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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Right or Wrong? » » Ethics question: reverse engineering a trick (9 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

splunge
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Hi all! I hope this is the right place for this post. I posted elsewhare until I found this section.

I was in my local magic shop (The Magic Warehouse in Maryland) and the owner showed me a new effect. I was able to correctly deduce how it was done and was able to adapt a gimmick I ahve to essentially replicate it. I'm a pediatrician and perform for my aptients and my own amusement, not making any money off th hobby. What are the ethics around this situation. I would like to perform it and will make no claims to originality, will not reveal the method, and would never sell it.

I appreciate peolple's thoughts.
Fedora
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If it's a marketed effect than the performance rights is
something you get when you buy it.

Sometimes effects are public domain, usually old effects or
effects made up of standard moves.

If it was a product for sale with a name, it's performance rights
is probably owned by someone and given as part of the sale.

This doesn't stop some folks from doing it anyway.
Tom Cutts
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Cutting through the usual smoke screens in topics like this... Does the shop owner deserve to make a little something for showing you the trick? Does the trick’s creator deserve a little something for coming up with the idea, refining it, packaging it, marketing it, and distributing it?
jim ferguson
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If it's a marketed trick or in a book, and you want to perform it, why not just buy it ?



Jim
funsway
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I guess that after parents see what you do with their kids, they can go home and try it for themselves. No reason to pay your bill.
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splunge
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Thanks for the input everyone. I'm wrestling with the dilemma: I would not pay $75 for this trick, clever as it is. Do I try to value the experience of having the trick shown to me by the store owner and the value of the idea of the creator and send them a check? Do I amuse myself with this and not show it to anyone? Do I show it to a coworker or 2 and a few patients, making no money and potentially interesting a kid or 2 in pursuing the hobby? I try to be ethical in my dealings.

Funsway: not a valid comparison as a) I always try to educate my parents to take care of their kids and freely share my medical knowlege and b) most of healthcare is capitated so I don't sell tickets to my office for the most part. That being said, point taken!

Pardon my ignorance, but what exactly is "performance rights"? Seriously, not being snarky.
Fedora
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Sure, performance rights is the right to show a specific work in public,
for example, I can buy a dvd and watch it in private, just me and some acquaintances,
but I couldn't show it in a theater.

Usually when someone releases an effect to the public it's usually assumed they'll perform
it publicly, but some folks will still claim the performance rights under certain
circumstances, most notably tv, which is often negotiated separately.

I'm not a lawyer.
Tom Cutts
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Here is an avenue to resolve your dilemma. Frequent the shop and purchase other effects which better fit your needs. Contact the originator of the effect you want simulate. Explain your solution and ask if he is OK with you performing that non professionally. If he is not OK, honor that. More likely you will have immediate respect from the guy and he will share with you more information about the routine as it may pertain to what you are trying to do.
gregg webb
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It means you can perform the trick in public, but not sell it or teach it or manufacture it.
Mike that tries magic
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A bit of an old question now so maybe you have answered your question already but, my input would be - why are you asking?
Do you just want to know what others think, or you took this trick and you feel bad?

If you took it and you feel bad, then I would say you are in a way answering your own question.

I'm not sure on a legal stand point - I'm sure others would help you there. But from a moral one, I think only you can decide if you find it unethical.

Personally I feel a few things in magic are a bit unethical so I’d probably not worry about it.

But that's me and everyone's different.
Julie
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As in other facets of life, if it initially "feels wrong" to you, it probably is...

Julie
Ray Pierce
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What an honest question to bring up. As a long term magician, I can frequently reverse engineer an effect. Sometimes I do it just as an exercise. On the other hand, if I have ANY intention of performing the effect for anyone, I will typically pay for the effect. The person that came up with it (and in turn gave me the presentational inspiration) deserves that.
Ray Pierce
UnbiasedMagicReviews
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Quote:
On May 10, 2022, splunge wrote:
Hi all! I hope this is the right place for this post. I posted elsewhare until I found this section.

I was in my local magic shop (The Magic Warehouse in Maryland) and the owner showed me a new effect. I was able to correctly deduce how it was done and was able to adapt a gimmick I ahve to essentially replicate it. I'm a pediatrician and perform for my aptients and my own amusement, not making any money off th hobby. What are the ethics around this situation. I would like to perform it and will make no claims to originality, will not reveal the method, and would never sell it.

I appreciate peolple's thoughts.


Always great to see another physician on here! There is nothing wrong with reverse engineering an effect. If someone doesn't want their effect reverse engineered, then they shouldn't be selling it or posting it online. It's funny to hear people get upset that someone is reverse engineering a performance they saw but have no issues with well-known magicians that are throwing away magic secrets they didn't invent or come up with on youtube for clicks, subs, and extra income. Make no mistake - it's all about money. If magicians really respected the art they would ban/ostracize these well known magicians who are throwing away magic on youtube - but instead they are best friends with them.
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Mad Jake
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Save yourself some time and money, simply go to YouTube and jump on Craig Petty's channel, he exposes everything quite blatantly. I don't see how someone can expose other creator's effects and be a VIP on the Café. And then he has the stones to do 45min. rants on exposure when he's one of the biggest on YouTube. Craig should have stayed under the rock he was hiding under for all those years.
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Jonathan Townsend
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If you want to do a trick you are better off learning the ins and outs from the person who invented and/or built it. Never mind how it's done. You still need to carry it around, set it up, watch out for what can go wrong, find a way to continue after the trick, and put things away. And... what to do when a VIP rushes over with someone they insist would love to see that trick.

And when it comes to practical construction... whole different layer of craft. So please be respectful to those who design and build working magic items.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
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