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magic_kris
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I was reading a similar thread on another board that quickly got out of hand. I thought the subject was interesting and would like to hear some of your respected opinions.



The discussion was about using others effects. When is it ok and when isn't it?



If you figure out the method on your own do you still need to purchase the effect in some form book, video, packet in order to obtain the performance rights?



What about using a different method to perform the same effect. Does it still need to be purchased?



I can see the point on novel effects, but the first time you see something it's new to you. Are all magicians expected to be scholars in order to be ethical?



I can see points on both sides of this one and would love to have some more opinions.



Thanks

--Kris
Scott F. Guinn
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If someone has published something and you bought it, performance rights are implied, if not outright granted.



A certain "name" magician published a book a few years back. On the inverse side of the title page was a statement that he reserved perfomance rights. This wouldn't hold up in court (if it ever came to that), because the book was shrinkwrapped, and there's no way you could know that disclaimer was in there until you had purchased the book. It denied value for value, and by publishing an item, you are implying consent for it's use.



As to whether you can perform something without buying it, legally the answer is yes. You just can't make the item up for sale. If you come up with a different method, then that is your intellectual property, but if you ever publish or market it, you should give credit where it is due.



Ethically, you probably should purchase the original item that inspired you anyway, but this is a gray area.



I have received emails from people who have read effects I've published, claiming that they came up with it previously, and I should retract it or cease to release it.



Almost every time, these people have admitted that their "invention" had not been marketed or published. How then could I have stolen it from them? How could I even credit them?



It is impossible to know everything in print, but if they didn't ever publish it in any form, how do I know they didn't see my routine and simply claim they had thought of it previously?



I always try to research stuff thoroughly and to give credit where due, when selling, publishing or marketing an item or book.

I search my own fairly extensive library of books, videos and magazines, and ask other people like Paul Green, Marc deSouza, Max Maven and Aldo Colombini if they've seen it or know whom to credit.



There will always be cases of different people discovering the same principles or applying known principles to existing effects, and the literature has become unmanageably enormous. You just have to do the best you can.



Having said all that, I've been talking about publishing or marketing effects. For performances, I believe you have the right to perform anything published or released for purchase.



However, going to another magician's show with a notepad or tape recorder so that you can use his lines, bits and effects that he has not released constitutes stealing in my mind. You should ask his permission and respect his decision if he says no.



I guess my question would be why on earth would you want to do that anyway? You are the only YOU there is - why imitate someone else and appropriate material he has invented and created for his show but that he hasn't released in a book, video, single effect, etc?



Often the answer is, "Because it's a great trick!" Surely you realize that there are PLENTY of great tricks out there -- besides, the actual effects you do are the least important part of your performance!



Okay, I'm rambling. I'll step down from my soapbox--for now.
"Love God, laugh more, spend more time with the ones you love, play with children, do good to those in need, and eat more ice cream. There is more to life than magic tricks." - Scott F. Guinn
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Steve Brooks
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Well said...works for me. Smile
"Always be you because nobody else can" - Steve Brooks
Peter Marucci
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Scott said it all -- and well, too. Smile

cheers,

Peter Marucci

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Jeb Sherrill
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Well, I had a whole shpeal to give, but Scott covered it all. There is a lot of grey, but you just have to do your best. It’s probably one of the most hotly debated topics in magic today and there is so much grey. I think a lot of it has to do with intent, but that’s not always easy to read. I’d rather see a young guy who didn’t know any better copy some rope routine word for word than see someone buy someone else’s trick, copy it and start selling it.

That is unforgivable. You’re right though, we aren’t all scholars and we don’t always know. Like Scott, I ask magicians, I think would know.


Scott,

By the way, I remember that book.

I was rolling on the ground laughing for days. Was there anything good in it?

I was laughing to hard to purchase it.


Sable Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile
I don't believe in reincarnation, but I may have in another life.
magic_kris
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Great response Scott, of course considering your name why wouldn't it be? Yeah, those gray areas will get ya.



