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mmreed
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Inner circle
Harrisburg, PA
1432 Posts

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I'm finding that there are two paths to props and gimmicks: build or buy.

Many of what I see can be reproduced with a few tools - Dremmel, X-acto, glue, etc.

I guess my question is how many of you see effects and reproduce them on your own versus buying them? And is this legal or even ethical in the community?
Mark Reed
Wedding and Event Entertainment
rikbrooks
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Inner circle
Olive Branch, Mississippi
1317 Posts

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You are stepping very close to ethics here and the answer may vary. Some would say that if you see it and can build it then you are fine.

I think they are wrong. If it's a marketed trick - that is to say, for sale then I feel it is wrong to reproduce it. Legally maybe not but ethically. Why do you need to steal someone else's idea? Go have your own or pay him for his work.

However I used to make leather mini chop cups. Nobody ever thought this was wrong even though quite a few people market it.

If you buy the plans for one I don't see that you would have any problem making it. On the other hand, I bought Michael Ammar's Topit pattern and put one in each side of my duster and that's fine, but it would be wrong for me to sell copies of the pattern. I suspect it would be OK for me to go into business installing topits for other magicians though.

In the end you have to live with yourself and I strongly suggest that you try to be as honest and ethical as you possibly can and you know what? You are going to err from time to time so just say 'sorry' and move on.
Ray_Mago
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New user
Rio Rancho
82 Posts

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If you are just gonna do the trick, then I don't see any harm in it.

maybe if you go around selling it, it may be bad.
Have you Amazed?
disneywld
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Special user
Denver, CO
614 Posts

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If you create a new method or design, I see no problem with it. If it is an exact copy, I have issues...

I have seen a lot of homemade props in the past that look pretty bad - I gather that you have the talent to make something presentable - I don't!
The Magic of Christopher Manos
www.safetymagicshows.com
Erdnase27
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Inner circle
2485 Posts

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As long as you don't sell it or spread it around.
"He must be content to rank with the common herd." - S.W. Erdnase
matt kemp
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Veteran user
Northern California
312 Posts

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One thing to think about is this: If it is an item marketed and sold by MANY dealers, then it is probably fine to make it yourself. A few examples are: chop cups, wands, balls, tables, invisible decks, three card monte cards. Many people make these items as a hobby and then sell the extras.

There is a section called "The Workshop" here on the Café that discusses building things. You might want to check it out to see what other people build.

What do you guys think are items that MUST be bought? I can't think of any off the top of my head (but I have only been into magic for about 8 months, so maybe I don't know about the deeper secrets).
Spellbinder
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Inner circle
The Holy City of East Orange, NJ
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There seems to be a great fear that anyone who can build his or her own magic props is suddenly going to go into business and compete with established magic dealers. Since the earliest days of magic, magicians have been building their own props, not for sale to others, but in order to have unique and original effects that made them stand out from other magicians. Most magicians want to be performers, not factory workers or manufacturers. Many magicians are also crafts oriented persons, with skills in woodworking, sewing, and all kinds of handicrafts. They build and perform their own unique magic out of love for both the crafting of the objects and the performing of magic with them.

You don't have to boil the choice down to build or buy. Only those who have no other skills and CAN'T build are left with no choice but to buy all their props. Those who can build, usually do so because they are convinced they can make better props than they can buy (and often they can!). In building their own props, they often make changes, additions or adaptations that actually improve the props...sometimes to the point of inventing an entirely new way of working the effect. So I would say, if you can build...by all means give it a shot! You are not running afoul of any laws or ethics if you make the props for your own use. The only time you will raise alarms is if you start selling your props and they are perceived to be shoddy imitations.
Professor Spellbinder

Professor Emeritus at the Turkey Buzzard Academy of Magik, Witchcraft and Wizardry

http://www.magicnook.com

Publisher of The Wizards' Journals
Father Photius
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Grammar Host
El Paso, TX (Formerly Amarillo)
17197 Posts

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Building your own props can be great, subject to legal and ethical issues. Especially when it involves personalizing it or modifying it. Some props don't fit you well, and you can modify it or make your own custom prop that fits well. Mostly I've made improvements to apparatus to make it work better for me. I've built a few things of my own origin, modified some things I've bought, built a couple of things (and modified them) from purchased plans, and built a few "public domain" type props as well. If you are handy at construction, go for it. I enjoy the building as much as I enjoy the magic.
"Now here's the man with the 25 cent hands, that two bit magician..."
gaddy
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Inner circle
Agent of Chaos
3149 Posts

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A true magician is skilled in the tools of his trade and beyond. My not-so-humble opinion is than if you have the skills to build your own props, you've earned the rights to use them.

your mileage may vary...

