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Neil_Brown
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Quote:
In other words, anyone in the world can publish and sell the method to bake chocolate chip cookies.

I'm not so sure about this - if I write down a method of how to do it, I do not expect it to be copied - that is my expression, and is protectable, as far as I am aware. I might not be able to stop you publishing a recipe for cookies, but, I should be able to stop you reprinting my recipe - which, again, comes back to the idea / expression dichotomoy. A method is an idea- once written down, it becomes a literary work, as far as I am aware?
CJRichard
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Look it up, Neil. Recipes cannot be copyrighted.
"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
Neil_Brown
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Look it up, Neil. Recipes cannot be copyrighted.

Sorry- I used the recipe just as an example, because you say that a procedure can't be copyrighted, which is where my main problem comes in, because a procedure can be copyrighted. I still stand by the fact that a recipe can be copyrighted.

Edit: I've just had a quick look on Google, which threw up the [url=http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl122.html]US Copyright site[/quote]:

Quote:
Mere listings of ingredients as in recipes, formulas, compounds or prescriptions are not subject to copyright protection. However, where a recipe or formula is accompanied by substantial literary expression in the form of an explanation or directions, or when there is a combination of recipes, as in a cookbook, there may be a basis for copyright protection.


So, it appears to be the list of ingredients which can't be copyrighted, rather than a recipe- which is a fair point.
CJRichard
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WHAT IS NOT PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT?
Several categories of material are generally not eligible for federal copyright protection. These include among others:

Works that have not been fixed in a tangible form of expression (for example, choreographic works that have not been notated or recorded, or improvisational speeches or performances that have not been written or recorded)

Titles, names, short phrases, and slogans; familiar symbols or designs; mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, or coloring; mere listings of ingredients or contents

Ideas, procedures, methods, systems, processes, concepts, principles, discoveries, or devices, as distinguished from a description, explanation, or illustration

Works consisting entirely of information that is common property and containing no original authorship (for example: standard calendars, height and weight charts, tape measures and rulers, and lists or tables taken from public documents or other common sources)


From the U.S. Copyright Office
"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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Copyright?

Folks really are misdirected here.

Magic is built upon secrets, not text or fixed form representation.

Try using a model more closely related to SECRETS.

Start there and seek a better model.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Neil_Brown
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Ideas, procedures, methods, systems, processes, concepts, principles, discoveries, or devices, as distinguished from a description, explanation, or illustration

Thanks, CJRichard - very helpful post- I think it's the same site as the one I found!

I'm based in England, so, I'd suspect the rules are different- in any case, I'm not convinced that the statement is accurate without more context, if I'm honest.
Neil_Brown
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Copyright?

Folks really are misdirected here.

I'd suggest not- if you are talking about copying something from a book, then you are looking at copyright issues. If you are talking about protecting a secret method, then you are potentially looking at confidential information / trade secrets... I wouldn't just write off copyright like that, but, that's just my personal opinion Smile
Jonathan Townsend
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Neil,

Material in print here is not so well protected by copyright as was described earlier. Text can be altered or interpreted or the ideas expressed differently and the copyright issue is avoided while the basic issue in magic is left hanging.

As pointed out earlier, ideas and procedures are not protected by copyright.

At least that's my understanding of copyright. Please do let me know where or how it might afford ideas and processes more protections.

Thanks,

Jonathan

Here is my perspective:

The pertinent data are trade secrets of this community.

How to handle those to diminish or destroy the value of those trade secrets is a separate issue.

What gives anyone the right to propagate trade secrets? Especially to those outside this community?
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Neil_Brown
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Material in print here is not so well protected by copyright as was described earlier. Text can be altered or interpreted or the ideas expressed differently and the copyright issue is avoided while the basic issue in magic is left hanging.

Completely agree Smile

Quote:
As pointed out earlier, ideas and procedures are not protected by copyright.

I think that my point earlier about procedure might be due to a definitional issue- expressions of a procedure are copyrightable, but, I can't see how a procedure could be written down without being expressed (and, if something isn't fixed (which would include being written down), it can't be copyrighted anyway).

I guess my problem in terms of trade secrets / confidential information is that, in this thread at least, we are talking about a routine released in a book. I'm fine with the concept of companies exchanging confidential information under non-disclosure agreements, or even just relying on the common law of confidence (not sure if you have that in the US?), but, here, the information has been written down, and sold to (I am guessing) a commercial audience. As such, I can't see how that information can be protected as a secret- copyright is probably your best bet.

If I saw you perform your latest miracle, and then went away and wrote down how you did it, then, yes, I could see you might have a claim for a trade secrets issue - although, to do so, you'd have to show that the method I'd written down was your method, I think?
CJRichard
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If someone knows the secret of accomplishing a magic effect, that knowledge is not something that can be copyrighted.

I was just reading in Henry Hay's Cyclopedia of Magic (1975 Dover reprint of the 1940s original) that back in the day, publishers of magic books agreed to sell no books for less than two dollars (ca. 1947) so as cut down on the number of people who would just by the book to learn and/or expose the secrets.

(I caught my wife looking at the pages on cups and balls, so I may have to shoot her.)
"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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On 2006-06-06 16:06, Neil_Brown wrote:...If I saw you perform your latest miracle, and then went away and wrote down how you did it, then, yes, I could see you might have a claim for a trade secrets issue - although, to do so, you'd have to show that the method I'd written down was your method, I think?


Yes here is the "monkey see, monkey do" problem among magicians.

