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Topic: Magic Books and the Public Domain
Message: Posted by: Magic-FX (Jun 4, 2006 02:38PM)
Does anyone know about Public Domain Works?

I have been a member of The Learned Pig Project for a while now, and they do kind of explain what Public Domain is - I mean I know that they are basically books with no copyright. However other than their word for it is there any way to check?

Does anyone know of a list of Public Domain Magic Books, as TLP don't have all of them on there? I know of at least one book: They don't have "Modern Coin Magic" which is in the PD.

Would appreciate any help that can be given to quench my thirst for ongoing knowledge!

Scotty
Message: Posted by: airship (Jun 5, 2006 11:15AM)
'Public Domain' used to be a lot simpler concept, before the Disney Corporation got the law changed because Mickey Mouse was about to slip away from them.

For a relatively simple summary of the public domain status of various works under current U.S. copyright law, check out the table at:

http://www.copyright.cornell.edu/training/Hirtle_Public_Domain.htm
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jun 6, 2006 11:28AM)
While the text of the books are in the legal public domain, the secrets behind the magic are not. They were, are and really do need to stay in our domain of magicdom.

It is simply unseemly to introduce the mechanics of guile to our potential audiences.
Message: Posted by: Tom Bartlett (Jun 6, 2006 11:58AM)
Jonathan,

I do wish there was a way to keep the secrets behind the magic from being sold to the general public, but no court anywhere would or could keep this information from being printed or reprinted. Many of these rare books are bringing record prices, so it seems. No matter what they pay, it's nothing compared to the profit of selling the reprint and it’s their to do so.


Posted: Jun 6, 2006 2:29pm
-----------------------------------------
Jonathan,

I think most magicians keep the secret, it's in their best interest, but we are not the problem. The problem is like this: Henry Ford knew there would be more money selling millions of cars to the masses, while the elite rich wanted to keep the auto limited and only for themselves. But with a free market it was not possible.

The people buying these rare manuscripts and selling the reprints, are not selling to the magicians, there is no money in it and that’s why most magic shops go out of business unless they are selling to any and all. You would have to admit that even the cheapest made novelty like the $5.00 finger chopper exposes the secret.

It would take someone of infinite wealth to buy up every rare book and magic item that comes up for sale and then the price would just be driven up and put these things in a value range that would not allow the wise to even keep the book for themselves. I certainly could not afford to keep a book someone else was willing to pay $100,000 dollars or more for. Could you?

Respectfully,
Tom Bartlett
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jun 9, 2006 05:49PM)
Tom, folks

Magic is unlike [b]any[/b] other craft.
What it offers depends upon secrets.
When the secret is known, the magic is gone.

Please understand this and help others with this understanding.

:)
Message: Posted by: CJRichard (Jun 9, 2006 09:12PM)
What about new books, Jonathan? How is anyone supposed to learn this craft?

Back in the 70's I bought a Dover reprint of Henry Hay's Cyclopedia of magic, originally published in the '40s. I found it in a local bookstore. It's a treasure trove for anyone interested in magic. I bought a water damaged Dunninger's Complete Encyclopedia of Magic in 1973 at the store. (I wrote my name and the date in it when I bought.)

The original material of both of these was probably in the public domain when the newer publishing houses reprinted them. They were available to the general public. But I sincerely doubt anybody besides magic geeks like me was buying them.

When I took Mark Wilson's course out of the local library a couple of weeks ago, I'd be willing to bet I was the first person in a year to borrow it.

There are always going to be some folks like William Poundstone who try to access "Big Secrets," and publish them, but the vast majority of the general public never sees that stuff. TV and internet exposure might be greater than printed books, but I think a heck of a lot more folks are using the internet to find Red Hot Lovin' College Babes than to find out how sponge rabbits multiply.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jun 9, 2006 09:42PM)
The books out there are [b]all[/b] essentially in the public domain. Even the newbies here have likely found the p2p sites and learned how to get those files. Magic [b]used[/b] to be the leading edge in technology. Today some in magic appear to be mired in puzzles solved long ago and dumpster diving for material that became obsolete (or impertinent) back when folks stopped carrying silver dollars and wearing hats.

In direct answer to your questions about how;

How to learn magic? Find a magician and ask.

How to get your hands on the good stuff in magic? Become trustworthy and ask the inventor and/or manufacturer.

Very simple process. Most in magic want to see more magic in the world and likewise want the magic out there to be of highest quality.

Trustworthy? Right. Part of that is keeping secrets.
Message: Posted by: CJRichard (Jun 9, 2006 10:38PM)
I certainly understand your strong feelings about this Jonathan, but there's still an area I'm fuzzy on.

Posted in a sticky note, I think, maybe in the New to Magic forum there's a question on best books to use for getting started in magic, or some such. Many many people recommend the Amateur Magician's Handbook, by "Henry Hay." Back in the '60s when I was a kid, this was in our local library. It isn't anymore, but it is in several of the larger libraries in the area. Google turns up that it's available through Amazon.

You seem to feel that there should be no "how to" books on magic published at all. Or if they are published they should only be available. . . where? In magic shops? Can't anyone in the world walk into Hank Lee's and buy a book?

I haven't seen a comic book in ages, and I don't know if the new ones have ads like the ones I used to see for the Abracadabra magic catalog. (Yes I got one.) I seem to recall I subscribed to Genii after seeing an ad in Boy's Life. (Well Scouts are trustworthy after all, so maybe that was the key.) So I was twelve or thirteen and reading stuff by Dai Vernon.

Asking a magician wasn't too easy in pre-internet days. There was one old guy around here, who performed at my elementary school. After the shows, he sold ball vases and pens that squirted vanishing ink. A kid maybe could have learned the dove pan from him, but that doesn't take a whole lot of tutoring.

Even today it's not easy. A relatively well know magician lives across town from me. I've known him since high school. We even performed on the same bill ages ago when was performing puppetry and he was doing torn and restored newspaper. A year or two ago, my wife wanted to write a profile on him to publish is the hometown magazine we publish. After two months of phone tag between his gigs and one appointment canceled at the last minute, we gave up. I doubt a youngster with an interest in magic is going to get too far. And knowing this guy, he'd probably say, "Hey kid, haven't you heard of the internet?"

I think magicians should keep the magic magic. But if it's kept too tightly under lock and key, there might not be as many new magicians coming along to keep the art alive.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jun 12, 2006 12:09PM)
[quote]
On 2006-06-09 23:38, CJRichard wrote:...I think magicians should keep the magic magic. But if it's kept too tightly under lock and key, there might not be as many new magicians coming along to keep the art alive.
[/quote]

The art of magic will live so long as we can feel awe, enjoy surprises, emotionally process situations via metaphors and mysteries and likewise support entertainers who choose to bring them to audiences.

Beyond mere retail considerations, what use is a flock of wand waving neophytes who don't believe in magic and who likewise seek to do magic TO people instead of FOR people? What use is there in offering the mechanics of delight to those who seek out guile as an interpersonal crutch or as a tent post for a circus which admits no audiences?

Those who listen to the particular muse of magic will seek out resources to make magic whether it's compiled in how-to cookbooks or offered in bits from those who entertain or collect such things.
Message: Posted by: CJRichard (Jun 12, 2006 10:32PM)
[quote]
On 2006-06-12 13:09, Jonathan Townsend wrote:

Those who listen to the particular muse of magic will seek out resources to make magic whether it's compiled in how-to cookbooks or offered in bits from those who entertain or collect such things.

[/quote]

Agreed. But I seriously doubt that very many others actively seek out those resources. Certainly not on any level that's even close to ruining magic.

And I think that some of those who think they might be hearing the muse of magic could get frustrated and give up if they couldn't find a single book in their public library or buy a magic set in their toy store.

I don't think the millions of children around the world who have owned, and fully understand the workings of, and waved their neophyte wands over a plastic ball vase are any less awed by a good magic show.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jun 14, 2006 08:51AM)
[quote]
On 2006-06-12 23:32, CJRichard wrote:
[quote]
On 2006-06-12 13:09, Jonathan Townsend wrote:

Those who listen to the particular muse of magic will seek out resources to make magic whether it's compiled in how-to cookbooks or offered in bits from those who entertain or collect such things.

[/quote]

Agreed. But I seriously doubt that very many others actively seek out those resources. Certainly not on any level that's even close to ruining magic. ...[/quote]

Beyond pandering to the misguided gropings of wannabees as cashcows, what does it matter to magicdom if those who have neither love of magic nor a desire to entertain audiences find resources to abuse?

The mechanics of guile offers little more than justification for bitter cynicism to most who are not listening to that particular muse.

The symbol of the ball and vase is potent. Do you understand how little the ball and vase means to muggles. If you take the time to pull out the meaning... then there is something to discuss. Do you want to discuss?

Do you want the magic or just the knowledge of the clever toys?
Message: Posted by: landmark (Jun 14, 2006 04:03PM)
Jonathan,

Very few enter into an art fully formed.

People mature, goals mature, insight and skill are gained. Or not.

But really, let's respect the process that most people need to go through (including narcissism!)--though it's not always pretty.

Who is to say what the proper path should be? Lots of roads to Rome, to my way of thinking.


Jack Shalom
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jun 16, 2006 12:49PM)
[quote]
On 2006-06-14 17:03, landmark wrote:
Very few enter into an art fully formed.

People mature, goals mature, insight and skill are gained. Or not....[/quote]

Unfortunately our craft/art is centered upon secrets.

And we are suffering for those who would betray a trust and sell a secret just to satisfy their vanity.

