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Dave V
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I think Mr. Palmer had the right idea when he did this at WMS. Find a place where magicians are already gathering and organize something there. One of the failings of CupsCon was that nobody could agree on where or when to hold it. Everyone wanted it near them and weren't willing to travel as they were already going somewhere else and their budgets were already spoken for.

CupsCon isn't restricted to just Sean's plans. It was developed for collectors to meet and discuss this exact thing, wherever it happens to take them.
No trees were killed in the making of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.
Bill Palmer
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Please do not be offended by this response. I think you need to be aware of a number of things about the publishing business and the core books of the list you have selected.

When you say "it's all about the money," this illustrates to me a fundamental misunderstanding of the publishing industry.

Of course, it's all about the money. People in the publishing business do not publish books without the goal of making money. You make this sound like a bad thing. I don't know what you do for a living, but if there weren't some way of at least making a little bit more than your expenses, you would find another job. Publishing is a business, except for a group of people who want to see their names in print and will pay whatever the traffic will bear to get a book out on the market.

Being part of a family that has been in the publishing business for three generations, I find that the misunderstands the lay public has about publishing, royalties, advances, etc. is horribly abysmal and it makes people think that publishers make a fortune by putting out magic books, etc.

There are a number of factors to consider before even getting a book to market.
1) You have to make sure that the author actually has the right to the material as he presents it. (BTW, I am using the masculine pronoun for convenience and clarity.) There are copyright loopholes that can be taken advantage of, but take it from me, even with the loopholes, if a book is published that has a cloud hanging over it, it will be recalled and the publisher will take the hit. O.J. Simpson's book is an example of that. So is the infamous Ace edition of the Lord of the Rings material. Even though there was no valid copyright of the LOTR material in the US, the Tolkien estate managed to put pressure on the fans to have the book taken out of circulation.

2) You have to make sure that you get permission from the actual copyright holder. This gets confusing. Currently, a series of books my father wrote is being published by an independent publisher in New York. She claims that he gave her permission to publish them. There is just one problem. He didn't own the copyright. The copyright owner won't stop her from publishing them because it's too big a hassle. So she publishes the books, and the estate gets nothing.

3) Then you need to calculate the size of the market. Good luck on that. If you print too many copies, then you have to figure out what you are going to do with them. You can remainder them, but there is very little that is more embarrassing than to see your name on a $50 book that is sitting on a remainder table for $3.00 at Books A Million. If you keep them, then you may have to pay taxes on them. If you print too few copies, then the individual cost per copy is quite high.

4) You have to advertise them. Check out the cost of a quarter page ad in Genii, MUM and MAGIC and a half page ad in The Linking Ring. You need to advertise in all four of them for at least a year to sell all the books.

5) Once the initial blush is off the book, you will definitely want to get them to the distributors, so you need to price the books at such a level that you can discount them to the wholesalers.

Now these are just some of the problems that you face when you are publishing just a normal magic book. You will notice that I haven't even calculated the royalties for the author. I took really big hits when I published Sheherazade and Final Curtain, which I actually did to help Borodin meet his living expenses. If I had intended to really make a profit on those books, I would have charged at least 50% more for each copy. I did not and do not begrudge Borodin what I paid him as royalties, because these books were my "ticket" to a lot of other things.

Let me explain the problems involved with the specific books you have mentioned.

1) The Frank Garcia material, all of it, with the exception of a couple of small pamphlets, is tied up with his estate. There is a dispute over who really owns it. He left the material to his girl friend. His family claims that they really own it as his collateral heirs. You can scratch those off the list.

2) Anything published by Supreme, Abbott's, Unique Magic Studios or Ken Brooke has a copyright trail that is quite long. Some of the Supreme books were owned by Max Andrews before Supreme got them. Some of them are co-owned by Abbott's. Some of the ones from Unique (Harry Stanley) are partially owned by Tannen's. Some belonged to Supreme. All of the ones actually owned by Supreme are now owned by Martin Breese. But you have to figure out who owns what. Then you have to figure out if it is actually worth publishing.

You can ask your son-in-law about this, but I already have a top notch bank of copyright attorneys that I can consult on a limited basis, through another publishing company that I am affiliated with. However, when it comes to dealing with entities such as the Garcia estate, you are talking about a brick wall.

Getting back to "it's all about the money": The margin of profit on printed material is very low. After all of the royalties are paid out and all of the returns are made at the end of the year, a publishing company is lucky to make 10% of total sales. Usually, it's about half that. When you consider how much is stolen from publishing companies every year simply by copying machines, it's amazing that any of them are still in business. We figure that we lose 50% of what we have coming to us from theft by copying machines.

