(Close Window)
Topic: Illusions...original or copy?
Message: Posted by: KHER (Aug 2, 2002 12:42PM)
The illusion performed by Lance Burton in his TV special :ON THE ROAD". The opening scene where the huge bus crashed thru' the white screen as performed in the desert. I know this illusion is merely for TV camera only. Where can I get a book on this illusion?
Message: Posted by: Darmoe (Aug 2, 2002 05:43PM)
It is a variation (to my understanding) of Franz Harary's "PERSPECTIVE"... last I checked the royalty fee for performing this once is a bit steep. The real catch is, you have to make a new gaff for the bit everytime you do it (the method is the same but to use the method certain things must be "adjusted" with each new location.)

Franz uses this technology to death and guards it like grim death. So, if you have some serious cash or a sponsor willing to foot the bill, go through Mendoza and get with FH.

Best of luck!
Message: Posted by: Kent Messmer (Aug 2, 2002 07:01PM)
kicking a dead horse...

Darmoe,
"Royalty fee"??? for what? Yes he created it or whatever but is it a patented item? I don't think that this is like a soundtrack that one sings along with at weddings. Those are copy-righted and protected in that you can perfom them live, just not record and or broadcast.

Is it an ethics thing that one would pay this royalty fee? If so, there is no legal stand.

The only reason I inquire about this is that I keep seeing posts saying "buy the original, or that's a knock off of so and sos'." I know if I invented something I would want everyone to buy mine, but what right would I have to insist on this?

Not all working magicians can afford to buy the $5000.00 version of something they can get for $2000.00. Yeah, it might not work as well or hold up for as long, but why should that stop them from doing the effect? Why should they be ridiculed because they don't have the "name brand" one?
Message: Posted by: knightmagic98 (Aug 2, 2002 07:52PM)
Well, the effect is protected by Trade Secret Laws. Check the WAM website for a book on these laws. Also, if you cannot afford the asking price of a particular illusion, maybe just don't do it!
Message: Posted by: Thomas Wayne (Aug 2, 2002 11:11PM)
[quote]
On 2002-08-02 20:01, Kent Messmer wrote:
[...]
"Royalty fee"??? for what? Yes he created it or whatever but is it a patented item?
[...]
Not all working magicians can afford to buy the $5000.00 version of something they can get for $2000.00. Yea it might not work as well or hold up for as long but why should that stop them from doing the effect. Why should they be riduculed because they don't have the "name brand" one?
[/quote]

Kent,

Though honesty and integrity will continue to guide the majority of an INFORMED public, it obviously won't guide them all. For YOU, and others who think as you do, there are Trademark and Trade Dress laws, Design Patents (different from "Utility" patents; this is how Jim Steinmeyer protects "Origami"), Trade Secret Laws, Visual Art Copyrights, Writers Guild Registration, and a number of other existing methods of helping honest (and NOT so honest) people do the right thing.

One company I am currently working with is examining the possibility (quite likely, actually) of "licensing" routines, much in the same way software is licensed.

Believe me, the days of fly-by-night illusions builders selling crappy copies of "$5000.00 [illusions] for $2000.00" to cheap or dishonest magicians are dwindling fast. Creative thinkers are tired of being ripped off, and the laws exist (and are further evolving) to protect their legitimate right to exclusive proprietorship of their own creations.

Sadly, theft of intellectual property WILL continue on some level or another. There's a guy who is constantly selling illegal reprints of T.A. Waters' manuscripts on Ebay, for example. After all, Waters is dead, so why shouldn't this crook make a few easy bucks? And he DOES sell them cheap, so let me know if you want his email address, Kent.

Regards,
Thomas Wayne
Message: Posted by: Gracy_hm (Aug 2, 2002 11:37PM)
Friends of mine have their ideas taken all the time and I have no tolerance for it!

I have literally NO money to buy illusions and I have hardly any to build an illusion, BUT I would never buy a copy of one that wasn't okayed by the creator. I create and design my own illusions to avoid legal problems, or I create illusions that were designed by people I know wouldn't mind because I have asked them.

I understand both the original poster's point and the responses and I must say because he would buy the $2000 dollar version doesn't mean he is cheap --it could mean he has a lack of funds (like me). The difference is I won't buy a $2000 dollar version because it isn't the way I think.

Take care,
Kyle B.
Message: Posted by: KHER (Aug 3, 2002 04:43AM)
Isn't this trick is based on optical illusion? Or the positioning of the camera? Can we get any idea from S.H.Sharpe's book CONJURORS'OPTICAL SECRETS?
Message: Posted by: Darmoe (Aug 3, 2002 08:21AM)
[quote]
On 2002-08-02 20:01, Kent Messmer wrote:
kicking a dead horse...

Darmoe,
"Royalty fee"??? for what? Yes he created it or whatever but is it a patented item? I don't think that this is like a soundtrack that one sings along with at weadings. Those are copy writed and protected in that you can perfom them live just not record and or broadcast.

Is it an ethics thing that one would pay this royalty fee? If so, there is no legal stand.

The only reason I inquire about this is that I keep seeing posts saying "buy the original, or that's a knock off of so and sos'." I know if I invented something I would want everyone to buy mine but what right would I have to insist on this?

Not all working magicians can afford to buy the $5000.00 version of something they can get for $2000.00. Yea it might not work as well or hold up for as long but why should that stop them from doing the effect. Why should they be riduculed because they don't have the "name brand" one?




[/quote]

:wow: FIRST OF ALL... Though I do "understand" where you're coming from and have even taken this position in certain debates... IT'S WRONG!

If I only had a nickle for every concept or insight of design and routine handling I've freely shared (only to have some XXXXXX claim it as his/her own... well, let's just say I'd be far more flush. But in that I'm a fool and a trust people... I've ended up on the short end of the stick... even when working with a "reputable" company.)

