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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Right or Wrong? » » As a fabricator...... (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Inner circle
of Hell because I've made
2589 Posts

Profile of thegreatnippulini
...when someone sends me measurment specs for a prop, I make it to those specifications. I send it to the buyer, I make my money, the buyer uses the prop.

I get an angry e-mail (fake mailbox deleted immediately by the user as well) claiming I have made something that a performer made famous (not really) and because he "invented" it I should have asked HIS permission before making the item.

Now, I have never even HEARD of the "inventor", the "act", nor the prop. I have made many things by custom request, made 'em and sold 'em. My stainless steel isn't cheap and neither is my time. My products are of the highest quality hand made, MADE IN AMERICA items. Am I wrong by fabrication of metal products thought to be "owned" by someone else?

On a side note, I found out the e-mail came from someone who has gone postal on the internet towards ALL performers who do this bit, so I don't take it personally. Nor did I ever reply to such incredulous accusations.

The Great Nippulini: body piercer, Guinness World Record holder, blacksmith and man with The World's Strongest Nipples! Does the WORLD care? We shall see...
Ray Pierce
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Inner circle
Los Angeles, CA
2517 Posts

Profile of Ray Pierce
This is always a tricky position to be in. As a "magic builder" is certainly helpful to do due diligence when effect is brought in to be fabricated. That might be the reason that some people will carry their plans to a cabinet shop to have them build it as they don't have the insight or knowledge to realize that it's ripped off.

If you fabricated something you believed to be an original concept, then you are certainly not to blame. On the other hand there are many builders that fabricated items that they know belong to others and that seems to be a much different problem.

Ultimately, you have to do the best you can and explain your position after the fact if the situation arises!
Ray Pierce
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Seattle, WA
12589 Posts

Profile of mastermindreader
I suggest that when you build something to buyer supplied plans and specs, that you first obtain a statement from the buyer that he is the creator of the effect or has permission from from the intellectual property owner to fabricate the item. You should also require a "hold harmless" clause, in which the purchaser agrees to indemnify you for any claims that may arise alleging infringement.

A lawyer can easily prepare such an agreement for you and I recommend that you consult one as you are dealing with issues that could cause you a great deal of grief if not handled properly.

Good thoughts,

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Loyal user
275 Posts

Profile of GaryLee
If you fabricated something that you had no clue was already created by someone else, I believe you have not only a moral obligation, but depending on if there is a patent or trademark involved you also have a legal obligation (check local laws). It is your duty as the fabricator to make sure that you are not building someone elses intellectual design regardless if the person hiring you to build it knows or not. If you are going to build props for others, it would be in your best interrest to do your research and protect yourself legally if at any case someone decided to sue you. There are some in this industry that like to bully other magicians, and even send fake letters from lawyers (cough,Yigal,cough) No your rights and keep yourself protected.
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140 Posts

Profile of wandmgc8
"thegreatnippulini"! I bow to your knowledge and experience with metal and magic. When I decided to make wands, it was because I couldn't find any like the one I had in mind for myself, so, using someone elses shop, I fabricated three for myself. Showed them around, and, approval was overwhelming. The construction came from my own mind, but, I also tend to believe there is usually "nothing new under the sun". Didn't know back then that anyone was out there making wands to sell, but, figured they were pretty much "public domain". Adding coin boxes and sets came next, and, there were many being sold. Everybody and their dog was making them with no credit to anyone except Okito, and, most look a lot alike. I fashioned mine to compliment the wands I make. Later, I was informed that "so-and-so" originated the application of the slot to the boxes, and that I should get permission to include this box in the set of three.

I contacted "so-and-so", and, he very grasiously allowed me to include the box in the set in exchange for making a set for him. I did this because I didn't want my endeavors to end before they got started, and possibly, be "shunned" by the magic community. "So-and-so" is a very well-known person in the magic community, but, I have never heard, read, been told, etc., by or from any source except one person, despite any of my research/questions, that he originated the slot application to the Okito box. It may very well have been him, but, I tend to think the slot application goes back a bit further in history.

I guess the point is that I'm glad I did it, but, I intended to fabricate as many as people wanted. But, a one time thing for a customer's own use, and, the originator was not making/selling them, and, patents are no longer issued for magic tricks without some new principle of science involved, I think the customer should ask the originator if it's ok to have one made for him, regardless of who is to fabricate it. A complaintent should have a pretty strong case, and as magic fabricators, we should be able to access easily the origins of most items through IBM, SAM, etc., and, not have to travel to a castle somewhere to dig up dusty manuscripts to find this information. That would be fun though!

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58 Posts

Profile of HCM
Good topic! I have, in the past, made products to a customer's specs, but I am more cautious doing that today. I have also been asked to reproduce existing products, both magic related and not. Almost always, when I get requests for something like this, it is because the original product was cheaply made or doesn't function as advertised. Other times, it is a product which is no longer being made. You must be really careful with these types of jobs, they can land you in a heap of trouble.

Personally, I have several old props that I use in my personal show which can no longer be found. I have hired machinists to make reproductions so I have a backup in case they are ever lost. I have never been asked for any sort of proof that the original product was mine. In fact, I specifically said that I needed a copy because they aren't' made any more.

When I get requests like this, I always err on the side of caution. All I can say is, do your homework before taking on a job like this, and have a contract as recommended by GaryLee if there is any doubt of the originality.
Joel Broock
High Caliber Magic, LLC
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Inner circle
of Hell because I've made
2589 Posts

Profile of thegreatnippulini
The prop is a simple giant hook. Hand forged hooks are made every day and are not claimable for copyright. Each hook I make is designed to fit the customer individually, so there is no "one-size-fits-all" device that I ripped off. It is, indeed, public domain for someone to repeat an act they've seen. I believe the perpetrator has more of a beef with other performers doing what he considers his signature act rather than myself... but it irked him enough I guess to contact me about it. Albeit in such a sneaky way...
The Great Nippulini: body piercer, Guinness World Record holder, blacksmith and man with The World's Strongest Nipples! Does the WORLD care? We shall see...
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