to paying that royalty. If one sells it off, one has, in effect, sold off the right to do this. Perhaps not in the strict legal sense, but certainly in the moral sense.

Unfortunately, too few people worry about that angle these days.

As to the end of your post where you accuse me of making a statement about someone destroying the purity of our art or somesuch, I never made any such statement. Sorry, but that spin fails.

And as far as my selling to anyone, well, I haven't lectured but to a small coterie of Chicago magicians, ever and sold perhaps only a half-dozen sets of lecture notes. I hardly call my ebook on Safety for Stage Hypnotists or the companion ebook Backstage Considerations for Stage Hypnotists to fall into the same category as the magical secrets that you are discussing as no performance work is discussed in either of those books and they are available only to working professionals and certified hypnotists, students and members of professional hypnosis organizations.

Sincerely,

Lee Darrow, C.H.

Lee -

I don't believe I'm the one you're agreeing to disagree with. My initial (and subsequent) posting(s) on this topic were in SUPPORT of your contention that buying a magic video is different from buying a car. I believe that there's a strong moral distinction. Also, I never accused you of making a statement about anyone's destroying the purity of art. Perhaps all the quotes within quotes within quotes confused the issue.
"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."
jimtron
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Quote:
There use to be a time were these things were held secret and passed from the older magician to his younger prodigy for the good of the art, but now days every tom dick and harry wants to make money selling secrets to anyone with the money to spend.


Haven't all, or almost all, magic stores sold effects to anyone willing to pay, for at least half a century? Did Abbot's or Tannen's or Magic Inc. ever restrict sales to the "entitled" few? Wasn't anyone with the dough free to buy Scarne on Cards, or 13 Steps, or Royal Road to Card Magic?

Also, as far as the market today--do you have any issues with L&L Publishing, or Dover Books, or any online or brick and mortar stores? Because they're all, with few or no exceptions, selling to anyone willing to pay. There are people today, like always, who keep their effects to themselves, or only tell a select few. But there has always been an open market of magic books and effects. It's just that it's maybe bigger now, and certainly easier to access with the Internet. But there have been big mail order magic stores for many decades.

If you think it's wrong to sell magic to anyone willing to pay, who do you blame for that?
bloodyjack
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I blame it on 2 things one is the Internet it’s just too easy to find information now
The other is there is not enough places for real magicians to perform anymore because its not very popular with the public.
In fact a very small elite group takes all the big buck magician jobs.
That leaves a lot of talented magicians left with no way of making an decent income other than peddling secrets to the wanna bees by making DVD’s, marketing stuff and doing lecture tours. Magic is in a very sorry state of affairs and the more these once closely guarded methods are out there the less popular magic will become to the general public. The only winners are the secret peddlers because there are enough wanna bees out there to buy most of the rubbish that’s marketed. The sad thing is I had moved to mentalism thinking it was the last bastion but unfortunately it to is going the same way.
"sir i sent you half the kidne i took from one woman prasarved it for you tother piece i fried and ate it was very nise i may send you the bloody knif that took it out if you only wate a whil longer"
Howard Coberly
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Interesting and thought provoking arguments to the contrary aside, I have to stand by my argument that re-selling magic videos/items is in no way immmoral or illegal.

I must also strongly disagree with those who believe that an idea, once it becomes a tangible and marketable item and is, in fact, marketed, regardless of the medium of compilation, is different from any other marketed item. It is not.

There is no differenc between re-selling a trick and re-selling anything else. I appreciate the arguments to the contrary, but in my opinion, they are not compelling enough to sway my outlook on this subject. I categorize these arguments as "Magicians Logic". They are rooted in a belief that the world of the magician should be subject to different rules of morality and economics than the rest of the world.
Many magic producers believe that it's justified to blatantly lie in their trick descriptions when, in fact, they are actually only rationalizing what IS immoral, by claiming that they cannot tell the entire truth without giving away the trick.
This, again, is "Magicians Logic"...It's okay to be deceptive in my advertising because I make my living being deceptive.

For those people who believe that this turnover of magic videos/tricks, etc is damaging the art of magic which they love so much..I have to ask why they continue to put the material out?
It's simple. They are putting the desire and necessity to make money over their love of the art. If I felt that material that I was putting out was being misused in such a way as to damage the art for which I have so much respect (and I do)then I would stop putting the material out. See my other posts on the hypocrisy of selling your wares to people whom you deem unworthy to perform it...ie., "laymen with rabbits on their business cards"

Morality is, in large part, subjective. This argument will always exist. Look on the sales section of this forum if you do not agree. Everyone has his own opinion regarding the re-selling of magic video, tricks, etc.

Personally, I feel magic would benefit more if we were to concentrate our moral magnifying glasses on those magicians who are selling junk items with dishonest trick descriptions rather than on the issue of re-selling. This, I believe, more than anything else, is hurting the art of magic as well as leading to the very turnover that many of you seem to hate so much. We still have to go by trick descriptions when buying magic items and please don't assault me with the ludicrous and shameful belief that "we should know better" as this argument is nothing more than an insult to the intelligence of magicians as a whole and is the strongest example of Magicians' Logic that there is.