I'll give you a real life example. About 15 years ago, I was doing a publicity appearance for the Texas Renaissance Festival at a local high school. They told us to change costumes in the band room. So I went in there to get into my Merlin drag. I noticed a copying machine next to the stage door. There was a wastebasket next to it. In the wastebasket there were several copies of pieces of material from the publishing company that puts out the material my father wrote.

The school would purchase one copy of each part, then photocopy it for distribution to their students. This is illegal. It is theft. And here it was, going on, basically in front of the students. What kind of respect does that give them for the copyright laws? The publishers know this is going on, but they can't do anything about it unless all of them sue at the same time, because if one publisher sues first, then the other schools won't buy their material. It's basically blackmail.

Sometimes the law works, though. One major Catholic diocese lost a multimillion dollar copyright infringement suit about 15 years ago. They had purchased one copy of each of the choral pieces from each of the publishers. Then they photocopied them and distributed the copies to the choirs. The publishers compared notes, so to speak, and discovered the scam. The Church knew it was illegal.

Now those are the problems.

I do have a solution.

I don't believe it is necessary to write a complete compilation of all of the works. It would be much more practical and readable if there were a single book that contained all of the basic information in all of the works.

For example: you could have a complete definition of all of the cups and balls moves and the variations on their names. Then you could have some routines for each type of cup.

Out of respect for the owners of not only the printed material, but the proprietary material, such as special loaders, finale material, etc., there would be some things that, of necessity, should be omitted. For example, Eric DeCamps final load should not be put into the book unless Eric, himself, releases the method, even though it is well-known in the community. The same is true of Mark Burger's special loaders and inserts.

This would get all of the necessary material together, but would be less likely to run afoul of the owners of the copyrighted books.

The main thing is that the final publication must not only be legal, but it also must not violate any ethical codes.
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Deceptor
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Bill:

Absolutely no offense taken. This is after all a learning forum right?

I have no problem with things being money driven. After all, like you, I am, by virtue of being a member of the American society, a capitalist.

It does seem to me though that this type of a document would be worthwhile. I put the idea "out there" because I knew there were folks like you with different and informed points of view on the subject including your thought on publishing something more along the line of a compendium of the C&B body of knowledge.

There is nothing wrong in my mind with publishers or the publishing business either. I openly admit my educatable ignorance on the subject and appreciate the insights you have provided. As a reulst I am now less ignorant about the subject.

Yes, of course I agree whole heartedly that whatever, if anything, is done absolutely must be ethical and legal. Everyones contribution and proprietary rights must be acknowledged and all permissisons must be obtained; in writing.

Once again, one of the Sages of C&B (Bill Palmer) has provided some excellent advice, guidance, direction, and insight.

I also appreciate the insights you provided to me for my C&B library. I have duly noted and made the corrections.

If you have time, could you possibly send me a list of other C&B publications that I should try to acquire?
Always leave yourself an out.
Bill Palmer
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I'm glad you took this as an explanation and not as any kind of rebuke.

I made the point about the legality because of a couple of things that happened to my father's estate quite unexpectedly.

Dad was known as one of the most meticulous music editors in the business. His editions were taken from original sources wherever they still existed, and they were done with great care. Until the end of the Cold War, Iron Curtain copyrights were not recognized in the US. This changed when the US signed on to the Berne accord and the Uruguay rounds during the 1990's. One of my father's best editions was a book of material by Kabalevsky. This was in the public domain in the US, but nowhere else in the world, except India, I think.

When the US signed these agreements, then the copyrights to the Kabalevsky material became valid here. As a result, the Kabalevsky estate decided they wanted a HUGE royalty fee for his material, far more than is ordinary. In fact, it was more than the wholesale price of each book. They were entitled to three year's back royalties on the book, under the Restoration of Copyright act, but the amount they wanted for future publications was ridiculous.

So, after a great deal of haggling, the publishers decided to let the Kabalevsky estate shop around for someone else to carry the material. Pity, because it was a great book. But that's what happens when things change.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Dale Houck
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Quote:
On 2011-01-02 14:37, Bill Palmer wrote:


I'll give you a real life example. About 15 years ago, I was doing a publicity appearance for the Texas Renaissance Festival at a local high school. They told us to change costumes in the band room. So I went in there to get into my Merlin drag. I noticed a copying machine next to the stage door. There was a wastebasket next to it. In the wastebasket there were several copies of pieces of material from the publishing company that puts out the material my father wrote.

