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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » Cutting off the nose to spite the face? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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meilechl
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I've seen some posts by and about magicians who've stated that they're not gonna release any of their new stuff for fear of being ripped off.

What's the point?

Let's assume that when an item is copied the originator loses 50% in revenue (it's probably a lot less but let's take a high figure). Is that not far less than losing 100% because you haven't released it?

In actual fact, even when items are ripped off it's generally done when the original item has faded away into oblivion or the subconcious. By that time the creator isn't earning much on his item anyway, so what does he have to lose?

I'm NOT in ANY WAY condoning stealing someone's effect, I'm just trying to understand the reasoning behind the reluctance of an inventor to release a new item.

Obviously when the item is a signature piece (ie. Statue of Liberty etc.) there exists another reason for not releasing it, but when the only reason is fear of eventually being undercut I don't think they've thought it through properly.
JimMaloney
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The financial aspect is only a small part of the equation.

A much greater part is the lack of respect shown to the creator.

-Jim
Books and Magazines for sale -- more than 200 items (Last updated January 17th, 2014. Link goes to public Google Doc.)
Jonathan Townsend
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How can you know what someone else is thinking unless they know themselves, and choose to tell you?
...to all the coins I've dropped here
kregg
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If you want to keep a secret, publish it!
POOF!
Jonathan Townsend
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That worked fine with Aristotle's Ethics. Over a thousand years old and still unknown.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Sk8rDave
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Quote:
On 2004-08-23 19:30, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
That worked fine with Aristotle's Ethics. Over a thousand years old and still unknown.

Hehe, good point Jonathan but that particular work by Aristotle is a bit more difficult than your average magic text. I believe that Nicomachaean Ethics was cobbled together by editors from various writings and lectures by Aristotle which is why it seems muddled at times.

Dave
Payne
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OK so what would you think if I undercut you and started to do half of your shows? what's the big deal? Your still making half as much as you used to.
Hey what if I break into your house and take half your stuff? You ought to be fine with that as I've left half your stuff behind out of the goodness of my heart.
When I create a new effect I just don't reach into a drawer and pull it out. No I have to work out all the bugs, make prototypes rework details hone and polish the material. All the rip off artists have to do is send one off to China or India to have it knocked off.
I might be able to produce a small run of items that I have to sell at a high price point to recoop my costs while Mr. Ripoff can make thousands and sell them for a pittance. Your 50% loss estimate then becomes moot.
Why should I bother to do all this work and effort for a 50% return on my investment of time and creatvity?
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
Peter Marucci
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Meilechl writes: ". . .when the only reason is fear of eventually being undercut I don't think they've thought it through properly."

Agreed.

And Gregg has it right, too, when he says: "If you want to keep a secret, publish it!"

Far too many performers put far too high a price on their alleged "creativity".

Suppose I invent, manufacture, and sell an item for $100.

Where does that figure come from? All too often, off the top of my head. So what's the difference if I sell it for $50? That figure, too, came off the top of my head. And neither figure reflects the true cost and value of the trick, just as what one charges for a show rarely reflects the true cost and value of the show (it's more often related to what the going rate is!)

So here's a solution: If you are selling a trick or a show, think to youself that it is worth TWICE what you are currently charging; then cut that figure in half (you are basically "undercutting" yourself). You now have a figure that is the same as before but to YOU it looks like a bargain!
meilechl
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Quote:
On 2004-08-24 00:39, Payne wrote:
OK so what would you think if I undercut you and started to do half of your shows? what's the big deal? Your still making half as much as you used to.

I would think that that's disgusting but what I would NOT do is sit at home and collect unemployment. The point you're making is that it's very wrong and I agree to that. It still doesn't mean that it isn't wothwhile.

Let's take a recent example: how many people do you think were still buying Linking Lifesavers? How much was the creator making off them (at this time)? So even though he loses some revenue now, was it not worth it for him to market LL? Bear in mind that the actual loss is nowhere near 50%.
JimMaloney
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Quote:
On 2004-08-24 15:07, meilechl wrote:
So even though he loses some revenue now, was it not worth it for him to market LL? Bear in mind that the actual loss is nowhere near 50%.

Read my post above. Most creators, as far as I can tell, don't release their stuff to make money. Yes, some do, but you're not gonna get rich selling magic tricks (with a few exceptions).

Creators more often release their items because they feel that they have something worthwhile to contribute to the magic community at large. But why should they bother sharing these items when the same community they are hoping to benefit turns around and slaps them in the face by ripping off their items and selling inferior versions to the masses?

If you keep biting the hand that feeds you, expect to starve.

-Jim
Books and Magazines for sale -- more than 200 items (Last updated January 17th, 2014. Link goes to public Google Doc.)
Patrick Differ
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It's interesting how magicians' verbage is shifting to describe the action of ripping off someone else's creation. The verb is "to penguin."

Peter Marucci says, "Far too many performers put far too high a price on their alleged 'creativity.'"

This one has me thinking. Too high a price, or too much value? Is there a difference? I want to publish a method of handling a Stripper deck that I believe to be knock out. I want to charge $500 for the information and I'll even throw a Stripper deck in with the instructions. Is this too high a price? Have I overvalued my handling? What price will the market bear? (a clue...)

I'm glad I'm not looking for any new material anymore. I'd feel bad if I bought a knock-off product and the guy that devised it didn't get his due. I'd be irked with those that sold it if they said it was authorized by the creator.

The creative minds in this field have these issues. To release, or not to release...
To release and risk all? Or to not release and be safe...That is the question. Either way, I agree.

...Patrick
Will you walk into my parlour? said the Spider to the Fly,
Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I've a many curious things to show when you are there.

