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oldmagic009
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After being away from magic for many years I find the impact of the internet and the use of DVD's to be incredibly refreshing, educational and at the same time a bit scary if you happen to be someone who invents magic. Although this forum has certainly discussed the topic I wish to talk about, I hope those interested in this subject will indulge me by discussing them again.

I sense some anger and disgust (rightfully in many cases) in some of the forum's threads regarding people using and / or selling effects without seeking or obtaining permission from the magicians who originated the trick. I wish to pose some hypothetical questions regarding this problem:

1. What effects can or should be copyrighted or patented. As posted previously in a different thread most of us know (or should know) the differences between utility patents, design patents, and copyrights yet some seem to blur the distinction with the result being perhaps misguided accusations regarding what someone has the right to do.

2. If an effect has appeared in some previous publication that is out of copyright, does it's re-packaging on a DVD require disclosing it's originator. If I choose to produce my own DVD must I site the previous DVD and/or the old publication that is out of copyright.

3. How do we know who actually originated a particular effect in the first place. Copyrights relate to how an idea is presented ... the actual idea cannot be copyrighted. I see some get angry over this very issue and I wonder why.

4. An effect has been granted a patent recently for a trick / puzzle that has been in the public domain for years. Why is this so ... please go to Google's patent section and type in 7377855 and see if that item appears familiar to you ... ask yourself why in the world did the US Patent Office grant a patent on that puzzle. I think I'll put together a Squared Circle and file a patent on it, then hope the Patent Office issues me a patent and then I'll sue everyone who “stole” my idea.

5. Am I entitled to claim an effect and its presentation as mine, if the only thing I did differently was to “turn my hand slightly left” when showing a card to the audience ... while another magician's performance had him “turn his hand about 1 inch left”. Sounds silly but you can find DVD performances that are only slightly different than previous performances shown originally in books published by Dover Press for example in 1990.

6. Can I modify an unpatented gimmick just slightly by perhaps using a thinner material or cut the gimmick's corner at 35 degrees rather than 45 degrees ... and call it mine?

I know some of my questions and examples are a bit over the top but I believe that magic truly epitomizes the notion that .... “everything old is new again” ... there are very few “new” ideas ... only new “presentations” of those ideas.

Your thoughts ... thanks
Bob Campbell
Jim Sparx
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Jim Sparx
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I got the red snapper in my first magic set, A C Gilbert I think, 1947.
If you have another method for the square circle, go for it. I've seen it catalogs from the 1930s so if you try and patent that I doubt if it would work because its a public domain thing. Really does not take much thinking for another way to load the thing.
You can improve anything patented with different material or method but you have to prove to the patent examiner that yours is unique and you also have to cite all the similar patents. But I don't think you could get away with a trick that uses threads and substitute wires, or cutting an edge off of something already patented and call it yours.
You can't patent body movements.
Patent attorneys, bless their hearts, live in a world totally oblivious to what we do and think, and it would be pretty hard to get something by them (fool them). So if you try to put something on the market as your own that is similar to what is already out there - you would go to China Magic or India. I do think they respect American and British patents or subscribe to a world patent agreement
Dougini
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WOW! Smile

Thank you Spartacus! That is a VERY useful site! I saved it as a favorite! Smile

Doug
Jim Sparx
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"I do think they respect American and British patents or subscribe to a world patent agreement"

That should be "I DON't think they respect... etc etc.
Stucky
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I think a good rule is to make sure you give credits as part of the history of the genesis of an effect for sure. Especially on stuff that might be out of print or past the common use of copyright law. There is a point you can just drive yourself nuts trying to over credit.
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gdw
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There is a lot to be said for crediting, and history, and getting permission, even if just out of respect, which, IMHO, is actually the only valid reason. If you don't want people doing certain things with your ideas, then maybe don't put them out there. Just a thought.
What's the difference between someone butchering an effect/routine you released, and them "sharing" it with others?
It's amazing, people will criticize you for "biting the hand that feeds you," while they're busy praising the hand that beats them.

"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one."

I won't forget you Robert.
HCM
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I did not know the snapper illusion was patented recently. I am surprised to see that! As for the rest of the questions, it is a highly heated debate. I just found this forum today, and am really surprised at how many threads there are in it. To me, there are only two ways to go about it.

1) If it's legal, go for it.
2) If it's someone else's, get permission

My thoughts share a bit from #1 and #2. I think if you have to ask yourself if it's wrong, it probably is.

When I got involved with magic, there were no DVDs or youtube. We had VHS tapes, but books were the primary place to learn magic from, other than from other magicians. My mentor taught me to respect other magicians, and that the magic brotherhood had an old world sort of respect you don't find anywhere else. With the new technology, things are changing really fast and the morals have gone out the window. I will continue to respect magicians the way I always have.
Joel Broock
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Jonathan Townsend
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Not that arguing in circles, offering personal anecdotes and demonstrating ones veneration of Mavis Beacon does not have its own merits as entertainment...

If you can slow down the typing and rationalizing a little... you'll eventually get to the related notions of courtesy and potential reciprocation.