Ignoring the fact that Franz and I have been good friends for many years (far too many... )Ignoring the "legal" elements which, as you point out, might allow someone to "borrow" the idea without offering mention or gratuity to someone. Ethically, Morally, and Professionally however, said actions are pure theft! :mad:

No, I don't like how "extreme" some of the "Protect the creative mind" issues have gone... just as they protect people like me, who are creative, they also curb the ability of the "up and coming" to access certain "profile" leveled technology and, in time, will not only add to the already existing sense of a Caste sub-culture in magic but rob us of certain bits of creativity that will, over time, preserve our craft.

I do agree with the theory of "restricting" technology in some ways. Using that theory as an excuse to shaft the price on things... well, that's another story all together. This issue brings us back to the original questions on PERSPECTIVE.

Yes, some of the thinking behind "Controlled Perspectives of the Audience" have been published in other sources. BUT, there is much more to doing this illusion than the control element. It is a simple, yet "expensive" proposition to do right. It also requires some serious (and detailed) research, depending upon which variation you are using (there are several "Alternatives" that can be used.)

For those that would like to take there chances and try to do this bit WITHOUT PERMISSION my primary word of advice is to get a very good lawyer first and realize up-front, that if and when Franz finds out, his lawyers and his manager's legal team will be more than glad to ruin your fantasy with some very harsh reality. The moral of this story is, "If you steal from one of the "big guys" you best be ready to play hardball."

Pardon my directness, but I don't think anyone here with any sense of moral fiber will consign theft in any form.

Later!
Message: Posted by: Kent Messmer (Aug 3, 2002 03:07PM)
Thomas Wayne, THANK YOU for giving me that information. It is what I was asking for.

I do not wish to steal from anyone and agree that they should be paid a fair price.
"Trademark and Trade Dress laws, Design Patents…" are fair and legal documents and may in some respect protect different areas of a design, invention and the like. But are these thing automatically applied to the new creations or is this something that one must apply for? If not automatic is there any real protection? I understand the law and don't think that anyone should break them (I was in law enforcement for 6 years). If one does not have the "papers" so to speak, I don't think that they should balk. You think that people that buy these are cheap but isn't there some responsibility, and expense to the creator to protect their items?

As to your comment "For YOU, and others who think as you do" you don't know anything about me. I try very hard not to be dishonest. In fact, I'm too honest if you ask my wife.


I don't agree, however, that because something is built or sold for less than the original that it is a "crappy" copy. Maybe in that because it is a copy it is crappy?

Where is the line drawn in building and or paying the originator their due? There are many books on building illusions. Does the purchase of the book and or plans give you the right to build and perform, or even sell? How many of you have built a "square circle"? Did you pay the originator a fee? Where does it start and stop?

Of the companies that are building illusions out there that don't have the originators stamp on them, how are they getting around the law. It is not like they are hiding the fact that they are building these items.

Darmoe, THANK YOU also. I am hoping that many are reading this to be informed. I have some ideas that I would like to put out but didn't know how to protect them.

It is unfortunate that some of the illusions are as high-priced as they are and that only people like knightmagic98 can afford to have the original.

I have illusions that were several thousand dollars (original by the way) and when I received them thought to myself wow did I get took, not that the effect was poorly made or was not as they had described, (although that has also happened) but there is only a few hundred dollars of workmanship and materials here. How much is a fair profit?

By the way Fran has some great illusions I would like to have one some day. Cutting a girl in ninths - I think it is called, I saw Fran do and I think that it is one of his. I have a supplier that sells this illusion but I don't know if it is an authorized one. I guess I could ask. With what you say about FH I most likely will.

Thanks again.
Message: Posted by: knightmagic98 (Aug 3, 2002 08:37PM)
[quote]
It is unfortunate that some of the illusions are as high-priced as they are and that only people like knightmagic98 can afford to have the original.
[/quote]

Kent,

what makes you think I can afford these illusions? I can't. Therefore, I do not perform them. I don't see how that is a difficult concept to grasp. Not everyone in magic should be doing these illusions. I see no problem with the creator charging as much as they want to for their creation. Maybe that means I cannot afford to do whatever GREAT trick they have created. So be it. There are plenty of other effects out there that I can perform. Maybe, I'll get some shows doing the effects that I can, and SAVE some of the money I receive to buy other effects down the line.

Also, in regards to Trade Secret Laws, they do NOT have to be applied for.

Sorry for my rant...
Message: Posted by: Darmoe (Aug 4, 2002 08:35AM)
Kent

Firstly, my accusations towards you stem from the tone of your orignal post... sounded like you were searching for a way to be "allowed" to "borrow" and use technology...

Secondly... the "Janet Box" (cutting in 9ths * named after Janet Jackson for whom it was originally created) is a highly restricted piece with a base price of around $25,000.00 (last I checked). Franz only allows so many to go out in each region... lots of strings!

I think we both share the same concern over "Where does the line in the sand go away?"

I know that most of the guys like Stinemeyer and Woodbury have no problem with people building the effects outlined in thier books FOR PERSONAL USE. That don't mean you can build one, use it for a season, sell it at the end of the season and build a new one the next, etc. That's one loop hole I know to have been used in recent years.

Jim & Rand are exceptionally fair when it comes to "the issue" as it were. I know of one young man using an Origami knock-off... he was "new" to the industry and struggling... bought the thing used. When he found out about the legal war over the thing he called Jim and things were worked out in a very amicable manner.

In "defense" of Knightmagic98... I'm uncertain just what kind of show he does or the kind of props used, but I know that most of the "working" pros (not to be confused with the big $$$ "stars") rarely purchase more than one, maybe two new effects every two years... maybe once a year, if they're doing good. The exception to this rule is when a Corporate Client wants something special and foots the bill (I love those kind of clients!)

Magic has gotten bloody expensive and the bottom line is GREED!