And unlike Rome we are enabling, encouraging and even creating our own barbarians to tear up our roads.

If you want YOUR good work and its secrets strewn about on the internet and then in the hands of narcisists... good for you.

It comes down the placing a value upon commerce weighed against the basic integrity of the craft. Do you want to see every latest prop and method used in public performance quickly TAKEN into public commerce by any and all who feel entitled to imitate?
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Jun 16, 2006 01:03PM)
Slightly off topic, but nowadays, to me, it seems like a HUGE number of the magicians are hungry for "what's new" and only do their tricks for the same small handful of family and/or friends.

Few build solid routines and work "in the biz."
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jun 16, 2006 02:11PM)
[quote]
On 2006-06-16 14:03, Pete Biro wrote:
Slightly off topic, but nowadays, to me, it seems like a HUGE number of the magicians are hungry for "what's new" and only do their tricks for the same small handful of family and/or friends...[/quote]

Agreed Pete. Such fuels the market for new things for people who need trick fixes. On the demand side there are plenty of trick addicts who need their fix. On the supply side it creates a voracious predatory system where entrepreneurs will take from those who invent in order to feed those who need their fixes. It's the supply side of the equation that is unbalanced here.
Message: Posted by: landmark (Jun 16, 2006 03:41PM)
[quote]If you want YOUR good work and its secrets strewn about on the internet and then in the hands of narcisists... good for you. [/quote]

I assume that anything that is published will be disseminated. If I choose to keep my secret, then I simply don't publish it. That seems like an easy enough solution.

For 793.8 to be an empty space on the library shelf seems a crime to me.

[quote]Such fuels the market for new things for people who need trick fixes. On the demand side there are plenty of trick addicts who need their fix. On the supply side it creates a voracious predatory system where entrepreneurs will take from those who invent in order to feed those who need their fixes. It's the supply side of the equation that is unbalanced here.[/quote]

This is loaded discourse. The drug metaphor here is being used to demonize those who enjoy magic as a hobby, as amateurs. I don't think it's helpful in forwarding a discussion about the important issues of secrecy, access, amateurs, professionals and capitalism.

[quote]entrepreneurs will take from those who invent [/quote]

This I agree with you is despicable. But this is not happening because of books on the library shelf.

Did you read books on magic, or were you the rare Mozart or Shakespeare? Should Vernon have been allowed to read Erdnase?

Am I misreading your ideas here, or misinterpreting what I see as the necessary implications? Are you overstating your point for emphasis as this thread continues? (not rhetorical questions, I'm really trying to fully understand your position)

[quote]Magic is unlike ANY other craft.
What it offers depends upon secrets.
When the secret is known, the magic is gone.

Please understand this and help others with this understanding. [/quote]

I agree with this; and I believe that books on the library shelf can help people with this understanding. I know that's where I learned it.



Jack Shalom
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jun 17, 2006 06:43PM)
Jack, folks

The books on the library shelf need not discuss our state of the art and the working repertoires of today's performers.

The analogy to many in magic as trick addicts looking for trick fixes stands. Such are the victims in a market of addiction and hype. The supply side issue of entrepreneurs taking things is very real. Likewise the demand side issue of misguided addicts believing they will find "clever" or "magic" in a product. Such will never be the case. First the audience wants entertainment and not clever. The magician will never find magic in a product as such is a process they must internalize and learn to express in their own way.

The public domain now covers all published works in magicdom. As to the general public, they are still invited into the magic shop and the internet where all published works are quickly finding their way if not already there.

My advice on propagation of magic stands; If you want to share your magic, teach someone you feel will do it well. And if you want to learn to do more magic go find someone whose work you enjoy and ask them to teach you something.

The question stands: What possible benefit is there to offering the mechanics of guile to an audience which only seeks entertainment? Or worse, to find a way to make themselves pleasant to their social environment?

My feeling is that such is a horrible thing. Give them the basics of entertaining and guidance on HOW TO PERFORM. Invite them to learn more if they wish. That invitation is to become a magician. To step into magicdom and away from muggledom. A place where mechanics and guile serve only to bring delight to audiences. To become a trusted scoundrel and deceiver. No longer a muggle.

Agreed that the door into magicdom needs to be visible if not open. But does it need to advertise our latest works?
Message: Posted by: silverking (Jun 17, 2006 10:46PM)
What purpose would ever be served by having a library book which details the construction of a Zig-Zag?

Nothing prevents the entire Paul Osborne series of books from being purchased by any library in America and set up on the shelves, but again what would the purpose be.

The Trick Brain is generally available, and might even be considered a book that many would like to see in a library. The concept of a kid going in and taking it out only to essentially learn the mechanics of just about every single illusion concept there is actually makes me feel a bit sick.

Performance magic was formed, and continues to thrive on the basis of magicians having, and keeping secrets.

The boy magician will ALWAYS find his way into magic if that's his chosen path. Even as a dedicated amateur who practices law for a living that boy (or girl) will find their way around the brick walls that keep the public out.

The music halls of the Las Vegas Strip fill up nightly, as they have for a decade or longer now with folks who come to see magic performed on stages small and large.
Those folks come to see the magic because they DON'T know how its done, nor do they want to know how it's done.

They're not the ones who are going to go to the library to take out The Trick Brain.

The books on the library shelves that contain magic's greatest secrets are going to be taken out by those who will read them and then go on to not only perform the tricks and effects badly with no practice or rehearsal, but tip the method on the slightest prompting.

Those who want to truly learn the craft will go to a ring meeting and gain the trust of, and subsuquent access to an old codgers (like me) magic book collection, where they will find bliss.
Message: Posted by: landmark (Jun 17, 2006 11:56PM)
Well, I spent a long time composing a reply, but there are so many issues in this thread that are rich for discussion, I found myself going back and forth so many times, so let me start more simply:

I really like your statement about the door into magicdom needs to be visible if not open. A system needs variation to evolve. How do new people find the door? I think it is important to keep in mind the poster who reminded us that most people do not have access, or know personally any magicians.

Many other issues to discuss, but can we start there?


Jack Shalom
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jun 18, 2006 12:44AM)
Sure Jack,

The visibility of the IBM and SAM is an issue of itself.

If folks like Criss Angel and David Blaine put a link to the association sites on their pages with a "if you want to see more magic, and perhaps even become a magician... come and say hello to us" :)

Seems a small thing to do. Perhaps Copperfield has already done this?
Message: Posted by: airship (Jun 19, 2006 10:59AM)
Jonathan, I understand and respect your point of view, but in my opinion you are raging against the storm. In the words of hackerdom, "Information Wants to Be Free." The printing press made information a commodity and turned reading from a rare ability to one that was demanded by the masses.

The Internet has spread information far and wide, and by making it ubiquitous has made it seem cheap. There is no reversing this phenemonon. The genie is out of the bottle. But, like the music, movie, and publishing industries, you still long for the day, long past, when information could be controlled.

Magic, more than any other profession, depends on secrecy for its success. But secrecy is simply not to be had in this day and age. If you can't protect your credit card information, what chance do you have at keeping the secret of a magic trick? If you share your secret with anyone, the odds are that it will be available to everyone at some point in the future - maybe tomorrow.

The good news is, with so much information available, the majority of your audience is simply uninterested in finding out about magic's secrets. They're too busy with Bradgelina's baby, or politics, or the Simpsons, or porn, or something much more interesting to them. They simply don't have time to ferret out the secrets of magic. So the odds are good that you will continue to perform for people who (mostly) have no idea where that rabbit came from, or how their card made it into that lemon. I think magic is still viable in the Information Age.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jun 19, 2006 11:29AM)
[quote]
On 2006-06-19 11:59, airship wrote:
Jonathan, I understand and respect your point of view, but in my opinion you are raging against the storm. In the words of hackerdom, "Information Wants to Be Free." ... [/quote]

Were that information not "magical" I would pretty much agree with the premise. Our craft depends on secrecy. Pretty much like the "intelligence" field. Like them we have no interest in propagating data which has utility to our guys in the field.

And yes, most magic books and videos are well on their way out the the free internet as free information. Just one of the reasons I am annoyed with those who propagated some of my ideas without my permission.
Message: Posted by: landmark (Jun 26, 2006 12:46PM)
I agree 100% with airship.

Jonathan wrote:
[quote]The visibility of the IBM and SAM is an issue of itself.

If folks like Criss Angel and David Blaine put a link to the association sites on their pages with a "if you want to see more magic, and perhaps even become a magician... come and say hello to us"
[/quote]

Jonathan,

Do you really want that first knock on the door to IBM or SAM to be from kids who were inspired by a TV special and want magical powers or imagine themselves to be Harry Potter? I'd much rather they went to the library and picked up some Bill Severn books, and figured out that with some creativity, rationality, personality, and work they might entertain some of their friends and family. From there, the interest has a chance of growing in a more mature manner.

silverking wrote:
[quote]The books on the library shelves that contain magics greatest secrets are going to be taken out by those who will read them and then go on to not only perform the tricks and effects badly with no practice or rehearsal, but tip the method on the slightest prompting. [/quote]

Really, I don't know which libraries you are speaking of with "magic's greatest secrets." I live in a pretty big city, and the casual reader does not have access to Paul Osborne's illusion plans from the local public library. What most public libraries have nowadays is a big empty space at 793.8, so that the kid that just watched the latest Blaine special goes to the Internet to get his first magic education, with all the attendant commercialism and pirating. Much better to have their exposure to magic from a general public book from the library. Heck, I'd much rather thay have access to Royal Road from the library than be downloading Internet cr*p. Those who are ready for it will learn, and those who aren't, won't be able to follow it anyway. But at least they'll learn something about the spirit of magic in a non-commercial, legal space.

