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George Ledo
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Quote:
On 2006-06-28 06:08, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Quote:
On 2006-06-27 21:46, George Ledo wrote:...For instance, let's say I watch Jon (not to pick on you, Jon, but I will) do his version of Six Coins to the Pocket. I like it and I want to do it. ...


There is the problem as I see it.

I belive the term "coveting" applies there.

If you asked things might be different.

Okay, I'll buy it's coveting. And I also agree that if I asked, you might say yes, no, or any combination of them; it's your trick and your prerogative.

And BTW, I made up that reference; I don't have a clue if there's such a thing as "Six coins to pocket." Smile

However, my point was that, as far as the general public is concerned, the version in J.B. Bobo is the same trick as yours. So why in the world would I have any reason to copy yours, or rip you off, or "adapt" yours just enough to "prove" it's "my improvement," when there's a published version out there already?

I guess what it comes down to, for me, is the question of whether all this ripping off is more for personal amusement ("collecting cool toys") than for the purpose of having something to show an audience composed of the general public.

Oh, and Andrea, two comments...

First, from what I've been reading here for a couple of years, I believe that pulling from other life experiences helps tremendously. We don't have to re-invent the wheel on every issue in the world just because we're in magic. We can learn a lot from how people in other fields handle the same problems we encounter.

Second, to answer your question, if you see someone do a trick you've never seen and you want to do it, yes, it's proper to at least ask. It may turn out the guy bought the thing at the local magic shop, or found it in a book. But stopping your presentation to say "I saw John the Great do this last week" is pointless, since the audience won't usually know who John is. On the other hand, if you're doing the Sub Trunk and your storyline is about how Houdini did it, then mentioning him is part of the presentation.
That's our departed buddy Burt, aka The Great Burtini, doing his famous Cups and Mice routine
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Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2006-06-28 10:29, George Ledo wrote:
...

I guess what it comes down to, for me, is the question of whether all this ripping off is more for personal amusement ("collecting cool toys") than for the purpose of having something to show an audience composed of the general public....


It gets worse that that George,

First, they feel the right to copy and show the copied work to other magicians.

Then they feel the need to publish their copy just so they get credit.

And from that we get generations of magicians who are both clueless and using copied material.

Which is okay if you don't mind casually dismissing them en mass for being in possession of "copied" material.

The tragedy is that they also act like monkeys with their hand in the tree stump. They won't let go of the coconut and yet can't get away with the coconut. There is nothing wrong with being a monkey. The tragedy is they also want respect as people and as artists.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
The Bonnie Kids
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Jonathan,
I have never read "Our magic" and I don't even know what that book is. I wanted to ask Johnatan if he could send a copy of it to me, but I believe this is not the right moment.... (just kidding Jon).

COVETING? I had do google for that term: "That's coveting, when our desire for things becomes evil". If I googled well, I thinks it's exagerated.

I do not want to talk about other branches. Let's stay in magic. If I see a magician performing a nice trick and I believe this trick can suite my show, I'll put in it and I will not mention it's name in front of my audience. My audience are NEVER magicians.

Of course performing in front of magicians is another stuff, it is the same as publishing a book or a movie or whatever. Here you should be fair (ethical).
Jonathan, are you sure that you and we (at least George and me) are talking about the same things?

When you say "...First, they feel the right to copy and show the copied work to other magicians.Then they feel the need to publish their copy just so they get credit.
And from that we get generations of magicians who are both clueless and using copied material..... " I have the feeling that you are mentioning magicians performing to magicians.

Anyway, even if they copy you: in my opinion there is no other solution that preceeding them. And this can be applied not only to magic: look what APPLE did... they didn't stop when Microsoft copied their Operative System. They have their own (respectable) niche and they are always ahead Microsoft from user frendliness point of view.
But they didn't manage to win against Microsoft in a formal sue...

Barriers do not help.
/Andrea
Jonathan Townsend
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If you want to use something you see me do, ask. Most likely I will point you to the source, and if it's something of mine and I want it kept private, I will let you know. This is a big help if later on your write up your material and other magicians start using it.