The school would purchase one copy of each part, then photocopy it for distribution to their students. This is illegal. It is theft. And here it was, going on, basically in front of the students. What kind of respect does that give them for the copyright laws? The publishers know this is going on, but they can't do anything about it unless all of them sue at the same time, because if one publisher sues first, then the other schools won't buy their material. It's basically blackmail.




There is no doubt in my mind that some schools engage in illegal copying. Sometimes the copying is legal, however. I was an educator for 36 years, the last 22 as Superintendent of Schools. In my districts, I made sure we did it according to law. Some publishers sell an option to make legal copies. For example, an original copy from a publisher might cost $2 and legal copies cost $1 each. The copies must have the "Copied with Permission" statement, and records showing the purchase of the right to copy must be maintained in choral or instrumental band office as long as the copies are retained. For public performances, a notice of purchased performance rights was also included on the program for the event. For vocal and instrumental music programs, this is easy for administrators to monitor. We also incorporated the copyright laws into our annual in-service program. The hardest issue to monitor for administrators was actually the use of DVDs in the classroom. If you read the not-so-fine print on a DVD, it's licensed for home entertainment only. To legally show a Disney movie in a classroom or at a school party would cost around $100. There's another option available to schools, and that is to buy a license through an agent that works with the movie industry based on enrollment. My district in metro Kansas City had 9,000 students and I think the license was around $1.20 per student. We bought the license because it was impossible to be sure movies wouldn't be shown illegally by substitute teachers or regular classroom teachers who "forgot" to make lesson plans as they should have. It didn't really save us any money, unless you take into consideration legal fees saved from a lawsuit. School districts DO get sued for illegal use of copyrighted material, as they should.
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fortasse
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If you haven't read it yet, there's a first-class book of essays that was recently published (2010) under the title "The Law and Magic" (I got it from Amazon). It covers a variety of topics (some of them quite weird) dealing with the intellectual property rights of magicians. Illuminating, and hugely entertaining too.

Fortasse

Posted: Jan 2, 2011 9:34pm
Deceptor : You also need to get a copy of Lint's (Todd's) C&B Bibliography (available right here using the search engine).

Fortasse
Bill Palmer
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The IP laws, especially those pertaining to copyright, are changing on almost a weekly basis. The changes are taking place for the most part in the courtroom. Sometimes the application of IP law are really odd.

There is a case that involved the man who basically copyrighted the G Major scale -- with some variants and improvisations. Sounds unlikely, but everyone in the US is aware of the song that was involved. It was called "Duelling Banjos." If you saw Deliverance, you heard one of the versions of it that was a violation of copyright. The fellow who owns it is a fellow named Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith, who also copyrighted the basic boogie woogie lick played a certain way on a guitar. He called his version of "Duelling Banjos" "Feudin' Banjos." He was an eccentric fellow who could afford a copyist to write out the lead sheet, which he had copyrighted. There were several versions of "Duelling Banjos" on the market right after the movie came out. The fellow who suggested to Warner Bros./7Arts productions told them it was traditional, and therefore in the public domain. He should have known better. It was originally recorded by Don Reno and Arthur Smith and properly credited, I might add.

So, when "Duelling Banjos" went platinum, Arthur Smith went to the Warner Brothers office and asked for his money. They wanted to know what money he was talking about. He explained that he owned the song. They told him where to put his song. He didn't appreciate their proctological suggestion and took them to court. It took very little time to convince the judge who owned what. The plaintiff played the Warner Brothers recording. Then he and Don Reno played the tune "live" for the judge. The judge said "It's the same song."

This was, of course, a case of inadequate research. If Warner Bros. had used their IP attorneys to do the legwork, the whole thing would have happened differently.

But settlements and cases are not always fair. The main thing that I can say is that if you have to go to court over an IP matter, make sure you have a top notch IP attorney handling the case, and remember that a bad settlement is often better than a good case.

Quote:
On 2011-01-02 19:38, Dale Houck wrote:
Quote:
On 2011-01-02 14:37, Bill Palmer wrote:


I'll give you a real life example. About 15 years ago, I was doing a publicity appearance for the Texas Renaissance Festival at a local high school. They told us to change costumes in the band room. So I went in there to get into my Merlin drag. I noticed a copying machine next to the stage door. There was a wastebasket next to it. In the wastebasket there were several copies of pieces of material from the publishing company that puts out the material my father wrote.

The school would purchase one copy of each part, then photocopy it for distribution to their students. This is illegal. It is theft. And here it was, going on, basically in front of the students. What kind of respect does that give them for the copyright laws? The publishers know this is going on, but they can't do anything about it unless all of them sue at the same time, because if one publisher sues first, then the other schools won't buy their material. It's basically blackmail.




