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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Right or Wrong? » » What constitutes stealing? Concept of ownership of original material (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Noel M
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I think of magic books more in the class of text books. Imagine going to medical school or law school and receiving books that say it's ok to read them but not ok to use the contents.

I have no problem with a performance only video reserving rights, but a book that offers to teach but witholds use is offensive. It's attempt to wriggle every dime in every way from a limited number of dollars that on can make with magic.

Come and pay to see my act. Can't make it? Buy it on video. Want to know how I did it? Let me teach you. Buy my books, buy my DVD's, buy my props. Oh, and by the way, don't perform it. Phooey!
Frankm6
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"Lifting a trick that has been published is okay (but I think it is lazy, although there is not a lot to change with something like Triumph)."


If the trick has been published you are not "lifting" it. Lifting implies stealing and you are not stealing if it is published. I don't believe there is anything 'lame' about taking a published trick and preforming it verbatim. It's like saying, Òyou just played that BEATLES song just like the CD, how lame.Ó I like the Beatles song the way it is, thatÕs why IÕm playing it that way, leave me alone.

IÕve heard Max Mavan quoted as saying something like - 2% of the magic community does the thinking for the rest. This is true. But should this be a criticism? The 2 percent have been given the gift- If you have it, be glad, donÕt grumble that the rest donÕt. ItÕs the way it is in every art. There are millions of musician but only several thousands that are truly gifted songwriters, read: creators.

Do you think Paul McCartney sits around say, ÒWhy do I have to write all the songs... You- Yeah you with guitar. YouÕre lazy! Write your own songs!Ó

--Frank
TheAmbitiousCard
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Speaking for myself, I had 2 routines I had to abandon due to these issues.
The first routine I asked ahead of time as I was not sure of the situation and was told "NO".

The second routine I actually was performing when I found out that performance rights were not granted (though the routine was published, method and all).
I contacted the creator and was also told "NO" so I had to shut it down and completely re-create it from scratch (which I'm still doing 2 years later).


I'm not complaining about any of this and I respect the creators. I just need to find my own way with these items. Usually I start with something published and it changes and becomes my own over the years. With these, I have to do it differently and I have no problems becuase of it. In fact it's helped me a ton in the creative process to have to do this.

I am also delighted that this thread has maintained a tone of professionalism and has not been hijacked by those that think the world is theirs for free and that becuase everyone else is stealing, they get to steal too.
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garcia00
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Quote:
On 2006-08-10 21:52, Frank Starsini wrote:
Speaking for myself, I had 2 routines I had to abandon due to these issues.
The first routine I asked ahead of time as I was not sure of the situation and was told "NO".

The second routine I actually was performing when I found out that performance rights were not granted (though the routine was published, method and all).
I contacted the creator and was also told "NO" so I had to shut it down and completely re-create it from scratch (which I'm still doing 2 years later).

I'm not complaining about any of this and I respect the creators. I just need to find my own way with these items. Usually I start with something published and it changes and becomes my own over the years. With these, I have to do it differently and I have no problems becuase of it. In fact it's helped me a ton in the creative process to have to do this.

I am sorry, but I would not respect these creators, but I respect you for ceasing your use. Not because they want you to, but because you decide to. And you feel you are better off for it.

I don't think, if the person claiming ownership published the method, and you bought the book, and no rights were reserved, then I think it is yours.

I agree with the above comment about law and medical books. Magic is not musical composition, it is more like theory. Patter is more like composition. The difference between playing scales and playing Chopin.

I may be stepping over the line, but I would like to know the names of the authors who are doing this. I would be hesitant to patronize them in the future.


Posted: Aug 10, 2006 10:46pm
-----------------------------------------------
Paul McCartney (or is it Jackson) is getting cash everytime the tune is recorded.
Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2006-08-10 21:46, Noel M wrote:
I think of magic books more in the class of text books. ...


