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Matt Adams
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I'm working on updating the definitions page of the Illusion Repository. While we do not have commonly agreed upon and commonly accepted guidelines for when an illusion passes into public domain, I felt we should at least have a "no-brainer" - some guidelines that are non-debatable.

So here they are:

1) The creator has passed away
2) The creator didn't indicate who should hold the rights after his passing
3) Over 40 years have passed since the illusion was first introduced or patented
4) The illusion was exposed publicly on a large scale (such as published in a book or the method was exposed on television)

If ALL these have been met - the illusion should be considered definitively to have passed into public domain.

Thoughts?
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Matt Adams
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PS - this purpose of this post is to define guidelines for the "no-longer-debatable" illusions that are clearly public domain.

This started with the research into IMPALED.

Impaled was created by Ken Whitaker about 40 years ago. He's passed away and didn't indicate a specific person who should hold the rights upon his passing. There WERE recommended builders for the illusion, but those rights didn't pass to any one of them (as far as I've been informed). Furthermore, the illusion was exposed by the Masked Moron.

Thus this illusion has now fallen into public domain (although you'd be close to crazy to try to build it yourself unless you are extremely experienced).

By the way - this does NOT mean the specific designs are public domain...just the main effect. Many of the variations are still exclusively licensed to performers.
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Matt Adams
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Here's the link to the "definitions" page:

http://www.illusionrepository.com/definitions/

And here's the link to Impaled:

http://www.illusionrepository.com/reposi......-belief/
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euroillusion
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Actually, I think it was Les Levante who conceived and performed the original impaled. But Ken Whittaker invented the modern mechanics of the illusion.

Best to check with Craig Browning as he worked with them. They likely built Ayala's version as well.
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euroillusion, that's why Matt's first sentence about Impaled in the link says, "Les Levante created an original Impaled illusion that is no longer performed."
"You know some of you are laughin', but there's people here tryin' to learn. . ." -Pop Haydn

"I know of no other art that proclaims itself 'easy to do.'" -Master Payne

Ezekiel the Green
Matt Adams
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Les Levante DID perform an impaled, but it worked differently than Ken's. But that's not the point of this posting.

But good idea on checking with Craig.
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reynold
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The fact the masked moron exposes an illusion doesn't mean is public domain. Bacause the creator did not approve the exposure.

Thanks,
reynold
Matt Adams
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Quote:
On 2013-04-30 21:26, reynold wrote:
The fact the masked moron exposes an illusion doesn't mean is public domain. Bacause the creator did not approve the exposure.

Thanks,
reynold


Agree. But that's why there are 3 other points. Smile
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DavidThomas
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What about Zig Zag? According to your guidelines it is not public domain? Twister? The same is true. Mis Made Lady? My confusion is all builders claim to be the only "authorized" builders of certain illusions. But will build a the above listed illusions anytime.
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Chezaday
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Sounds like this might get interesting ...

Steve
Matt Adams
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Quote:
On 2013-05-01 10:16, DavidThomas wrote:
What about Zig Zag? According to your guidelines it is not public domain? Twister? The same is true. Mis Made Lady? My confusion is all builders claim to be the only "authorized" builders of certain illusions. But will build a the above listed illusions anytime.


No Dave, just because an illusion does not meet all 4 requirements does not mean it can't also be public domain. In other words, an illusion may meet NONE of the requirements and still be considered public domain (for instance - the creator could say, "This is now public domain...have fun").

The point is for illusions that DO meet all four requirements...they should be considered public domain - easy and with no debates. Make sense?

For instance, while Zig Zag and Twister both meet some of the four requirements, neither illusion meets all four. However, zig zag is widely considered to be in public domain because 3 of the four requirements were met (the one not met is the fact Harbin passed rights to the Magic Circle upon his death). However, it's certainly ok for one to build if you own the book - Magic of Robert Harbin. However, if you don't own the book, it doesn't meet all four requirements, BUT most people would consider it to be public domain now. BUT - that is where we need to have a good ole discussion with some of the top minds in magic where we can try to hash out some details as to what constitutes public domain rights.

Twister was also knocked off in a big way like zig zag, but plans have not been published formally by Franz Harary (or Mark Kornhauser for that matter). It HAS been widely exposed, but that is technically the only "requirement" that has been satisfied of the 4. But again, that doesn't necessarily mean it shouldn't be considered public domain - just that it's not AUTOMATICALLY considered PD. In the case of Twister, widespread theft alone doesn't mean something becomes PD. Therefore, the Illusion Repository's official stand for Twister is that it's protected and that rights should be paid to Franz Harary. That said, Franz may forgo payment and give his blessing to individuals who ask out of respect, but that's up to him to decide. Just because people have been stealing it forever doesn't make it right for others to continue in like fashion.

Yep, a little sticky at times - especially until we have a standardized set of rules in place that people can start following - even at personal cost. For instance, if someone has a Twister that they've built, knowing it's a protected illusion, they should simply email Franz and ask if it's ok for them to continue using the Twister. I think it'd be nice to offer to pay rights, but again - that's up to Franz if he wants to wave them or not. It's his illusion. That's how it can hurt "individuals." How it can hurt the creators/rights-owners - Personally, I think Magic Circle should relinquish "rights" to Harbin's Zig Zag. It's SO old, the creator has passed, they aren't being paid anyway for rights, it's been published, it's been widely exposed and also widely knocked off (which doesn't make it right on its own). SO...it's basically public domain even if you DON'T own the book - so they should just say that and appease the community. That's how it "hurts" an organization.