Jack Shalom
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jun 26, 2006 12:58PM)
[quote]
On 2006-06-26 13:46, landmark wrote:
...
Do you really want that first knock on the door to IBM or SAM to be from kids who were inspired by a TV special ...[/quote]

Yes Jack, IMHO the quicker the connection from fantasy to real people the better.
Message: Posted by: landmark (Jun 26, 2006 01:29PM)
Okay, I don't want to have a knee-jerk reaction here, so maybe I need to hear more about why you think that.


Jack Shalom
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jun 26, 2006 01:42PM)
Usually people come into magic looking for something. It seems to me that the sooner they make personal connections the sooner they can find what they want or see that it's just stuff and a hobby ... fun for some and magical for the audience, no hobbits or demons to be found.

Kinda like seeing the store Santas in the employee lounge of a department store versus meeting someone who does that job while out of uniform in the Caféteria.
Message: Posted by: landmark (Jun 30, 2006 09:37PM)
Well Jon you have a lot more patience than I do! :) Not sure how many would be willing to take on the hoards of Blaine wannabees with no mediation. (BTW I actually happen to have a lot respect for Blaine, but that's another topic).

Even Dorothy and her three buddies had to go on assignment first before finding out the wisdom of the Wizard.

Surely asking or encouraging a wannabee to read a book first can't be a bad thing can it?

Jack Shalom
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jun 30, 2006 10:09PM)
[quote]
On 2006-06-30 22:37, landmark wrote:...Surely asking or encouraging a wannabee to read a book first can't be a bad thing can it?...[/quote]

My guess is that some may take guidance from an instructional video. But a book? As in reading, matching pictures and text and looking up words?
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 4, 2006 02:49AM)
That still doesn't answer the original question about Public Domain.

Before the copyright law changed in 1974, you could copyright a book, a photo or a piece of music for two 28 year terms. Then it became public property. That's what the Public Domain is.

In 1974, the law was changed so it became the life of the author or composer plus 50 years. Then that was extended to life plus 75 years. Corporate copyrights were 75 years.

In 1996, the US signed the Berne accord, which means that now we recognize foreign copyrights. Some of these have much longer terms than American copyrights. Not only that, but there is the Restoration of Copyright Act which has restored the copyrights of material from the iron curtain countries. We did not recognize these copyrights.

For the first time in the history of the US, material has gone from the public domain into copyright protection.
Message: Posted by: djrdjr (Jul 5, 2006 03:58PM)
[quote]
On 2006-06-30 23:09, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
My guess is that some may take guidance from an instructional video. But a book? As in reading, matching pictures and text and looking up words?
[/quote]
That's what my son does. Some kids still love to read, Jonathan! :)
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jul 7, 2006 05:45PM)
[quote]
On 2006-07-05 16:58, djrdjr wrote:
[quote]
On 2006-06-30 23:09, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
My guess is that some may take guidance from an instructional video. But a book? As in reading, matching pictures and text and looking up words?
[/quote]
That's what my son does. Some kids still love to read, Jonathan! :)
[/quote]
Yeah, even some older kids like yours truly. :)
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Feb 15, 2007 05:51PM)
[quote]
On 2006-06-06 12:28, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
While the text of the books are in the legal public domain, the secrets behind the magic are not. They were, are and really do need to stay in our domain of magicdom.
[/quote]
Oh, bullpucky! Public domain is a legal term, pure and simple. It revers to when something is no longer under copyright protection. I wince every time I see someone misusing the term.

Once a piece of information is printed it is published. That's the definition of publication. Publication can also include video. The copyright expires at a term around 70 years after the death of the author or at 75 years from publication if it is a corporate copyright. Then it goes into the public domain. That means it belongs to everyone. (note -- these terms change at the whim of congress)

Even though we would like for it to be so, there is no special protection for magic secrets other than not publishing them.

That's the way it has always been.

That's the way it always will be.
Message: Posted by: kaleido-magic (Mar 14, 2007 02:54PM)
Did the original questions get answered, or am I mistaken that the person asked if there is a list of the magic books that are now in public domain. I too would love to know this as in theory, the contents of the tricks included and patter would also be in public domain and thus can be used by a magician without fear of interfering with another fellow magicians rights to derive an income. To put simply, its free and we can use it.

Does anyone have a list?

Thanks.
Brett
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Mar 14, 2007 05:26PM)
No. You have to check on works on an individual basis. Works go into the public domain on an annual basis.

When you start checking the copyright laws, there are several things to bear in mind.

1) Make sure the web site you are checking is in the US. Some foreign copyright laws still do not apply to US copyrights, even though we have signed the Bern accord and the Uruguay convention.

2) Make sure the information is current. If the information is more than a couple of years old, chances are it is out of date.

3) Some works published before 1974 may have a copyright notice, but may not actually be copyrighted. The automatic copyright provisions of the current copyright law do not apply to works published before 1974.

IP law in general and copyright law in particular changes rapidly. While the laws are passed by Congress, the interpretations are made by judges.
Message: Posted by: Andy the cardician (Mar 15, 2007 06:59PM)
Just to add to Bill`s comment - the laws also differ from country to country. So what is legal in one place might be illegal in another. Europe is currently looking into expanding the duration of the copyright protection.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Mar 15, 2007 08:59PM)
A lot of this has been moderated by the Berne accord and the Uruguay convention. If a work is under copyright in its home country, it is also copyrighted in the US. This has made for some real headaches for American publishers who publish derivative works.

A classic example is [i]Magic[/i] by Robert Harbin. When the book first came out, there was a provision in the US copyright law that actually placed the book in to the public domain in this country. The law stated that if a book in the English language was published outside of the US without simultaneously being published in the US, it went into the public domain.

This is why you see so many Harry Stanley publications with Lou Tannen's stickers on the page with the publisher's name. The same is true for Supreme and Abbott's. (Publication does not necessarily mean that they were printed in this country. They just needed a publisher of record. If publication meant the act of printing, then there would be a lot of publishers in trouble, because of the huge number of books that were printed overseas for all the major publishers in the US before the change in the law.)

The Harbin book had no US publisher of record. So when various people whom the oldtimers know decided to copy the book, Harbin was fairly much up the creek. There was no basis for suit. However, even though the copies were legal, they were definitely immoral.

But the law has changed. Now, the Harbin book is once more copyrighted in this country, under the restoration of copyright act. That doesn't make the knockoff copies illegal. However further printing of them would be illegal.

Now, the Magic Circle owns the book. The copyright expires in 2047.
Message: Posted by: Banester (Mar 16, 2007 02:38PM)
A lot of the discussion has been on books and published material. One of the big problems is that people are sending thier friends and relatives these links for fun. Hey check this out <or> did you ever want to know how he did this. So people are getting information that they would never go looking for. How many people have mailed a book to a friend with a page marker?

Also something that I found interesting in one of David Copperfields newsletters was that he was flattered that someone would go through all the trouble of finding out how he did that paticular illusion, it must be a good one for them to go through all that work. <from Davids fan club newletter "Flying"> He also said he will never acknowledge one way or another if that is how it is actually accomplished.

Now if someone tries to use his name they will get a beating since his name is copyrighted.

Now don't get me wrong, I do not like any type of disclosure/exposure.

I think some of magic can be classified into categories such as basic, expert and advanced. While the items in libraries would be your entry level items, the expert and advanced items would require something more than going to the library or on the internet. I am not even about to say what should be in those catergories, but I think you have some ideas what would fall into them.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Mar 16, 2007 05:56PM)
Banester:

I'm sure you mean well, but you really don't understand the correct terminology. David Copperfield's name is not copyrighted. It has the protection of a trademark. There is a big difference.

Copyright applies only to published material. Now published material can be in the form of a web page, a movie, a photograph, a book, a letter, a drawing, a song, a dance or any other of a number of other items, including computer chips.*

Trademarks are applied to products. Service marks are applied to representations of services. Trademarks are very specific. They cover not only the words, but the representation of the words.

Your remarks have nothing to do with the public domain. Public domain is, as I have stated before, a legal term that has to do with copyrights and patents. It has nothing to do with availability.

*Computer companies wisely took the path of copyright protection for computer chips, because the matrix to make them is in the form of a photograph. The copyright on a photograph has a longer duration than the patent on the same chip would.


Posted: Mar 19, 2007 5:14am
-------------------------------------------
Regarding the restoration of copyright act. I may have confused some people when I mentioned this in the context of the Harbin book.

The foreign publications that were subject to the restoration of copyright provision of the new law had never gone out of copyright in their home countries. The US simply did not recognize their copyrights as valid, just as some Eastern countries do not recognize US copyrights.

Once a work has gone into the public domain in its country of publication, then it is permanently in the public domain.

Some works have had their copyrights artificially extended by various means. For example, certain Houdini posters are copyrighted. The originals aren't copyrighted, but the new versions that certain publishers have done, which are different sizes, colors, etc. have been copyrighted. The same is true of various pieces of music. A song such as St. James Infirmary may be in the public domain, but a specific arrangement of it, such as one played by the Preservation Hall band, may be copyrighted.

Copyright is a very complex part of IP law. And no matter how well-versed you may be in its general principles, it still requires a specialist to try a case.
Message: Posted by: Banester (Mar 20, 2007 09:52AM)
Bill the reason for my interpretation was from what I could manage to make out from the Gov't web site:

What Is a Copyright?
Copyright is a form of protection provided to the authors of “original works of authorship” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works, both published and unpublished. The 1976 Copyright Act generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to reproduce the copyrighted work, to prepare derivative works, to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work, to perform the copyrighted work publicly, or to display the copyrighted work publicly.