There is no doubt in my mind that some schools engage in illegal copying. Sometimes the copying is legal, however. I was an educator for 36 years, the last 22 as Superintendent of Schools. In my districts, I made sure we did it according to law. Some publishers sell an option to make legal copies. For example, an original copy from a publisher might cost $2 and legal copies cost $1 each. The copies must have the "Copied with Permission" statement, and records showing the purchase of the right to copy must be maintained in choral or instrumental band office as long as the copies are retained. For public performances, a notice of purchased performance rights was also included on the program for the event. For vocal and instrumental music programs, this is easy for administrators to monitor. We also incorporated the copyright laws into our annual in-service program. The hardest issue to monitor for administrators was actually the use of DVDs in the classroom. If you read the not-so-fine print on a DVD, it's licensed for home entertainment only. To legally show a Disney movie in a classroom or at a school party would cost around $100. There's another option available to schools, and that is to buy a license through an agent that works with the movie industry based on enrollment. My district in metro Kansas City had 9,000 students and I think the license was around $1.20 per student. We bought the license because it was impossible to be sure movies wouldn't be shown illegally by substitute teachers or regular classroom teachers who "forgot" to make lesson plans as they should have. It didn't really save us any money, unless you take into consideration legal fees saved from a lawsuit. School districts DO get sued for illegal use of copyrighted material, as they should.


I don't have any problem at all with people who pay for a license or who use licensed copies. That's perfectly fine.

However, in this case, I know for certain that the copying was illegal. I asked the publishing company. They keep very tight records on all of that. It was a small enough school district that they had only one high school. There was no way that there would have been any confusion over who was licensed to do what.

Actually, the school districts and the churches are beginning to wake up to the problems that are generated by unlicensed use of various pieces of IP. Cases like the one against the diocese have done all of us a lot of good, even though it may not seem so.

It's kind of funny. Not all that long ago, when there were a couple of companies engaged in really high quality magic videotape work, a fellow walked into a local magic shop, saw the prices on the various tapes and said: "Why should I pay $40 for one of those tapes, when I can get one from {A Local Magician} for $5.00 and a blank tape?" The shop owner contacted the fellow who was the producer of the tapes. He contacted the magician. He told him that he had a choice. He could either pay the retail cost for all of the tapes he had made or he could get all of the copies back from the people who got them and mail them to him -- or he could face a lawsuit.

Talk about a cure for irregularity!

The offender called me and asked if I had told the video producer that he had been making illegal copies. I said, "Really? Have you? I didn't know that." And I didn't.

But if I had, I would have warned him once, and the second time, I would have turned him in.

I have a very low tolerance point for IP thieves.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
tabman
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Quote:
On 2011-01-02 21:44, Bill Palmer wrote:....The offender called me and asked if I had told the video producer that he had been making illegal copies. I said, "Really? Have you? I didn't know that." And I didn't....


And it happens way too much. I did a DVD recently at and of all the shows at a little magic convention in Alabama. I mail ordered the DVD from my shop here in Georgia for twenty bucks - cheap for a two dvd set - and got a few dozen orders. The promoter recently told me that, "the DVD was a 'big hit', and that folks were copying it all over!!" like that should make me happy.

Nice huh?? How do you stop it.
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Jonathan Townsend
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Does anyone on this thread happen to recall the book with the cup and ball item where a single sponge ball can be shown under a cup or the cup lifted to display nothing on the table?
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Bill Palmer
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Quote:
On 2011-01-03 17:01, tabman wrote:
Quote:
On 2011-01-02 21:44, Bill Palmer wrote:....The offender called me and asked if I had told the video producer that he had been making illegal copies. I said, "Really? Have you? I didn't know that." And I didn't....


And it happens way too much. I did a DVD recently at and of all the shows at a little magic convention in Alabama. I mail ordered the DVD from my shop here in Georgia for twenty bucks - cheap for a two dvd set - and got a few dozen orders. The promoter recently told me that, "the DVD was a 'big hit', and that folks were copying it all over!!" like that should make me happy.

Nice huh?? How do you stop it.


It's very simple. Tell him to bear in mind that the DVD is copyrighted, and that he should tell all of the people who copied the DVD that you do expect to be paid for them.
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Sir Richard
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Quote:
On 2011-01-03 17:01, tabman wrote:
Quote:
On 2011-01-02 21:44, Bill Palmer wrote:....The offender called me and asked if I had told the video producer that he had been making illegal copies. I said, "Really? Have you? I didn't know that." And I didn't....