Oh no, no, said the little Fly, to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair
-can ne'er come down again.
Peter Marucci
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MRD Friday writes: "Too high a price, or too much value? Is there a difference?"

There surely is!

Oscar Wilde refers to one of his characters as knowing "the price of everything and the value of nothing".

Price has very little to do with value, and vice versa.
Jonathan Townsend
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Price is what you are willing to exchange for a thing. Value is what you attach to a thing.

In a free market, on average, most items find their supply/demand equilibrium positions. Sort of an large scale price/value match.

I try NOT to factor dollars or adulation into considerations of items. Mostly commitment and magical effect.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Tom Cutts
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Quote:
"OK so what would you think if I undercut you and started to do half of your shows?"

I would think that that's disgusting

I see, so it is disgusting when you get ripped off, and just business when someone else gets ripped off.

That I find disgusting.

So, if your living in magic went from $50,000 to $25,000 you would just keep plugging away and starving as the bills went unpaid; being happy to make $25,000?

These guys release their material to share it with us, get credit for the material, and maybe make a little money. When a rip off product tries to sell itself as the same product but the quality of the product and routine does not live up to the originator's standards, it steals from both the creator and the person who purchased it. More recently these rip off items start much sooner cutting into the product before the costs of research and development have been recouped.

But what the real problem is, and has shown to be backed by example in the case of the latest problem manufacturer and retailer, is that these actions are the tip of the iceburg as far as improper business ethics. You can check http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......start=60 to find greater, more unilaterally agreeable examples of ripping off creators.

It will continue and grow worse until the comunity rises up to expell the problem... and if you aren't part of the solution, you ARE part of the problem.

Cheers,

Tom
meilechl
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Quote:
On 2004-08-27 13:40, Tom Cutts wrote:
Quote:
"OK so what would you think if I undercut you and started to do half of your shows?"

I would think that that's disgusting

I see, so it is disgusting when you get ripped off, and just business when someone else gets ripped off.

That I find disgusting.

So, if your living in magic went from $50,000 to $25,000 you would just keep plugging away and starving as the bills went unpaid; being happy to make $25,000?


First of all I don't know where you got that from anythhing I 've said or written. I think it's disgusting when anyone does it to anyone.

Secondly, What would the other option be? Not to work at all and starve to death (as opposed to earning less and tightning my belt?

Also there's a great difference between working for nothing and earning less than expected for a creation. As long as the cost of the item is covered anything earned is profit. even if the profit is less than it should have been it ius still more than nothing.
Tom Cutts
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If you think it is disgusting, then why are you searching to justify it. So you would just work for $25,000 and starve rather than look for another, more rewarding way to work. Suit yourself. Blind to you is the idea that these guys are stopping releasing their material to us but continue to perform for the public, the source of their real income. They aren't going on unemployment. They are just stopping their sharing ways. You know, like when your appartment gets broken into for the third time you put bars up. Or would you simply grin and bear it hoping that the guys who have your TV are enjoying all the great features and the hi-def technology.

Once the benefit of sharing their material is destroyed by those who do not respect the origintors, the creators will stop sharing openly. You simply wont see their work and they will remain busy working for the public.

You will be the only one who loses. You being the average guy who enjoys new material. It is your choice to destroy the flow of new, tested material.

But as I said that disgusts me.

Cheers,

Tom
meilechl
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Please read my original post.

Quote:
On 2004-08-23 18:14, meilechl wrote:
I'm NOT in ANY WAY condoning stealing someone's effect, I'm just trying to understand the reasoning behind the reluctance of an inventor to release a new item.


I'm not trying to justify it at all I'm just saying that it is still worth releasing effects.
Jonathan Townsend
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Worth what? And to whom?

Unfortunately, there is no collective organism called 'the community', all connected via the internet and a strong set of ethics. In many ways this is good. The strength of our community is its very diversity. Some will study Roth, and some will study Ramsay, all the while others wills study Downs. In cards, some will study Hofzinser, and others will study Marlo, and others will study Paul Harris. Each will find and present material as they see fit. The problem we ALL face is the economics of distributing magic commercially. The legal protections of copyright and patent do not protect the material. Neither do the trade secrets acts nor similar existing tools. The economic cost/benefit for a suit to protect a work in magic is simply a lose/lose affair. Yet all the while, the extreme investment needed to make a NEW work performable, then manufactured... is very costly.

Those who invent the stuff are more than welcome to communicate with those who respect the inventions and those who both respect the inventions and also invent material.

The rest... seem to buy knock-offs which can effectively make offering stuff to the public via distributors less than interesting and very painful.

I would like to see the classic texts in print and readily available in consumer editions for the student, and also in collectors editions for the collector. Same for most of the works ever manufactured. We are probably in agreement about wanting things to be available. I just have a problem when those who wish to sell are not working with those who invent the stuff they want to sell.
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Tom Cutts
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Quote:
I'm just saying that it is still worth releasing effects.

And they (who actually create the effects) are telling you it is not. You lose.
meilechl
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Quote:
On 2004-08-28 23:23, Tom Cutts wrote:
Quote:
I'm just saying that it is still worth releasing effects.

And they (who actually create the effects) are telling you it is not. You lose.

What do I lose? Is it some kind of war or competition? All I did was ask a simple question while bringing the suporting facts. My question was 'What's the point?' If, like some pointed out, it's a case of respect I can understand the reasoning. But if the reasons are only financial I'd like to hear from someone who's done the actual mathematics of the deal and worked out that it's a loss.

Again, Tom, I'm asking a question - not attacking or condoning theft. Please, if you can, explain why it's not financially worth releasing an effect.
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