Our Magic is a classic work and probably well worth reading. It might be available as an ebook over on http://www.lybrary.com and available at a low price compared to the twenty dollars I spent on my hardcover long ago.

The quickie definitions of words offered online are usually simplified down to the point of newspeak. A useful dictionary will tell you the differences between right, correct and true, or between edict and fiat.

Yes guy, barriers do help and the first one is secrecy. From there we can get into basic personal respect and then into artistic integrity. But you gotta start with the notion of secrecy in magic. It's a need to know kind of thing. It takes away the puffery we show audiences and reminds us that others are possesive of their work.
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The Bonnie Kids
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Jon,
I'm glad you didn't get angry of my joke...

:)
// Andrea
Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2006-06-28 13:00, Bonnie Kids-A wrote:
Jon,
I'm glad you didn't get angry of my joke...


Not at all.

And my intensity on this issue is directed at making sure YOUR good work and developments are safe from unwanted copyists and worse. This way you can profit from your work when you choose to sell or publish.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
The Bonnie Kids
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Guys,
I am on vacation from tomorrow.
I just wanted to say goodbye to all of you. I hope I will find one internet connection to continue the forum.
I will miss the forum if I don't find any..

Magically

// Andrea
sehrgut
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Where exactly would you draw the line between inspiration and copying? For instance, in the hypothetical "Six Coins to Pocket" routine:

What if the effect hadn't been in Bobo? If, however, you liked the effect and worked out your own method to accomplish a similar effect (similar enough that our hypothetical spectators would indeed link the two tricks as the same trick done differently by different people), would that be inspiration or copying?

I guess as a writer I've always had a dim view of out-and-out copying, but more than an acceptance of inspiration from others' works (including others gleaning from my own). I'm not exactly sure where I'd draw the line in magic performance, which is why I've been participating in this thread.

If I published something, I'd follow normal academic permission and citation criteria. In performance (which is in effect creating a new work with every show, due to the nature of performance art), I had honestly never thought about using any other criteria than I use for writing and music: namely, open inspiration from others' works, with an understanding within the art that a like reciprocity exists.

While I wouldn't copy anothers' patter or script -- any more than I'd use a paragraph or sentence from anothers' book -- I would have considered an effect to be along the same lines as a concept in writing: something everyone is free to interpret and demonstrate in their own way (a concept being a fundamental, unowned unit).

Obviously, though, this thread has made me undecided on the matter. What exactly is the "fundamental, unowned unit" of magic of which performances are interpretations? I had always considered it to be the effect, with the method and presentation to be the proprietary aspects.

Cheers!
Keith
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One must always write of February while weeping."
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The Bonnie Kids
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Quote:
On 2006-06-29 11:37, sehrgut wrote:
......Obviously, though, this thread has made me undecided on the matter. What exactly is the "fundamental, unowned unit" of magic of which performances are interpretations? I had always considered it to be the effect, with the method and presentation to be the proprietary aspects.....

Cheers!
Keith


I am happy to see that is not only me who has been affected by this thread... Smile
/ Andrea
abc
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I haven't posted for a while just to see what gets posted because I agree on most but disagree on some points.
Lets stick with the six coins to pocket. Now if I copy the routine it is by most deemed unethical because I am stealing the idea. Let's say that I do copy the idea but the coins do not go to my pocket but to a spectators pocket or a bag or whatever. In the second option am I still stealing because certainly the original performer of the 6 coins to pocket can not claim to be the inventor of transposing coins and then certainly he actually stole from the original creator by performing unless he read it in a book.
The discussion has discussed the black and white area of the ethics that are involved here but no one has ventured into the grey area which is where ethics are more important. I maintain that every situation needs to be looked at individually to make a judgement and that there are no set rules.
Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2006-06-30 01:23, abc wrote:...
Let's say that I do copy the idea but the coins do not go to my pocket but to a spectators pocket or a bag or whatever.