"But you're paying for the secret!"

BULL!

I know how the freak'n sawing works... who don't?

A fair quality sawing now days starts at around $5,000.00... the so-called cutting edge pieces, that cost about the same to build (around $1,500.00) are going for over $25k... that's simply not right! But then, there are book tests out there that go for several thousand dollars as well (and you guys thoght Mother & Insight were expensive :lol: )

Kirkham told me long ago (as did Roy Houston) that Woolsworth (a.k.a. Wal*Mart, K-Mart, etc.) are the best magic shops around... If we "know our craft" it is nearly impossible not to walk through such a store and not see tons of amazing potential.

I think the bottom line is, we need to strive to create "our own" and allow that to establish our identity... not sharing it, not chasing the elusive buck by cheapening our creation too soon and going to the extremes of commercialism, etc. Allow that self-created novelty to become legendary.

The "old timers" did this as a matter of habit, not sharing their ideas and workings until late in their career. Allowing their early year discoveries to carry them forward; many of them having moves and ideas that were legendary e.g. Shamada's Dove on Cane; McComb's 5-Cornered Hank, etc. Even something as commercial as the Flash Vanish Bird Cage or Spirit Paintings... the old timers had little "subtle touches" that made them even more astonishing, that was never shared into late in life... they made the effect and vice versa (can you visualize the Bird Cage without thinking BLACKSTONE?)

The commercial side of our craft has become overly saturated, abused, and far too accessible. When we all stop chasing the buck and start remembering our "art" and the obligations that entails, then perhaps the magick will return to our tricks ;)

Later!
Message: Posted by: Kent Messmer (Aug 4, 2002 11:18PM)
I in no way want to skirt the law or the right of others to make a profit. I own a magic store and have many companies send me their prices on illusions, tricks and such.

There are so many variations on standards i.e. dove pans, cups & balls etc. but there are several large illusions made by various builders that I questioned. Their prices were much lower than the "name brand" ones
and I wanted to know more about the "laws" that is why I have been prodding this subject.

There are several "commercial" companies selling what I would assume are knock off illusions. They are not doing this in back allies but in magic trade magazines and on the 'net. Why are they allowed to do this? (or are they) Can builders, other than the original, legally build and sell these.

What about items on magicauction.com in the builders unknown section? Is it illegal to purchase or perform these?

knightmagic98, sorry about the accusation. It is just too bad that some illusions are so expensive to the extent that some can not do them. There are many performers out there that are great entertainers that should be able to do some of these but can't because of the cost.

Oh well.
Message: Posted by: knightmagic98 (Aug 4, 2002 11:33PM)
[quote]

knightmagic98, sorry about the accusation. It is just too bad that some illusions are so expensive to the extent that some can not do them. There are many performers out there that are great entertainers that should be able to do some of these but can't because of the cost.

[/quote]

Why?

Why is it "just too bad that some illusions are so expensive to the extent that some can not do them?"

I think that is a GREAT thing. It helps to limit the performers out there that are doing it. There are too many REALLY CRAPPY magicians out there. Some people just should NOT be doing certain effects. Some people do not have the talent, some people it just would not fit their style.

"There are many performers out there that are great entertainers that should be able to do some of these but can't because of the cost. "

If they are that GREAT, they do not need an expensive prop. Magic should not be about the prop, it should be about the effect and the performer. Truly "great" entertainers understand that.
Message: Posted by: Darmoe (Aug 5, 2002 10:00AM)
knightmagic98 I think you hit the nail on the head here... "Entertainers" or, to be more accurate "True Show People".

I've done more than my fair share of rants on the issue of the "poor little rich kid" whose mommy & daddy fork out six digits for a John Gaughan magic kit and buy their stardom. The majority of these kids have no idea what it means to "earn your chops" let alone, how to be an ENTERTAINER vs. a guy that has lots of fancy boxes and scantly dressed assistants.

Admittedly I'm one of the "spoiled brats" of the business. Not that I had money behind me, but because I was given trusted access to so much and still do have a novel sense of access to otherwise "coveted" secrets, etc. HOWEVER, I've also learned that I don't "need" those high end props and fancy fixings. I've learned that, as a showman, I can 30-45 minutes with nothing more than my wits and what I can carry in my pant pockets (and absolutely no card tricks in the mix!)

In regards to the low end "knock-offs"... Companies like Chu's offer o.k. quality copies of "stock" effects like the Broom Suspension, Sawing and possibly the least deception Zig Zag ever concieved. But they allow the serious student of magic a place to "start", should this be the direction they wish to go. (BTW... Chu's also has one of the sweetest, best priced Sword Baskets I've ever seen... good quality, though you might want to replace the swords, and about $5,000.00 less than the one's sold by the big guys.)

Years ago the owners of Magic & Novelty shops made up their own "low end" props such as the Professor's Nightmare, Zombie, even devices like load clips, nail writers, etc. It was considered the "Popcorn Product line" that made the store it's money. Today, this has become a bit more "governed" but, it is how things were (and are, in some cases.)

The "Greed" found in the hands of certain egotist (a.k.a. designers)... especially those yet known at any level outside their own mind, is one side of this issue that is creating "problems" for the retailer. Especially when all the legal mumbo jumbo comes into play.

Let me give you an example... a youngman I'm aware of... an aspiring genius in fact, recently released one of his first commercial effects at a rather steep price. There have been complaints by purchasers of this effect (which is quite cool, by the way) of being "ripped off" and at the same time, people that felt more should be charged. The catch is, more "complaints" on the price vs. what you get came in over positive accolades. The end result is frustration for the retailer(s) promoting the bit, lost sales, and potentially, a lost carrier.

What "new" people wanting to prostitute thier thinking need to do, is think about the advantages of quantity sales vs. getting a fast buck here and now. My Psychic Technology books are a prime example of this thinking in action....