Try thinking of them as VERY private information you are being entrusted with, a fiduciary responsibility to both the author and the craft itself to preserve the artistic and economic value of the data enclosed.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
chrismatt
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There is so much misinformation and pseudo-legal opinion in this thread that it would take a long dissertation to sort it out. Rest assured that if you want to "steal" or borrow another's moves, sleights, routines, patter or presentations, you are probably not breaking any law, even with so-called "reservation of rights" baloney language (so long as you never agreed to it when you bought the book, video, etc.). You cannot publish material as your own that essentially copies something that someone else has written. However, if you want to describe a sleight or routine "invented" by someone else and do it in your own words you probably can. Consult a knowledgeable lawyer if you have doubts.

However, what is "legal" must be distinguished from what is ethical. It should be obvious to anyone with even a juvenile's sense of morality that lifting patter, unique routines, and even individual lines from another performer is unethical and a good indicator of rank amateurism. And yet, be honest, who hasn't done just that at one time or another in their magic career? If "immitation is the sincerest flattery" (C. Colton), then Houdini, Cardini, Channing Pollock and David Copperfield must have plaques in the Compliment Hall of Fame. On the other hand, I doubt anyone can honestly name a successful magician, cardician or mentalist today who achieved that status without "standing on the shoulders of giants." (I. Newton) (Ironically, the patter for the routine oft-cited in this thread, R. Jay's Queens assembly, is more than 100 years old and has probably been used, in one form or another, by dozens of ancient cardicians. What is comedically original with Jay's use of the ancient patter is, of course, the very use of that archaic language in a modern-day context.)

I would hope that, at some point in your magical "career," whether professional or not, you would decide to strike out on your own creative path--guided by what you have learned from others, but adding whatever is uniquely you and yours. The advancement of any art or, indeed, endeavor seems to have mostly depended on those who have done just that.

Good luck!
Details make perfection, but perfection is no detail.
Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2006-08-10 21:43, garcia00 wrote:... the fair use of a copyrighted work,.., for purposes ...teaching...is not an infringement of copyright. ...


It is however fundamentally antithetical to the very nature of magic as a market (value = secrets ) and therefore though "legal" for muggles, a very suspect and questionable act for magicians.

And yes, it is quite a relief to participate in this discussion of ethics, legalities and principles without finger pointing or name calling. Smile
...to all the coins I've dropped here
BarryFernelius
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With the exception of items that were originated by persons who are now dead (and whose items have been documented in print), I have worked hard to find out who originated every effect or line that is used in my act. And I have asked each creator for permission to use his (or in a couple of cases, her) work. (This is an idea that I learned from Ted Lesley.)

Sometimes, people have declined to give their permission. In those cases, I elected to not use those effects or lines. In other cases, I've developed some wonderful friendships. I've discovered that when I respect other creative people, they will, in turn, respect me. And I end up having a clear conscience because I also respect myself.

It sounds hard to do, but it's not. Try it!
"To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time."

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garcia00
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Quote:
On 2006-08-10 23:02, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Quote:
On 2006-08-10 21:43, garcia00 wrote:... the fair use of a copyrighted work,.., for purposes ...teaching...is not an infringement of copyright. ...


It is however fundamentally antithetical to the very nature of magic as a market (value = secrets ) and therefore though "legal" for muggles, a very suspect and questionable act for magicians.

And yes, it is quite a relief to participate in this discussion of ethics, legalities and principles without finger pointing or name calling. Smile


I quoted fair use doctrine in response to a point concerning the use of music by a school band. I am not sure it is applicable to magic, and I did not quote it in that regard.


Posted: Aug 11, 2006 1:37am
----------------------------------------------------
Does this mean Jay's opening moves with the queens is fair game?

Note that this does not mean that I am interested in doing it. I am trying to stay away from flashy things. I rather prefer to not display skill.

From a thread on Copperfield grandfather aces

Posted: Jun 16, 2006 10:27pm
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The opening bit is Piet Forton's 'Pop out' Move... first done on TV by Ricky Jay. If you don't have the chops you can get the same thing from http://www.cardsbymartin.com and ask for Emile Clifton's MacDonald Aces routine "startled" - same effect but much easier to do. Once learned you can them work on the vanishes you saw DC do.
JasonEngland
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Producing 4 Queens, Aces, or anything else with the Forton Pop-out Move isn't RJ's idea. The Pop-out is in print (and has been for some time), and this application is well-known.

