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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Right or Wrong? » » What would you do??? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Daegs
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I guess I am against the double standards for real life vs online actions.

Let's take this to an extreme, two situations:

A: You visit the library, pull out the DVD from its case, pop it in the DVD player and then watch it on the screen.

B: You visit the library, put the DVD into the streaming media server and then watch it on one of the libraries computers as its being streamed to the screen.


In each, the actual act of you being a club member, going to the library to watch and not copy the DVD are the same, yet entity you seem to be making one ok and the other not.

If you take it a step further, what if you don't actuall retrieve the DVD, but you call it up and a robotic arm pulls it out and pops it in the player?

How much distance is required from the DVD drive and the resulting screen to make it un-ethical? Can you do it from the other side of the building? other side of town?


I'm just not sure I agree that electronic vs. real-life usage of a kind of library is any different.


Anytime we watch a DVD, its decoded into a video stream and then sent somewhere, either the TV or the monitor or the projector or whatever on a wire.

Whether that wire is 4 feet or 10,000 feet seems a really flakey way for us to decide whats right and whats wrong....
entity
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I think you're trying to convince yourself.

I suspect you see the difference between a hand-chosen club member being selected after a face-to-face meeting, the criteria of selection being met by a display of talent and professionalism, and a faceless online sign-up.

I also suspect you can tell the difference between the electronic duplication possibilities inherent in sending a video from a central depository to numerous virtually unknown locations, and the concept of a DVD player sending the signal to the television or computer in front of a private club member under controlled conditions.

In the end, it's not me who's deciding what's right or wrong for anyone but myself. You asked me what I would do, and why. I've told you, and I feel comfortable with my reasoning, and hence, have no need to convince anyone else of my point of view.

There are laws and rules of conduct in business that decide not what is right or wrong, but what is legal and illegal or acceptable and not acceptable.

If you do something illegal or actionable, be prepared to take the heat.

- entity
Daegs
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Quote:
and a faceless online sign-up.


Actually, if you re-read my original post, the members were chosen person to person and based on their magic skill.

The distribution is done online, but its still a selective membership and done in person.

Well, as this is the forum called right or wrong, I am more concerned with the ethical issues rather than the legal.

I could easily host the club in Sweden or in Eastern Europe and be fine on the legal front, that wouldnt make it right though....
entity
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In your original post, the selection process was describing the live private club with the physical library resource. At the end you asked some questions regarding an online video-sharing concept. But thank you for now clarifying.

I'd suggest that a choice of whether or not to break the law involves your own feelings of right or wrong.

I'm not so sure that hosting your online club in Sweden would then exempt you from copyright laws world-wide, as you would probably be transmitting the video's outside of the host country.

In the end, if you're not breaking any laws, there are no "governing bodies" that ensure the ethics of Magic. We must each decide for ourselves if our actions are honorable or honest, and act accordingly. If we choose to act wrongly even though we know we are in the wrong, we must be prepared to take the heat for our actions.

Cheers,

- entity
Pete Biro
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Daegs: What do you really think?
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
CJRichard
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Last week I went to my public library and borrowed Mark Wilson's Complete Course, from the shelf where several other magic books stood. I opened it up and found that the Mark Wilson book was a gift to our town library from a professional magician who lives here. (When I was a kid, they actually had an old copy of Houdini on Magic in the library, but alas it's gone now. Probably sold years ago at the ten-cent sale for discarded books.)

So do I have to get Mark Wilson's permission to perform cups and balls?
"You know some of you are laughin', but there's people here tryin' to learn. . ." -Pop Haydn

"I know of no other art that proclaims itself 'easy to do.'" -Master Payne

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Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2006-06-06 15:41, CJRichard wrote:...So do I have to get Mark Wilson's permission to perform cups and balls?


In offering that book, Mark Wilson has invited any and all who read it to do as they please with all of the contents, tricks, ideas and discussions of history and technique.