The copyright protects the form of expression rather than the subject matter of the writing. For example, a description of a machine could be copyrighted, but this would only prevent others from copying the description; it would not prevent others from writing a description of their own or from making and using the machine. Copyrights are registered by the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress.

On Trademarks (http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/tac/doc/basic/trade_defin.htm)

A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.
A service mark is the same as a trademark, except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than a product. Throughout this booklet, the terms "trademark" and "mark" refer to both trademarks and service marks

I agree with you Bill that a specialist is needed. That is a whole field in itself and I am by no an expert or even close to that in that subject. As far as public domain goes, Wiki has a pretty good definition of it, but it is quite complicated. Basic idea is :

Public domain comprises the body of knowledge and innovation (especially creative works such as writing, art, music, and inventions) in relation to which no person or other legal entity can establish or maintain proprietary interests within a particular legal jurisdiction.

Posted: Mar 20, 2007 11:50am
Sorry I got off topic there. Here is a very good link at determining what may or may not be in public domain:

http://www.copyright.cornell.edu/training/Hirtle_Public_Domain.htm

And if you can make sense out of all of it my hats off to you!

By the way I would think it would be safe to assume that the books are still under the protection. That would be the published material and not necessarily the ideas in the book. Please correct me if I am not understanding that Bill, I think you have a better idea of how that works.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Mar 20, 2007 11:00AM)
I suspect we are pretty clear about text and images being protected as works...

Here is some more: [url=http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&defl=en&q=define:public+domain&sa=X&oi=glossary_definition&ct=title]google.com[/url]

My issue comes from a basic concern for the things that make magic work which can be expressed, shown etc., in any number of ways.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Mar 20, 2007 11:30AM)
That link to Cornell is very useful. The real key is in the footnotes.

All you can protect in magic is specific expressions of these ideas that make magic work. You cannot possibly protect the classic pass, the classic palm, the finger palm, the back palm or any of the other common things we have unless you write a new description, film a new description or patent a new system. These items are [b]firmly[/b] in the public domain.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Mar 20, 2007 11:36AM)
We seem to be stuck on a "publishers" perspective on all this.

Magic, unlike most other fields of research and activity, is based upon [b]secrets[/b].

Secrets are data which contain both an idea and a context. That combination when applied in performance permits magicians to create the sense of magic in their audiences.

While [b]inside[/b] our little craft we have literature and scripts, etc., we are ill advised to let those things get into the hands of the non-performer or idly curious as such knowledge would prevent our best efforts from having the desired and expected (by our audiences) results.

I suggest we look at the particular data which permits our craft as the equivalent of what other institutions call "intelligence" - that which we know and also that which "they" are not aware that we know.

And I also suggest we keep a watch for folks who have no respect for what permits our craft so we don't loose too much more of our precious "secrets" to the greed and indifference of those who are not mature enough to care about such things.

Shhhhhh
Message: Posted by: Marshall Thornside (Mar 20, 2007 11:41AM)
You didn't Shhhh loud enough Jonathan.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Mar 20, 2007 11:51AM)
Jonathan. I don't understand why you don't understand that the ONLY protections we have are the law and total secrecy. The law applies only to publication. Once you have written something down, it is published. Once you share your work with someone else, it isn't a secret any longer. Your mistake with the three coins across was trusting someone who couldn't be trusted. Once that happened, it became publicly available. Note that I did not say "in the public domain."

When the material is available in books that are open to anyone, it's not really a secret any more is it?

You know my stance on exposure.

Regarding the Cornell link:

Check the footnotes. One of the most telling is this:
Foreign works published after 1923 are likely to be still under copyright in the US because of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (URAA) modifying the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). The URAA restored copyright in foreign works that as of 1 January 1996 had fallen into the public domain in the US because of a failure to comply with US formalities. One of the authors of the work had to be a non-US citizen or resident, the work could not have been published in the US within 30 days after its publication abroad, and the work needed to still be in copyright in the country of publication. Such works have a copyright term equivalent to that of an American work that had followed all of the formalities. For more information, see Library of Congress Copyright Office, Highlights of Copyright Amendments Contained in the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (URAA). Circular 38b. [Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, Copyright Office, 2004].


Posted: Mar 20, 2007 4:52pm
-------------------------------------------
Maybe I can clarify why I keep referring to publication. It's a matter of protection. Here is a hypothetical example.

Magician A works out a method of making an elephant disappear. He doesn't show it to anyone, but he writes it up and files it in a filing cabinet. He even dates his copy.

Magician B lives across the country, does not know Magician A, and has no access to his filing cabinet. He comes up with a similar method for vanishing an elephant. He writes it up in a book and publishes it. Magician A gets angry and decides to sue Magician B. Does he have a case?

Probably not. If Magician B had no knowledge of Magician A, his work or access to his secret files, then he has no way of stealing anything from Magician A. The case would probably be thrown out of court.

Now, take a different view of it. Magician A figures out how to vanish an elephant. He sells the method to Magician C, who signs a non-disclosure agreement, but acquires sole performance rights. Magician C gets drunk one night and tells Magician B how it works. Magician B then publishes the method.

Does Magician A have grounds to sue Magician B? Again, it's doubtful. He would have to prove that Magician C gave away the secret. Since you can't patent or copyright ideas, this would be a very difficult case to prove. If Magician C 'fesses up, the chances are that Magician A could sue him for violating the NDA and for damages caused by the release of the unauthorized version. But he would have to prove damages.

About the only way any of these things could be decided in favor of Magician A would be if the other magicians were members of a magical organization. Then they could be suspended. But a magical organization does not have the power to fine a member. So, big deal. What is the punishment going to be?

There is none.

Here's the situation. The guys who actually earn their living doing magic generally don't particularly care what we think about exposure. If they feel like exposing, they will do it. Do you think Penn and Teller or Criss Angel would stop exposing if the IBM told them to? No. Why? Basically, when it comes to these guys, the IBM is irrelevant to what they do. They aren't members.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Mar 20, 2007 05:51PM)
Bill, I argue that publication is no protection at all for a work or art. Really. To demonstrate, consider what would have happened if someone posted a YouTube clip with the fan of ***** painted in via CGI to show Gaughm/Copperfield's flying in detail. Or using CGI to properly show off the Asrah form ... after a little while folks could still enjoy a beautiful performance but the "magic" would be gone. What was breathtaking would have become "nice". Just by taking the ideas public via performance or public discussion the damage can be done. Add to this the current culture of internet downloads and publication seems more like a very short prelude to public exposure. ( <- my grouchy opinion at 7pm Tuesday )

[quote]
On 2007-03-20 12:51, Bill Palmer wrote:...When the material is available in books that are open to anyone, it's not really a secret any more is it?...
[/quote]
When speaking of ideas... this is exactly what I mean by public domain, <- even if not known by all, "common knowledge", the ideas are available to all.

Consider the contrast between our magic data and the availability military data ... we seem to have a true freedom of information act in our craft. Strange when what distinguishes our craft from almost all others is its dependence upon secrecy. :(

This is about exploring options to protect others who may wish to show their works in progress to get some peer feedback. On a side note, you can get a new credit card number, a new car, even a new social security number... but you can't just get another idea you feel like spending years to explore.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Mar 20, 2007 10:50PM)
Okay. Since you are still laboring under the misconception that you can protect ideas somehow, how do you propose to do it?

You can't protect your ideas without a record of some kind.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Mar 21, 2007 05:49AM)
Tell you what, as long as that record is not publicly available... we are working on the same side.

Instead of working at cross purposes on this, let's work towards eachother.

** in my humble opinion ***

As artists we should already know that just because we have a legal right to copy the works of another person it is our self respect and the respect for our craft which makes such an act despicable.

So we don't waste too much more time on "publication" in the [b]public[/b] sense, I posit that to publish in our current culture is the same as public exposure of magic secrets. What we offer is not the same sort of product as emmited by our major mass media outlets. If they have pretty much accepted the [b]mass[/b] distribution of their works via unexpected (internet) channels... what can we do but treat this same phenomenon as reason to:

1) not in public
2) not in plaintext
3) not without cause

As to who keeps the "records" you mentioned Bill... grownups... folks who have gotten over themselves and hold the continuity of the art as more important (to them) than their own personal issues.

Imitation without express permission is not the most sincere form of flattery in art. It may well be an admission that one is less than trustworthy.
Message: Posted by: DStachowiak (Mar 21, 2007 07:15AM)
[quote]
On 2006-06-16 14:03, Pete Biro wrote:
Slightly off topic, but nowadays, to me, it seems like a HUGE number of the magicians are hungry for "what's new" and only do their tricks for the same small handful of family and/or friends.

Few build solid routines and work "in the biz."
[/quote]
I think there have always been far more amateurs in Magic than there were working "in the biz".

I think what has changed is the loss of the brick and mortar magic shops, most of which had their own "club", more or less loosely organized, that provided a larger, and more or less friendly, venue for the amateurs to perform for.

With the loss of these outlets, amateurs are now reduced to exactly what you describe, performing for a small group of friends and family.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Mar 21, 2007 05:24PM)
[quote]
On 2007-03-21 06:49, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Tell you what, as long as that record is not publicly available... we are working on the same side.

Instead of working at cross purposes on this, let's work towards eachother.