In the second option am I still stealing because certainly the original performer of the 6 coins to pocket can not claim to be the inventor of transposing coins and then certainly he actually stole from the original creator by performing unless he read it in a book.

...there are no set rules.


Would you clarify the second paragraph quoted above?

And you are correct, rules (right/wrong) are context dependent. I try to use "the golden rule" as a guide on these things. Should you ever be fortunate enough to have been inspired and then to realize your dream you will know what one side of the situation feels like. The perspective of the copyist is "monkey see, monkey do" and we know how monkeys belong in zoos, have no civil rights and may make good incubators for disease as well as a fun meal if you go for monkey brains.
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abc
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Terrible sentence construction and I am supposed to be able to teach it,
Should read Am I still stealing? because .....
George Ledo
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Quote:
On 2006-06-29 11:37, sehrgut wrote:
Where exactly would you draw the line between inspiration and copying? For instance, in the hypothetical "Six Coins to Pocket" routine:

You may want to look at two of my columns on this topic, in the Buffet section. One is titled "On adaptation and inspiration: a trade secret revealed," and the other one is "On creativity, plagiarism, and ego."

Yes there are a lot of gray areas, but creative types have been using inspiration and adaptation for thousands of years and still coming up with fresh ideas. Basically, what real creative types do is go back to the original source -- the original idea -- and see where it takes them. People in my line of work think in terms of "It's fun to come up with something fresh and better than the last guy" instead of "Let's see, if I change this and that, then I can prove it's different according to copyright laws." In other words, we don't look for loopholes -- we look for honest innovation. If we wanted to spend our careers looking for loopholes, we would have become sleazy accountants or sleazy lawyers.

What we don't do is get all worked up over whether we come up with something substantially the same as somebody else. Most of us are honest about this, and tons and tons of perfectly good ideas have been tossed into the bin once we found out they were even remotely similar to someone else's work. But that's where being creative comes in: you go, "Oh, well, I can probably do better anyway," and move on. In other words, we spend our time and our energy being creative, not worrying about it and discussing it ad nauseam.

What I'm beginning to see here in the Café is more of a Hollywood-stereotype scientific mentality than a creative one. It's an old joke that researchers often rush into print right after "discovering" something just so they can get the credit for it, and then proceed to spend their time and money "proving" it was an original discovery instead of going off to look for something else.

Professor Julius Threadbare in Modern Labology: "I discovered that a drop of concentrated sulfuric acid, dropped on the root of the thumb from six inches, causes a red welt and hurts like hell."

Professor Beaker Crusted, in a rebuttal:"Professor Threadbare's discovery is bunk. It's been well known for hundreds of years that a very small quantity of concentrated sulfuric acid causes red welts on skin, and that it hurts."

Professor Threadbare in a counter-rebuttal: "Yes, but no one had yet made the experiment on the root of a thumb (the left one, yet) from a height of six inches. Therefore I claim the welt and pain as the Threadbare Thumb Effect."

Actually, that little accident really happened to me back in high school chemistry. Maybe I should have written it up! Smile
That's our departed buddy Burt, aka The Great Burtini, doing his famous Cups and Mice routine
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The Bonnie Kids
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Jonhatan,
you always talk about monkeys in a general way. It seems you extrapolate this discussion to the everyday's life?!?
I'll keep the MAcintosh example. A am a mac user since 1983 and I will ever buy a PC, but, frankly speaking, has this copying of MAC OS idea (user friendly, mouse based, windows based etc..) so bad for the computer community?
I mean, are you sure that people just make 100% copies and do not put somenthing of themselves while doing what you call "monkey copying" (contributing in this way to the so called progress)?
And, by the way, are you sure monkeys are so stupid?
// Andrea
Jonathan Townsend
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Folks, I use the monkey metaphor (or model) to capture a few ideas.