Perhaps someone would like to tell the story about Mark Wilson and the zig-zag?
...to all the coins I've dropped here
CJRichard
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Seems like you must know the story, Jonathan.
"You know some of you are laughin', but there's people here tryin' to learn. . ." -Pop Haydn

"I know of no other art that proclaims itself 'easy to do.'" -Master Payne

Ezekiel the Green
Jonathan Townsend
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Look closely at the video clip of him doing the trick and you can infer the story. I heard about a train and Dante. Just word of mouth mind you. There are similar stories from long ago that would probably make for a good novel or movie.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Daegs
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I'm not sure what I really think, pete, but I do think that all forms of sharing are mostly wrong, whether its a library or online.

I do however, feel that online vs. a library are equally as bad, as opposed to the view of online being somehow worse.

I think unless the writer authorizes it, you shouldnt loan out any books nor let anyone else view them unless they've also purchased it, but perhaps that is too harsh.

Just something to think about, I'm still unsure myself...


The main question I was asking, which was assuming that sharing books/dvd's was wrong and against author/publisher's wishes, was whether the thirst for knowledge could be outweighed by the ethics against sharing magic items.

I suppose if the consensus is that sharing is A-ok then I guess there is no conflict at all...
DoctorAmazo
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By extension, your premise would also prohibit the re-sale of books/videos by the original purchaser. Once they have accessed the material therein, it would be unethical to sell the original to another.

You probably assume I'm talking about magic....but it would apply equally to ANY book, wouldn't it? You read a novel, you've used it for your entertainment. Selling, lending, renting...they all deprive the author/publisher of a potential sale.

Take to the streets, men, let's burn down all those evil public libraries!
Daegs
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Not really, because I feel performance rights are the crux of the issue.

I think you can sell a video and the performance rights associated with it.

With lending situations, obviously only the original owner has the performance rights and that is why the mass sharing is wrong.

I don't think it would apply equally... in magic we are talking about someone's creation and performance rights... with a normal book you aren't "using" the information. I suppose with an instructional type book, you should probably keep it.

However, you also have to realize that magic is a SUPER SMALL community, and that while a big time book writer with big publisher contracts and bonus's and millions of sales whether the book is any good or not, in magic the writers aren't making millions and having a book stolen a thousand times on the internet is a big deal.
DoctorAmazo
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I fail to see the distinction. A novelist makes money by writing and selling books of stories. A magician makes money writing and selling books of effects. If I re-sell you a book of either type, chances are you won't buy a new one but you have still benefitted from reading the data. The author loses out, either way. Your "Performance rights" issue just muddies the water.

And you lost me completely when you imply that stealing from the "rich" is more acceptable than stealing from the "poor". How many books they sell is completely irrelevant when discussing the ethics of theft.
elecktra
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Just in reading all of this - I just realized that they have a somewhat exclusive magic library right here in New York City. You have to make a special appointment to go in and you cannot borrow any books - you can only read them there. They have a very extensive collection of old and unusual magic books from all over the world - and from what I understand they have gotten everything legally. They also run a website where you can research for a fee. I think that they see it more as research in order to come up with new ideas, than actually stealing someones tricks. I want to check it out when I get a chance but I don't think I would actually sit there for hours looking at old books unless I was doing research. Just a thought.
Philosophry
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To answer the original question, I would be happy to make use of that library and I'd have no problem with it. If someone opened up a library full of resources in any of my interests I'd be pleased to use it. Why would anyone have a problem with this?

OK, I know people who do. All they think about is what they get - the secret, the secret! There are enough secrets revealed in Annemann, in Corinda and so on + sleight of hand knowledge to provide any reasonably intellegent magician with several lifetimes worth of amazing magic.

But magicians must sell secrets, magicians must buy secrets. Secrets! Secrets!

I don't care if I ever read or discover another magical 'secret' as long as I live. But I do enjoy watching good magic, well performed magic. I really enjoy reading magician's ideas, what made them think this, why they do that. Which is why I probably will never buy magic downloads that charge $10 for a 'secret'.