[/quote]

I am not working at cross purposes with you. I'm trying to inject a dose of reality into your way of thinking. Even though we would like for magic to have some kind of special protection, no such protection exists under the law. As long as people can create, no group of other people can force them to distribute their creations according to their dictates.

[quote]

** in my humble opinion ***

As artists we should already know that just because we have a legal right to copy the works of another person it is our self respect and the respect for our craft which makes such an act despicable.

[/quote]

We don't necessarily have a legal right to copy the works of another person. The legality of this depends on how the work is protected.

[quote]

So we don't waste too much more time on "publication" in the [b]public[/b] sense, I posit that to publish in our current culture is the same as public exposure of magic secrets. What we offer is not the same sort of product as emmited by our major mass media outlets. If they have pretty much accepted the [b]mass[/b] distribution of their works via unexpected (internet) channels... what can we do but treat this same phenomenon as reason to:
[/quote]

There seems to be a verb missing here.
[quote]
1) not in public
2) not in plaintext
3) not without cause

As to who keeps the "records" you mentioned Bill... grownups... folks who have gotten over themselves and hold the continuity of the art as more important (to them) than their own personal issues.

Imitation without express permission is not the most sincere form of flattery in art. It may well be an admission that one is less than trustworthy.

[/quote]

Okay, you have set up an interesting idea here. So, here's what I have gleaned from this. You are proposing to set up some group of people who will create magic for themselves.

This magic will not be performed in public.

It will not be written down.

It will not be distributed.

So, what happens when someone independently produces one of the ideas in the "Invisible Magic Non-Databank"?

There will be no recourse.

Let me give you a dose of reality.

In 1998, WAM sued Fox over a broadcast that was supposedly going to expose the Spiker. This was an original illusion of Andre Kole's that was familiar to most illusionists, but it hadn't been widely distributed in publicly available texts. WAM decided to sue for damages. All they could see was one method for performing the illusion.

The judge threw the case out of court. One reason was that WAM could not prove that the method revealed on the show was the same one that Andre Kole used. (It wasn't. It was actually simpler!) Fox refused to preview the show, and the judge didn't feel that the allegations merited a warrant. Second, there were no damages at the time of the trial. You can't sue for damages that have not occurred.

Who was at fault here? Several people. Certainly Fox was at fault for doing the show. Valentino was at fault for participating in it. WAM's lawyer was at fault for not doing his homework. This was basic "Perry Mason 101." The end result was an incredible amount of free publicity for the Fox show and a complete loss for WAM.

The amount of damages the magicians in WAM suffered? Probably none.

So, if I have misinterpreted the way that you plan to share information with your peers, then enlighten me.

Are you proposing a two-level distribution system for magic -- one that has all of the secrets that have been published up until now and another level that is private? Are you proposing that some cabal will determine who has access to what?

If so, how are you going to select your members?

And what punishment will there be for people who violate your trust?

How do you plan to share information?

What if nobody else wants to play? What if some really creative person says, "I don't create magic for people like you, I create it to sell to other people." ?

Are you going to boycott all the magic dealers and publishers in the world?
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Mar 21, 2007 06:43PM)
[quote]
On 2007-03-21 18:24, Bill Palmer wrote:...
There seems to be a verb missing here.
[quote]earlier jon T wrote
1) not in public
2) not in plaintext
3) not without cause...[/quote][/quote]

Those are some suggestions about communicating magic data (secrets).

Please do perform.

As to what sort of consequence is there for betraying a trust? Perhaps being shunned and having one's trusted data let loose would work. Hopefully not leaked out into the muggle world via open publication but still...
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Mar 21, 2007 10:51PM)
The only way you can get anyone to adhere to any set of rules is to have a set of consequences that cause more distress than the pleasure derived from breaking those rules.

The only way I can see getting any of the magical creators to join the cause is to make it somehow worth their while.

So meanwhile, what do we do with the really creative guys like John Cornelius and John Kennedy, whose livelihood is based on distributing relatively large quantities of magic props?
Message: Posted by: jstone (Mar 23, 2007 02:50AM)
I hope I'm not Off Topic here with this question... I'm curious about things like the relatively recent release of some of the classic books (e.g. Royal Road to Card Magic) on video. Is this:
a) Legal?
b) Ethical?
c) Acceptable behavior in the magic community?

I'm not looking for a fight here; I really don't know the answer and would greatly appreciate any feedback (especially from Bill).

Thanks in advance!
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Mar 23, 2007 12:28PM)
Legal -- yes, Royal Road, Expert Card Techinque and Erdnase are in the public domain. There may be some kind of problem with the restoration of copyright act on Royal Road and ECT, except that both of the authors were US residents or citizens when they wrote the book. Even though it was printed in England and published in England and the US, American laws probably apply here. It also depends on what happened after the original copyright expired. Even then, if they did not quote the text exactly, there probably isn't a problem. Since both books have appeared as Dover reprints, that indicates that the Dover copyright experts have given the books a good look. Erdnase is not a problem, because it is well past any conceivable copyright date and has been available as a reprint for many years. Same is true of Bobo.

Ethical -- yes.

Acceptable behavior in the magic community -- borderline. It depends on how they are marketed. The MM products seem to be geared more to internet sales than anything else. I don't think the Magic Circle has set a minimum price on a mass market DVD yet. That should be submitted to the council.
Message: Posted by: erlandish (Jun 13, 2007 06:00AM)
Question: An author is writing a book on presentation and showmanship, and the idea is to take a single card sleight as a baseline example and show how different routines can be built up around it, as well as how applying certain concepts of magic theory can improve upon the original trick.

Although the focus is on presentation and theory, it's assumed that a certain amount of methodology will need to be covered, however rudimentary it may be. The mechanics of the sleight are covered more than adequately in Royal Road to Card Magic. Can the relevant passages be quoted from that source, either verbatim or with annotations? The author plans to credit appropriately.

(By the way, that question is based on Bill's statement that RRTCM is now in the public domain)
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 15, 2007 11:29PM)
There should be no problem at all with that, even if you quote RRTCM verbatim.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jun 17, 2007 12:38AM)
It might be a good idea to follow academic form and simply quote from the book directly and leave the student to follow up and get the original if they wish to explore the book directly.
Message: Posted by: erlandish (Jun 17, 2007 01:22AM)
Ok, that's actually the way I'd like to go about it, referring to RRTCM as one might quote or reference a research text (footnotes and bibliographies and such). I don't want to pass off the work as my own, just give the basic information necessary to perform the stuff needed so that the rest of the book can focus on showmanship and theory ideas.

Thanks very much for taking the time.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 18, 2007 10:40PM)
The proper way to do this, academically speaking, is one of two ways:

1) State in the text: In [i]Royal Road to Card Magic[/i], on page xxx, the Doofus Move is described as follows:
[quote]
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
[/quote]

Then, in the bibliography, name the source. You can also add what part of the book provided the source material.

2) Here's how to do the Doofus Move:
[quote]
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. 1
[/quote]

Then, at the bottom of the page, the end of the chapter or the back of the book, add the footnote,

Hugard, Jean and Fred Braue: [i]Royal Road to Card Magic[/i], (publication information) p xxx.

The next footnote, if it concerns RRTCM would say ibid. If not, you give the next footnote in the correct form. Subsequent references to RRTCM would be indicated by op cit.

You can get the proper form of this from the MLA style sheet.
Message: Posted by: landmark (Jun 19, 2007 01:54PM)
There you go again. Exposing the Doofus Move.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jun 27, 2007 05:24PM)
Wait until you see it on the DVD's.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jun 28, 2007 12:49PM)
Oops, looks like it went directly to YouTube.
Message: Posted by: Andy the cardician (Jul 12, 2007 03:52AM)
I actually just marketed a new Doofus move, earning me great reputation and wealth. My modification/improvement is that I smile before executing the move.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jul 19, 2007 10:33PM)
That's great thinking. Depending on how you smile, it can either conceal that you look like a doofus or make you look like a bigger one.

Either way, it can be great misdirection.
Message: Posted by: Larry Barnowsky (Aug 15, 2007 02:24PM)
FYI:

Everyone knows that Doofus stole the move from Schmendrick.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Aug 15, 2007 06:27PM)
We still remember Schmendrick with the Schmendrick Subtlety though folks tend to overuse it especially with the odd color sock bit.
Message: Posted by: Andre Hagen (Aug 19, 2007 01:02PM)
Hey, by the way Jonathan...you have to love the the trick junkies...They keep magic dealers in business, and keep the creative magicians creating.

Without the amateurs there would be no magic business.

Andy
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Aug 20, 2007 10:53AM)
If they loved the art/craft they would not be trick junkies.

The trick junkies seem sufficiently debilitated by their fetish items as to not form a social threat to date. Let's hope is stays that way.

As to supporting a market cluttered with derivative works and unauthorized copies of original works... such is a moral issue I prefer not to address.
Message: Posted by: KC Cameron (Sep 21, 2007 03:53PM)
Derivative works is an issue I would like to address. Most magic is built upon other magic. When is a modification of anothers trick ethical? How little need it be modified? It it the apparatus, or the effect, that is important? If I can do an effect similar to the Doofus Effect, but done in a different manner, it it ethical for me to sell/perform it to other doofus'?

Other than near copies, it all seems to me to be pretty shaky ground. Before anything can be enforced (which I doubt could happen), we would have to be able to describe what is ethical, and what isn't. We can talk about this, and claim some things are unethical, but upon what is this based??? - I fear most is based on our gut. My gut is pretty big, so my opinion is probably better than yours. *G*

We magicians certianly get bent out of shape over this, but I have yet to see any viable way to see if one has “crossed the line”, much less where that line really is hiding. Everyone seems to have their own personal line, and many move it when it suits them. I imagine our forefathers had similar issues with inventions, which is where the laws come from. I imagine those laws will not get any better than they are now.

