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Topic: Question about crediting and magic history
Message: Posted by: mitchb2 (Aug 2, 2007 08:19AM)
I've been thinking about this since I started reading the Café a few months ago.
As a composer, I know what it's like to be influenced by and, let's face it, steal ideas. Throughout history composers have made no bones about it: "Good composers borrow, great composers steal."

Every art form evolves through influence and assimilation of ideas.
However, I have never gone to an art gallery and seen an exhaustive disclaimer next to a painting: "Clouds influenced by John Doe, tree coloring influenced by Joe Blow, this shade of red originally used by Jim Smith."

Also with music. Tonal music, anyway. There are only 12 notes...only so many ways to arrange them.

So I'm wondering why the magic world is so different, and so concerned with crediting each idea to its creator/developer, etc. I'm thinking about this mainly because every time something is posted in "Latest and Greatest," there is inevitably somebody who says "That's not your idea...I've seen it before. Why don't you give credit to so-and-so."

This isn't any kind of attack or challenge. I'm just genuinely interested in why magic is different in this respect from other art forms.
Message: Posted by: Jaz (Aug 2, 2007 09:06AM)
Magic relies on some chicanery.
Live music requires a performer. Exhibited art don't, it's just the work. You hear the music and see what the musician is doing. Art work is to enjoy. Neither are dependent on secrecy.

I don't feel that every sleight, patter line or plot used for a routine needs to be credited unless a large portion of the routine is from someone elses routine. If it's something new and unpublished then it shouldn't be put out without the permission of the creator, developer, etc.

One reason for crediting is out of respect and another so folks can refer to the original for further insight.

Other opinions can likely be found at 'The Round Table/Right or Wrong?' category.
Message: Posted by: tnscot (Aug 2, 2007 09:40AM)
I personally feel, as a songwriter, that if you have to get too bent out of shape when you hear a song that is similar to yours, then you must not be very prolific. Again, I say, there's nothing new under the sun. We see, experince and hear what has come before us, allow it to influence us, and then create what comes naturally. If it is obvious who the influence is, then no footnote is needed. If it is not obvious, then it is far enough removed from the original that there should be no contention. I think it's pretty simple. Why should any form of art be any diferent, including magic? And really...if I came up with something on my own....should I really not do it just becasue someone famous came up with it on their own too? Lots of peopole come up with the same ideas. that's just the way life works. There are many things that I have "discovered" with no help form anyone else. But I'm not foolish enough to think that I'm the only person who has.
I agree with what Jaz said about crediting out of respect and so folks can refer to the original for further insight. But I don't feel like any artist should live in fear of missing a footnote, as so many people in this community would like to see.
I know that some people will agree with me and some people will disagree. But that's my humble, but correct, opinion.
Message: Posted by: mitchb2 (Aug 2, 2007 10:23AM)
[quote]

I agree with what Jaz said about crediting out of respect and so folks can refer to the original for further insight.

[/quote]

That makes sense to me, too.
Message: Posted by: Jason Simonds (Aug 2, 2007 01:35PM)
Actually musicians do credit each other if they cover someone else's tune. Take All Along the Watchtower for example. Its an old Dylan tune, that a few performers have covered, such as Jimi Hendrix, Dave Matthews, and Prince. If you check the liner notes of any commercially released performances, you'll see Dylan's name there.
Message: Posted by: mitchb2 (Aug 2, 2007 01:57PM)
I'm actually referring more to orchestral composition.
Beethoven ripped off Haydn, John Williams rips off everybody (in a good way).
If you've ever watched Home Alone, he rips off The Nutcracker in a blatant way.
But you won't see anything in the credits about "Music by John Williams as influenced by Tchaikovsky and Wagner and Holst." :)
Message: Posted by: Andy the cardician (Aug 2, 2007 06:48PM)
[quote]
On 2007-08-02 14:57, mitchb2 wrote:
I'm actually referring more to orchestral composition.
Beethoven ripped off Haydn, John Williams rips off everybody (in a good way).
If you've ever watched Home Alone, he rips off The Nutcracker in a blatant way.
But you won't see anything in the credits about "Music by John Williams as influenced by Tchaikovsky and Wagner and Holst." :)
[/quote]

good point.

