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Magic-FX
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Does anyone know about Public Domain Works?

I have been a member of The Learned Pig Project for a while now, and they do kind of explain what Public Domain is - I mean I know that they are basically books with no copyright. However other than their word for it is there any way to check?

Does anyone know of a list of Public Domain Magic Books, as TLP don't have all of them on there? I know of at least one book: They don't have "Modern Coin Magic" which is in the PD.

Would appreciate any help that can be given to quench my thirst for ongoing knowledge!

Scotty
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'Public Domain' used to be a lot simpler concept, before the Disney Corporation got the law changed because Mickey Mouse was about to slip away from them.

For a relatively simple summary of the public domain status of various works under current U.S. copyright law, check out the table at:

http://www.copyright.cornell.edu/trainin......main.htm
'The central secret of conjuring is a manipulation of interest.' - Henry Hay
Jonathan Townsend
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While the text of the books are in the legal public domain, the secrets behind the magic are not. They were, are and really do need to stay in our domain of magicdom.

It is simply unseemly to introduce the mechanics of guile to our potential audiences.
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Tom Bartlett
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Jonathan,

I do wish there was a way to keep the secrets behind the magic from being sold to the general public, but no court anywhere would or could keep this information from being printed or reprinted. Many of these rare books are bringing record prices, so it seems. No matter what they pay, it's nothing compared to the profit of selling the reprint and it’s their to do so.


Posted: Jun 6, 2006 2:29pm
-----------------------------------------
Jonathan,

I think most magicians keep the secret, it's in their best interest, but we are not the problem. The problem is like this: Henry Ford knew there would be more money selling millions of cars to the masses, while the elite rich wanted to keep the auto limited and only for themselves. But with a free market it was not possible.

The people buying these rare manuscripts and selling the reprints, are not selling to the magicians, there is no money in it and that’s why most magic shops go out of business unless they are selling to any and all. You would have to admit that even the cheapest made novelty like the $5.00 finger chopper exposes the secret.

It would take someone of infinite wealth to buy up every rare book and magic item that comes up for sale and then the price would just be driven up and put these things in a value range that would not allow the wise to even keep the book for themselves. I certainly could not afford to keep a book someone else was willing to pay $100,000 dollars or more for. Could you?

Respectfully,
Tom Bartlett
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Jonathan Townsend
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Tom, folks

Magic is unlike any other craft.
What it offers depends upon secrets.
When the secret is known, the magic is gone.

Please understand this and help others with this understanding.

:)
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CJRichard
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What about new books, Jonathan? How is anyone supposed to learn this craft?

Back in the 70's I bought a Dover reprint of Henry Hay's Cyclopedia of magic, originally published in the '40s. I found it in a local bookstore. It's a treasure trove for anyone interested in magic. I bought a water damaged Dunninger's Complete Encyclopedia of Magic in 1973 at the store. (I wrote my name and the date in it when I bought.)

The original material of both of these was probably in the public domain when the newer publishing houses reprinted them. They were available to the general public. But I sincerely doubt anybody besides magic geeks like me was buying them.

When I took Mark Wilson's course out of the local library a couple of weeks ago, I'd be willing to bet I was the first person in a year to borrow it.

There are always going to be some folks like William Poundstone who try to access "Big Secrets," and publish them, but the vast majority of the general public never sees that stuff. TV and internet exposure might be greater than printed books, but I think a heck of a lot more folks are using the internet to find Red Hot Lovin' College Babes than to find out how sponge rabbits multiply.
"You know some of you are laughin', but there's people here tryin' to learn. . ." -Pop Haydn

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The books out there are all essentially in the public domain. Even the newbies here have likely found the p2p sites and learned how to get those files. Magic used to be the leading edge in technology. Today some in magic appear to be mired in puzzles solved long ago and dumpster diving for material that became obsolete (or impertinent) back when folks stopped carrying silver dollars and wearing hats.

In direct answer to your questions about how;

How to learn magic? Find a magician and ask.

How to get your hands on the good stuff in magic? Become trustworthy and ask the inventor and/or manufacturer.

Very simple process. Most in magic want to see more magic in the world and likewise want the magic out there to be of highest quality.

Trustworthy? Right. Part of that is keeping secrets.
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CJRichard
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I certainly understand your strong feelings about this Jonathan, but there's still an area I'm fuzzy on.

Posted in a sticky note, I think, maybe in the New to Magic forum there's a question on best books to use for getting started in magic, or some such. Many many people recommend the Amateur Magician's Handbook, by "Henry Hay." Back in the '60s when I was a kid, this was in our local library. It isn't anymore, but it is in several of the larger libraries in the area. Google turns up that it's available through Amazon.

You seem to feel that there should be no "how to" books on magic published at all. Or if they are published they should only be available. . . where? In magic shops? Can't anyone in the world walk into Hank Lee's and buy a book?