But how it HELPS is that now we start abiding by a standard set of rules - a set that everyone can follow without question. Then when someone decides to start breaking those rules (like knocking off Origami), things are much more clear. I propose that knockoffs (in general) will greatly decrease when we can have an established standard.

So these four requirements are the first step - the "easy to live by, no-brainer, no-excuses" set of rules for when something officially becomes PD. Again, it CAN become PD before all of these are met...but at the very latest, once these are met it should be considered PD with no more questions.

Make sense? Thoughts on that position?
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Matt Adams
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I may shoot Franz a message, in fact, regarding Twister. He's pretty much given that illusion up anyway. I bet he might be ok with it being considered PD for the community. I'll let you know.
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JamesinLA
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I agree that public exposure should not be a criteria of public domain at all.

Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
Matt Adams
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Quote:
On 2013-05-01 14:20, JamesinLA wrote:
I agree that public exposure should not be a criteria of public domain at all.

Jim


I need to think about this a bit more too. I certainly agree that just because people have exposed an illusion in a book or on TV doesn't mean it should be PD. But my point is that it can be a safe "fourth check." I guess the question becomes - are the other three points sufficient on their own for determining conclusively that an illusion is PD? If it has NOT been exposed, can the other three checks conclusively decide an illusion is PD?

Remember, our goal in the definitions is to find a "lower boundary" if you will. A boundary line that, once crossed, there's no more debate.

That's why it's not a sufficient condition on its own. But it does seem to be a precedent - one we've seen in the past hundred years. Once the cat is out of the bag, it's tough to put that cat back in! (I really do understand it's a fine line of arguing there - because having widespread public exposure is never ok...but it does seem to help illusions cross the PD boundary more quickly because inventors typically go on to other ideas once their illusion has been exposed.)
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DavidThomas
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I still find it difficult to buy into this theory. Either we are to have a "code of ethics" that we agree to abide by or not. Harbin was very clear about his wishes. The rights were passed onto the Magic Circle. Just because Fantz has given up, does not mean he feels "Twister was his and got ripped off." Mis Made? Zimmerman base?

But there is an out cry when some illusions are infringed and the above are not. Plus there are lots of other examples of illusions, stage, platform and close-up.

I feel strongly these should be included on the list of protected illusions as well as many others.
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Matt Adams
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Quote:
On 2013-05-01 14:55, DavidThomas wrote:
I still find it difficult to buy into this theory.


Hey David, which theory are we referencing? Sorry, got lost for bit there...

Quote:
On 2013-05-01 14:55, DavidThomas wrote:
Either we are to have a "code of ethics" that we agree to abide by or not. Harbin was very clear about his wishes. The rights were passed onto the Magic Circle.


Agree - which is why you should technically own the book to have the rights to build it. But it is still public domain because it was published (that's the definition) - BUT that definition means simply that anyone who owns the book has the right to build it...that is not a blanket statement allowing ANYONE to build. I firmly believe you should own the book if you are going to build/sell it because Magic Circle has not "given up the rights" - whether they should is another matter. And I believe they should for reasons mentioned above, but it's their right not to. I think it's a bit silly since they aren't receiving the fees anyway.

Quote:
On 2013-05-01 14:55, DavidThomas wrote:
Just because Fantz has given up, does not mean he feels "Twister was his and got ripped off."


Sorry, confused by this statement. Sounded as if you didn't think Twister was created by Franz. You can read up on the background here:
http://www.illusionrepository.com/repository/329/twister/
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illusionman2
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Matt: I think you should make it clear that you are talking about ethical public domain not legal.

Legal is

1.You protect it with patent or copyright ect. It goes to Public domain when this runs out.
2. You don't protect and it LEGALLY is public domain.
DavidThomas
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Sorry Matt for the confusion. The "theory" I object to is excluding some illusions and not others.

In my opinion Zig Zag should be on the protection list as Harbin was very clear on what his intentions were. I do agree Frantz should be credited with the Twister and until he gives up all rights it should be on the list. Mis Made Lady has not to my knowledge been released by Chuck Jones. Dick Zimmerman sold rights for the "Zimmerman Base" which I purchased rights to over 20 years ago and has not released it. Blammo? Mini Cube Zag, the list goes on and on. As a community we come down hard on some and then give a complete pass to others.

Just because it has been stolen over and over and/or the inventor has given up trying to protect their creations does not in my opinion make it "Public Domain"

For the Illusion Repository to be complete, then I feel all these and many others need to be listed as protected.
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Matt Adams
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Oh gotcha. Thanks for that. Yes, I am more of a purist as well. However, in the case of zigzag, it was published and is considered public domain. That is the very definition of public domain when an illusion is released to the public for anyone to build (as long as they have the book). Granted, it's not public domain in the sense that some people are trying to use that term – meaning that anyone can buy and sell without any stipulations.

But as far as the illusion repository is concerned, the easiest way to keep things separate is to have two forums: protected and public domain. When an effect is published, it's considered public domain and users are then required to buy the book if they wish to build the illusion (unless otherwise specified) - but that's just it, many builders and creators have different stipulations for people to be able to build their illusions. So it wouldn't make a lot of sense to list all of those as separate categories. It's definitely easiest to list them all as public domain, with stipulations. But I haven't gotten around to all of the things that you listed yet!… Still just one man working on a big idea!

I talked with Franz this afternoon, we have a phone call set up for this weekend to talk a little bit more about it. Will keep you all posted.
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Matt Adams
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Quote:
On 2013-05-01 17:21, illusionman2 wrote:
Matt: I think you should make it clear that you are talking about ethical public domain not legal.

Legal is

1.You protect it with patent or copyright ect. It goes to Public domain when this runs out.
2. You don't protect and it LEGALLY is public domain.


Correct
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