Sure, I could sell them for somewhere between $45.00 and as much as $75.00 each (according to most pros that have reviewed them!) But, why?

Sure, I could use the cash these days but, what will be more to my advantage in the long run, the cash in pocket right now or having as much of my material as possible "out there" being used and people talking about it?

Which is going to help me sell more books, get booked for more lectures, etc. and thus, pay me more in the long run?

Am I offering something exceptional?

Some think so but, in my humbled opinion I'm merely expanding upon and getting a bit more specific about things mentioned by mentalists since the 1890s. The objective of the "program" as it were, is to help folks think a bit and "see" how to get ahead through their craft. Learning a new trick is cool, but it don't pay the rent! We have to know how to use that knowledge, applying the least amount of effort for the greatest end result. Which brings us back to the issue of "Being a showman" vs. a "Furniture Mover" (as Gary Darwin would call it).

I know I've not lent a lot of direct focus on the question but, I hope I've shined some light on how things can/do/used to work in and around this business and why, some sense of "reform" might be needed in our individual thinking.
Message: Posted by: Kent Messmer (Aug 5, 2002 04:24PM)
This is description on magicauction.com

KNOCK OFF AND IMITATION ILLUSIONS
After compiling information from many sources we have put together an outline dealing with the questions concerning knock off illusion building. Below are a collection of thoughts from many professionals on the subject. Your own opinion is welcome.



The Imitator

In most cases an imitation is only a shell of the original, produced to look the same, but fails to include the creator's original concept and design ideas. The original design was conceived after months or even years of development. An imitation does not include all of the real construction techniques that are necessary when building an illusion for professional use.

The Professional Builder

When an illusion is purchased from an authorized builder, the knowledge that this builder has been chosen by the creator is a comforting thought. The builders work meets or exceeds the standards necessary to complete the illusion according to the original design. The materials used and the construction techniques will insure that the illusion will perform as designed
and stand up under heavy use for touring professional magicians.

The Designer

The illusion creator receives a fee for the illusion that helps support his continuing efforts to create new and innovative concepts for illusion design. Without this contribution, future growth in the area of illusion design for our industry begins to decline.

Used Illusions

In an effort to prevent the widespread selling of knock off illusions, the purchase of a professionally built "used illusion" will fill the need of the performer while cutting down on the sale of imitations. Professionally built used illusions are the most cost effective way of obtaining an illusion needed for a particular project if the budget does not permit the purchase of a new one. Not only do you get the most for your money but you also preserve our craft.

Afterthoughts

Many magicians will never purchase a professionally built illusion. These magicians perform part time and never do
more than local shows. A major illusion is not practical in this situation. But the need for a show stopping attraction is always there. Having one built for them is usually the way they handle the problem. The illusion is built from from an illusion book or a purchased set of plans. The magician builds the illusion himself or takes it to a woodworker or metal worker and has it built. In many cases these illusions are satisfactory for his needs. After performing in local shows again & again he sells it to someone else in the same situation and looks to find a replacement. This is an acceptable situation. His only resposibility is to inform the buyer the illusion was built for him and the plans it is based on.


--------

If an illusion is sold second hand (original mfg) does the originator need to be contacted?

Is there another fee to be paid to the originator to subsiquent puchasers?

If someone builds a "knock off" can (or should) they pay a fee to the originator?

Thank
Message: Posted by: Darmoe (Aug 5, 2002 05:57PM)
I understand this "dichotomy" and here's what I know has happened...

In most instances if a performer has built or had local crafts people build for him/her a prop based on book plans, that's o.k. and nothing is expected other than mention within programs e.g. credit where credit is due. Some even have gone as far as sending a letter of thanks to guys like Jim, Gene Poinc and Rand Woodbury for being so free with their thinking.

In the case of the knock-off props like the controversial Ninja Box. In know that in some instances where the performer/purchaser contacts JS an amicable "arrangement" is made and things are made kosher... same rule hold true when said item is resold.

In some instances a royalty or performance rights fee must be paid by the purchaser of a given effect. There are many the fall into this category, but I have heard of a few in which this is expected by a designer... personally, I think that's carrying thing too far but on the other hand, I can see how I too could benefit by holding to such a policy :blush: Personally, I believe if you fork out the bucks to buy something, even second handed, IT'S YOURS! You're not renting it and the way some folks want to ding you to death on extra fees and litigation elements... well, it's becoming a detour from wanting to own a major (or even some minor) systems.

FYI... I and two noted builders of recent merit have been discussing over the past few months, the development of quality, inexpensive illusion systems that are not tied up in all the legal mumbo jumbo and are practical for the everyday Joe. I can't tell you when it's going to happen, but we hope to have the first phase of this out by next spring, all going well. The list will center on "stock" pieces like Doll House, Sawings, Cremations, Crystal Boxes, etc. and even one or two "newer" pieces or our version of some of the newer "classics".

Oh! Yes, we are/have protected this concept (in the process)and will take legal action towards anyone that replicates what we're doing :bigsmile:

Later!
Message: Posted by: Thomas Wayne (Aug 6, 2002 03:24AM)
[quote]
On 2002-08-03 16:07, Kent Messmer wrote:
[...]
As to your comment "For YOU, and others who think as you do" you don't know anything about me. [...]

I don't agree, however, that because something is built or sold for less than the original that it is a "crappy" copy. Maybe in that because it is a copy it is crappy?

[...]
[/quote]

Kent,

I don't HAVE to know anything about you. You say it all when you write:

"'Royalty fee'??? for what? "

If you balk at the idea of rewarding an originator for using his original idea (in ANY form whatsoever) then I have learned all I care to about you.