Firstly the copy by seeing as opposed to working from primary sources:
Watch a dozen magicians use a French Drop and you can pretty much be certain they all learned the thing by watching stereotyped gestures of other magicians. There is nothing wrong with the sleight and it can also look almost natural when done properly and in context. Yet we almost never see it done to look well. Just the copied gestures and outcomes. Watch the X, point at the X look it's gone. That is an example of where aping does not help us. Then look at the supposedly clever innovations of sucker vanishes. Usually even more stereotyped gestures and then the supposedly guilty cramped hand is shown empty. No thought whatsoever to the implications or consequences of this behavior. This is not so much an innovation as a patch upon bad technique and poor acting skills. All that because they felt it was more expedient to copy than to explore for themselves. If anyone wants some help in the basic vanish work, let me know in person. I have an acting exercise that may well help with this.

Now let's get to the grizzly fate of the monkey holding the coconut. "mine! mine!" it screeches while holding the coconut trapped in the tree stump. It will hold onto that coconut even when the hunter approaches. The monkey will snarl and show it's teeth but it will stay there, claiming the coconut and ultimately loose its life to the hunter.

If the monkey were more clever, it would get the coconut from the tree where it grows. If the monkey understood how dangerous it is to claim the work of another as its own, it would abandon the thing in the face of danger. But no, the poor animal is pre-programmed to value the possession of a found (trap) object more than it can value its life even in the face of danger.

Why do I use this example? I certainly have no dislike of animals. Yes I also know that pigeons do learn behaviors by imitation. So why the ape?

I choose to believe that people can be better than apes. There is the distinction I'd like to make. I'd like to believe a person would figure out that the coconut in the tree stump is a trap and abandon the prize inside long before the hunter comes.

Can you abandon claims upon such prizes?

In magic, as with puzzles made by craftsman, the found prizes in our literature are also doors (or paths) to the people who made the things. To attempt to make claim upon such a thing is most offensive to the maker and also disrespectful to the entire craft of making things, hence an insult to all who make things.

When you get to the door, knock, say hello to the craftsman. Most do enjoy hearing about what aspects of their work appeal to those who notice their works. And most of the craftsman I've met in magic are usually happy to help a performer realize their goals. A win/win/win for the craftsman, the performer and for the audience who gets to see something special performed.

So here we are, choosing between acting like apes or like people. The apes are doing the best they can just being apes. It's people who get to choose how they act and what principles guide their actions.

Ah the Mac-OS and MS Windows. Both of the primary parties involved visited somewhere to see some things at the XEROX-PARC research center where the Windows, Icons, Menus and Pointers metaphor was implemented for personal computers. The Palo Alto Research Center participation in the project made the ideas used a sort of public domain project. I like several aspects of both implementations of the basic ideas. I similarly see huge areas for improvement in both implementations. I will leave out a personal preference.
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sehrgut
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I've been reading some of Bill Palmer's columns, and ran across an great way to put it:

Quote:
Although we stand on the shoulders of giants, it isn't advisable to kick them in the face while we do it. (Intellectual Property and magic)


So, stand on their shoulders (with permission, if necessary), and try to keep your feet well-behaved. I think this is the crux of it. The root of a true magic ethos should be a respect for those whose work goes before; and closely second to that, "a decent respect to the opinions of mankind."

Now, to conclude the ideas posited in my last post, I think that even an effect can be considered an expression of an idea (and therefore subject to ownership). I went back and read the two articles George Ledo recommended, and they helped me understand exactly what an effect is, philosophically. In the "six coins to pocket" routine, the ideas explored are very general: translocation, disappearance, and the like. The effect of vanishish six coins and make them appear in a pocket is ownable. If I see it done, and repeat it, even with "enough changes to make it different," it could still be recognized as that effect.

If, however, I was inspired by the principles behind it, my own effect might bear as much resemblance to SCTP as to a matrix (which expresses some of the same ideas in a different effect).

So I would say that you can start with ideas and follow them where you may, as in any other art. Expression, in the form of patter, routining, or effect, is owned.

Hmmm . . . clear as mud? It is to me, now. Thank you all for your experience and wisdom: I much appreciate the opportunity to learn.