I haven't seen a comic book in ages, and I don't know if the new ones have ads like the ones I used to see for the Abracadabra magic catalog. (Yes I got one.) I seem to recall I subscribed to Genii after seeing an ad in Boy's Life. (Well Scouts are trustworthy after all, so maybe that was the key.) So I was twelve or thirteen and reading stuff by Dai Vernon.

Asking a magician wasn't too easy in pre-internet days. There was one old guy around here, who performed at my elementary school. After the shows, he sold ball vases and pens that squirted vanishing ink. A kid maybe could have learned the dove pan from him, but that doesn't take a whole lot of tutoring.

Even today it's not easy. A relatively well know magician lives across town from me. I've known him since high school. We even performed on the same bill ages ago when was performing puppetry and he was doing torn and restored newspaper. A year or two ago, my wife wanted to write a profile on him to publish is the hometown magazine we publish. After two months of phone tag between his gigs and one appointment canceled at the last minute, we gave up. I doubt a youngster with an interest in magic is going to get too far. And knowing this guy, he'd probably say, "Hey kid, haven't you heard of the internet?"

I think magicians should keep the magic magic. But if it's kept too tightly under lock and key, there might not be as many new magicians coming along to keep the art alive.
"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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Quote:
On 2006-06-09 23:38, CJRichard wrote:...I think magicians should keep the magic magic. But if it's kept too tightly under lock and key, there might not be as many new magicians coming along to keep the art alive.


The art of magic will live so long as we can feel awe, enjoy surprises, emotionally process situations via metaphors and mysteries and likewise support entertainers who choose to bring them to audiences.

Beyond mere retail considerations, what use is a flock of wand waving neophytes who don't believe in magic and who likewise seek to do magic TO people instead of FOR people? What use is there in offering the mechanics of delight to those who seek out guile as an interpersonal crutch or as a tent post for a circus which admits no audiences?

Those who listen to the particular muse of magic will seek out resources to make magic whether it's compiled in how-to cookbooks or offered in bits from those who entertain or collect such things.
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CJRichard
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Quote:
On 2006-06-12 13:09, Jonathan Townsend wrote:

Those who listen to the particular muse of magic will seek out resources to make magic whether it's compiled in how-to cookbooks or offered in bits from those who entertain or collect such things.



Agreed. But I seriously doubt that very many others actively seek out those resources. Certainly not on any level that's even close to ruining magic.

And I think that some of those who think they might be hearing the muse of magic could get frustrated and give up if they couldn't find a single book in their public library or buy a magic set in their toy store.

I don't think the millions of children around the world who have owned, and fully understand the workings of, and waved their neophyte wands over a plastic ball vase are any less awed by a good magic show.
"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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Quote:
On 2006-06-12 23:32, CJRichard wrote:
Quote:
On 2006-06-12 13:09, Jonathan Townsend wrote:

Those who listen to the particular muse of magic will seek out resources to make magic whether it's compiled in how-to cookbooks or offered in bits from those who entertain or collect such things.



Agreed. But I seriously doubt that very many others actively seek out those resources. Certainly not on any level that's even close to ruining magic. ...


Beyond pandering to the misguided gropings of wannabees as cashcows, what does it matter to magicdom if those who have neither love of magic nor a desire to entertain audiences find resources to abuse?

The mechanics of guile offers little more than justification for bitter cynicism to most who are not listening to that particular muse.

The symbol of the ball and vase is potent. Do you understand how little the ball and vase means to muggles. If you take the time to pull out the meaning... then there is something to discuss. Do you want to discuss?

Do you want the magic or just the knowledge of the clever toys?
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landmark
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Jonathan,

Very few enter into an art fully formed.

People mature, goals mature, insight and skill are gained. Or not.

But really, let's respect the process that most people need to go through (including narcissism!)--though it's not always pretty.

Who is to say what the proper path should be? Lots of roads to Rome, to my way of thinking.


Jack Shalom
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Quote:
On 2006-06-14 17:03, landmark wrote:
Very few enter into an art fully formed.

People mature, goals mature, insight and skill are gained. Or not....


Unfortunately our craft/art is centered upon secrets.

And we are suffering for those who would betray a trust and sell a secret just to satisfy their vanity.

And unlike Rome we are enabling, encouraging and even creating our own barbarians to tear up our roads.

If you want YOUR good work and its secrets strewn about on the internet and then in the hands of narcisists... good for you.

It comes down the placing a value upon commerce weighed against the basic integrity of the craft. Do you want to see every latest prop and method used in public performance quickly TAKEN into public commerce by any and all who feel entitled to imitate?
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Slightly off topic, but nowadays, to me, it seems like a HUGE number of the magicians are hungry for "what's new" and only do their tricks for the same small handful of family and/or friends.

Few build solid routines and work "in the biz."
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Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2006-06-16 14:03, Pete Biro wrote:
Slightly off topic, but nowadays, to me, it seems like a HUGE number of the magicians are hungry for "what's new" and only do their tricks for the same small handful of family and/or friends...


