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Topic: Protecting an original illusion
Message: Posted by: JBiesecker (Aug 22, 2019 10:37AM)
We've all heard of illusions that are "protected" in that they are original and can only be used by the inventor, or someone who has bought it, or been given permission, like for example Andre Kole's "Head Mover" illusion, or David Copperfields "Laser" illusion. Does anyone know how an illusion can be protected like this? I've designed and built an original illusion, and while not nearly as special or professional, I do wish there was a way to protect it before showing it online to keep other performers and builders from stealing it. Any suggestions?
Message: Posted by: jimgerrish (Aug 22, 2019 10:53AM)
Why do you feel you have to show it online? Are you getting paid to do so? What business are you in that requires you to show it online publicly?
Message: Posted by: thomasR (Aug 22, 2019 02:29PM)
When have you heard about steinmeyer going after the knock off origamii illusions? Its really something thatís not worth worrying about. Nobody is going to hire you because youíre the only one that does something... they donít care.

Funny enough... the best way to protect it is to publish it and put a high price tag on it, by publishing it, it becomes your copyright. Otherwise you have to do a patent which is costly and ends up being published online with the patent office.
Message: Posted by: JBiesecker (Aug 22, 2019 02:52PM)
I don't have to show it online, I would just like to be able to show it on my YouTube channel is all. I know that it's not all that big a deal, it's just something that I'm trying to be cautious about. I've heard stories of people who had their ideas stolen by someone else who then got the credit and profits for it. I imagine there's probably not any sure way to prevent this. I just can't help but wonder.
Message: Posted by: thomasR (Aug 22, 2019 04:07PM)
Well if you do nothing, anybody can steal it and you canít say a word.
You can get a patent, or a publish it and thereby copyright it. You could publish it and put a super high price tag on it. Or you can make a limited edition any buy all of the editions ha.
Message: Posted by: MJ Marrs (Aug 22, 2019 06:59PM)
I think Thomas is spot on. Make the price and quality of the item high.

Iím in the process of buying an illusion currently. I saved my pennies for quite a while to get it. I wouldnít dream of getting a cheap knockoff because itís not only against my values, but the quality of those knock-offs is embarrassing. Pour your heart & soul into something youíre proud of and then the people whose opinion you value will appreciate the high quality. Not even companies such as Nike can stop the counterfeits.
Message: Posted by: jimgerrish (Aug 22, 2019 09:04PM)
[quote]On Aug 22, 2019, JBiesecker wrote:
I don't have to show it online, I would just like to be able to show it on my YouTube channel is all.[/quote]

Showing it on YouTube is showing it on-line. I don't know if you can lock out those without a password from YouTube, but you can do that with Vimeo. Here is the Explanation for how to perform the CC Silk by Fred Goode on Vimeo, but you can't see it without a password. I'm not giving you a password, I'm just pointing out I don't think you can bypass Vimeo's security to see the secret. https://vimeo.com/224389594 If you want to try to break in. Let me know if you succeed. Other than that, I wouldn't trust YouTube with my secrets. Here is the demonstration video (no secrets) on YouTube for comparison. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxwhPIVUskU
Message: Posted by: JBiesecker (Aug 22, 2019 10:46PM)
If I do show it on you tube, the whole purpose would be for the public to see it (to entertain). It's actually already uploaded, but unlisted.
Message: Posted by: jimgerrish (Aug 23, 2019 04:19AM)
The "public" includes those people you are trying to keep from stealing it. YOUR purpose is to entertain, but that's not what THEIR purpose is in watching it again and again until they have figured out how it works without any further help from you. Good-bye "protection." Now it's up to you to prove that it was not independently "discovered."
Message: Posted by: Sorcerer (Aug 23, 2019 07:10AM)
If you have a good idea and you share it on the internet, it's just a question of time anybody, anywhere will copy it. Believe me, it will happen, ALWAYS. No way to legally stop piracy from other countries with different laws.

Try to put it on youtube, but private. https://www.wikihow.com/Make-Your-YouTube-Video-Private

Youtube allows 3 kinds of privacy settings:
- "public" by default, everybody can watch and search it
- "unlisted" Only people who knows the link can see it.
- "Private" Only you can see it.

Having it private no one but you can see it, but at future it could serve to prove your upload date, so in case of authorship conflict at least you can show that you invented it before.
Message: Posted by: FrankFindley (Aug 23, 2019 12:09PM)
First you have to decide what you are trying to protect. Is it the method, the performance, distribution of the video, or the name/other distinguishing feature? Each of these has different types of protection.

The method can be protected by patent, trade secret, or peer pressure.