As to the quality of props, I've had the pleasure of spending some time in the shops of various illusion builders (the legitimate ones) and I know quality when I see it. I once got to examine several "Origami" illusions (in various stages of completion) in John Gaughan's shop; later I saw an illegal copy made by some guy named "Jeff Davis". The difference was truly astounding; there's an obvious reason John's work commands the higher prices.

It's been my experience that the market generally sets the price on just about everything. If a creation is overpriced, not many will sell; if underpriced the builder will go out of business - OR IT WLL BE A CHEAPLY MADE PIECE OF CRAP, and the buyer will suffer (along with the originator).

Good luck with your ventures, Kent. If you buy the creations of others, I hope you will be buying the originator's and not some stolen knock-off. If you create items of your own, I hope you won't have to watch the thieves of the world laugh at you while they steal your ideas. And most of all, whichever it is, I hope you'll understand why all of this matters.

Regards,
Thomas Wayne
Message: Posted by: Kent Messmer (Aug 6, 2002 02:50PM)
Again, Thomas you know nothing about me. Read into what I have written what you want. I'm not stealing from anyone, nor am I advising anyone to do so.

My point of paying fees to builders/creators is that if they don’t want it to be copied then they must go through the legal mumbo jumbo to do so. If they don't want to then they shouldn't cry when someone reproduces it. Some have jumped through all the hoops and have used the law to be compensated for their work when someone stole their work. I don't have a problem at all with that.

Whoop tee do, you were in John Gaughan's shop. Is that suppose to impress me? I never said that any original builder made poor quality equipment. Just because you saw one made by another builder doesn't mean that other builders couldn't build one as good at the creator.

I never said that I would not pay an originator for the use of their idea. In fact I wanted to know that if I had purchased a knock off (I haven't) from an auction or such if I would need to pay a fee for it. Ideas I have read in other post give me the idea that I would most likely contact the originator and discuss it with them.
Message: Posted by: Kent Messmer (Aug 6, 2002 03:00PM)
Hey Thomas, What ever you think of me I am not the only one that would like this information. Would you mind answering the following?

I see that you are a builder and designer. Can you tell me how you would handle fees for knock off illusions of yours? i.e. if one was on magicauction or the like? Would you allow it to be sold and ask the buyer/seller to pay a performance fee? What about one that is your doing being sold second hand, is there a fee to the new owner?

Thank you.
Kent
Message: Posted by: Darmoe (Aug 6, 2002 04:38PM)
>My point of paying fees to builders/creators is that if they don’t want it to be copied then they must go through the legal mumbo jumbo to do so. If they don't want to then they shouldn't cry when someone reproduces it. Some have jumped through all the hoops and have used the law to be compensated for their work when someone stole their work.<

Wow Kent... this mode of thought really disappoints me. You're essentially stating that if something is "Legally" protected you wont steal it but if the gate is left wide open and someone hasn't put out the time, cash, and legal fees to tie everything up "Screw them, I'm going to build it!"

So much for ethics, moral fiber and honor :confused: But then, so long as it's legal, it's o.k.... the rich get richers and the poor, more abused and poorer... if a rich man can steal your idea and make it his, YOU'RE THE FOOL for "Trusting" your fellow man (and believing they might have a heart, integrity, honor, loyalty, etc.)

O.k. my rant is over... may we proceed to the tar & feather portion of this thread?
Message: Posted by: Kent Messmer (Aug 6, 2002 07:14PM)
Darmoe said
“Wow Kent... this mode of thought really disappoints me. You're essentially stating that if something is "Legally" protected you wont steal it but if the gate is left wide open and someone hasn't put out the time, cash, and legal fees to tie everything up "Screw them, I'm going to build it!" “

I never said that! If it came across that way I did not intend it to.
The reason these “protection “ laws have been put out there is because there are people out there that ARE what you THINK I am. (I am not) But why should those that do not put out the time, cash, and legal fees expect to be protected the same? Should they?

Has anything that has been "created" in the last 100 (or more) years really new? Someone in the past has most likely come up with, created and performed a version of whatever any of us do. Yes they might look different, work differently in materials but all in all a version of something someone long ago came up with. Just look at Zig Zag, Cube Zag, Mini cube zag, Tube Zag... and any other assistant contorting illusion. Put something black in front of ??? and it vanishes!!!! Is it new or a new version? Do the later creators of the above need to pay each other for the similarities of these new illusions?

Now wait, I'm not saying that there are not creative people out there. I'm not saying don't pay them their due. AGAIN I AM NOT STEALING ANYTHING FROM ANYONE.

Let me ask you or anyone that wishes to respond. If a person writes a book, prints it and sells it but does not obtain a copyright later finds out that someone has copied and sold "knock off" books, who do they have to blame that they have no recourse in the matter? Only themselves. That is what I have been trying to say. Is it right that others profit on the works of others? NO! Will it happen? Most likely. Again. I DO NOT WANT TO STEAL ANYONES IDEAS. I JUST WANT THEM TO PROTECT THEMSELVES.

Darmoe said
"So much for ethics, moral fiber and honor But then, so long as it's legal, it's o.k.... the rich get richers and the poor, more abused and poorer... if a rich man can steal your idea and make it his, YOU'RE THE FOOL for "Trusting" your fellow man (and believing they might have a heart, integrity, honor, loyalty, etc.) "

Thank for stating my point. But the rich man can't steal your idea if it is properly protected. And don't think they won't. They have and will continue to. (Some of )The rich (this is a generalization) have gotten rich because they have skirted the honor system and closed their eyes to ethics. It's wrong and I don't like it but they only go after the unprotected.

Hey guys. I’m really not a bad person. I'm sorry to have gained so many enemies so quickly. Most of what brought on my rant about this subject is a magician came into my shop that was doing a show in the area and we spoke about "knock offs". He said that he almost purchased one and was verbally crucified for the thought. (He told me that there is no way a working magician would get away with them in big cities like Vegas and in places like Magic Island, that they would be run out of town) What ever happened to - it's not the prop that makes the entertainer?

