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The Magic Cafe Forum Index Ľ Ľ New to magic? Ľ Ľ Ethics Question (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

William Draven
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Los Angeles, CA
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I recently was asked by a younger magician who was approached to perform some magic on one of his local TV station programs. Among the usual assortment of questions he asked me, he wanted to know what kind of effects he should do. This of course started an ethics debate to which I now present to you in the interest of maintaining integrity to our community.

The question at hand is: "Do you have the performance rights of an effect you buy (to do on say local tv) or do you have to get the writen consent of the effect's creator?"

Now while I have your attention, because the obvious answer is "Yes you should." Allow me to expand upon this to a more gray area. "What do you do about an effect that is mass marketed by multiple magic companies (such as McDonalds Aces), or effectively public domain (such as Cards Across, or Ambitious)?"

I look forward to your responses.
blva888
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Well let us look at this. I buy some magic that was made by john. What was the reason I bought it? To perform it. To perform it for who? An audience. Now my question is why would any one buy a magic trick and just not perform it in front of some one? except the fact maybe they don't care for how the trick is done.

There is nothing in the instructions or dvd/tape that says you can not perform this in front of such and such a group.

You paid money for how the trick is done and/or to perform it for people. The only thing you can't do is show how it is done to people who have not bought it.
Mr. Oops

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stijnhommes
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With some effects it is specifically mentioned that you can't perform it on a recordable medium (TV, internet, radio, etc) without the prior consent of the creator. If nothing is mentioned, you have the right to perform it whenever you like, provided you have perfected your performance through practice.

I have no problem with creators requiring consent, provided they give their consent to performers who can perform the effect well.
Bryan Smith
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Korea
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I would not feel at all ethically bound from performing a trick I purchased on TV. I do agree that it is your responsibility to ensure that you can do the trick well, but that goes for any trick whether it be the latest marketed effect or one that's hundreds of years old.

Unless the terms of the purchase specifically stated that I cannot perform it in front of a camera without permission, I would do so freely and without guilt provided I had practiced enough to do it perfectly.
"I'm half drunk most the time
and I'm all drunk the rest"
--Tom Waits
55Hudson
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Minneapolis
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Quote:
On 2010-05-31 03:46, blva888 wrote:
Well let us look at this. I buy some magic that was made by john. What was the reason I bought it? To perform it. To perform it for who? An audience. Now my question is why would any one buy a magic trick and just not perform it in front of some one? except the fact maybe they don't care for how the trick is done.

There is nothing in the instructions or dvd/tape that says you can not perform this in front of such and such a group.

You paid money for how the trick is done and/or to perform it for people. The only thing you can't do is show how it is done to people who have not bought it.


I must agree with blva888 100% on this from an ethical standard. Professionals who invent new effects have two alternatives for being rewarded financially for those inventions -- performing for fee or selling to other magicians who perform (for free or for fee). Their choice was made when they sold the effect. Also agree strongly that exposing the effect or reselling is not ethical. There are times when credit should be given to the inventor, but I think that depends on the situation. Certainly in front of other magicians and sometimes when performing for an audience, provided that giving credit doesn't spoil the patter.

There is another question regarding the presentation/patter of a purchased effect. I'm not sure why so many magicians replicate word for word and move for move of a purchased effect (especially DVD's!). It is as if they are trying to imitate the originator, when that is not necessary. Take Dai Vernon's cups and balls line, "... wasted the first 6 years of my life", that was his patter and worked for him. Anyone else using that line would just not sound right. Most learned or purchased effects / routines can, and in my opinion, should be modified to fit your own style.

Best of luck.

Hudson
idomagic
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Chad Wonder
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When a song or a movie is released for sale, public performance is not permitted and you are warned in several manners. Almost every stage play is licensed for public performance. Some magic specifically includes the performance rights.

So it does beg the question, what is the legal position?

I submit it is a generally accepted practice for an effect that is sold on the the open market to includes 100% clearance to perform. Obviously, you are not permitted to expose or otherwise compromise the value of the effect by performing poorly, repackaging or re-marketing the trick.