Quote:
On 2007-12-11 11:19, mmreed wrote:
Im finding that there are two paths to props and gimmicks...

build or buy

Many of what I see can be reproduced with a few tools - dremmel, xacto, glue, etc..

I guess my question is... how many of you see effects and reproduce them on your own vs buying them... and is this legal... or even ethical in the community?


Posted: Dec 17, 2007 9:40pm
Quote:


On 2007-12-16 15:20, matt kemp wrote:
What do you guys think are items that MUST be bought?



Interesting question... I'd put original stage illusions into that category (and so would many lawyers). Also, pieces/ presentations that specifically say "Performance rights reserved". Hmm... can't think of any others off hand.
*due to The Magic Cafe's editorial policies, words on this site attributed to me cannot necessarily be held to be my own.*
Bob Sanders
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Grammar Supervisor
Magic Valley Ranch, Clanton, Alabama
20498 Posts

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Making one unit for personal use and not for sale, enjoys some legal protections in itself!

My grandfather was a professional inventor. Of course, I wish all of his good works were and are protected. They were/are not. Patents often document things to simply to show others how to do something. If they can improve it fine! The world benefits.

Unfortunately, in welfare America "public" is too often translated as "free" by those not invested. We wonder why smart money leaves?

You have a great question. This old professor wishes the answer were as clear.

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Bob Sanders

Magic By Sander / The Amazed Wiz

AmazedWiz@Yahoo.com
Spellbinder
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Inner circle
The Holy City of East Orange, NJ
6438 Posts

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If smart money leaves, where does it go? There are no safe havens for inventors on this planet that I know of. Perhaps the moon, but where are the customers? Magicians, as inventors, have it easier than most. They do not have to patent their inventions, or sell them. They can make initial money from performing the effects. This in turn builds up a hungry customer base among magicians who can't figure out how to duplicate the effect but have the cash to buy it, if and when it becomes available on the open magic market. The inventor then has to choose between taking the secret with him to the grave, or releasing it to others for the cash and inventing something new.
Professor Spellbinder

Professor Emeritus at the Turkey Buzzard Academy of Magik, Witchcraft and Wizardry

http://www.magicnook.com

Publisher of The Wizards' Journals
gaddy
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Inner circle
Agent of Chaos
3149 Posts

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Intellectual property laws in the USA are the most draconian in the world. Inventors / artists have an easier time enjoying protection over the fruits of their labors here in the USA than anywhere else in the world!
*due to The Magic Cafe's editorial policies, words on this site attributed to me cannot necessarily be held to be my own.*
Bob Sanders
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Grammar Supervisor
Magic Valley Ranch, Clanton, Alabama
20498 Posts

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Lately the move is to sell it to one who can (physical ability) and will (financially and managerially) mass produce it and offer it at a price difficult to compete with in a new market and they hold an existing (impressive) market share that relates to the innovation.

However, I do agree with you that first you perform it until the time is right. Over the years, my primary motivation for entering contests was simply to set a documented date of when I started publicly performing the trick for magicians. Beyond this, I will also add that performing, in my experience, has always paid better than marketing the effect. Marketing the effect is just an added income stream.

In music, we first recorded it. The major advantage of having hit recordings was doing the live public performances at much higher rates. (Record sales for an artist were a poor living even with hits!) Later the real cash flow was if the piece was used in national advertising or rerecorded by followers. For the copyright owners, there was no marginal costs of subsequent royalties.

Remember that the USA is the 14th ranked economy in the world! There are plenty of places to go. There are even some better sections of America than others. That is determined by your role as parasite or host animal. (Oops! That may not be politically correct. The truth can be embarrassing.)

Research the Federal Reserve System. Too many Americans (even in office) think it is a US Government agency. (It is privately owned!)

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Bob Sanders

Magic By Sander / The Amazed Wiz

AmazedWiz@Yahoo.com
ferrissteve
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Regular user
113 Posts

Profile of ferrissteve
If you can build an effect and you plan to use it yourself without the intent of selling I really don't see the problem. I have seen online demos of effects and then come up with my own methods as to accomplishing that effect. not only do I feel this stimulates creativity but also makes one a better magician. however if you buy an effect, copy it and resell it on ebay or similair than you have a problem.
marty.sasaki
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Inner circle
1117 Posts

Profile of marty.sasaki
It is often thought that a patented item can be manufactured for personal use. However, this is not the case. This position is based on court rulings.

