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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Right or Wrong? » » 19th Century Book Piracy (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

DStachowiak
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This thread was inspired by another, and I will be quoting from that other thread here. I started this one because I didn't want to hijack the other thread, so please bear with me as I am probably doing this rather clumsily.
Quote:
On 2009-05-03 12:42, Lawrence O wrote:
A bit of history

In working on this material, it has become clear that there were two particularly interesting and productive eras in the 19C for books edited in English. In the fifteen years from 1857, there appeared about a dozen books in the US and the UK: The Magician's Own Book (1857); Parlour Pastime, by "Uncle George" (1857); The Sociable (1858); The Boy's Own Toymaker, by Landells (1858); The Book of 500 Curious Puzzles (1859); The Secret Out (1859); Indoor and Outdoor Games for Boys and Girls (c1859); The Boy's Own Conjuring Book (1860); The Illustrated Boy's Own Treasury (1860, but see below); The Parlor Magician (1863); The Art of Amusing, by Bellew (1866); Parlour Pastimes (1868); Hanky Panky (1872); Within Doors, by Elliott (1872); Magic No Mystery (1876), just to name those that I know. Most of these are of uncertain authorship and went through several editions and versions. The Magician's Own Book, The Book of 500 Curious Puzzles, The Secret Out, The Sociable, The Parlor Magician, Hanky Panky, and Magic No Mystery seem to be by the same author(s). I own a number of previously unseen versions sometimes two editions of the same title are essentially fairly different! This is particularly true between US and UK editions. Many of the later UK editions say 'By the author of Magician's Own Book etc., translated and edited by W. H. Cremer Jr.' From the TPs, it is claimed that they were written by Wiljalba Frikell (1818 1903) and then translated into English. However, BMC and NUC generally attribute the earlier US editions to George Arnold (1834-1865), and some catalogue entries explicitly say the Frikell versions are later editions, so it may be that Frikell produced later editions in some other language (French or German ??) and these were translated by Cremer. On the other hand, the UK ed of The Secret Out says it is based on Le Magicien des Salons ou le Diable Couleur de Rose, for which I have several references, with different authors! -- J. M. Gassier, 1814; M. [Louis Apollinarie Christien Emmanuel] Comte, 1829; Richard (pseud. of A. O. Delarue, a magic publisher), 1857 and earlier. There was a German translation of this. Some of these are at HPL but ??NYS. Items with similar names are: Le Magicien de Société, Delarue, Paris, c1860? and Le Manuel des Sorciers (various Paris editions from 178?-1825, cf in Common References). It seems that this era was inspired by these earlier French books. To add to the confusion, an advertisement for the UK ed. of Magician's Own Book (1871?) says it is translated from Le Magicien des Salons which has long been a standard in France and Germany. Toole Stott opines that Frikell had nothing to do with these books -- as a celebrated conjuror of the times, his name was simply attached to the books. Toole Stott also doubts whether Le Magicien des Salons exists (I own several editions of it), though it may not have been the direct source for any of these works, but see below.

Christopher 242 cites the following article on this series.
Charles L. Rulfs. Origins of some conjuring works. Magicol 24 (May 1971) 3-5. He discusses the various books, saying that Cremer essentially pirated the Dick & Fitzgerald productions. He says The Magician's Own Book draws on Wyman's Handbook (1850, ??NYS), Endless Amusement, Parlour Magic (by W. Clarke?, 1830s, ??NYS), Brewster's Natural Magic (??NYS). He says The Secret Out is largely taken, illustrations and all, from Blismon de Douai's Manuel du Magicien (1849, ??NYS) and Richard & Delion's Magicien des salons ou le diable couleur de rose (1857 and earlier, ??NYS).

Christopher 622 says Harold Adrian Smith [Dick and Fitzgerald Publishers; Books at Brown 34 (1987) 108-114] has studied this series and concludes that Williams was the author of Magician's Own Book, assisted by Wyman. Actually Smith simply asserts: "The book was undoubtedly [sic] written by H. L. Williams, a "hack writer" of the period, assisted by John Wyman in the technical details." He gives no explanation for his assertion. He later says he doubts whether Cremer ever wrote anything. He suggests The Secret Out book is taken from DeLion. He states that The Boy's Own Conjuring Book is a London pirate edition.

This Hotel Room is a mess: I will have to get back there and try and put a bit of order into this.

Lawrence,
I get the impression that the 19th Century world of popular publishin bears a striking resemblance to the 17th Century Spanish Main.
It appears publishers "borrowed" from each other rather freely, particularly when translating works from one language to another, and that the "information" presented on the title and copyright pages was used as often to obfuscate as it was to clarify sources.
The American publishing house of Dick and Fitzgerald seems to be a great example. They were a major publisher of popular books on amusements, games, and magic. Just going by one title (Which I have chosen only because I happen to have a copy sitting in front of me)"The Secret Out, or 1000 Tricks with Cards", the edition I have does not name the author.other than to say it was by the same author as several other of the books they published. Other editions evident ly name Cremer as the author, but Dick and Fitzgerald seem to have put out many editions of this book, editing them freely from one to another, without documenting all the editorial changes. The copy I have has a penciled notation saying "1st ed.", but I have no idea if it actually is or not. Lawrence's comment above make it clear that this book evidently made very free use of a great deal of material from other, earlier sources, without crediting any of it.
They seem to have done something similar with the book "How Gamblers Win" by Gerritt M. Evans, published by the author in 1865. D&F published a horribly bowdlerized edition of the same title, which may or may not have been rewritten by the original author. The reason I mention this is that they fail to reference Evans original edition in any way. This seems to have been a pattern with not only D&F, but many other major publishers of the time. My question is, when did publishing develop a code of ethics? There seems to have been none at the time these books were published.

