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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Right or Wrong? » » Explaining Ethics of magic to others (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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glatner
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Hey guys

I am part of a magic club at my high school. A few of the members have ripped off tricks by watching them again and again slow-mo to find the method, then make their own knockoffs for personal use, they claim this isn't hurting the creators. I can't see to persuade them that they are dead wrong. Any tips?

Glatner
Bill Nuvo
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Tell em to try the bullet catch...just kidding.

Some people you can't get through to. You'll have to accept that. The other thing is to have all members of the club sign a statement dictating what is expected of members (ethics and more) and if anyone is found to deviate could result in expulsion from the club.
Jonathan Townsend
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Perhaps as a club activity, you could invent some new routines. And teach by example about protecting your own works and respecting other people's work in the process. A learn by doing process.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Samuel
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Jonathan: Great idea Smile
Samuel

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Patrick Differ
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Tough question.

At first, I thought expulsion from the club. And then, I thought that expulsion would be drastic and won't actually solve the problem. Sure, they wouldn't be in the club, but they would still be sniping others' works.

Which raises the question...what is the real problem? The problem, as I'm seeing it, is two-fold:
A)The members of the club hunger for more material, and can't or won't put forth their most earnest efforts to get it.
B)The members of the club don't have a role-model for ethical behavior, thus no desire to develop their own value system.

Possible solutions:
A) What Jonathan said. Learning by Doing is the greatest teacher of all. Developing their own routines will increase their own abilities, imaginations, and desires to protect them. Once they've savored their own sense of accomplishment in successfully reaching these goals, there is no turning back.

B) You are the Role-Model. Constantly reiterate the basics of your value system, which you may want to put simply as Respect Others' Works. Say it at the beginning and ending of every meeting...every single one. Say it seriously and clearly so that all can hear you. And here's the tough part...don't take no for an answer. Stand your ground in all discussions of the matter. Don't flag or fail. It takes time, but eventually it will sink in.

Here's a question for you, glatner... are you one of the most proficient and knowledgable magicians in your club?
Will you walk into my parlour? said the Spider to the Fly,
Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I've a many curious things to show when you are there.

Oh no, no, said the little Fly, to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair
-can ne'er come down again.
George Ledo
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I'll second (third?) Jonathan's idea, but it seems to me that the "real" problem lies in a different area.

Nowadays, it's easy and common to exchange stuff, either in person or over the net. Can I copy that song? Hey, here's an article you can use for the term paper. That picture's cool, where'd you get it? Playing a tape in slo-mo to learn the method? It's all the same.

To a lot of people who are coming into magic today with a background (a mentality) of copying whatever they want "because they can," copying magic is no different. It's just something else that's there for the taking.

And then you have this "information hunger" that's also occurring in magic. People interested in magic are collecting what we call "secrets" like some people collect stamps or barbed wire. We used to look at tricks in the sense of "do I want to do that?" and either learn it or not. Today, it seems like the whole point of magic for some people has become to "learn all the secrets you can."

Forget trying to tell these kids about ethics. The problem here has nothing to do with ethics. They're just equating magic with any other activity today. What they need is to learn what magic is about. It's not about the mechanics; it's about creating an illusion.
That's our departed buddy Burt, aka The Great Burtini, doing his famous Cups and Mice routine
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Frank Tougas
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Don't look at it as ripping something off. Look at it as part of the creative process and use it to stimulate each to go beyond mere copying and move towards creation. sometimes the best way to change the flow is to go with the flow for a while and then gently change it from within. That is unless you enjoy standing in the currrent and cursing the water for not going the other way.


Frank Tougas
Frank Tougas The Twin Cities Most "Kid Experienced" Children's Performer :"Creating Positive Memories...One Smile at a Time"
Jonathan Townsend
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Frank, would you offer us an example of the process you described above?
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Frank Tougas
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Glatner is in a high school where he has access to the art department. Assuming it is up to snuff they are well aware of the creative process. It entails exploration, inspiration, assimilation and possibilities. If I did not have all my art books packed away I would give you some obscure book reference regarding the process of abstraction, thus making me sound incredibly smart - but alas I can not. Nor am I willing to give you an art lesson on an ethics form. But I am sure you get the general idea of it from this post, I am hoping Glatner does as well.
Merry Christmas Jon.

Frank Tougas
Frank Tougas The Twin Cities Most "Kid Experienced" Children's Performer :"Creating Positive Memories...One Smile at a Time"
Steinbock
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I know I should never post anything this close to bedtime. . . but I've gotta weigh in. I figure I'm in the minority, and I'm likely to get flamed for what I'm about to say, but I think Frank is right.