That's my position. I'd use and enjoy the library.
Daegs
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Quote:
And you lost me completely when you imply that stealing from the "rich" is more acceptable than stealing from the "poor". How many books they sell is completely irrelevant when discussing the ethics of theft.


I disagree.

It is important to realize the difference between academic ethics and "real-life" ethics.

On paper and in discussions, obviously stealing $1000 from a poor man and Bill Gates are both ethically wrong. In real life, bill gates won't even notice while the poor man couldn't pay his rent and is now homeless.

There are varying levels of personal damage here. Just like when dealing with the RIAA and music writers, it is ethically wrong to download the songs illegally, yet in reality the musicians are seeing very little of the money due to the way music companies screw over musicians.

So, in the difference between a normal writer that is going to get the publishing contract either way, and there won't even be a market to steal his work until he is published(as no one knows about it) is completely different than the situation where magicians are publishing their own stuff or working with small companies that generally only do magic stuff, and at the same time the ENTIRE COMMUNITY knows about the work usually before its even released so people are trying to steal it from the get-go. That is a big key difference. In mass-marketing situations you are trying to sell to those that have never heard of the product and probably wouldnt know where to find it if stolen. In small-communities, a much larger chunk knows about it even before its released and are eager to get it by any means at their disposal.

I don't have any figures, but from personal experiance the % rate of "stealing vs. customers" is LARGLY different from regular Novels to magic publications.

When you see a magic video of which there are only 100 copies being downloaded by HUNDREDS(and its still growing to be thousands) of people, there is a big difference imho.

Perhaps in discussing the *ethics* of theft you are right stealing is bad no matter who it is from. When discussing the real-world effects, it is much worse to take from the poor than the rich. Neither is a good option, but small markets(such as magic) are hurt A LOT more than mass-markets by piracy.
Mad Jake
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Quote:
On 2006-06-06 16:56, Daegs wrote:
I'm not sure what I really think, pete, but I do think that all forms of sharing are mostly wrong, whether its a library or online.


Then it's really not a library but a collection of books sitting on a shelf serving no one any greater good. There is a big difference between a library and a collection when you look at it from a sharing or use point of view. I've heard the Magic Castle has a library for members to use, is this unethical?
For quality Paul Fox Cups spun on Danny Dew's Paul Fox tooling visit us at www.airshipmagic.com
Tony Iacoviello
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Jake

It is still a library, just not a "lending" library.
A library is a collection of items (i.e. films, books, magazines, maps,...).

Tony
Banester
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Quote:
On 2006-05-30 13:18, Daegs wrote:
All that aside, my issue is how is a club library different from online piracy?

If I charged a yearly fee and only allowed magicians in, could I share every book and DVD on the market with them as online downloads?




S.A.M. also advertises that you have access to thier video library for FREE, just have to cover the shipping costs. Is this acceptable because they are a magic club and owners of the property? There Oath almost goes against what they are doing :
OATH:
If accepted as a Member, I agree to do my best to elevate the Art of Magic and to abide by the Constitution, By-laws, Code of Ethics and Ritual of the Society of American Magicians.

I shall endeavor to cooperate with the Society in the promotion of its objectives and to promote harmony among those interested in magic and to advance the ethics of the profession.

I agree not to expose any modus operandi from stage, platform, television, radio or in any manner whatsoever.

I am opposed to cheap literature wherein magical secrets are needlessly exposed, or to the sale of professional magical effects in cheap miniature form to the public.

I am opposed to needless and useless explanations of secrets to persons who are not entitled to know them or who are not interested in magic.

I am opposed to placing any legitimate performer in a predicament while that person is before an audience

Now one thing I find interesting and which I think sums up the original posters question is what S.A.M. also sates in thier oath "I am opposed to needless and useless explanations of secrets to persons who are not entitled to know them or who are not interested in magic."
The art of a magician is to create wonder.
If we live with a sense of wonder, our lives
become filled with joy
-Doug Henning-
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