Actually, there is a rule what is allowed and what not, when it comes to ripping off in music
Message: Posted by: Jay Austin (Aug 2, 2007 07:40PM)
I see so many knockoffs in magic it is not funny. For example, last night we were watching an ellusionist video and they were doing a trick called "voodoo zone". That trick is actually Ed Marlo's Card Warp. There are so many tricks out there that are being put off as "new" that are actually many years old. Without crediting the original developer of a trick on instructional DVDs and books, we loose the history of magic and that is as important as the trick itself.
Message: Posted by: One Man (Aug 2, 2007 08:26PM)
<<--Post moved to ethics forum!!!

I always liked the line..."Imitation is the sincerest form of thievery."

Sorry don't know whom to credit that to.

There is a difference between being influenced by someone or something and passing off someone else's creation as your own without due credit. Hendrix did'nt play Along the Watchtower and say it was his song. The secret (IMHO) lies in taking the spark of inspiration and turning it into something that is uniquely yours.


Kevin

Kevin
Message: Posted by: seraph127 (Aug 2, 2007 09:04PM)
BTW, Card Warp is a Roy Walton creation.
Message: Posted by: tnscot (Aug 3, 2007 08:47AM)
In Bluegrass absoulutely EVERYBODY knows that Bill Monroe invented the 4 finger chop chord style on mandolin (in fact, he invented Bluegrass altogether, as it is even named after his band, Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys). Nobody today plays "a song in the Bluegrass style which was invented by Bill Monroe." They just play a Bluegrass song. The very fact that it has become a part of the creative conciousness of music is credit enough to his genius. He was flattered, and proud. Not jealous and spiteful.
Eric Clapton did not invent the 12 bar blues but when he play them, nobody in the musical community is narrow minded enough to insist that he make an attempt to credit the first person who ever recorded them.
Sculptors aren't ridiculed or scorned for not crediting the person who is best known for whatever technique they use.
The same applies for painters, photographers, landscapers, authors, actors, screenwriters and any other type of artist.
Only in Magic do we find this bizarre need to footnote everything we do or say.
There is a huge streak of jealousy and insecurity running through the magic community that is unsightly and pathetic.
Get over it.
Message: Posted by: Jaz (Aug 3, 2007 03:13PM)
So, if a musician, photographer, etc, is writing a lesson, giving a lecture or asked by a peer where they learned a technique that they should say its theirs and don't give any credit??

Crediting is something magicians do for the benefit their peers and out of respect for those before us who helped blaze new trails.
It's about history.

If you formally study art, music, martial arts, or any art, a history lesson that includes credits will surely be included.

Crediting is not something magicians do for their audiences.
Message: Posted by: tnscot (Aug 3, 2007 04:58PM)
[quote]
On 2007-08-03 16:13, Jaz wrote:
So, if a musician, photographer, etc, is writing a lesson, giving a lecture or asked by a peer where they learned a technique that they should say its theirs and don't give any credit??

[/quote]

I'm not saying that at all. I'm saying that they should be comfortable creating a piece without having to make sure that everyone who encounters it is fully aware who the first person was to publish it. Taking credit for somebody else's work is wrong. So is living in fear of the scorn of those around you if you don't mention at every turn that "what's-his-name published this move in the what's-it-called book" Surely everyone can see the tremendous difference between that and taking credit for somebody else's work.
Message: Posted by: Jaz (Aug 3, 2007 05:44PM)
I'm just playin' around a bit, Scot. ;)
I know what you're saying.