I guess I understand not wanting to step on any toes by naming the book you were refering to. However, if they wrote it and hid it behind shrinkwrap it seems more like a public service announcement.



Would you mind PM-ing if you don't want to spill the beans publicly.



Thanks

--Kris
Magicman0323
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I don't think I can write anything that Scott didn't manage to cover! Smile



GREAT POST SCOTT! Smile
You'll wonder when I'm coming, you'll wonder even more when I'm gone. - Max Malini
Eric Grossman
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Amen, Scott
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magic_kris
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Wow, I'm suprised as to the level of agreement on the board!



Anyone want to explore the areas that I guess everyone agrees are gray, such as performing effects that you have seen and are published, but you have not purchased.



How about using another performers line possibly in a different context?



Not that I'm searching for conflict but I would like to explore some different opinions.
Tom Cutts
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Not every person who does tricks needs to aspire to attaining the level called artist. They should, however, respect the art form and it's artists.



If an artist writes a book detailing exactly how he created his sculpture, does that grant you the right to go out and make a copy of it?



If you purchase sheet music or the manuscript to a play, does that give you the unrestricted right to perform them?



Ask for permission. Buying the book does not grant you that permission. You would be surprised to find how easy it is to locate an author and ask their permission to perform a routine. You may even be rewarded with respect, a new friend, some unpublished insights, and a knowledge of the act of creation. Such rewards far outweigh the difficulty of searching the web or asking the publisher for contact information.



Is it possible artists publish their work so others may be inspired to create their own original art?



Sure, some authors print their work specifically so it can be copied or at least performed in any manner the purchaser deems fitting. They should state that granting of right, not a**ume it.



If magicians wish to be respected as artists, it is time to stop pillaging out of laziness every magic trick or idea that meets our fancy.



Smile



Happy New Year to you all.



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Stephen Long
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Fantastic point, Tom.

In fact, Tom and Scott got it all covered.

But my philosophy on this is, it is ok to be inspired by another’s work.

I write a lot - many times I have been inspired by someone else’s work.

Have I copied it?

No, of course not - that would make me unoriginal and what I had written would be worthless.

But if you see someone perform and think
"wouldn’t it be great if...?" or "hey, that kind of makes me think I could...", IMO not only is that ok, it’s a good thing.

We have to be learning off and getting ideas from one another or magic wouldn’t move anywhere.

Just look at the Cafe - we are doing it all the time here.

Is it ok to copy?

No.

But is it ok to get inspiration from those whom you admire?

Of course.

That is a good thing, and that is what will ultimately expand the art further.


my thoughts

Gonz
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martinkaplan
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[quote]
On 2001-12-31 17:13, magic_kris wrote:



Anyone want to explore the areas that I guess everyone agrees are gray, such as performing effects that you have seen and are published, but you have not purchased.



How about using another performers line possibly in a different context?



In an ideal world all magicians would reward those who create effects that we would like to perform by buying the book in which the effect was published or buying the effect that was commercially produced. Alas, our world is not ideal and many feel entitled to xerox effects from books and make copies of videos. We find a way to rationalize our act, but in the end we are appropriating someone else's intellectual property without rewarding them for their creation. Potentially, this could have an effect on those who create in that they may be unwilling to share their future creations.



Watching a magican perform an effect and being able to recreate the sequences and patter that comprise the effect do not entitle me to perform the effect. I have not put in the time and effort to create the effect nor have I paid someone to do that for me.



Appropriating someone else's original line and using it in a different context is stealing. According to Billy McComb the most difficult line to create in a comedy routine is the final one. It may take a full year of performances to find the right line. Because you like the line, are you entitled to appropriate it? I don't think so.



We all begin our walk down the path of magic using the thoughts and ideas of others. To become a true performer means finding your own pathway and following it to its creative conclusion.



-Marty
Steve Brooks
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This very topic is also being explored in Food for thought. The topic is New question of ethics.



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