By the way, the original thread I quoted from is:
http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......start=30

Don
Woke up.
Fell out of bed.
Dragged a comb across m' head.
sleightly
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Publishing *did not* develop a code of efforts; publishers lobbied for copyright protection under the law and in 1886 the Berne Convention set the basis for international copyright protection that is used to this day.

From the late nineteenth century into the early twentieth century the laws were repeatedly challenged and refined, with solid protection provided to those who stepped up and defended their claims.

Specific copyright law is constantly evolving and varies from country to country, but you can find the basics of its history (including recent U.S. amendments) online: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_copyright_law

Information on U.S. Copyright law can be found here: http://www.copyright.gov/

"Ethics" hold no legal basis and if you wish to protect your property you first have to establish sound legal grounds that it has independent value that should be protected. This requires cooperation and coordination, something the magic industry has not been very successful accomplishing, despite all the fraternal and professional organizations.
Lawrence O
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Don

Your point is very valid.
Along the line of Scott's Discovery of Witchcraft, books written in English followed a certain path (with variations naturally). This is clear to the lucky ones having access to Samuel Rid, to Hocus Pocus Jr, to the various editions of Henry Dean...

The same happened in continental Europe where the Ozanam, Descremps, or the Tresor des jeux were condensed translated and adapted in Italian, or Spanish (Minguet Y Yrol seems to be the Spanish translation of the Italian translation of the Tresor des Jeux.) Now if the permutation didn't follow this path as some authors claim, the fact remains that the copies were numerous and the new effects were really rare. This is probably what would create the successes of Ponsin and then Robert Houdin.

As a side effect you may notice that until WWI there was, as a consequence (even to a smaller extent until today), two very different opening sequences in the UK and in continental Europe led by France at the time. In English texts, the performer is sitting and takes out the small balls that he places over the table without any special magical effect.
In the French and continental routines however the balls are made to appear one by one at the tip of the wand and made to magically travel one by one to the cups (sometimes with smart feints) before travelling all three at once to the performer's pocket

To this very day, it is difficult to convince American magicians not to start their routine only by tabling the balls. This is surprising for many famous American magician did have magical apparition of the balls (Sam Leo Hororwitz, Dick Biow...) btu habitis a second nature until it becomes a cultural trait.

All of this to say what makes me agree with you (Lol)

:)
Magic is the art of proving impossible things in parallel dimensions that can't be reached
Graham Ahn
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Quote:
On 2009-06-05 07:01, sleightly wrote:
...."Ethics" hold no legal basis and if you wish to protect your property you first have to establish sound legal grounds that it has independent value that should be protected. This requires cooperation and coordination, something the magic industry has not been very successful accomplishing, despite all the fraternal and professional organizations.


This is true and consistent across all industries. Industrial espionage costs business billions annually.
In the US;
"...Our leadership in the development of creative and innovative products and services also makes us a global target for theft... (intellectual property) thieves impose substantial costs. They depress investment in technologies needed to meet global challenges. They put consumers, families and communities at risk. They unfairly devalue America's contribution, hinder our ability to grow our economy, compromise good, high-wage jobs for Americans and endanger strong and prosperous communities."
-- From the 2010 Joint Strategic Plan On Intellectual Property Enforcement, published earlier this year by the newly established Office Of The U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC), which is part of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB)

It is a crisis that has worsened despite the enactment over several decades of numerous federal and state laws aimed at deterring the theft of intellectual property. Prominent among these laws is the Uniform Trade Secrets Acts (UTSA). Enacted in 1970, UTSA makes it illegal to use protected information gathered from others, or that is deliberately stolen or obtained through blackmail. Under UTSA such theft is punishable by civil law, but it is also criminal behavior as defined by the Economic Espionage Act of 1996.
--http://www.acfe.com/newsletters/fraud-examiner.asp?copy=dec10-goldmann-column

The main problem with protecting industrial secrets is with the individuals in the industry being lax about security.
They don't follow the basic steps necessary to secure methods or devices properly.
They don't set up the foundation for legal action later with anything approaching the care with which they set up an audience for the reveal.

"Magic tricks" don't seem to hold any real value in the minds of most magicians.
These short-sighted fellows need to review their balance sheets and determine the effect of the loss of any three of their best reviewed illusions to their act.
Now ask how many bookings they'd lose annually without that act.
When the bottom line is effected, the budget for Legal protections should grow.
When consistent and expensive consequences are introduced, theft will be less attractive.


Graham
Graham Ahn
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Some acts I've seen are heavy on the provenance mentions during the patter. It can be distracting and confusing.

There is no good excuse for published works to omit mentioning the history of an effect or handling in my opinion.
The research required to include these footnotes and notations will enhance the author's gravitas, credibility, and professionalism.


Graham
mightydog
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Perhaps copyrighting the trick may help? then those who expose on youtube for example can be brought to account. At least youtube might be forced to remove the exposing videos. just a thought. any opinions?
Illusion and magic is the same, if it was possible to achieve the impossible by genuine powers then it wouldn’t be impossible and therefore it wouldn’t be magic. That’s why magic is an art; the art of creating the illusion of the impossible.
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mightydog
David
Lawrence O
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I second this, definitely.
Magic is the art of proving impossible things in parallel dimensions that can't be reached
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