What Glatner has told us is:

Quote:
A few of the members have ripped off tricks by watching them again and again slow-mo to find the method, then make their own knockoffs for personal use. . .


I need to know more about what the kids in Glatner's club are doing before I can pass judgment. Like Frank suggested in his above post, artists learn art by copying the masters. And haven't we all improved our skills by watching, imitating, learning from, and trying to improve upon others?

I'm not saying that stealing is okay. It's not. But there's a big difference between stealing another persons design, and watching videos in slow-motion in order to improve our skills. And yes, I think it's even withing the bounds of ethical conduct to watch a perfromer and try to analyze and explore possible methods.

Exposure is bad.

Stealing is evil.

But sheesh, guys, if we're more concerned with our secrets than we are with entertaining, then we have some growing up to do.

And with that I bid you all a good night.
Steinbock
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PS. If I mis-understood Glatner's posting, and members of his club are actually manufacturing products based on someone else's design, making "knock-off" products, and trading in someone else's intellectual property, then I retract the above post.
George Ledo
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Quote:
On 2005-12-26 23:44, Steinbock wrote:
Like Frank suggested in his above post, artists learn art by copying the masters. And haven't we all improved our skills by watching, imitating, learning from, and trying to improve upon others?

You're correct on both points, and I totally agree with you about posting something this late at night...

However, just as a point of correction, artists have traditionally learned technique, not art, by copying the masters: they've learned things like brushstrokes, highlighting, coloring, chiaroscuro (a fifty-cent term that just means using light and dark dramatically), and so forth. Too many first-year art majors learn the hard way that technique alone does not constitute art, and this goes just as well for creative writing, music, photography, architecture, acting, theatrical design, and a lot of other creative fields.

The sad thing is that so many "beginners" can't tell the difference between mechanical technique and "art," and, in my experience, the sadder thing is that so many of them are never shown the difference by their teachers.

So, sadly, no: we have not all improved our skills. Some have, and some have not. The difference is in what we really want to do.
That's our departed buddy Burt, aka The Great Burtini, doing his famous Cups and Mice routine
www.georgefledo.net

Latest column: "Sorry about the photos in my posts here"
Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2005-12-23 20:07, glatner wrote:... A few of the members have ripped off tricks by watching them again and again slow-mo to find the method, then make their own knockoffs for personal use, they claim this isn't hurting the creators. ...


There are some videos which teach the buyer to make props and also teach the routines. The buyer is expected to make what they need and proceed according to their own needs and interests. No harm there.

Would you provide an example of a trick they made from what they saw?
...to all the coins I've dropped here
JackScratch
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I think recognition of a "grey area" is needed. Fact is, a lot of magic is public domain. I think it is important to know the origins of the work you learn, as well as the work it's self. I'm pretty certain learning the Charlier or The French Drop any way you can is acceptable, assumeing no cpyright infringment, but fair use is pretty liberal. On the other hand, there are a lot of creators walking around who would be might angry to have their work unfairly stolen.
okbohn
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How long before something comes into public domain?
JackScratch
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http://www.copyright.gov

Somewhere between 80 and 170 years if I understand it correctly. But only if published after 78'.
Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2005-12-29 14:26, JackScratch wrote:...to have their work unfairly stolen.


Is there a way to steal fairly?

I prefer that what we want "known" in magicdom be offered to our journals for use ONLY in magicdom and NEVER to go into a book muggles can buy.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
JackScratch
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Yeah, there is, it's called public domain. Likewise if you sell an effect you can expect it to be used as per the agreement. I know none of this is stealing, but it is useing effects that someone else created, which I'm certain each and every magician who ever existed has done.
Jonathan Townsend
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Something in the public domain is there to be used. There is no theft involved. The copyright holder could have renewed their copyright if they wanted to keep the work. No theft, no stealing, just enjoy what has been left to the public domain.

My feelings remain that magic has some problems with putting anything in the public domain. Still looking for ideas on how to put trolls under the bridges to magicdom and turn the fairy gold in libraries back to leaves.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
troller
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In the old days, magicians use to perform tricks that other magicians performed just to show that they too had the 'power of magic'. Today, unless money is exchanged between the parties, then it is not 'ethical'

There are so many old magic tricks also being sold by so many online stores that are really public domain as far as the methods are concerned. I understand that someone has to be the central point of purchase for newcomers.. but when someone claims the effect as their own and no one has the right to perform the effect or trick, in public, for money, without first paying someone for the rights... that is in itself unethical.
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