Magic is a living thing, and I think this attempt to stifle it is not helping it. In order to grow, it needs rich soil. While file sharing and exposure does hurt individuals, I think it helps magic over all. To me, magic IS NOT so much about secrets, it is about performance. Most people will not investigate, and those that do, so what? They will probably forget quickly, but they will probably be bitten by the magic bug too.

My feeling is things are about as good as they are going to get, secret wise, and the limited exposure only pushes us harder and makes us more creative. Look at the car industry. Much of it is based on secrets too. If other industries can accept the law and realize there is no more, why can’t we?

Blah Blah Blah . . .

Hmmm I just got an email from the Magic Depot:

Hello Kerry! Mile 4 of the Royal Road is now available for instant download, FREE! Simply login to your account or visit the link below:
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Sep 21, 2007 04:14PM)
The question really comes down to asking when a work merits recognition as something more than a 'variation' or "cute bit" or even a performance script using known methods... ie when is the end result novel or somehow worthy of being offered?

Picsso recognized cubism when he saw it being done. And Dali recognized surrealism when he saw it.

But to be fair, it's silly to ask a person with Praeter Willi Syndrome about when some food should be eaten... or a market built up from trick junkies about when an item should be offered. Such people have their NEEDS and such cannot be addressed by any rational, legal or moral codes... it's a health problem. The professional entertainer needs fully worked out scripts, reliable props and support for the props as things happen in real life. On the other side we have students who need to combine the methods they are shown to create works they can explore by performing and in that process of discovery find out what works ... it's called learning. If student level exercises (example: create a coins across using only fingerpalm and two-ahead) are put into or literature we are ultimately asking future students NOT to learn those lessons for themselves but instead just to learn names of trivial variations of common themes.

Writing as a self respecting adult and student of magic I just find it sad to see student homework level offerings being sold as wholesome entertainment or full fledged accomplishments worthy of recognition in our field.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Sep 21, 2007 04:26PM)
Captain:

There may be something to what you are trying to say; however, the industries are different from magic. With industries, in order to get maximum life out of it, it must be patented, then the patent runs its course.

With magic, which is an art form, the secrets are the life blood of the art. If there is an infringement in industry, the law provides a yardstick for settlement. In magic, there is no yardstick unless something has been patented or copyrighted.

However, magicians are pretty good at taking care of their own. For example, when a certain magician in Las Vegas came out with his own version of a floating sphere, enough of a ruckus was raised in the community that he went to the originator of it and got permission to manufacture it.

Now the same magician is trying to protect his intellectual property and may be overstepping it a bit. In cases like this, the person who is trying to manufacture the item that is being considered a knockoff bears the brunt of proving several things. He has to prove he came up with it independently or from a source that predates the one that is claiming it was knocked off. In the case of an independent discovery, he has to be able to prove that it is different enough to bear producing. Some principles have been around for so long that it is basically a no-brainer to take an idea that has been applied to, say, a ball, and apply it to, say, an asrah form or even to some other household object.

In the case of the downloaded version of RRTCM, there is nothing illegal here. The book has been out of copyright for some time. Once it's out of copyright, you can't put it back into copyright, unless the book is one of those that is covered by the Restoration of Copyright section of current copyright law. There are those who argue that if something is legal, it is ethical. I'm not in that camp.
Message: Posted by: enginemagic (Sep 21, 2007 10:10PM)
[quote]
On 2006-07-07 18:45, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
[quote]
On 2006-07-05 16:58, djrdjr wrote:
[quote]
On 2006-06-30 23:09, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
My guess is that some may take guidance from an instructional video. But a book? As in reading, matching pictures and text and looking up words?
[/quote]
That's what my son does. Some kids still love to read, Jonathan! :)
[/quote]
Yeah, even some older kids like yours truly. :)
[/quote]interesting .Many like to learn things ,especially if its neat & enjoyable.I found many subjects enjoyable,and studied books plus tinkered with the actual objects associated with she subject to learn all we can about the subject weather it`s magic or mechanics.everything is avaible to the public to learn.That is what librarys are for.The local library here in my small town has 15 books on magic. I find that very impressive for our town that main street is only 3 miles long.Most of us on here want to learn magic so we can intertain our freinds & share magic at churches,rest homes,partys,and fairs
Keep on entertaining people. Be OPEN,AND EXPRESSIVE!! it makes for a good time for all you entertain
Chuck
Message: Posted by: teoswand (Oct 3, 2008 05:16AM)
I have read in one of Street magic magazine issues that there is a page we can download full resolution posters of magicians because copyright of those posters has expired, but I have forgotten the link...does anybody here knows where can I find them...??
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Oct 8, 2008 10:28PM)
I don't think anyone will post that link. Some of those posters have been re-done, and by applying another quirk in the law, the remakes of the posters have been copyrighted.

HUH!

Consider this:

Hypothetically -- you want to use music in your act. And, hypothetically, you like Baroque music, so you decide that since all of J.S. Bach's works are in the public domain, you will use the Goldberg Variations as your background music.

Is it legal? Maybe. It depends on who is playing it. If it is being played by people you have hired to play it, and they are not charging you some arranger's royalties, etc., then you are okay, but you can't just snag a copy of it off the internet, because THAT RECORDING has its own copyright, and THAT ARRANGEMENT has its own copyright.
Message: Posted by: Dick Christian (Oct 13, 2008 11:46AM)
In amplification of the information provided by Bill Palmer and others on the question of when copyrighted material passes into the public domain the following citations from the “Copyright Basics” (www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.pdf) offer some corrections, clarifications and additional information:

Works Originally Created on or after January 1, 1978
A work that was created (fixed in tangible form for the first time) on or after January 1, 1978, is automatically protected from the moment of its creation and is ordinarily given a term enduring for the author’s life plus an additional 70 years after the author’s death. In the case of “a joint work prepared by two or more authors who did not work for hire,” the term lasts for 70 years after the last surviving author’s death. For works made for hire, and for anonymous and pseudonymous works (unless the author’s identity is revealed in Copyright Office records), the duration of copyright will be 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation, whichever is shorter.

Works Originally Created and Published or Registered before January 1, 1978
Under the law in effect before 1978, copyright was secured either on the date a work was published with a copyright notice or on the date of registration if the work was registered in unpublished form. In either case, the copyright endured for a first term of 28 years from the date it was secured. During the last (28th) year of the first term, the copyright was eligible for renewal. The Copyright Act of 1976 extended the renewal term from 28 to 47 years for copyrights that were subsisting on January 1, 1978, or for pre-1978 copyrights restored under the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (URAA), making these works eligible for a total term of protection of 75 years. Public Law 105-298, enacted on October 27, 1998, further extended the renewal term of copyrights still subsisting on that date by an additional 20 years, providing for a renewal term of 67 years and a total term of protection of 95 years.

Public Law 102-307, enacted on June 26, 1992, amended the 1976 Copyright Act to provide for automatic renewal of the term of copyrights secured between January 1, 1964, and December 31, 1977. Although the renewal term is automatically provided, the Copyright Office does not issue a renewal certificate for these works unless a renewal application and fee are received and registered in the Copyright Office. Public Law 102-307 makes renewal registration optional. Thus, filing for renewal registration is no longer required to extend the original 28-year copyright term to the full 95 years. However, some benefits accrue to renewal registrations that were made during the 28th year.

For more detailed information on renewal of copyright and the copyright term, see Circular 15, Renewal of Copyright; Circular 15a, Duration of Copyright; and Circular 15t, Extension of Copyright Terms.

After downloading the above citations I contacted a personal friend who is a patent, copyright and trademark attorney (and, coincidentally, the grandson of James C. Wobensmith, the patent attorney for such notable magicians as Thurston and Jansen and creators such as Massey and Brema) for further information. It is his interpretation that in order for copyright protection to be extended under the provisions of the Copyright Act of 1976 and subsequent Public Laws cited above it would have been necessary that the original copyright (including any applicable renewal) not have expired at the time the law extending coverage was enacted. This suggests that, contrary to one of Bill’s early comments on this thread, no material would have reverted back into copyright protection once it had passed into public domain upon expiration of the original copyright.

So, for example, since Annemann died in January 1942, the various Annemann material available offered for download from Trickshop,com (most of which was copyrighted in the 1930s-40s) would have passed into the public domain by 1970 and only that material the copyrights of which had been transferred to others who had then received extensions beyond the original 28 years and which were therefor still in effect when the Copyright Act of 1976 was enacted would still be protected by copyright.

A specific search on the words restoration of copyright on the copyright.gov web site revealed only references to the restoration of copyrights pertaining to certain motion pictures, material copyrighted in Mexico and Canada (pursuant to NAFTA -- the North American Free Trade Act) and material covered by the Berne and Uruguay conventions.

Having said all of that, while there certainly has been no shortage of piracy, unauthorized copying, and publishing of copyrighted material within the magic community, I find the proliferation of what can only charitably be described as "highly derivative" works, sans attribution, equally disturbing if not more so. While the are undeniably examples of true "independent creation" and/or "unintentional duplication" there are also far too many examples of obvious and intentional misappropriate of the work of others being passed off as original by persons who can safely be presumed to know exactly what they are doing.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Oct 13, 2008 04:41PM)
You will have to point out which of my comments is contrary to what you posted.