Mitch asked about crediting and magic history.
He mentions, "I'm thinking about this mainly because every time something is posted in "Latest and Greatest," there is inevitably somebody who says "That's not your idea...I've seen it before. Why don't you give credit to so-and-so."

Sure, I agree that some folks tend to go overboard about giving credits.
I don't feel that a history of [i]every[/i] principle, sleight, plot, look-alike routine, etc, has to be given either.

Certainly there's a a time and place for giving credit and times when there's no need.
Message: Posted by: pradell (Aug 3, 2007 08:14PM)
In music those who steal other's work without permission can be sued for copyright violations. Royalties are paid to those who author music/lyrics by those who later use them for profit. Unfortunately, magic is in the gray zone. On one hand, those who patent their works, i.e. Steinmeyer, Tenyo, etc., reveal their secrets in the process. Magical secrets may not be protected in the same way musical compositions are. So magicians have attempted to adopt their own ethics code to their inventions, whether it be patter, character, ideas for tricks, etc. In so doing, they pass down to other generations the history, which is an important part of our art, and they honor those who have come before us and led the way to present prestidigitation.

:magicrabbit:
Message: Posted by: Phil Thomas (Aug 3, 2007 09:24PM)
If you're intereseted in magic history, you might want to read "The Illustrated History of Magic" by Milbourne Christopher. It's a great book and quite an interesting read.

:cheers:

Phil
Message: Posted by: mitchb2 (Aug 4, 2007 08:48AM)
Thanks for the replies.
I'm actually very impressed when I watch, say, an Ammar video, and he gives credit for virtually everything.

Really I've noticed a handful of members during my short time here who seem to really get off on challenging/accusing people's ideas, but in general it does seem that the respect is there.

Interesting field.
Message: Posted by: BtheDreamer (Aug 4, 2007 11:59AM)
This Thread is proof that we have people that feel strongly both ways and everywhere in-between. I am somewhere in-between myself. I have always thought the fight for credit and acknowledgment on the parts of some was petty and unique to our field but I have since seen that we are not alone.

I once witnessed too graphic designers fighting over who was the originator of a certain font. Just imagine that “Joe Blow was the first to use the thicker line in the stem of the ‘A’” “no, Jan Doe was the first he stole that from her use of the thicker lines in the base of the ‘V’” - It was almost laugh out loud funny to me but they were dead serious and passionate about it.

So while I think that everyone fighting and trying to take credit for tricks is petty and unproductive. I do also feel like people like Mike Ammar are an asset to our industry and I wish more people would take the time to learn the background and history of the elements involved.

We can learn a lot from where a trick came from and more importantly the whys behind it. I once heard a story about a lady that cooked a really good ham when someone asked her the secret to the ham she explained that she cut the top and bottom off the ham. When asked why, she said well that’s what my mother did. Long story short her mom did that because that’s what her grandmother did and when asked, her grandmother said she did that because the hams where to big to fit in her small oven. Cutting the ham didn’t help the flavor at all and everyone after grandma wasted good meat because they never bothered to find out the whys. This is a perfect example of the reason to not only know what to do but why we do it and where that came from.

Many tricks have been ruined by improvements. If we credit sources it only enables others to back track and learn more about the reasons things were done the way they were for so long.

A good example of this is we may cut out a line form a trick because we think it’s a bad joke not realizing that the joke is there to offer a beat of misdirection and if we don’t replace that joke with some other element of misdirection we just weakened the effect with our improvement.

In short as inventors we should not get so bent out of shape and not hold our craft back from evolving and improving but as magicians I think we should take an interest in the history of principles and effects and expect that more from teachers and most importantly utilize that information.

But that’s just me

B
Message: Posted by: Jay Austin (Aug 4, 2007 12:33PM)
[quote]
On 2007-08-02 22:04, seraph127 wrote:
BTW, Card Warp is a Roy Walton creation.
[/quote]

You are exactly right. I had a cranial flatulation there and typed the wrong thing. See how easy it is to miscredit someone.