I think this is a valuable thread and am very interested to see what others think as well.
Chad Wonder (Chad Wonder Magic, Inc)
Past President SAM 37/IBM 131 (Mile High Magicians)
https://www.idomagic.com
http://www.ChadWonderMagic.com
Sammy J.
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Castle Rock, Colorado
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I'm quite sure that when Michael Ammar performed Chris Lyle's version of "Pressure" on Letterman he did not ask Chris for permission. I saw Chris's reaction to the performance and am quite certain he didn't know it was going to happen.

I think that if you buy an effect you have the right to perform it on TV or anywhere else, unless the creator specifically prohibits it.
Sammy J. Teague
DWRackley
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Chattanooga, TN
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Here we go again!

Letís say I buy a suit at Menís Warehouse. They didnít make the thing, but they did buy it from somebody who bought it from somebody who bought it from Oscar de la Renta. To what end is that series of sales made? Did I buy it just so itíll look good hanging in my closet? Or do I need to call Oscar every time I wear it outside?

And itís not even required that I look good in the suit. Oscar might grimace a little that I donít wear it like Antonio Sabato Jr. would wear it, but I purchased that right.

When Betty Crocker releases a cookbook, itís with the understanding that someone at some point might actually bake a cake. Worse yet, the baker might not be the only one eating that cake! Horrors!

How did we get this retentive? If I canít use it, Iím not going to buy it. Collector items or first editions not withstanding, sale of a production item carries with it an implicit right for use. Iím not calling Alan Mulally every time I crank up my Fusion.
...what if I could read your mind?

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William Draven
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Los Angeles, CA
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Of course you wouldn't call Alan up every time you perform Fusion, but then again that's not the situation we're looking at here. This isn't an every day occurrence, we are talking about performance for mass media such as TV, Film, or Radio.
TheRaven
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I would imagine if I was selling an effect, I would benefit from additional sales if it was performed to a positive reception on TV. I would welcome the free advertising as it were.

With very few (explicitly stated) exceptions I believe your purchase includes the right to perform the effect for any audience of your chosing.
David Waldorf
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Minnesota
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I was just thinking about this a few days ago. In general, the magic community is pretty good about sharing knowledge, tips, advice, and even effects with each other. Or if you see someone doing a particular effect, chances are you can go to your magic dealer and buy it yourself, or something close to it. And once you know the method, you are not legally bound to present the effect only as the creator intended; perhaps you will use different patter, repaint the props, or even apply the principle to a different effect entirely.
But with music, as has already been pointed out, the fact that I bought a copy of the sheet music does not mean I have performance rights.
I may be wrong in my assumptions; I seem to remember reading about Goldin taking people to court for imitating his effects.
Didn't your mother ever tell you not to believe anything you hear and only half of what you see?


From a Roy Rogers movie
Bryan Smith
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Korea
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I imagine the reason for that is that people don't go out and put on the same performance as was taught them, at least reputable folks don't.

Buying a magic effect is not like buying sheet music. It's like someone teaching how to finger pick on a guitar. You then use that technique to develop your own music which you perform. You don't have to get permission from the teacher every time you use that technique in concert.

The technique is not what the spectators notice (if it is, you did something really wrong). It's the performance that matters, and that's what should be your own and not copied from anyone else.
"I'm half drunk most the time
and I'm all drunk the rest"
--Tom Waits
Ed_Millis
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Yuma, AZ
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And then what about somebody whipping out a video camera at your show so they can put it up on YouTube? Do you have to stop performing and check your rights?

Implicit in the sale is full rights, unless otherwise specified. That's why most music specifies.

Ed
xrudyreelx
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south jersey
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I have a few questions that I think would fit perfectly here. What if you you don't but the effect? Let me explain I watched a magician perform an effect that he came up with and is selling, he did it very well but I figured it out almost right away because it reminded me of another effect(sorry for being so cryptic I just don't want to drop names)so back to the question at hand I didn't buy the trick but I know it am I allowed to perform it? Also does it matter if its a move or a gimmick for example when I was younger I figured out the back palming of a card am I allowed the perform it. And now for the big question Bowl-a-rama, bowling ball and sketch pad effect for anyone who doesn't know, I came up with a way to do it just from watching it that is not the way its sold. Question 1 am I allowed to make it? Question 2 where am I allowed to perform it. Question 3 if I produce something other then a ball can I sell it as my own effect(keeping in mind Im doing it differently and producing something else?

I look forward to this.
The Magic Cafe Forum Index Ľ Ľ New to magic? Ľ Ľ Ethics Question (0 Likes)
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