With a patent you publicly disclose the method in exchange for legal means to stop others from manufacturing and selling it. It doesn't prevent anyone from using a variation they make themselves.

With trade secrets you keep the method hidden but it only protects you from people you work (eg assistant taking secret and selling to another magician) and, in some cases, thieves from disclosing it to competitors. This is best for something so unique other magicians couldn't backwards engineer it. An example would be Ade Duval's [i]Invisible Pipe[/i]. For trade secrets to be enforced, you need to document steps taken like use of Non Disclosure Agrrements (NDAs) with staff and marking training materials 'confidential - do not copy, distribute, or disclose'.

Peer pressure is what most of the illusion builders do. They copyright a design/plan and then call upon other magicians to only purchase from them based on the IBM/SAM joint ethics statement. Back in Vaudeville days you could register an act with the theater managers group and they would agree to not hire lookalikes. But those types of situations no longer hold. So basically you have to claim something and voluntarily get enough magicians to agree so that they will put pressure on those knocking it off to stop. Losander's Floating Table is an example where a committed group of fans voice displeasure at people manufacturing or using knock-offs.

Trying to protect a performance is very difficult. Under US law magic performances are not protected except pantomimes. So Teller could successfully sue Gerard Dogge for infringing on his [i]Shadows[/i] act but most of us have no such recourse.

Protecting the video from being sold or commercially distributed is easy. You simply put a copyright notice on it. If someone tries to distribute otherwise you send a cease notice or, in the case of online platforms like youtube, lodge a complaint with the host.

For protecting the name or feature you use a trademark. This is either registered with the USPTO or unregistered. For unregistered you simply put TM or SM (trade mark or service mark) on it. If it is registered you use a circle-R. This stops others from using that marked term. But it doesn't stop others from offering alternatives. So Yigal Mesika can stop others from calling their offering [i]Loops[/i] (Registered Mark) but he cant stop others from offering elastic bands.

Net, your best bet is to name the illusion something and SM that, put copyright notice on video, and execute NDAs with staff. You can also post on boards like Magic Cafť stating it is yours and asking others to respect that. All of this is free. If you can do the act as a pantomime, you could do what Teller does and copyright an illustration of it and give notice that it is yours. If you think it is novel enough and that you might sell it commercially, you could speak with lawyer about patenting it.

If you don't have it, here is the IBM/SAM ethics statement: [URL]https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.magician.org/pdf/JointIBMAndSamEthics.pdf&ved=2ahUKEwjJ_pTev5nkAhVQ7qwKHSpJALYQFjAAegQIAxAB&usg=AOvVaw2vu9jorxnzpVk6TPCqQ978[/URL]
Message: Posted by: JBiesecker (Aug 23, 2019 02:10PM)
Thanks for all the tips. That's quite helpful.
Message: Posted by: JBiesecker (Aug 23, 2019 02:27PM)
The illusion is probably not worth too much protection. If anyone would like to give me their opinion, PM me.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Aug 26, 2019 11:16AM)
Do as the Great magicians of the past did. Keep it from prying eyes. Don't let anyone see it except during a show presentation. Then it is the first prop, packed away. That is part of the draw to gain it popularity. Use it as your hook, to promote your show. Just like David Copperfield does. He don't sell himself on those huge posters, he sells a new illusion that has to be seen by coming to his show.

If you post it on the Internet, then everyone has seen it and there is not reason to hire you. Use the Internet to your advantage, not your disadvantage. The only ones making money on the Internet is google, the people posting are making nothing, and paying Google to let them be seen.

Watch the movie The Prestige.
Message: Posted by: drstrangelove (Sep 12, 2019 09:59PM)
[quote]On Aug 22, 2019, JBiesecker wrote:
I don't have to show it online, I would just like to be able to show it on my YouTube channel is all. I know that it's not all that big a deal, it's just something that I'm trying to be cautious about. I've heard stories of people who had their ideas stolen by someone else who then got the credit and profits for it. I imagine there's probably not any sure way to prevent this. I just can't help but wonder. [/quote]

No one can copyright an illusion or magic trick. Only the pantomime.
Message: Posted by: drstrangelove (Sep 12, 2019 10:27PM)
This is 2019 people. Neither magic tricks, illusions, nor mentalist secrets are copyrightable. Legally anyone of you could copy someone other magicians act and there is nothing he or she could do about it.
Message: Posted by: top_illusionist (Sep 13, 2019 10:32AM)
Bill Hegbli has a point. I think that's the best route to take. If not, then don't ever showcase your effect. Take it to your grave if that's what you really want. Leave it in writing in a memoir journal for other magicians to read after your passing.