Howard
"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."
Howard Coberly
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Quote:
On 2006-04-06 19:58, Lee Darrow wrote:
Lobo, I guess that we will have to agree to disagree.

Ownership of the DVD especially implies performance rights. In the music business it works the same way, but is honored more in the breach than in the completion. Most people who use music do not pay the royalties that they are supposed to pay when they use it. Look at many magic shows today for some excellent examples.

To my way of thinking, ownership of a magic DVD where an effect that one performs resides is tantamount to paying that royalty. If one sells it off, one has, in effect, sold off the right to do this. Perhaps not in the strict legal sense, but certainly in the moral sense.

Unfortunately, too few people worry about that angle these days.

As to the end of your post where you accuse me of making a statement about someone destroying the purity of our art or somesuch, I never made any such statement. Sorry, but that spin fails.

And as far as my selling to anyone, well, I haven't lectured but to a small coterie of Chicago magicians, ever and sold perhaps only a half-dozen sets of lecture notes. I hardly call my ebook on Safety for Stage Hypnotists or the companion ebook Backstage Considerations for Stage Hypnotists to fall into the same category as the magical secrets that you are discussing as no performance work is discussed in either of those books and they are available only to working professionals and certified hypnotists, students and members of professional hypnosis organizations.

Sincerely,

Lee Darrow, C.H.

Hi, Lee,

Once again, I have to disagree with your assertion that it is immoral to continue to perform a trick learned from a book or video once you no longer own said item. This is tantamount to saying that it is immoral to work as a CPA if you no longer own your college accounting books or as a dentist if you've sold off your books from dental school. Many magicians will argue this based on "Magicians Logic" but I have to stand by it as the strongest argument against the perceived immorality of re-selling.
By the same token, I disagree with the often asserted belief that it is immoral to teach someone a trick that I learned from a video or book. By this logic, it would also be immoral for me to teach you how to bake brownies using a technique that I learned from a cookbook that I had purchased. Yes, I know...but keep in mind " extreme examples destroy perfect arguments"
There is nothing immoral in passing knowledge of any kind on to another person that you learned from a source that you paid for in good faith.

As an example of how misguided many people are concerning morality in magic I have to mention something that happened to me recently.

I purchased a trick from someone on this forum and this person included a section from an e-book concerning this trick. I wrote to the person asking if he would consider selling another section of the e book separately from the rest to which he responded that he could not do that because "this was not his property to re-sell".
So, basically, this person feels it morally acceptable to sell the trick, and to give away the portion of the e-book but then asserts that he does not have the moral right to sell another section of the ebook.

My point here is that morality in any walk of life is largely subjective and that many people on this forum won't take the time to study the issue of morality or the philosophy behind it. They will, for the most part, just allow themselves to be swayed one way or the other by the arguments posted on the forum, many by people who rationalize their moral beliefs based on their desire to make money and will never make their own decisions.

Howard
"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."
Dave Le Fevre
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Quote:
On 2006-04-08 12:02, Howard Coberly wrote
This is tantamount to saying that it is immoral to work as a CPA if you no longer own your college accounting books or as a dentist if you've sold off your books from dental school.

That's an interesting point, and my initial reaction was to agree with you.

But think about it. I went to university, I got my degree, I got the letters after my name (though I don't think I've ever written them there). And that entitles me to whatever having that degree entitles me (not a lot, in fact). Owning or not owning any of the text books isn't relevant in any way.

And the equivalent qualification in conjuring is owning the effect. If you buy the book, you own the right to perform the effect. Once you sell the book, you no longer have that right.

But it isn't as simple as that, is it? For the sake of argument, I buy a book telling me how to fix some piece of hardware or other. After fixing several such pieces of hardware, I now know how to do it, and so I sell the book. Does that mean that I should now no longer fix such pieces of hardware (either for my own purposes or professionally)? - no, of course it doesn't.

But the difference in the conjuring world is that owning the book not only tells you how to perform the effect, it also (usually) gives you performance rights. And without those performance rights, it's arguable whether or not you should perform the effect. And that argument will run and run, and is also subject to each person's own personal principles. Some people's principles are that if you know how to perform it you're entitled to do so, whereas others hold that if you know how to perform it you're entitled to do so but not professionally. And there are some who wouldn't even perform it at a hobbyist level if they didn't own it.

And that's all well and good. The problem starts when people feel entitled to enforce their own personal principles on others.

Dave
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Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2006-04-08 11:22, Howard Coberly wrote:...hypocrisy of selling your wares to people whom you deem unworthy to perform it...ie., "laymen with rabbits on their business cards"...


It gets worse Howard, some publish ideas not their own and have taken the unpublished secrets of others into print.

And our literature and culture lauds those who do so.