KM
Message: Posted by: knightmagic98 (Aug 6, 2002 08:22PM)
In regards to the copyright laws, the way I understand it, is that once it is published, it is protected by copyright. In the same way, illusions do not need (nor should they be) patented. They are covered by TRADE SECRET laws. These allow for the inventor to not have to reveal the methods. This is the same way that MANY high tech inventions are protected.
Message: Posted by: Thomas Wayne (Aug 7, 2002 02:07AM)
[quote]
On 2002-08-06 15:50, Kent Messmer wrote:
Again, Thomas you know nothing about me. Read into what I have written what you want. [..]
[/quote]

Kent,

I apologize if I read something into your statements that wasn't there. Perhaps you will be so kind as to clarify what you meant by the following quote:

"Royalty fee??? For what?"

You see, Kent, I read into this response that you were BALKING at the idea of paying a royalty fee to the originator of an effect. I don't know what gave me that idea... the excessive puncuation, maybe? Since you insist that I "know nothing about you", I'm very interested in hearing what you REALLY meant by this response.

Regards,
Thomas Wayne
Message: Posted by: Thomas Wayne (Aug 7, 2002 02:30AM)
[quote]
On 2002-08-06 15:50, Kent Messmer wrote:
[...]
Whoop tee do, you were in John Gaughan's shop. Is that suppose to impress me?
[...]
[/quote]

My point, which you choose to overlook, is that there is a significant difference between a good quality original and a poor quality illegal copy. I chose the specific illusion mentioned (and the two bulders, as well) because they have been at the center of a behind-the-scenes battle that the "good guys" won - and that you would know nothing about.

As for trying to "impress" you, I'm not. I don't give a rat's sitter about what a guy like you thinks of me. But I will say that YOU'VE impressed me - enough to know that I'm not interested in having any further discussion with you on this or any other subject.

Thomas Wayne
Message: Posted by: boney (Aug 7, 2002 05:21AM)
[quote]
On 2002-08-04 09:35, Darmoe wrote:
Kent

Firstly, my accusations towards you stem from the tone of your orignal post... sounded like you were searching for a way to be "allowed" to "borrow" and use technology...

Secondly... the "Janet Box" (cutting in 9ths * named after Janet Jackson for whom it was originally created) is a highly restricted piece with a base price of around $25,000.00 (last I checked). Franz only allows so many to go out in each region... lots of strings!

I think we both share the same concern over "Where does the line in the sand go away?"

I know that most of the guys like Stinemeyer and Woodbury have no problem with people building the effects outlined in thier books FOR PERSONAL USE. That don't mean you can build one, use it for a season, sell it at the end of the season and build a new one the next, etc. That's one loop hole I know to have been used in recent years.

Jim & Rand are exceptionally fair when it comes to "the issue" as it were. I know of one young man using an Origami knock-off... he was "new" to the industry and struggling... bought the thing used. When he found out about the legal war over the thing he called Jim and things were worked out in a very amicable manner.

In "defense" of Knightmagic98... I'm uncertain just what kind of show he does or the kind of props used, but I know that most of the "working" pros (not to be confused with the big $$$ "stars") rarely purchase more than one, maybe two new effects every two years... maybe once a year, if they're doing good. The exception to this rule is when a Corporate Client wants something special and foots the bill (I love those kind of clients!)

Magic has gotten bloody expensive and the bottom line is GREED!

"But you're paying for the secret!"

BULL!

I know how the freak'n sawing works... who don't?

A fair quality sawing now days starts at around $5,000.00... the so-called cutting edge pieces, that cost about the same to build (around $1,500.00) are going for over $25k... that's simply not right! But then, there are book tests out there that go for several thousand dollars as well (and you guys thoght Mother & Insight were expensive :lol: )

Kirkham told me long ago (as did Roy Houston) that Woolsworth (a.k.a. Wal*Mart, K-Mart, etc.) are the best magic shops around... If we "know our craft" it is nearly impossible not to walk through such a store and not see tons of amazing potential.

I think the bottom line is, we need to strive to create "our own" and allow that to establish our identity... not sharing it, not chasing the elusive buck by cheapening our creation too soon and going to the extremes of commercialism, etc. Allow that self-created novelty to become legendary.

The "old timers" did this as a matter of habit, not sharing their ideas and workings until late in their career. Allowing their early year discoveries to carry them forward; many of them having moves and ideas that were legendary e.g. Shamada's Dove on Cane; McComb's 5-Cornered Hank, etc. Even something as commercial as the Flash Vanish Bird Cage or Spirit Paintings... the old timers had little "subtle touches" that made them even more astonishing, that was never shared into late in life... they made the effect and vice versa (can you visualize the Bird Cage without thinking BLACKSTONE?)

The commercial side of our craft has become overly saturated, abused, and far too accessible. When we all stop chasing the buck and start remembering our "art" and the obligations that entails, then perhaps the magick will return to our tricks ;)

Later!
[/quote]

Actually cutting the girl in Ninths can be purchased for $3900.00
form http://www.tilfordillusions.com/cuttingGirlNinths.html

ROB
Message: Posted by: boney (Aug 7, 2002 05:25AM)
Actually cutting the girl in ninths can be purchased for $3900.00
from http://www.tilfordillusions.com/cuttingGirlNinths.html

Rob
Message: Posted by: knightmagic98 (Aug 7, 2002 06:36AM)
I really hate to mention this but, Tilford does not always carry the best equipment, and often his equipment is unauthorized. He used to carry a WINDSHEAR (walking thru a fan) until some people noticed, and he got reprimanded severely. Having said that, I notice that the 9ths on his site is a USED illusion. just an FYI.
Message: Posted by: Darmoe (Aug 7, 2002 09:59AM)
Yea... I guess I'll have to mention to Franz that Dougie boy is ripping him off.