No problems there.

Jason
Eternal damnation awaits anyone who questions God's unconditional love. --Bill Hicks
garcia00
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I was unaware of the origin of that move until I read the Copperfield article.

Further strengthens my opinion that there really are few if any new sleights and moves which a given performer "owns".

Sequences, routines, tricks, patter and presentation. Ownership can be claimed in any of these.

A raw sleight or move belongs to anyone who wishes to use it.
Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2006-08-11 08:35, garcia00 wrote:...A raw sleight or move belongs to anyone who wishes to use it.


I happen to disagree. You can find some of my novel sleights in print and when cited both my name and the name I gave the things are listed. My property. I have given permission to all in magicdom to USE the thing by publishing it.

Were you to discover something both novel and useful that you see fit to share with this community, you can expect to be cited and your work recalled by others as they use your contribution to our methodology. And that is a good thing IMHO.

I am arguing in favor of a traditional academic procedure to ensure that YOU and YOUR good works will be respected by those who follow.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Nosher
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"A raw sleight or move belongs to anyone who wishes to use it"

Does it really? Imagine three guys with video cameras surreptitiously and simultaneously recorded Mickey Silver from 3 different views and worked out the mechanics of his highly regarded sleights.

If they subsequently performed and/or sold the methods - apart from rightfully earned opprobrium, what would the consequences be?

Would Mr. Silver have any legal recourse if they claimed independent invention?

I would consider this a case of outright theft, but would the courts? (assuming, of course, that video part of the story never got out)

I think Frank and Barry's attitude is praiseworthy. Sadly, I'm not sure it's all that common.
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Emmanuel
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It seems that I have been facing this problem too. Lets say for an example, I learned a sleight, a card control method from a DVD. Then I use the sleight and with some modifications I created a color change. Perhaps a new method to achieve the color change. Even the color change that I developed is not being developed and published in the DVD coz' maybe the magician have not thought of it yet from his own sleight. So, does that makes me the the inventor who invented the color change. Of course I will just credit the person who published the DVD and for the sleight, but the color change is just a new way to achive the effect. What do you guys think about this issue?
garcia00
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Quote:
On 2006-08-11 09:32, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Quote:
On 2006-08-11 08:35, garcia00 wrote:...A raw sleight or move belongs to anyone who wishes to use it.

I happen to disagree. You can find some of my novel sleights in print and when cited both my name and the name I gave the things are listed. My property. I have given permission to all in magicdom to USE the thing by publishing it.

Were you to discover something both novel and useful that you see fit to share with this community, you can expect to be cited and your work recalled by others as they use your contribution to our methodology. And that is a good thing IMHO.

I am arguing in favor of a traditional academic procedure to ensure that YOU and YOUR good works will be respected by those who follow.

I don't know what you are disagreeing with. You seem to be echoing me.

In other words, if you publish a move, you give it to the community. I would expect to have such a published work attributed to the owner. Once published.

If you don't publish and document it, then I have a hard time, retroactively, giving credit.

Now, I do go further that if you have a new sleight, and you perform it so ineptly as to expose it, then you have also given it away...hopefully to be improved.

I also doubt that there are a lot of new card sleights being created. Just derivations and modifications.


Posted: Aug 11, 2006 11:22am
--------------------------------------------------
Quote:
On 2006-08-11 09:35, Nosher wrote:
"A raw sleight or move belongs to anyone who wishes to use it"

Does it really? Imagine three guys with video cameras surreptitiously and simultaneously recorded Mickey Silver from 3 different views and worked out the mechanics of his highly regarded sleights.

If they subsequently performed and/or sold the methods - apart from rightfully earned opprobrium, what would the consequences be?

Would Mr. Silver have any legal recourse if they claimed independent invention?

