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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » From The Wizards Cave - by Bill Palmer » » Copyright violations -- know anyone who is doing it? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Bill Palmer
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This topic is inspired by the post by Airborne Ranger near the bottom of this page:
http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......start=60

So, is he right? Are there still a lot of people on this forum who are swapping or selling illegal copies of other people's work?

Sometime back, several people got into trouble for sending out e-mail lists of e-books, VHS tapes and DVD's that had been pirated. One of my books, which had never before appeared as an e-book was among them. The pirate was stupid enough to send the list to me.

Here's an offer:

If you know of ANYONE who is trading e-books of the following items, let me know. If it pans out, I'll give you a reward. None of these has appeared as a legal e-book.

Magical Adventures and Fairy Tales by Punx
Once Upon a Time by Punx
Fourth Dimensional Mysteries by Punx
Farewell Performance by Punx
The Cézanne Code by Borodin
Sheherazade by Borodin
Lord of Legerdemain by MarcoM
Ted Lesley's Lecture Notes 2003
Ted Lesley's Master Class Notes 2003
Paramiracles Ted Lesley
How to Work as a Renaissance Festival Magician
The Commercial Magic of Bill Palmer
How to be a Professional Entertainer
Bob Blau's World of Magic
Bob Blau's Spirits on the Stage


All of these are either my work, or they were work that I was involved in publishing.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Bill Palmer
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Here are some questions involving copyright and "fair use."

See how well you can do on this.

Which of the following is legal?

1) A group of churches in a large metropolitan area orders one copy of each item in the choral music catalog of several different publishing companies. They photocopy these and distribute them among their choirs. Is this legal?

2) A high school band director purchases a single copy of each part for his 250 piece marching band. He photocopies the additional parts he needs and distributes them to his students. Is this legal?

3) A college professor in economics photocopies an out of print book which still has a valid copyright and distributes copies of it to his students to use as their text. He charges only the amount it cost him for the copying. Is this legal?

4) A college professor in economics photocopies a book that is still available from the publisher and distributes it to his students for the cost of the printing. Is this legal?

5) A college professor in economics has ordered textbooks for his class, but they haven't arrived yet. So he photocopies the first chapter of the book which he distributes to his students for the cost of the printing, while he waits for the books to arrive. Is this legal?

6) A college professor in economics uses a textbook that is in the public domain for his text. He distributes this to his students on a CD-ROM for the cost of duplication. Is this legal?

Answers:

1) No. It's illegal. A case of this exact nature was settled against the diocese of one of the major midwestern cities in the 1980's.

2) No. Again, it's illegal. School districts encourage this, but if a school district gets caught doing it, and they get sued, the cost of the lawsuit will be much greater than the amount they thought they had saved by purchasing sufficient band parts.

Schools and churches are not exempt from copyright law. The exception is that PERFORMANCES at schools and churches are exempt from performance royalties, such as ASCAP and BMI fees.

3) Nope. Not legal. Out of print but still in copyright -- you can't copy it. However, if you get permission from the publisher, it can be done.

4) Nope. This one is kind of a no-brainer.

5) Probably. This would fall under the provisions of fair usage, as long as the section copied wasn't too long. The savvy professor would ask for permission first. The savvy publishing company would grant it, because they would be selling a lot of books. And they would risk losing his account.

6) Yes. This is legal.

Now, the reason I used an economics professor as an example is this: in all cases, except the one where the book arrived late, the fellow should probably be fired. Why? A savvy economics professor would have made sure he had written the textbook for the course. He is setting a bad example for the students.

And he wouldn't have to worry about permission to duplicate his own work.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Bill Palmer
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There has been a thread in another part of the forum about Google, their plans to scan books (without first asking permission) and their recent decision to halt the project. I objected very vehemently to this project and still do. Although many people on the forum think my reasoning is somewhat Luddite, I'll explain why I feel this way, so there can be no question about this.

First, the way that Google had gone about this was completely wrong. They were in the process of scanning copyrighted material without consent or knowledge of the copyright holders. That's illegal. Under the present law, they MUST have consent before they start.