Agreed Pete. Such fuels the market for new things for people who need trick fixes. On the demand side there are plenty of trick addicts who need their fix. On the supply side it creates a voracious predatory system where entrepreneurs will take from those who invent in order to feed those who need their fixes. It's the supply side of the equation that is unbalanced here.
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landmark
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Quote:
If you want YOUR good work and its secrets strewn about on the internet and then in the hands of narcisists... good for you.


I assume that anything that is published will be disseminated. If I choose to keep my secret, then I simply don't publish it. That seems like an easy enough solution.

For 793.8 to be an empty space on the library shelf seems a crime to me.

Quote:
Such fuels the market for new things for people who need trick fixes. On the demand side there are plenty of trick addicts who need their fix. On the supply side it creates a voracious predatory system where entrepreneurs will take from those who invent in order to feed those who need their fixes. It's the supply side of the equation that is unbalanced here.


This is loaded discourse. The drug metaphor here is being used to demonize those who enjoy magic as a hobby, as amateurs. I don't think it's helpful in forwarding a discussion about the important issues of secrecy, access, amateurs, professionals and capitalism.

Quote:
entrepreneurs will take from those who invent


This I agree with you is despicable. But this is not happening because of books on the library shelf.

Did you read books on magic, or were you the rare Mozart or Shakespeare? Should Vernon have been allowed to read Erdnase?

Am I misreading your ideas here, or misinterpreting what I see as the necessary implications? Are you overstating your point for emphasis as this thread continues? (not rhetorical questions, I'm really trying to fully understand your position)

Quote:
Magic is unlike ANY other craft.
What it offers depends upon secrets.
When the secret is known, the magic is gone.

Please understand this and help others with this understanding.


I agree with this; and I believe that books on the library shelf can help people with this understanding. I know that's where I learned it.



Jack Shalom
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Jack, folks

The books on the library shelf need not discuss our state of the art and the working repertoires of today's performers.

The analogy to many in magic as trick addicts looking for trick fixes stands. Such are the victims in a market of addiction and hype. The supply side issue of entrepreneurs taking things is very real. Likewise the demand side issue of misguided addicts believing they will find "clever" or "magic" in a product. Such will never be the case. First the audience wants entertainment and not clever. The magician will never find magic in a product as such is a process they must internalize and learn to express in their own way.

The public domain now covers all published works in magicdom. As to the general public, they are still invited into the magic shop and the internet where all published works are quickly finding their way if not already there.

My advice on propagation of magic stands; If you want to share your magic, teach someone you feel will do it well. And if you want to learn to do more magic go find someone whose work you enjoy and ask them to teach you something.

The question stands: What possible benefit is there to offering the mechanics of guile to an audience which only seeks entertainment? Or worse, to find a way to make themselves pleasant to their social environment?

My feeling is that such is a horrible thing. Give them the basics of entertaining and guidance on HOW TO PERFORM. Invite them to learn more if they wish. That invitation is to become a magician. To step into magicdom and away from muggledom. A place where mechanics and guile serve only to bring delight to audiences. To become a trusted scoundrel and deceiver. No longer a muggle.

Agreed that the door into magicdom needs to be visible if not open. But does it need to advertise our latest works?
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What purpose would ever be served by having a library book which details the construction of a Zig-Zag?

Nothing prevents the entire Paul Osborne series of books from being purchased by any library in America and set up on the shelves, but again what would the purpose be.

The Trick Brain is generally available, and might even be considered a book that many would like to see in a library. The concept of a kid going in and taking it out only to essentially learn the mechanics of just about every single illusion concept there is actually makes me feel a bit sick.

Performance magic was formed, and continues to thrive on the basis of magicians having, and keeping secrets.

The boy magician will ALWAYS find his way into magic if that's his chosen path. Even as a dedicated amateur who practices law for a living that boy (or girl) will find their way around the brick walls that keep the public out.

The music halls of the Las Vegas Strip fill up nightly, as they have for a decade or longer now with folks who come to see magic performed on stages small and large.
Those folks come to see the magic because they DON'T know how its done, nor do they want to know how it's done.

They're not the ones who are going to go to the library to take out The Trick Brain.

The books on the library shelves that contain magic's greatest secrets are going to be taken out by those who will read them and then go on to not only perform the tricks and effects badly with no practice or rehearsal, but tip the method on the slightest prompting.

Those who want to truly learn the craft will go to a ring meeting and gain the trust of, and subsuquent access to an old codgers (like me) magic book collection, where they will find bliss.
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Well, I spent a long time composing a reply, but there are so many issues in this thread that are rich for discussion, I found myself going back and forth so many times, so let me start more simply:

I really like your statement about the door into magicdom needs to be visible if not open. A system needs variation to evolve. How do new people find the door? I think it is important to keep in mind the poster who reminded us that most people do not have access, or know personally any magicians.

Many other issues to discuss, but can we start there?


Jack Shalom
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Sure Jack,

The visibility of the IBM and SAM is an issue of itself.

If folks like Criss Angel and David Blaine put a link to the association sites on their pages with a "if you want to see more magic, and perhaps even become a magician... come and say hello to us" Smile

Seems a small thing to do. Perhaps Copperfield has already done this?
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