I would consider this a case of outright theft, but would the courts? (assuming, of course, that video part of the story never got out)

I think Frank and Barry's attitude is praiseworthy. Sadly, I'm not sure it's all that common.

You key words are "selling it". I would say that is wrong. Performing for pay, wrong. Integrating a new move into an original trick or routine. I don't have a lot of problem with that. However, again, I don't think there are "new" sleights. I think there are derivations and modifications and new uses of long existing sleights.

I have yet to seen posted a RAW sleight in which people agree is to be used by one person only. I thought Jay's pop out was such a move, but I was obviously wrong.

Working out the sleight on your own, based on your observation in which the method was clear (or another method can be substituted). I have no problem with that. Without publishing the actual method, who is to say that the deduced method is the one used.

Again, to make this clear, I am talking of something like a method to switch a card, or reverse a card, or control a card, or palm or vanish a coin. I am not talking about a trick, routine, patter or presentation, which is personal and I different think.

Think of it as trying to patent the wheel. I don't think that is possible. But using the wheel in some new way can be patented.

Note: the performer can restrict filming, and should if such lifting is a concern.

As for the courts, you are going to have a lot of trouble proving anything without a publication. If you wanted to protect your work, I would suggest registering with Writer's guild, but not publishing to the public. Then, at least, there would be a time stamp on the move. Patents are public record, but Writer's guild registration is not.
Frankm6
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Quote:
On 2006-08-10 22:46, garcia00 wrote:
Paul McCartney (or is it Jackson) is getting cash everytime the tune is recorded.

...And a magic author is getting cash every time they sell the book... Should they say ÒDamn why do I have to write all the books.Ó

I write television and television movies for a living, I thank my stars that I can do what I do. I never say ÒHey you, in the BarcaLounger, youÕve watch hundreds of hours of television, youÕre lame, why donÕt you write some episodes. "

Being a creator is a gift and a privilege.

A lot of people do the trick the way it was written. They have lives. TheyÕre not making there living from magic full time. DonÕt call them lame.
--Frank
entity
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Garcia: Read what Jonathan said. He even put the key word in UPPER CASE to make it clear. He has given permission to Magicians to USE his sleights or ideas. He has not given them ownership of the ideas. He has not given permission to others to expose or publish his ideas, to sell them or even give them away. He has given permission to Magicians to USE his published works to entertain and amaze.

- entity
Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2006-08-11 11:12, garcia00 wrote:
Quote:
On 2006-08-11 09:32, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Quote:
On 2006-08-11 08:35, garcia00 wrote:...A raw sleight or move belongs to anyone who wishes to use it.


I happen to disagree. You can find some of my novel sleights in print and when cited both my name and the name I gave the things are listed. My property. I have given permission to all in magicdom to USE the thing by publishing it.

Were you to discover something both novel and useful that you see fit to share with this community, you can expect to be cited and your work recalled by others as they use your contribution to our methodology. And that is a good thing IMHO.

I am arguing in favor of a traditional academic procedure to ensure that YOU and YOUR good works will be respected by those who follow.

....If you don't publish and document it, then I have a hard time, retroactively, giving credit.

Now, I do go further that if you have a new sleight, and you perform it so ineptly as to expose it, then you have also given it away...hopefully to be improved.
...


Here's where we may disagree.

At some level of basic competence, one can watch and learn without requiring direct and explicit instruction. Getting personal for a moment, at Tannen's I got to watch and learn quite a bit from folks including Geoff Latta, Lou Lancaster and Presto. From Geoff in particular it was mostly on a show but not tell basis. When I could ask cogent questions about sources and applications there was something to discuss.

Much material not in print was seen and learned. Much of that material has stayed out of print, secrets not to be shown to others. Whatever my "improvements" may be, they are kept quiet and will be till Geoff publishes his original work. This goes for anyone's work seen yet not in print. It's theirs till they publish.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
aiki
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In regard to books and not releasing performance rights, I am not sure there is any legal protection for this. There were several well know comedians who had there act stolen but there was nothing they could do about it. The way it was handled was the people that stole the acts got black listed. They should have all of the performance rights but there was nothing legally they could do. We have heard of magicians threating someone with a law suite to keep the performance rights of an effect but has anyone every won based on that alone?