From my perspective the act to duplicate an effect, that is the outward appearance is the basic issue. The specific methodology used means nothing to an audience. Magic is pretty much an "eye of the beholder" thing and so we may want to set our definitions from audience perspective.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Neil_Brown
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knowledge is not something that can be copyrighted.

I guess we're saying the same thing, but in circles... knowledge is not copyrightable until it is recorded (in writing or otherwise), and then it is the expression and not the knowledge itself. I think that we are all saying this, anyway!

Quote:
publishers of magic books agreed to sell no books for less than two dollars (ca. 1947) so as cut down on the number of people who would just by the book to learn and/or expose the secrets.

Ah.. the days before Art 81.... (cartels and price fixing!)

Quote:
so I may have to shoot her.

If you need to borrow my "Bang" gun, you've only got to ask Smile
Neil_Brown
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outward appearance is the basic issue

Again, I agree - from an audience point of view. I'm not sure that legally it's protectable in the same way, though... unless you were able to draft a patent to cover an effect, and thus to cover numerous methods of performing that effect.

I have to admit that, personally speaking, what it looks like to an audience my main (if not only) focus when it comes to performing. Although I'm a juggler now more than a magician, I still enjoy performing the odd effect, and, generally, I'd far rather "cheat" in an effect if it makes it visually better than strive for technical excellence and second-best show... but that's rather off-topic!
Parson Smith
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Golly Gee Willikers!

I was wondering about this from a very practical viewpoint.
Example...
In Gibson's Magic Digest there is an "effect" that is currently being sold by a well known magician.
I feel absolutely certain that if I sold the "effect," I would be called names for "stealing" from the more current writer.
Now, I do not think that this current magician "stole" the work. But I can guarantee that if I put it out, I would be called a thief.
Second example...
There is an item that wholesales in magic wholesale warehouses for less than a dollar.
The VERY SAME effect (with patter and routine) is sold for $90.
If I were to use the same principle/effect and package it, I feel certain that the screams would be heard all the way to Colon.

Jonathan, I understand and agree with what you wrote about antiquated effects and ideas.
Thanks all for an interesting discussion.

Before I end this little rant, let me give one more example.
Steinmeyer's 9 card Principle.
This is my absolute favorite magical thing in the world (right now.)
Is this "principle" Mr. Steinmeyers? Can it be used in any other routines?
Same question for mathematical effects such as root #s that Lorayne published in his recent work on math effects.
Peace,
Parson
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+++a posse ad esse+++
Neil_Brown
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I was wondering about this from a very practical viewpoint.

Sorry, Parson - was my response at Jun 6, 2006 1:32pm (sorry- can't find a post #) not practical enough?

In any case, what is legally right does not mean people are not going to shout at you - those of the "masked magician" ilk are probably on safe ground legally, but it does not mean that everyone likes them!

Quote:
Can it be used in any other routines?

As long as you write down the method yourself, in your own words, and do not copy Steinmeyer's wording, I'd struggle to think that it were otherwise protected. But that is just my opinion.
Jonathan Townsend
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Please do use whatever you find in print to do magic for the muggles.

As to writing to sell ... why?
What is so novel that it demands to be sent into the streets of our community?
Given that anything that goes into print for mass distribution will find its way onto the internet and into the hands of muggles very quickly... what is worth the risk?
And are you quite certain it is yours to send forth in the first place?
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Parson Smith
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Neil,
Your post was quite practical.

Jonathan,
I am not certain that anything is mine to "send forth."
I have had a strong interest in the ethics of magic, ever since I saw the close relationship to the proclamations of some about what is ethical and that not so transparent relationship to finances.

It seems to me that certain people latch on to an idea, and then claim (mistakenly or not) that it is their private domain.
Surely you have witnessed this.(I hesitate to publicly make references, as it is so transparent that I would suffer attack from certain parties.)
My questions concerning ethics, are not for my personal understanding of how we embrace situational ethics as much as it is to foster a clearer understanding of why we claim to believe that ethics do not apply equally to all.
Peace,
Parson
Here kitty, kitty,kitty. Smile
+++a posse ad esse+++
Jonathan Townsend
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There are not so many who discover new principles or apply themselves to applying or refining a principle to the extent that they open up new options in performing magic for audiences.

The question comes in the form of how to respect the discoveries of others which have passed into something like a public domain inside magicdom.

Of course there is an ethos in magicdom. Look at the behavior that is rewarded and look at the behavior that is punished. Such forms the ULTIMATE arbiter or ethics. Whether we wish to change that ethos or not is a matter for a separate discussion.

Let us not waste more time rationalizing the unpleasant habits of grandfathers while continuing to bemoan the perpetuation of those unpleasant habits. How to tell right from wrong... try the golden rule. If a pattern of behavior can be seen as inconsiderate or worse to someone, it is simply a personal choice to participate in that behavior oneself.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Parson Smith
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I agree.
Here kitty, kitty,kitty. Smile
+++a posse ad esse+++
Neil_Brown
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Ideas are like onions, really... it's very rare to get a completely new idea. Instead, you are more likely to add another layer of skin to an onion... if you were to "peel off" all the layers of skin (improvements and advancements), you'd end up either with nothing, or, a very small piece in the middle, which represents the original effect.

I think that the situation you describe is where someone creates a new outer skin for the onion and believes that, as a result, they should have exclusive rights to the layers below. For me, that's the reason why I am not bothered if someone were to perform a show using exactly the same tricks and I do - for the most part, they are not my tricks, as I either bought them or learned them from books. However, I'd be more bothered if someone tried to copy my presentation styles as well, as I see that as "my" layer of skin on the onion.
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