Cheers!
Keith

ps. Now to work up a SCTP routine, eh? *grin*
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One must always write of February while weeping."
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The Bonnie Kids
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Jonathan,
I know about Xerox/Parc, and I don't want to open a discussion (never ending by the way) MAC-PC. I just wanted to say that PC copied teh idea of using this interface on the public domain from APPLE, and if I don't like it as MAC user, I admit it was good for the entire community.

French drop etc. In my opinion it's not important how you do the french drop. Once you can do it you are not a magician, but you cannot be a magician if you cannot do it. Unless you perform pure manipulation, where the attention is only on your hands, who cares if we do it well or not. Important is what the audiance gets.

Sometimes I feel that all this discussion is here because we are magicians performing to other magicians. We are here to entertain other people, and hopefully also get money for that.
Of course the art itself needs some purists that can technically better the french drop or any other move, and you can proudly be one of them Jonathan, but I don't think you should expect from us (or let's say from me, magician for kids) to think like you. I need to entertain, nothing more.

Andrea
sehrgut
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Andrea, I'm afraid I'll have to disagree with you on this one. Though it's straying off-topic, I think one might bring up the old saw about things worth doing and things worth doing well. I for one have never performed magic in public as an entertainer before (my first time at that will be this fall, when I'm taking part in a local arts festival), but when I practice, I hold myself to technical rigour.

When you say that such thinking shouldn't be expected from a children's magician, you are in effect saying that good enough is good enough. Respectfully, good enough is never good enough, and better isn't better because it isn't the best. Yes, we do need some "purists." The art would be bettered were everyone a purist; and magic would be less seen as "kiddie entertainment" were children's magicians to think more like purists. The issue in this case is not entertainment versus technical perfection, but sheer artistic integrity.

Not to speak over much of that I no naught, but I do perform for children. And when I do, I remember my introduction to magic by Michael Ammar, and how he performed for children with absolute technical perfection. Incredibly simple effects (wand from purse frame, saltshaker through table, even jumping rubber bands) he presented with all his magicianship. Venue did not affect the quality of his art, and I hope it never will mine.

*stepping off of soapbox*

Sorry for the rant, but you happened to touch on a nerve there . . . *grin*

Cheers!
Keith
"It is February, and time to take ink and weep.
One must always write of February while weeping."
-Boris Pasternak

"That night something of youth and beauty died in the elder world." -H.P. Lovecraft
Jonathan Townsend
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Let's get the facts to start.
No mac vs pc here

Both Apple and Microsoft visited XEROX-PARC and liked what they saw. Both are copies in that sense. Let's move on.

Magic TO magicians? Try FOR. And even then artistic integrity has its demands. Funny how you are trying to argue with folks with theater backgrounds about performing. Have you ever taken direction?

About the French Drop... and similar examples, yes it all counts. But again that takes us back to character, motivation, intent and communicating those things to the audience during the performance. IMHO most in magic may as well be vogueing when they do sleights. Strike a pose!

If you see some magic you like and simply don't have the courage and integrity to discuss your wants with the performer I need to leave off as I am not qualified to help you with sorting that out.
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George Ledo
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Okay, not to get 'waaaaay off topic, but what's the point of doing magic "for magicians?" Sure, I know woodworking enthusiasts, and model-railroad enthusiasts, and astronomy enthusiasts, and so forth, like to run "inside stuff" past each other for fun, but, really, what's the point?

Maybe I'm just being naive here, but, if I were still performing, I'd want to perform for the general public, not for other people who are into magic. Sure, I did it back when I was active in my IBM ring, but the point back then was to practice and try out stuff we wanted to do for the general public -- not to stand there and try to fool each other.

Ah, for those old simple days when one version of the French Drop was enough, and we didn't have to argue and agonize about whether it was ethical to copy somebody's "new and improved" version just so we could use it on people who already knew the original French Drop...

But then again, there were millions of years when we didn't need cell phones either. Pardon me, mine's ringing. Smile
That's our departed buddy Burt, aka The Great Burtini, doing his famous Cups and Mice routine
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