Second, they have misrepresented certain aspects of the prolect. Their idea was to have ALL published works in a database, so that when you wanted to search a work for a keyword, you could go right to those pages of the book where this keyword appears. Then, according to their web site, you could see if the information was relevant to their interests. And specifically, you could not print out the information or download it.

Where does this idea fall apart? For one, if you have certain programs on your computer, such as PrintShop Pro (a very common program), you can do a "screen capture." You call up the program, click on the correct icon, go back to the screen with the image on it, hit F12, and you can capture whatever part of the screen you want. Then you save it as an image file.

At that point, you can convert it into plain text with an OCR program. I'm sure many of you don't use these programs, but people involved in the publishing business use them all the time. Every scanner comes with some sort of OCR program.

Many magic books will not be affected at all by what Google was/is planning to do. So far, their only targets will be books that have an ISBN. But ALL books that have these are currently under copyright protection, so they may have a big battle on their hands once they get taken to court.

Most of the classics of magic don't have these numbers, Magic by Robert Harbin is a good example of a book that will not be pinched. But some do. The current crop of novels will definitely give them a lot of material to go through before they start grabbing magic books off the shelf.

Most of the things they will be "scanning" already exist as .doc, .pmd. or .pdf files. These are the way files get sent to publishing houses.

However, if you have recently published a book with any "inside" secrets in it, and it has an ISBN, you would be in an interesting position. Let's say that you decide to use their search to find the phrase that we represent in open forums by "IT." Then you would find all the references in any modern magic publication to anything that used it. And I don't think we want this kind of information that easily available to people who want to punch in the keywords.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Bill Palmer
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Eternal Order
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I have some rather interesting evidence to show that Google has been aware of the potential problems of scanning OPW's (Other People's Works).

Check out this link: http://www.chillingeffects.org/notice.cgi?sID=164 .

I got to it when I was trying to find some information about Bettina Zimmerman -- an actress in a movie that was recently on the Sci-Fi channel. I particularly liked the display of the things that copyright is good for.

There is more going on in the field of IP protection than most people realize. Others think the idea of protecting your property is akin to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. I prefer to think it is like having radar to tell you where the icebergs are.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Bill Palmer
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Eternal Order
Only Jonathan Townsend has more than
24260 Posts

Profile of Bill Palmer
Here is one that is not copyright violation, but it IS IP violation. That is the portrayal of trademarked characters. Perhaps I should use the term "registered" characters. These are ficticious characters that were created during recent years -- Walt Disney cartoon characters, comic book characters, television characters, etc.

Can you portray them? Not legally and not without permission.

For example, you can't do a Mickey Mouse character in your kids show. Or Donald Duck or Goofy or any of those delightful guys. Barney the Dinosaur is proprietary. So is Spiderman. And so is Harry Potter, as well as the characters in the movie and good old Hogwarts, as well.

Now, there are ways around this:
Barney's trademark is "a purple dinosaur." This would also cover Fred Flinstone's pet dinosaur, so you can do a purple dinosaur, but you can't call him Barney.

You can do a generic wizard teacher. You can do a semi-nerdy Harry Potter style magician, but you can't call him Harry Potter. You also need to find a new Wizard school. This shouldn't be too difficult to come up with. You have an imagination -- use it!

So, what do you do when the mother calls and wants to know if you can do a Harry Potter show for her kid's birthday party? You say, "Well, J.K. Rowling takes a dim view of people doing Harry Potter without permission, and permission is very expensive; however, I can do a character like one of the teachers at the Wizard School and we can dress the kids up in robes and glasses, etc." They CAN use Harry Potter party favors. J.K. gets a cut of the take on those.

If you think this is being overly cautious, imagine how the fellows who got busted doing Barney a few years back felt.

And if you think J.K. is making too much money off Harry Potter -- she has given a huge amount of money to charities in the U.K. to help single mothers find ways of earning a living. So, more power to her!
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
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