And if you have the self-confidence to reflect on the matter - some awareness of the emotional components set into play when openly selling a product that is also branded as "secret". If you go back to the old TV ads for that product you can find a quick install cure for that problem. Smile
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Jonathan Townsend
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Guess I'm in a good mood today - so getting back to the OPs (leading) questions:

What do you think of David Graeber's position on money in society as discussed in his book Debt - The First Five Thousand Years? (read that as secrets in magic if you need).
...to all the coins I've dropped here
oldmagic009
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Quote:
On 2012-03-25 14:43, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Not that arguing in circles, offering personal anecdotes and demonstrating ones veneration of Mavis Beacon does not have its own merits as entertainment...

If you can slow down the typing and rationalizing a little... you'll eventually get to the related notions of courtesy and potential reciprocation.

And if you have the self-confidence to reflect on the matter - some awareness of the emotional components set into play when openly selling a product that is also branded as "secret". If you go back to the old TV ads for that product you can find a quick install cure for that problem. Smile

Was this post intended for me?
Jonathan Townsend
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The post about David Graeber and Debt was intended to forward the dialog. The other post was aimed at the larger dialog about the market in magic. Sidebars to a person rather than a position usually go via PM.

BTW, patents don't usually serve the magic market due to the extensive prior art. Scripts and blocking may be find some protection if protected as plays - as per Teller with his "Shadows" etc.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
oldmagic009
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Quote:
On 2012-03-25 14:43, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Not that arguing in circles, offering personal anecdotes and demonstrating ones veneration of Mavis Beacon does not have its own merits as entertainment...

If you can slow down the typing and rationalizing a little... you'll eventually get to the related notions of courtesy and potential reciprocation.

And if you have the self-confidence to reflect on the matter - some awareness of the emotional components set into play when openly selling a product that is also branded as "secret". If you go back to the old TV ads for that product you can find a quick install cure for that problem. Smile

I know who Mavis Beacon is but her name in reference to this discussion escapes me ... must be my meds, sorry
Jonathan Townsend
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What meds enable one to believe Mavis Beacon is a person? Do they also work for Better Crocker?

Yes it's pertinant as they are both owned fictions. Smile
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oldmagic009
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She is indeed a model named Renee L'Esperance whose picture was used on the software package and she has become known to her friends and family as Mavis Beacon (sometimes misspelled Bacon) ... it's just that your references we so obtuse ... skip it.
Jonathan Townsend
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Others have hinted about ethics in a market that does not uniformly or consistantly enforce its openly stated rules.

I was going to post something about novelty versus the risks of exploring the platonic fold but ... skip it.

We're getting to something intersting: There are meds which in the minds of the audience, effectively conflate actors and the roles they play long after the fact and do so to such an extent that someone under the influence would defend such a position in public. Astouding! Did Harry Potter learned how to sing when he took a job in the mailroom?
...to all the coins I've dropped here
oldmagic009
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Quote:
On 2012-03-27 17:10, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Others have hinted about ethics in a market that does not uniformly or consistantly enforce its openly stated rules.

I was going to post something about novelty versus the risks of exploring the platonic fold but ... skip it.

We're getting to something intersting: There are meds which in the minds of the audience, effectively conflate actors and the roles they play long after the fact and do so to such an extent that someone under the influence would defend such a position in public. Astouding! Did Harry Potter learned how to sing when he took a job in the mailroom?


?
Jonathan Townsend
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In logic there's a form of fallacy called tu quoque (you too) which amounts to dismissing an argument by way of an ad hominem attack. A minor variation could be expressed as: I've seen others do it and not get busted so why should I/you not condonne it?. IMHO that's close to the OP in a nutshell.

On the more positive side: one can define an ethos by: what gets rewarded. Simiarly one can define an expressed ethos as: What is spoken of and taught as 'the good' or right. One can then start to gage the state of cultural affairs by the difference between those two.
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oldmagic009
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Johnathen: you lost me.
rmann
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@oldmagic009 At the risk of getting myself into a quagmire...I think what Jonathan was saying was that you can judge the true state of a culture by looking at the difference between what they SAY and what is DONE AND REWARDED. Case in point: society says taking someone elses idea, calling it your own and selling it as such is wrong. But when a person does so, they are not prosecuted and indeed, make lots of money, and people respect them anyway. In effect, they (society/culture) says one thing and does another.

Magic is I think, relatively unique, as Jonathan had said in a previous post in that the "extensive prior art" makes it difficult to truly come up with something different. One book I read awhile ago outlined several components of card tricks and suggested that you could choose variations to 'build your own' effect. The building blocks were there to literally build thousands of effects using one of several forces, using various false shuffles, different endings, etc.. In the same way you can build other effects. Are these truly original? Or are they in some sense prior art?

I have an effect I 'invented' and use which is based on an old, tried and true technique. It is used with a unique niche audience (close-up, gospel magic) and the patter and presentation is mine alone. It uses a prop which mimics a much larger one marketed by someone else. If I were to market this effect would it be truly original? No. Would it infringe on any patents? I doubt it. Would the marketing of it without consulting the maker of the larger prop be ethical? Therein lies the question.
_



Pastor Ray Mann

Champlain Valley Church of the Nazarene

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"...to Him who alone does great wonders, His love endures forever." Ps 136:4
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