As far as what is covered by the Berne and Uruguay conventions, these are for the most part works that were covered by copyrights in their home countries, but whose copyrights we (the US) did not recognize for various reasons, some of which were political.

For example, until we became signatories to these two conventions, we did not recognize copyrights from the former iron curtain countries, such as Poland, Hungary, Russia and the smaller Soviet countries. Also, we did not recognize copyrights on works that were published in foreign countries in the English language, but not simultaneously published in the US. This was why most of Supreme's books also listed Abbott's as a publishing house, and most of the Harry Stanley books listed Tannen's as the publishing house of record in the US. It's also why nobody was able to prosecute Al Mann for knocking off the Harbin book. However, in Canada and England, these copyrights were completely valid (including the ones from the iron curtain countries). Now that we have signed onto the Bern and Uruguay conventions, we have been forced to recognize these copyrights AND in many cases, pay up to three years' back royalties on sales of these works. These works include books and sheet music, and possibly some recordings.

Regarding the Annemann material, courts have normally found that the earliest copyright and its renewal were the ones that were valid for the purpose of prosecution of copyright infringement. There is a question about how Dover was able to get the rights to the Crimmins book [i]Annemann's Practical Mental Effects[/i] which was published as [i]Annemann's Practical Mental Magic[/i]. The original copyright was good until 1972. Tannen's acquired the book from Holden's and renewed the copyright in 1963. This creates a rather odd sequence of numbers in the copyright game.

However, Dover has been very diligent about checking out copyrights to see which ones have actually expired. They have a team of copyright attorneys that let them know what is what. This could have been another case of certain addenda to the original work causing the new work the be a derivative work, which would keep the clock on the original copyright still ticking.

The thing about the material in PME is that all of it was taken from various sources such as the Jinx, which had earlier copyrights.

Ultimately, it doesn't really matter too much what the law actually is. Since 1976, IP law has been in a state of flux in this country, and court cases determine what the law means. But court cases have always been a modifier for existing law.
Message: Posted by: Dick Christian (Oct 14, 2008 03:18PM)
Bill,

It is, at best a minor quibble. The statement to which I referred was very early in this thread, specifically in your post of July 4, 2006 when you said:

[quote]
For the first time in the history of the US, material has gone from the public domain into copyright protection.
[/quote]

From my reading of the citations I quoted, I'm not sure that material the US copyright of which had expired prior to the enactment of the Copyright Act of 1974 and was therefor in the public domain reverted to being protected by copyright. Perhaps you can provide an example/clarification or perhaps I'm misunderstanding the citations.

The issues surrounding the use (or misuse) of IP not protected by copyright is a whole other (albeit related) topic about which volumes could be written -- and probably have.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Oct 16, 2008 12:59AM)
You misread the sentence. I never said any of it had a valid [b][i]US[/i][/b] copyright. The material in question had valid copyrights in the country of publication, but not in the US, due to various quirks.

1) [i]Magic[/i] by Robert Harbin -- no copyright in the US due to lack of simultaneous publication. Now protected.

2) Anything published in an Iron Curtain country -- example, anything by Kabalevsky.

3) Anything that was published in Germany where the copyright fell into the hands of the Nazis, also material published in Austria and/or Czechoslovakia. Ottokar Fischer's work, for example. There is a question about the legality of the Hofzinser translations, because they are derivative works of material that is still protected by Austrian copyright. This is not the case, though, with [i]Illustrated Magic[/i], because the rights to the book were purchased before the Nazi's took over.

An interesting case would be that of a tune called "Modřanská Polka." This is a Czech song that was written in 1927 by Jaromir Vejvoda. The copyright on the tune fell into Nazi hands when WW II started, so it may have been completely legal to play this tune without any form of royalty payment (after the start of WW II), if the player did not sing the lyrics or announce that they were playing ... "Beer Barrel Polka."

Now the copyright to the melody has been restored to the Vejvoda estate.
Message: Posted by: Dick Christian (Oct 17, 2008 11:14AM)
Bill,

Thanks for the clarification. I stand corrected.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Oct 18, 2008 02:16AM)
That's okay. It was a rather obscure thing, except for people who had been publishing some of these musical items in the US.
Message: Posted by: zhouluyi (Oct 30, 2008 01:06PM)
Entering in the discussion a little late... there was some mention of derivative works, what about translations?

I ask that because more than once I wanted to translate some classics into Portuguese (I'm Brazilian). Since I was worried about copyright problems, and since it's more of personal project - I don't intented to formally publish it, just to distribute it among the magicians circles here - I never carried it out, I translated some selected chapters on request or to talk about the subject on some posts (I'm a member of the largest magic forum in portuguese).

What can I do about that? Am I allowed to translated Erdnase and other books published by Dover (they seem to publish public domain only)? How can that work be distributed? May (should?) it be sold or given?

Regards,
Luiz Borges
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Oct 31, 2008 11:26PM)
The moment you start distributing copies, even privately, you are publishing. That's a cold, hard fact.

If you translate a work that is in the public domain and distribute the translation, for profit or not, you are not violating any law at all. Your translation is copyrightable, and, in my opinion, you are doing a good thing.

However, if you translate someone's work and that work is still copyrighted, in order to publish it, you must get permission from the copyright holder, and you probably will have to pay a royalty. However, this is not a big problem, because the royalties usually come out of the fees you get for selling the work. In some cases, you might need to pay a fee up front. That's up to the owner of the copyright.

Distribution can be through Lulu.com or you can have it printed and sell it to the bigger wholesalers or you can set up a web site to distribute it.

Sell it by all means. Translating is not easy work, especially if it's a good translation.

Almost all of my translations have been at the request of the original author or publisher. Those that weren't at the request of them are by their permission.
Message: Posted by: zhouluyi (Nov 1, 2008 06:52AM)
Thanks Bill,
At first the books I'm mostly interested in translating are the old classics, Erdnase, maybe some Hoffman, Maskelyne, Devant, and so. Most of those are Dover reprints, and I guess that all of them fall in public domain (BTW: Any reliable way to check for that?)

My idea is to give the oportunity for the younger to study the old, instead of just watch mindless one effect dvd.

Yesterday I began searching for information about self-publishing, how much it would cost and so on. Since my intention isn't profit I don't feel like overpricing the book, I want to get then done at about 10 dollars a piece. If it get's very expensive I will try to restrict myself to online distribution, maybe the Lulu service would be good for that. I've made some estimatives of shipment to Brazil and it gets VERY VERY expensive from Lulu, about 100 dollars for a 10 dollar book (I guess the service must be broken).

Hope to get the costs right by the next week, and with luck get this project going.

EDIT: Also I'm studying the ISBN question, it is a requirement by Law in Brazil that every published book (in paper) must have an ISBN, regardless of anything.

Thanks,
Luiz Borges
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Nov 4, 2008 09:42AM)
The key to this is to publish in paperback. That cuts the shipping costs way down.

Check and see what kind of publishers you have in Brazil as well.

I don't know how you could check on the Dover material, but I am reasonably sure that the bulk of their publications are in the public domain. the Hofzinser books aren't though. They fall under that new law, the restoration of copyright act. Ottokar Fischer's estate still owns the rights to them. These will expire in 2011.
Message: Posted by: zhouluyi (Nov 4, 2008 12:56PM)
Thanks again Bill,
The publishers here have no interest in magic books (no enough market for it), so I will have to take the independent approach. Also, I had no intention to put it on hardback, that would be extremely expensive.

I just found out of a company here that does the same kind of service as Lulu.com, maybe that is my solution. I requested a cost estimative from them today. I also requested estimatives from a printer house.

About Hofzinser, I didn't even know he had material published, I heard about him in descriptions from other magicians. I just looked it up and found that:
[i]"What ws known about Hofzinser was mostly based on the work of Otokar Fischer (1873-1940) who published his findings in his books, Kartenkünste (1910) and Zauberkünste (1942) though many of Fischer's findings turned out to incorrect. In recent years, Austrian magician Magic Christian has discovered many new facts about the life and magic of Hofzinser, publishing them in his books Non Plus Ultra, currently available only in German."[/i]

These were published in Germany, so, I would have to check it up more clearly. At first I would focus on the ones I'm sure its in public domain.

Luiz Borges
Message: Posted by: Lawrence O (Nov 12, 2008 02:15PM)
[quote]
On 2008-10-16 01:59, Bill Palmer wrote:
You misread the sentence. I never said any of it had a valid [b][i]US[/i][/b] copyright. The material in question had valid copyrights in the country of publication, but not in the US, due to various quirks.

1) [i]Magic[/i] by Robert Harbin -- no copyright in the US due to lack of simultaneous publication. Now protected.

2) Anything published in an Iron Curtain country -- example, anything by Kabalevsky.

3) Anything that was published in Germany where the copyright fell into the hands of the Nazis, also material published in Austria and/or Czechoslovakia. Ottokar Fischer's work, for example. There is a question about the legality of the Hofzinser translations, because they are derivative works of material that is still protected by Austrian copyright. This is not the case, though, with [i]Illustrated Magic[/i], because the rights to the book were purchased before the Nazi's took over.

An interesting case would be that of a tune called "Modřanská Polka." This is a Czech song that was written in 1927 by Jaromir Vejvoda. The copyright on the tune fell into Nazi hands when WW II started, so it may have been completely legal to play this tune without any form of royalty payment (after the start of WW II), if the player did not sing the lyrics or announce that they were playing ... "Beer Barrel Polka."