The Janet Box, when made RIGHT cost close to that price to build. I'm betting DT's version is flimsy and will fall apart about about two-dozen run-thrus (if the pictures reveal any accuracy as to quality.)
Message: Posted by: knightmagic98 (Aug 7, 2002 02:11PM)
LOL Darmoe...I love your insights and commentary!
Message: Posted by: Kent Messmer (Aug 7, 2002 02:45PM)
Hey everyone I would like to start over. I make my living, as some of you do, in this industry. We need these creative minds to be able to continue so that we may benefit from them. I have never intended to steal or in any way stop anyone from making money. That was not why I asked the questions and made the comments I did. I am a poor writer and after you all have pointed out your understanding of what you have read, I can see how I could be and have been misunderstood.

It has always been my understanding that if one does not obtain a patent, copyright or the like, (someone in an earlier post said that they do not need to apply for some of these, that is still a question to me. I don't think that just because someone publishes something that it is automatically copyrighted. But what do I know.) that they had no legal stand to take anyone to court over it.That is why I stated "royalty fee. for what?" earlier. I never intended to imply that because of that fact that it was right to do so or that I was going to start ripping off effects for my own gain. that is why I stated "royalty fee. for what?" earlier.

As for Thomas, again my point is that because someone copies something does not mean that it is poorly made. (Wrong or not that they made it at all) By in large, yes, most copies are not made to the same quality standards and are a piece...

Sorry to have gotten everyone’s feathers in a ruffle.

Kent
Message: Posted by: Darmoe (Aug 7, 2002 06:23PM)
Kent

I'll give you credit on this and say that maybe I/we have misunderstood your intent behind your post. The thing is, I have watched countless wannabes searching the archieves to find cool effects that are out of copyright protection that they can add their own two-cents to and get re-copyrighted in their name so everyone must pay alms to them and too, they get this unsubstantiated image of being a "resourceful" individual.

When you hinted at the idea that it was o.k. to go out and knock off a piece that's not "protected" with all the legal garbage one must go through (and even then, you're "protection" is only as good as your standing in the trade and your lawyer vs. theirs.) Well, such thoughts and seeming "encouragement/threats" really make that one good nerve of mine rail a bit.

I loathe the trend of "This is my variation to Joe Shmoe's variation of Vernon's Variation to... " and seeing people not only "get ahead" but ultimately get pats on the back for doing it. Yet, I'm guilty for using that same "loop hole" in one or two things I've "shared" in recent months. Let's face it, my reputation as a creative mind stems from the fact that I can take an idea/existing concept and expand upon it (if not perfect it.)I don't pull completely new effects out of my butt like some of the more noted genius types out there.

Bottom line is, if you're not buying the knock offs, or making your own, you're in the clear. STAY THAT WAY! Too, when yuo find jerks like Dougie-Boy, stealing and manufacturing inferrior copies of major cutting edge magic... BLOW THE WHISTLE! Tell the designer, the builders they work with, the Castle, and every other organization you know of and are associated with... When you see some idiot using such crap and accidently have your cigarette lighter (Zipo works best)fluid spill all over that pos copy and it ignites (purely by accident mind you :rolleyes: ) Apologies and explain how Karma is such a cruel teacher.

Sorry, I have no mercy when it comes to this kind of thing... if I ever confirm that Dougie is (as is rumored) building Shadow Vision and See Thru Step Loaders I'm going to have to show him that new electric chair escape I'm working on :eek:
Message: Posted by: Kent Messmer (Aug 7, 2002 06:49PM)
Thank you.

Are some/any of the items "Dougie" and like companies sell legal?

In the banquet room in Secret Session under Copperfield flying. There is a post with a company that lists magic effects with patents, and I guess that one can obtain a copy of the patent and its descriptions for a fee. This could be dangerous to the public at large, but most will not pay to find out the secret anyway. ( I own a magic shop, I should know) As to magicians, it is interesting to see designs and such but these are not there for anyone to copy and make their own knock off. ( I won’t be purchasing any because I can’t afford to have something I can’t and wouldn’t use anyway)

This has all been interesting and I hope that anyone out there thinking of knocking anything off will learn from the beating I have received for even mentioning the dirty deed.
Message: Posted by: Darmoe (Aug 8, 2002 09:41AM)
I will make a note here Kent, when it comes to the Patent thing and availability of plans, etc.

NOTHING IS AS SIMPLE AS IT SEEMS ON PAPER!

I know of someone that attempted to replicate Shadow Vision a few years ago, after taking meassurments, etc. from a unit he had access to... The pour guy had a serious mental breakdown. SV is, as Mark Wilson put it "One of the most amazing, yet complicated illusions on earth."

The first SV unit took Kenny Whitaker, Paul and I + about six other people arguing over things, several revisions (as in break it apart and put it back together again) and around six months to create. We had 3 weeks to build the second one WITHOUT PLANS for S&R (#1 went to Sylvan in Italy)

Something like the Flying... sure, you can TRY... bear in mind, the first one took nearly six years and close to a half-mil to R&D. You may have a copy of the plans but there's tons of information missing as well. Details known only to the innovators and builders of each unit.... if folks only knew the true "unpublished" secrets behind some of the Thurston (Sielbit built) props that I've been privy to (along with a very small handful of others.)

Anywho... for reasons like this, there is NO WAY most knock-offs will be "better" than the orignal. I'm not saying this is standard policy... I've seen some very cool "improvements" on several "stock" pieces built by unknown garage mechanics, that were mind blowing... this is not the rule but the exception however.

No hard feelings... hope you the best!
Message: Posted by: LeeAlex2002 (Aug 8, 2002 03:17PM)
Just out of interest I contacted Steven Fearson recently and found that he does not supply Fantastic Floatation to any other dealer - anyone else offering this effect is apparently a rip off. I was wondering why the price varied from $53.00 to $170 dollars!! (Only Fearson offers a money back guarentee and a 45 minute downloadable video.)