It's not the hypocrisy that bothers me so much as the arrogance and destruction this practice brings to both magicdom and our larger society's ability to enjoy magic.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Howard Coberly
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Quote:
On 2006-04-08 12:43, Dave Le Fevre wrote:
Quote:
On 2006-04-08 12:02, Howard Coberly wrote
This is tantamount to saying that it is immoral to work as a CPA if you no longer own your college accounting books or as a dentist if you've sold off your books from dental school.


That's an interesting point, and my initial reaction was to agree with you.

But think about it. I went to university, I got my degree, I got the letters after my name (though I don't think I've ever written them there). And that entitles me to whatever having that degree entitles me (not a lot, in fact). Owning or not owning any of the text books isn't relevant in any way.

And the equivalent qualification in conjuring is owning the effect. If you buy the book, you own the right to perform the effect. Once you sell the book, you no longer have that right.

But it isn't as simple as that, is it? For the sake of argument, I buy a book telling me how to fix some piece of hardware or other. After fixing several such pieces of hardware, I now know how to do it, and so I sell the book. Does that mean that I should now no longer fix such pieces of hardware (either for my own purposes or professionally)? - no, of course it doesn't.

But the difference in the conjuring world is that owning the book not only tells you how to perform the effect, it also (usually) gives you performance rights. And without those performance rights, it's arguable whether or not you should perform the effect. And that argument will run and run, and is also subject to each person's own personal principles. Some people's principles are that if you know how to perform it you're entitled to do so, whereas others hold that if you know how to perform it you're entitled to do so but not professionally. And there are some who wouldn't even perform it at a hobbyist level if they didn't own it.

And that's all well and good. The problem starts when people feel entitled to enforce their own personal principles on others.

Dave

Hi, Dave,

Thanks for the response. I enjoyed reading it.

As far as the letters after one's name are concerned, I would have to argue that the letters, in and of themselves, don't entitle the college graduate to anything. They simply show that he/she has completed coursework leading to the degree.

I would have to stand by my assertion in this example because we are talking about possession and re-selling of the media from which the information/tricks were learned, not any symbols verifying that we have learned the same.

A degree in medicine simply means that I completed the coursework, not that I have the right to practice medicine, at least, not until I pass the boards and complete residency, etc. (See the number of malpractice suits in this country)(And no. I'm not a doctor...nor do I play one on T.V.)

When I buy a magic video, I am, in my opinion, buying the right to perform those tricks and to re-sell the video which I paid for in good faith. I do not relinquish the right to perform the tricks after I sell the video any more than a lawyer relinquishes his right to practice law if he sells off all of his text books.

You are absolutely right that everyone will have his own opinion on this subject. Mine is that the people who promote this mindset have as their basis, not morality so much as the desire to make a buck. I am a cynic in this attitude based on the amount of garbage that I have seen flooding the magic market in the last few years but more so due to the increasing number of professional magicians who seem to want to constantly tell people like me that I am completely unworthy to perform the material that they present but yet continue trying to sell me the material.

I even had to go out and change the rabbit on my business card to a magic wand. Now I feel validated instead of violated.

Howard

ps Would you be interested in selling me a couple of those used letters after your name ????
"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 2006-04-08 11:22, Howard Coberly wrote:

There is no differenc between re-selling a trick and re-selling anything else. I appreciate the arguments to the contrary, but in my opinion, they are not compelling enough to sway my outlook on this subject. I categorize these arguments as "Magicians Logic". They are rooted in a belief that the world of the magician should be subject to different rules of morality and economics than the rest of the world.

I think they're rooted in the fact that if I sell you the trick that I've bought from the originator, you and I can both do that trick forever and ever. If I sell you my car, I have no access whatsoever to that car from that point forward, and thus, if we both want a car, one of us has to purchase a car from the manufacturer, or find someone who is willing to forego having a car. This is an obvious distinction that has yet to be addressed by the "There is no difference" crowd.

If I sell you my copy of "Double Back," we can both still perform the trick. If I sell you my car, I don't have a car anymore. How can it possibly be argued that there's not a relevant difference?

Having said that, I fully respect the position that the difference does not justify viewing the two situations under a different moral framework. But it's still two different situations. If a magician owned a controlling interest in Toyota, he wouldn't use "magician's logic" and take the position that it was even arguable that someone who bought a new Toyota shouldn't sell it to someone else. Cars and tricks are different.
"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."
Dave Le Fevre
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Quote:
On 2006-04-08 13:38, Howard Coberly wrote:
You are absolutely right that everyone will have his own opinion on this subject. Mine is that the people who promote this mindset have as their basis, not morality so much as the desire to make a buck.


Perhaps you're right. Though my opinion is that those who create and market an effect would probably expect the number of sales to correspond to the number of people performing it. Were I to create and market an effect (on a CD, say), of which I sold 100 copies, I'd be a bit put out if I found that 1000 people were performing it professionally.

Quote:
On 2006-04-08 13:38, Howard Coberly wrote:
Would you be interested in selling me a couple of those used letters after your name ????


They're all unused, I fear. But feel free to have an alphabet's worth. (smile)

Dave
The Ozzy Osbourne of the 34x27
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