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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Right or Wrong? » » Is this ethical? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

tomterm8
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If you purchase a book or DVD is it ethical to do a trick, routine, or even an entire act as described in the book (assume the material is in a teaching book / DVD / or trick)? I have always believed that it was ethical. But are there boundaries? If you get a DVD and it has a performer on it, and you dress in the same clothes / use the same timing and staging etc does it remain ethical?

I have generally thought that if you learn what you can from a book/DVD it is ethical, even if you present the material exactly as described in the book. But I wonder if I am mistaken and there is an ethical (and not just practical) obligation to change the material to fit your own style?
HerbLarry
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You bought it. The end.

Is it a good idea to copy someone to the letter because you have no style? Sometimes yes.
Is it a good idea to never develop your own style because each trick is copied exactly from the performer that sold their act? No. You are now a Magic Impersonator which I have thought done intentionally as an act could fly in the right crowd, Magicians, anyone else would not know the impression and think you were mental.
You know why don't act naive.
rottenmagic
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Ethics isn't an issue when it comes to the material. Like Herblarry said "you bought it" and that really is" end of story" when it comes to personal and professional performance. Even if you do everything exactly like is presented to you on the dvd. The only real exception I can think of is when it comes to television rights to the performance. A lot of the time, when you buy an effect, it will say somewhere on the product that television rights are exclusive to the creator. If you were to perform said effect on television, then it would be unethical. Even if you did your own patter.

Think of it this way. The teacher is expecting you to do the effect exactly the way it is taught, especially if you are new to magic. A lot of the best teaching material is (and should be) taught as though the student is completely new to the subject. As an example, have you ever bought a trick, started learning it, and arrived at a phase that says "now execute a classic pass", but nowhere in the instruction does it explain the move. The teacher has just assumed that you know the move and can do it. You have just been kinda ripped off if you can't do the move. Now, if only they had just explained the pass,and actually given you all the basic tools to do the effect. Then you at least have a full understanding. If a teacher was to consider it unethical for you to do the routine exactly the way it was taught, it would be like not teaching you the pass. What I'm trying to say is, it would be robbing you of an important tool of learning. You need to be able to practice more than just the mechanics of the trick. You need to practice how to present the trick in an entertaining way. Hopefully the "out of the box" routine is well thought out and gives you a good base to fit the effect to your style. But in the beginning you won't have your own style, so it's assumed that your probably going to do the trick verbatim. But that's the point. The better you get, the more you will change the patter, pace, and general feel of an effect to fit your personal style of magic.

When it comes to the clothes and style of other performers, I'd suggest stepping lightly. Paying tribute or an homage to someone by adding small things to your wardrobe, or doing certain effects is ok. If you are full-on copying a performers style, character, or routine (especially if you dress exactly like them), then you are going to have a very angry magician looking for you. In some cases it may not be legal. Back in the old days of magic this sort of stuff happened all the time. There would be a pinnacle performer, and then there would be all sorts of knock-offs with almost identical names and routines. In some cases, there would be impostors pretending to be the famous performer and cashing in on their fame.
edh
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Is this anything like the name Houdini/Slydini? It seems like everyone and their brother had a "ini" in their stage name.
Magic is a vanishing art.
Starrpower
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I think it's ethical but not the wisest thing. Someone else's style would probalby not fit you.

I also think that performers who put stuff on DVD's, in books, etc. then claim to retain the rights can go jump in a lake. They want to have their cake and eat it, too (their cake being YOUR $$$.) Why ELSE would someone buy a book, unless they wanted to perform the material within it's pages? And why would a performer put material out there if they didn't want it to be used? To show off how clever he or she is?

If you buy something, it's yours. If you want to retain rights, don't put it in a book.
aechecop
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Agree
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