How can people get away with offering something like this with even the same name, and how is the shopper supposed to distinuish??
Message: Posted by: Murray Hatfield (Aug 10, 2002 04:46PM)
It's funny how this topic comes up time and again and there are always those who question the protection and ownership of props/routines on a strictly legal basis.

It's much simpler than that. You either live your life and do your business with respect for others and their property or you don't. Theft is theft and in this day and age where it's mentioned in every forum on a regular basis, ignorance is a pretty flimsy excuse.

There seems to be an ever expanding group of magicians who seem to think that it's their God-given-right to do whatever illusions or effects that they want to. And it's bloody unfair that some effects are out of their price range. Thus it's their right to buy a rip-off regardless of the ethics or legalities involved.

As for the creator/builder who chooses to not persue legal action against the people who steal their ideas, is it any surprise. Do you really think that it's very cost effective to take someone to court for stealing a prop thats worth $5000.00. Take into consideration that the profit on the prop may be at most half the cost (and quite possibly less) and then factor in the cost of the lawyer, court costs, and the lost time from work and the builder/creator would end up losing even when they win.

Instead it's up to us to teach our peers and the new generations of magicians coming along a respect for our art and the people who, through their effort and creativity, help it to grow and expand.

Murray
Message: Posted by: Darmoe (Aug 10, 2002 08:20PM)
Some good points Murray but, as you can see in reviewing this thread, there are those that intentionally look for the properties that are "unprotected" with the greed based intent of cutting out the designer from his/her right to make a fair and honest living. Having been on the wrong end of that stick (the one to loose out on the income) I can assure you, such things aren't taken lightly and as I said earlier "Karma is not nice when she exacts her justice."

:angry: :angry: :angry: :angry: :angry:
Message: Posted by: reedrc (Aug 11, 2002 07:19AM)
Hello Gentlemen.
Darmoe, Kent, everyone. I've just read these last three pages, watching the conversation back and forth. From Darmoe's and Kent’s perspective, both pose VERY interesting and genuine questions and comments. I deeply respect Darmoe for his comments and knowledge on this subject. I respect Kent for the questions on the subject. I feel many of us feel very deeply about it.

The following coments are from the heart.
Here are some of my thoughts:

I'm a young designer, and builder. I own a small full-production company dedicated to the advancement of major stage illusion and to the advancement of the magic show itself. I've seen many come and go. I’ve seen many excuses and justifications for using older effects or ripping off ideas or stealing for less with inexpensive, poorly built props.

Growing up, I had the fortune of having such burning passion and desire for the art that it eats away at me like a raging fire. Even now I feel it deep down inside. I love my art. I live my art. I respect those who do the same. I embrace those who love the art as I.

Because of this fact, and because of the many years of study, I found that to genuinely make it to the top in the new world of magic 2002, you have to respect the art, its history and those who are doing the art with you. This means working TOGETHER to help advance the magic, the presentation and the technology, as well as the industry relationships around us.

I'm in this to present a genuine original experience for the audience member. That’s what it's all about. And sometimes I think that we are so wrapped up in who stole what and what belongs to who and bla blah bla.....that we forget what it's really all about.... it's about the TRUE magic, the wonder and awe that happens when someone experiences that miracle that they cant see ANYWHERE ELSE. (anywhere other than YOUR stage)

Because of these thoughts I strive to protect my secrets. To attempt to get my clients and associates to understand that in order to be great you take what the greats have done, do it BIGGER better and even more ORIGINAL than ever before. If we just keep that original passion for the end result without the desperate struggle to be the “next Copperfield” or to be the next big thing. Then we’d have many versions of magicians the SIZE of Copperfield. But it would be different. It would be individuals whom stand out on their own. For their originality, their individuality and the strive to do something genuine, and passionate. Because we are dealing with a new generation of audiences I feel that only the magicians who respect the art, remember its history. Respect others' ideas,
And be individuals will make it to the top. But it will only happen if they are being themselves and not do it to become rich but to perform. To entertain. And to take the audience to the next level of magic that I feel is still out there to be tapped.

Ok, now that my passionate bantering is over, I will give you thoughts about what or how I feel rights should be. Or at least what I’ve done in attempt to keep my concepts mine.
With the above comments and thoughts in mind, what I always try to do is a secrecy clause. Those you work with are bound to protect the secrets and concepts “yours” as to ascertain a trustworthy working relationship that is bound legally with a binding contract.

I feel that its also the DESIGNER'S AND BUILDER'S responsibility to take the projects and to invoke the fact that they don’t take clients unless the project is original and BELONGS TO THEM. The end contract from design to fabrication states that the concept belongs to me, you and that everything possible was done in research to protect the rights of the originators, builders and the designers… The fact that this is in the contract from ME the builder and designer protects both ME and the client the performer.

I don’t consult, build or design unless all the terms are met. Secrecy, originality, ownership, etc………this protects from rip offs and stolen concepts. And we do it at an affordable price DEPENDING ON THE PROJECT and budget of the magician. Each project is rated at what the client can afford. And the quality of product will always be the same. ELITE.

I’ve followed these simple rules, and have found that client, industry and audience have benefited from its workings…. It’s everyone’s responsibility to be original. There is no excuse or question if someone is stealing from someone else. If you are not sure about something HIRE a trusted and renowned consultant. If they are genuine you will be set on the right path. The industry is actually a VERY open and available resource to those whom truly wish to be individuals. Johnny Gaughan, Jim Steinmeyer, Jonathan Pendragon, Bill smith…… All VERY approachable. So ask yourself. Are you and individual or a mirror image of what someone’s already doing?



Thank you all for your time….
Sorry if some of this was not applicable to the original subject.