Now the copyright to the melody has been restored to the Vejvoda estate.
[/quote]

Hi Bill

Whenever you wish to use the word nazi, could you please drop the capital "n". It has been ruled by an international court, lead by American judges that they had lost the right to any respect and are just a "criminal organization" and being a member is sufficient to make one a criminal (1949 ruling: proceedings reported in the "Green Books")... So please no capital "n". The ruling made it clear that there is no possible prescription to this condamnation.

Thanks
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Nov 12, 2008 09:05PM)
That was not intended to be an honorific. In German, all nouns are capitalized, even the evil ones, I tend to capitalize German nouns when I use them in English. I'll see if I can get the moderators to change that.

I apologize.
Message: Posted by: Justin M. Monehen (Mar 29, 2010 11:05AM)
I know I am a bit late on this thread - but it was a very interesting read.
Just a quick question about the public domain issue of some of the Hugard books? Is the different countries and their copyright rules the reason that Dover's version of The Encyclopedia of Card Tricks is not available in the UK? Is this book public domain in the US and still under copyright in the UK - if so who owns it as I see so many versions of the book in shops and as ebooks that I wonder how the internet (which after all is worldwide) can possibly cope with different copyright restrictions and time periods for books (and other media) to become public domain.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Mar 29, 2010 06:21PM)
I don't know why it isn't available in the UK. The original edition was published by Louis Tannen, but my copy, which is of the third printing, has no copyright date in it. This clouds the waters somewhat. There is a good chance that the book has a different copyright in the UK. This should have been equalized by the legal changes in the Uruguay round.

It may have to do with Hugard's citizenship. He was born in Australia. If the Encyclopedia had a separate English copyright, it would expire in 2029.
Message: Posted by: Justin M. Monehen (Apr 1, 2010 04:42AM)
Contacted Dover and they confirmed that the copyright for some of their magic books were different in the EU to the US (Encyclopedia of Card Tricks being one of them). So yep, 2029 sounds like the date of copyright expiration for Hugards work in the UK.

Posted: Apr 1, 2010 5:45am
As a side note on copyright and old books.
Does anyone know if Burling Hull (who died relatively recently 1982) has an estate looking after his copyright (I know he was rightly most concerned about patents and copyright). I want to reprint and excerpt from one of his very early books and I absolutely want to get the correct permission. Any help would be much appreciated.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Apr 1, 2010 11:03AM)
Contact Bev Bergeron.
Message: Posted by: Justin M. Monehen (Apr 1, 2010 11:25AM)
Wow - thank you.
All the very best,
Justin
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Apr 1, 2010 04:24PM)
You are welcome. Bev was basically Burling Hull's closest friend during the last years of Burling's life.

I met Burling in 1980. I had just finished working at the Largo Renaissance Festival. On the way back to Houston, I drove through Orlando, just to visit with Bev for a little while. When I was leaving, I asked Bev about Burling Hull.

He said, "He is as blind as a bat and as sharp as a tack."

I asked Bev what Burling would do if I dropped by his place, which was not far from Orlando, and told him that I had learned a lot about showmanship from the series he had written for the Linking Ring. Bev said, "He would flip out!"

So I went up to DeLand, phoned Burling from a pay phone nearby, and went to visit him, figuring that I would be able to tolerate the man most people called "Hurling Bull," for a maximum of a half hour. Then, hopefully, I would be able to get his autograph and I could get on down the road.

Instead of the dour, humorless curmudgeon I thought I would find, I found a brilliant man. He had a great sense of humor. He was extremely knowledgeable about illusions and showmanship. After about three hours, I finally had to get on down the road.

And I did get the autograph!

I will never call him "Hurling Bull" again, either.
Message: Posted by: Mark R. Williams (Apr 1, 2010 05:23PM)
That remembrance of Berling Hull was a nice read!

I think a lot of people can be quite different than the public perceptions. I even know of a famous person with a Wonderful "Guy next door" public persona that in private you would not want to be around.......................

Regards,

mark
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Apr 1, 2010 06:45PM)
I wish I had met him ten years earlier.
Message: Posted by: Mark R. Williams (Apr 2, 2010 03:44PM)
Bill,
I wish I could have met him at all!!!!! I am thankful for those I have met, real mentors like Jay Marshal, Marshal Brodien, and many others. I have met many a good person in this hobby of mine......... There really are a lot of good people out there when you start to count them.

Regards,

mark
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Apr 4, 2010 03:19AM)
Jay Marshall was a good friend of mine. He was very generous with his knowledge.

Marshall Brodien contributed quite a bit to my cups and balls collection.
Message: Posted by: jnrussell (Sep 27, 2012 08:03AM)
After carefully reading through this older thread, while the information on public domain was interesting and helpful, I think Jonathon's original thoughts were lost.

While I appreciate his sentiment, the horse is so long out of the barn, that it becomes an argument in futility. The secrets are out there. They can't be pulled back in. And as long as current magician's want to publish, it will never change.

I agree that most people may want to know how something is done, but how much time are they actually going to invest in searching? In today's world, youtube will about be the extent of it. And again, as long as someone wants to expose, there's nothing that can be done about it.

A couple years ago I sat in a room full of magicians and watched a young man do his linking rings routine. Every single one of us knew the mechanics of how he did what he did. But we were blown away as this young man performed pure magic in front of our very eyes. After his performance, I turned to a fellow magi next to me and said, "After watching him, I'm not sure what to call what I do... that was magic!"

Secrets are one thing. Performing magic is quite another. That can't be learned from exposure.
Message: Posted by: Peter McMillan (Oct 20, 2012 07:38PM)
I find research thru these old volumes to be most instructive. I am constantly finding that effects that may be though of as "new" today were presented 100, 150 or more years ago. Some methods may have been refined, however I find it all the more amazing they were able to make it work given the technology of their time. And now it is all right there for the gleaning in these public domain publications.

Personally, I hope they stay lost.

And John, you are sooooo right.
Message: Posted by: Michael Landes (Aug 31, 2013 12:11AM)
[quote]
On 2012-09-27 09:03, jnrussell wrote:
After carefully reading through this older thread, while the information on public domain was interesting and helpful, I think Jonathon's original thoughts were lost.

While I appreciate his sentiment, the horse is so long out of the barn, that it becomes an argument in futility. The secrets are out there. They can't be pulled back in. And as long as current magician's want to publish, it will never change.

I agree that most people may want to know how something is done, but how much time are they actually going to invest in searching? In today's world, youtube will about be the extent of it. And again, as long as someone wants to expose, there's nothing that can be done about it.

A couple years ago I sat in a room full of magicians and watched a young man do his linking rings routine. Every single one of us knew the mechanics of how he did what he did. But we were blown away as this young man performed pure magic in front of our very eyes. After his performance, I turned to a fellow magi next to me and said, "After watching him, I'm not sure what to call what I do... that was magic!"

Secrets are one thing. Performing magic is quite another. That can't be learned from exposure.
[/quote]
So, so true. Exposure has never posed a risk to the survival of magic. It is simply a non-issue.
I'm not a history buff, but I believe...

The back palm was exposed practically into extinction in the early years of the 20th century,
yet It remains one of the best things you can do on the stage, and has always been a Lance Burton specialty.

While Houdini was performing in the Hippodrome as a major star, shills were hawking pamphlets right outside
explaining his entire act, accurately, for a few pennies. Meanwhile, people were fighting to buy tickets for
a small fortune to watch Houdini perform that very act inside.

Many magicians were originally truly concerned that Penn & Teller would be the death of magic because they
pulled away the curtain and showed the methods. Well, they DID, and do, a lot of exposure, it's true.
Has it irreparably harmed magic? Or didn't all that PENN AND TELLER ARE THE DEVIL talk die decades ago?

In the seventies I had a very close friend named Paul Chosse, whom I name only because his name has come up
on the forum from time to time. Paul was a great lover of magic, but was never awed by the idea of
SECRETS. Any one who asked him how he did something was told. Not just any magician, ANYONE. (He always
found it funny and rather sad, that magicians only had to ask him how something was done, but they
almost never did (in fact this is how we met). It was always about trading SECRETS, about having something
HEAVY enough to offer in trade. So, yes, he too had his special items that he would pull out in order to
loosen someone else's tongue. But he never liked this aspect of hanging out.

But more to the point was his attitude with regard to spectators. For example, if someone asked, or accused,
or guessed, CORRECTLY, about the workings of something he'd done, he would often just say, "Yes, you're right!"
and then go on to fool him again with the same trick. Now, I know you are thinking, "of course, he used a different
method." But, no, he would do THE SAME TRICK. the same method. He would just SAY he was doing something different.
And since he performed it PROPERLY, they were fooled. THEY HAD NO CLUE! they were more baffled than ever! \
He said to me more than once, that if you couldn't fool someone with a trick even though they already knew the method,
then you didn't know/understand the trick properly and demonstrated this to me over and over.

SECRETS are the cheapest, most common, coin of the realm. There is nothing rare and precious about methods. They are
legion, they are everywhere, they are endless. Good magic, however, is indeed rare and a precious thing of wonder those
few times I've seen the real thing. Here is a great, I think, negative example. One of the really great acts I've seen
was the Goshman act, which I saw Al perform at least 3 times. the video doesn't really capture it (do videos ever?)
Now, check out the book on his act. Hm......... all the secrets are there (for what they are worth). But everything
that made the act great is missing. One of the worst magic books ever, IMHO of course, yet all the SECRETS are there.

Or, more succinctly, yes I agree.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Apr 21, 2019 12:56AM)
One of the lessons I learned shortly before I formally retired from performing was that the mechanics of the trick are not the secret.

Figure that one out.