And it happens way too much. I did a DVD recently at and of all the shows at a little magic convention in Alabama. I mail ordered the DVD from my shop here in Georgia for twenty bucks - cheap for a two dvd set - and got a few dozen orders. The promoter recently told me that, "the DVD was a 'big hit', and that folks were copying it all over!!" like that should make me happy.

Nice huh?? How do you stop it.

They say that "imitation" is the sincerest form of flattery," maybe that's what the fellow meant. My opinion is that it's the sincerest form of STEALING! If I created something and put it out on DVD I know I wouldn't want illegal copies being made. One magician I know was complaining to me at our club one evening that L&L VHS & DVD media have strong "anti-copy" material in them making it impossible to copy them...gee, I wonder why?

Sir Richard.
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tabman
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Quote:
On 2011-01-04 11:04, Sir Richard wrote:....They say that "imitation" is the sincerest form of flattery," maybe that's what the fellow meant. My opinion is that it's the sincerest form of STEALING! If I created something and put it out on DVD I know I wouldn't want illegal copies being made. One magician I know was complaining to me at our club one evening that L&L VHS & DVD media have strong "anti-copy" material in them making it impossible to copy them...gee, I wonder why?

Sir Richard.


Yes, I expect you're right and that's what he meant but the margins on such a low run DVD are so small that even one or two illegal copies could make the diff between break even or even a few bucks profit (heaven forbid).
...Your professional woodworking and "tender" loving care in the products you make, make the wait worthwhile. Thanks for all you do...

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Bill Palmer
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This is an all too pervasive trend in entertainment. And it's not just a "today" thing.

There is a group of jugglers that worked the renaissance festival circuit for about a decade and a half, who later went on to do an off-broadway thing. They are called "The Flaming Idiots." Their material is original, their comedy is devastating, and they are very good guys. One of them holds the world's record for being able to make a ham sandwich with his feet. I'm not making this up.

One day at Scarborough Faire, a fellow came up to him and said, "We were here a couple of weeks ago and we videotaped your show. We showed the tape at our juggling club and now EVERYBODY in Dallas is doing your material!" The fellow thought he was being complimentary. These people don't know that it is THEFT. Let me say that again THEFT!!!!. It's just as much theft as pulling the hubcaps off your car.

I would like JUST ONCE to see someone do a sketch about that at a magician's convention. Right in the middle of an act, have someone come up with a camera and say, "Could you do that again? I missed the switch! Yes! That's it! I just wanted to get it right for the magic club." And then have the magician make the sphincter vanish in a puff of smoke or something.

This is why I was very strict about not allowing people to videotape my shows.

The only video of me on youtube is of me doing the Newspaper Tear and of me doing my Compatibility Test. These were put up with my permission after I retired from performing.

It's nice to have something of yours on youtube if it's a good representation of your act and if it can't do you any real harm.

In fact, we have basically no video of my late father performing. He was an accomplished musician. He wrote hundreds of music books.

About a year ago, we learned that there were a handful of videos of him performing some of his better material on youtube. The people who put it up asked if it was okay with us, and we told them that it was fine. It cannot harm anything. But in the case of Tabman's DVD, that's a completely different matter.

The same thing is happening in Australia right now with a Vernon DVD. His estate is really ticked off about it.
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
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Quote:
On 2011-01-04 12:57, Bill Palmer wrote: ...One of them holds the world's record for being able to make a ham sandwich with his feet. I'm not making this up.


Soooo, who eats this sandwich anyway? And how many people are copying that? Just wondering.

Sir Richard.
"In the land of Murphy there is but ONE law!"
Bill Palmer
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Robbie washes his feet thoroughly before he assembles the sandwich. I understand that his dog is very well fed.

Nobody that I know of has copied it. It is very difficult.
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
jazzy snazzy
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I was hoping to find a clip of your father playing Big Red. The accordion videos were great though. He was very expressive with it.
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The New York Coin Symposium is a good model for a small "convention" that works. I believe it is limited to less than fifty attendees. The event is held at a very well appointed home theater for a one day learning/ lecture day. The second day is used for the filming of DVDs which, I imagine, is the money maker for the yearly event.
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Could make sense to do a compilation/ebook, of course with editing, from the lot of material about C&B that resides at thecafe, I remember long threads from Bill, Etienne, Fortasse, Biro and others.
Sounds to weird? Or the content actually belongs to Brooks?

It would not be an encyclopedia but a collaborative wisdom on C&Bs?

Pablo
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Just as I thought, the great ideas on either and both the C&B compendium and symposium just keep rolling in from this innovative and creative group.
Always leave yourself an out.
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If we can plan a year in advance, and we can get Sean Dale in on this, because really, he was the first to express it, I think we can do it.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
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