With magic it gets complicated. Since part of the "magic" is the secret, most effects are not patented. Most would probably be patented if the secret could be kept secret. If patented, the patent holder can control all use of the product and could stop anyone from making the item.

Since magic isn't patented, there is no legal question. However, there is still an ethical question. If you apply the same standards as patents, then it would be unethical to build someone else's creation without their permission. After a bit of time, patents expire, then anyone can make, and market something (legally).

Some things are so old that they are more or less "in the public domain". I see no problem in making these yourself, and I've build some things this way. Likewise published plans are published to allow reproduction, but usually not for resale.

So, if at all possible, I would ask permission to make an effect before doing so.
Marty Sasaki
Arlington, Massachusetts, USA

Standard disclaimer: I'm just a hobbyist who enjoys occasionally mystifying friends and family, so my opinions should be viewed with this in mind.
Mysterious
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Regular user
154 Posts

Profile of Mysterious
Build it if you can, unless it looks terrible, I’m all for something that is original, but if its not your idea DON’T SELL IT.
themagiciansapprentice
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Inner circle
Essex, UK
1381 Posts

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Hi,
I'm a fairly new part-time magician and currently working in Kuwait. Here there are no magic shops and parcels from the US or UK are not guaranteed to reach me. Five parcels from the US are still missing after five months, they are now going to the UK and I'll pick them up there during my annual leave (after being here for 42 weeks).

So no real choice but to use one of the many instruction books that are available eg "Mark Wilson's Magic Course" or on dvd eg Terry Herbert's "Magic for Under-5s". I've found building illusions like the Square Circle, Cat, Two Little Dickie Birds or Out to Lunch actually gives me a better understanding of the magicial principles involved. I certainly put a lot of effort in to building them and in to using them. Once I get original versions, I then pass these copies on to child magicians who have the interest, but not necessarily the skill to build their own.

And yes when I'm back in the UK or the US (I'm going to the FCM Convention in July)I will be buying as many props as I can get into my 20Kg of luggage. But I'm still thinking about building my own sub trunk etc next year as there is no way it can come in via Lufthansa without costing me a lot more than I cna afford. So two pieces of marine plywood, a jigsaw, paint, tape...
Have wand will travel! Performing children's magic in the UK for Winter 2014 and Spring 2015.
irossall
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Special user
Snohomish, Washington
529 Posts

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If you are worried about the legal or moral aspect you could purchase the item legally then either make your improvements or make a duplicate. That way the legal owner to the rights of the item will get their money and you can have your own personal style as well.
Iven Smile
Give the gift of Life, Be an Organ Donor.
michaelmagicart
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Loyal user
254 Posts

Profile of michaelmagicart
Allow me to address this situation. My name is Barry Gibbs. In early 1971, after many months of trial an error, I created the original, “thin model rising card deck”. The deck was based upon the “Devano Rising Cards”. The problem with the Devano Deck was that it was not self contained and the gimmick used almost half the pack. My deck was the “A.M.Y. Rising Cards” and was named after my oldest daughter. She is now 37 years old. The deck created a sensation and was a sellout at every convention I attended. Needless to say, there were immediate copies on the market. Today you can find over 40 different models on the internet, as well as “exposure” of the gaff on websites that classify themselves “instruction websites”. And you want to know something, there was never one single individual that copied and sold the deck that ever contacted me about it.
That is the way simply that the world works. The only dealer that has ever credited my original is: Cards by Martin: http://www.cardsbymartin.com/products.html
Type AMY in the search and you will see what I mean. Martin states the Galdini deck is an “AMY” type rising card deck. Here is the point: You can discuss ethics until the cows come in, but the ethics is within you and you are not going to influence others to change their ways if there is a fast buck in it. Incidentally I removed the A.M.Y. Rising Cards from the market in 1984, so if someone tries to sell you a “new” A.M.Y. Rising Card Deck, it is more than a rip off, but also copy write infringement.
Nedim
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Elite user
istanbul/turkey
444 Posts

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Hi,

I think don't loose time. Buy the props that you want and start your magic in some way. But of course you have to create something but this is not a prop always!!

magicially yours,


Nedim Guzel
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