A book has copyright protection but that copyright does not extend into performance rights. There are rights that can be lost because the industry standard is different than what is being claimed and the person claiming the rights has to actively enforce the rights to keep them. As an example if a person was to buy a book on gardening or home built projects there can not be a right that the author has to release permission to use the techniques taught. Once the book was published that right was given up just based on industry standard. This is similar to what software companies tried to do with their software years ago. The companies would include a card with the program that said that the company retained certain rights and how the software could be used. Well, when the companies tried to enforce these rights the end user said the they were not made aware of the rights prior to purchase and the card was not easily found in the documentation. The courts agreed that the card was not valid to enforce the protection of the rights of the software company and companies did not actively enforce their rights by using a card. The software companies had to change their programs so that when you install the program you must check a box to agree to the rights for use of the program.

I think it really comes down to ethics of the individual performer. Most people agree that once published the rights are released so an idustry standard has been set. The one place where I think that people would still have rights more so than with published books is lecture notes that are not sold by a distributor but only by the individual.


Posted: Aug 11, 2006 12:33pm
-----------------------------------------------
Jonathan makes a point that re-enforces my point that it comes down to the ethics of the performer.

Quote:
From Geoff in particular it was mostly on a show but not tell basis. When I could ask cogent questions about sources and applications there was something to discuss.

Much material not in print was seen and learned. Much of that material has stayed out of print, secrets not to be shown to others. Whatever my "improvements" may be, they are kept quiet and will be till Geoff publishes his original work. This goes for anyone's work seen yet not in print. It's theirs till they publish.


Because of Jonathan's ethics he has chosen to do this, nobody has forced him. This is rare in a performer of any type.
Ray K.

Till we meet again!
garcia00
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Quote:
On 2006-08-11 11:42, Frankm6 wrote:
Quote:
On 2006-08-10 22:46, garcia00 wrote:
Paul McCartney (or is it Jackson) is getting cash everytime the tune is recorded.


...And a magic author is getting cash every time they sell the book... Should they say ÒDamn why do I have to write all the books.Ó

I write television and television movies for a living, I thank my stars that I can do what I do. I never say ÒHey you, in the BarcaLounger, youÕve watch hundreds of hours of television, youÕre lame, why donÕt you write some episodes. "

Being a creator is a gift and a privilege.

A lot of people do the trick the way it was written. They have lives. TheyÕre not making there living from magic full time. DonÕt call them lame.
--Frank

I think it is kind of lame to memorize someone else's patter and repeat it, jokes quips and all, verbatim.

If someone lifts some concept from your script, is that OK? I mean, they have a life and don't have time to come up with this stuff themselves.

Doing triumph exactly like vernon, I have no problem with that. Not sure there is anyway to improve on it. But patter and performance needs to be personalized, or you are an imitator. Like a fake elvis in vegas. I guess you can make a living and amuse people, but it is not for me.

If the lame comments offends, I apologize.


Posted: Aug 11, 2006 1:11pm
-----------------------------------------------
Quote:
On 2006-08-11 11:49, Jonathan Townsend wrote:

Here's where we may disagree.

At some level of basic competence, one can watch and learn without requiring direct and explicit instruction. Getting personal for a moment, at Tannen's I got to watch and learn quite a bit from folks including Geoff Latta, Lou Lancaster and Presto. From Geoff in particular it was mostly on a show but not tell basis. When I could ask cogent questions about sources and applications there was something to discuss.

Much material not in print was seen and learned. Much of that material has stayed out of print, secrets not to be shown to others. Whatever my "improvements" may be, they are kept quiet and will be till Geoff publishes his original work. This goes for anyone's work seen yet not in print. It's theirs till they publish.


Exactly. Now, are you allowed to use those sleights, and in what context. Obviously putting them in print with or without attribution is wrong. But can you use them, modified or not.

It looks like you feel you can. Is that correct?
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